Prehistoric Human Culture Major Periods ¤PALEOLITHIC: old stone age ¤Lower paleolithic 2.5 million-75,000 bp ¤ Middle paleolithic 75,000-35,000 bp ¤Upper.

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  • PrehistoricHuman Culture

  • Major PeriodsPALEOLITHIC: old stone ageLower paleolithic 2.5 million-75,000 bp Middle paleolithic 75,000-35,000 bpUpper paleolithic 35,000-12,000 bpMESOLITHIC: middle stone age 12,000-10,000 bpNEOLITHIC: new stone age began 10,000 bpBRONZE AND IRON AGES: civilization began 5000 bp

  • The Paleolithic Period

  • Paleolithic PeriodBegan 2,5oo,ooo Years Ago Also called Old Stone Age culture Characterized by the use of rudimentary chipped stone tools Hominids, homo habilis, homo erectus, homo sapiens -- neanderthal and cro-magnon Hunter-gatherer culture

  • Lower Paleolithic2.5 Million-70,000 bp Hominids and earliest human ancestors Gatherer/scavengers Simple pebble tools, pebble chopper tools, and hand axes associated with homo habilis and homo erectus Remains found in Europe, Africa and Asia

  • Hominids:AustralopithicenesImmediate ancestors of humans: intermediate between apes and humansClassified hominidiae because of biological similarity to humans Large brains Bi-pedal: walked uprightBegan evolving 5 million years ago and were widespread 3 million years ago

  • The First Tool Makers ?Evidence of habitation in one place for an extended period of timePlant gatherers/meat scavengersMeat eaters -- used tools to smash bones and skin animalsChipped stone turned into crude hand-held choppers

  • Homo Habilis2.4-1.6 Million Years AgoEarly transitional human fossils first discovered in Olduvai gorge in 1960sHomo habilis -- handy or skilled humans -- strong evidence of stone tool usageLarger brains, smaller mouths and teeth than australopithicenes

  • HOMO ERECTUSCa. 1.9 Million bp- Ca. 100,000 bpFirst fully human species Moved out of Africa to populate tropical, subtropical and temperate zones throughout the old world Skilled tool makers Highly successful species

  • Paralleling the biological evolution of early humans was the development of cultural technologies that allowed them to become increasingly successful at acquiring food and surviving predators. The evidence for this evolution in culture can be seen especially in:the creation and use of stone toolsnew subsistence patterns the occupation of new environmental zones

  • Subsistence and Living Much fuller exploitation of animal food resources through hunting and carcass scavenging: sheep, pigs, buffalo, deer, turtles, birds, etc.. Movement out of Africa to populate colder temperate zones made possible through new inventions and increased meat consumption Began to occupy caves and build shelter Family units Use of firereconstruction of a possible dwelling at Terra Amata, France

  • The Coming of FireWhat are the implications of fire use?LightWarmthAnimal managementCooked foodCommunal gatheringsSpecial status for fire-bearers

  • Early Archaic Homo Sapiens Blurry dividing line between homo erectus and homo sapiens Evolutionary changes extended over several hundred thousand years: ca. 600,000 bp-100,000 bp Fossils of archaic homo sapiens have been found throughout the old world. Extent of the interaction between these diverse and widely distributed populations is not clear. No agreement as to which of these populations were the ancestors of modern humans.

  • Human EvolutionHominids appeared ca. 4 million years ago (bp) Homo erectus: ca. 700,000-400,000 bpHomo heidelbergensis: ca. 600,000-300,000 bpArchaic homo sapiens: ca. 300,000-200,000 bpNeandertals: ca. 130,000-29,000 bpModern homo sapiens: ca. 100,000 bp

  • Important Early Archaic Homo sapiens SitesSite LocationYears Ago (approximate) Africa:Lake Ndutu (near Olduvai Gorge) 400,000? Broken Hill (Kabwe), Zambia130,000+ China:Dali, Shaanxi Province230-180,000 Jinniushan, Liaoning Province200,000 Europe: Arago Cave, France400-300,000? Bilzingsleben, Germany425-200,000 Terra Amata, France400,000 ----- Petralona Cave, Greece300-200,000? Steinheim, Germany300-250,000? Swanscombe, England300-250,000?Vrtesszlls, Hungary210-160,000?

  • Middle Paleolithic75,000-35,000 bp Major leap forward in tool making traditions: The Mousterian tool tradition Employed by Neandertals, other late archaic homo sapiens and by such early modern homo sapiens as Cro-magnons Part of successful adaptation to hunting and gathering, especially in sub-arctic and temperate environment during the last ice age which began about 75,000 years ago

  • NEANDERTALSca. 130,000-29,000 bp Best known of late archaic homo sapiens Bones first discovered in late 1820s First humans to live successfully in sub-arctic regions of northern hemisphere during ice ages

  • Neandertal modern humanContinuing controversy over relationship to Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens neandertalis or Homo neandertalis?

    Genetic evidence indicates that Neandertals were a separate variety of Homo sapiens, but successfully interbred with Homo sapiens sapiens

  • Indications of Neandertal Burial Rituals Burials contain food and tool offerings Some sites have hearths built around skeletons In many sites skeletons are carefully arranged in sleep-like positions A burial at Teshik-Tash is surrounded with animal horns A body a Le Moustier, France, was covered in red ochre powder Stone slabs are found over some burial sites

  • Shanidar Cave, IraqCorpse placed in fetal position on bed of herbs Variety of flowers carefully arranged around body: yarrow, cornflowers, St. Barnaby's thistle, groundsel, grape hyacinths, woody horsetail, and a kind of mallow. Many of these have medicinal qualities.

  • La Chapelle-aux-saints CaveIndividual was buried on his back, with his head to the west, the left arm extended and his legs flexed to the right. Next to the head were burnt animal remains, which could represent some feast that took place before this individual was buried.

  • Community Paradox Social concern: social organization allowed disabled members of community to be cared for: La Chapelle-aux-Saints man had crippling arthritis and Shanidar man had degenerative joint disease caused by early bone injuries

    Cannibalism: evidence from the cave at Moula-guercy, Ardeche, France indicates that humans were butchered and brain and bone marrow removed to be eaten

  • Cave Bear CultRitual burial of the heads of cave bears in at least 2 caves in western Europe. Regourdou cave in southern FranceDrachenloch cave in Switzerland12 feet tall standing up, these animals were larger than any bear species today. Cave bears hunted the same animals that the Neandertals did, and they probably would have considered people to be food as well. Cave bears would have engendered considerable fear and respect as powerful, dangerous creatures.

  • Drachenloch Cave in SwitzerlandStone chest built by the Neandertals, who also inhabited the entrance of the cave. Top of the structure covered by a massive stone slab. Inside were the skulls of seven bears arranged with muzzles facing the cave entrance, and deeper in the cave six more bear skulls in niches along the wallSupposed symbol of the "cult of the cave bear" consisted of the skull of a three-year-old bear pierced in the cheek by the leg-bone of younger bear.

  • Neandertal ArtFew artifacts in archeological record Bones and rocks with scratched patterns Highly polished, colored mammoths molar Pendant from Arcy-sur-Cure, .Ffrance Bone with clear markings Amulet May indicate interaction between Neandertals and Cro-magnons

  • Neandertal MusicIn 1996, a flute made from a juvenile bear femur with two intact pierced holes was found at the former Neandertal hunting camp of Divje Babe I, in SloveniaThe notes on the Neanderthal flute, if possible for it to reach the total air-column length of about 42cm, are consistent with 4 notes of the minor diatonic scale (flatted 3rd and flatted 6th included).

    Neandertal Flute Website

  • Upper Paleolithic35,000-12,000 bp Movement of homo sapiens sapiens throughout the world Extinction of at least 50 types of large animals Height of old stone age technical sophistication Most advanced tool tradition was the Magdalenian tradition of Western Europe ca. 17,000-10,000 bp First major art works:Cave paintings Small sculptured figurines

  • Modern Humans:HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS First fossil remains of homo sapiens sapiens -- named Cro-magnon--found in 1868 in a 28,000 year old rock shelter in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, FranceHomo sapiens sapiens very likely evolved from archaic homo sapiens in Africa and/or the Near EastEarliest remains dated to 120,000-100,000 years ago in Near East and South AfricaBegan to appear in Europe and East Asia. 50,000-40,000 years ago

  • In the cliffs above town, caves provided shelters for the practice of magic. For thousands of years, humans inhabited these caves and left bones, tools, utensilsLes Eyzies-de-Tayac, known as the "Capital of Prehistory" because remains of Cro-Magnon man were first discovered here.

  • Cro-magnon Hunters Developed coordinated group hunting techniques Increased importance of small game and plant food New specialized hunting weapons:Spears Toggle-head harpoons Bow and arrow Fishing spears, hooks and nets

  • Cro-magnon Tools Development of tools for making tools Burins: narrow gouging chisels -- used to carve bone, tusks and antlers Punches and pressure flakersCompound tools: detachable points connected to spears -- allowed for replacement and repair Sewing needles

  • Cro-magnon Artists

    Paleographics: any activity that results in the production of visual signs in any medium -- what is generally referred to as "art as well as images typically designated as signs and symbols.Beginnings of graphic activity-prior to 33,000 b.p. "If the total span of human existence on earth equals one year, then art originated within the last two weeks."

  • PaleographicsThere are two very general classes of graphic activity: Mobiliary statuary and graphics in stone, bone, ivory, horn, antler, clay. Painted or carved graphics in rock shelters and caves. The graphics consist largely of Megafauna (large animals: mainly horses, bison, aurochs (wild cattle), mammoths, various species of deer, and goats) A few birds and smaller mammals, Enigmatic signs (rectilinear shapes, wedges ("claviforms"), tectiforms (like a roof), dots, lines, strands ("spaghetti") Human figures are rare (except for the so-called "venus" figurines) and in contrast to some of the animal images, almost always abstractly rendered. Hand prints

  • La Grotte Chauvet30,000 bp -- Worlds Oldest Painted Cave Discovered in 1994 near Vallon-Pont-dArc in southern France The cave was not used for human habitation A hearth measuring 2 1/2 feet in diameter was possibly used to provide light for Paleolithic artistsScores of cave bears appear to have hibernated in the grotto, and the ground is littered with their bones

  • Lascaux, 1700 bpThe Cave of Lascaux Websitethe Sistine Chapel of Caves The western edges of the Massif Central and the northern slopes of the Pyrenees are noted for an exceptional concentration of Paleolithic caves. No fewer than 130 sanctuaries, the most renowned of which is Lascaux Discovered in 1940 by 4 teenagers, closed to public in 1963, Lascaux II opened in 1980Contains over 1500 paintings

  • Altamira, Spain19,000-11,000 bp Paintings located in the deep recesses of caves in the mountains of northern SpainAltamira is the only site of cave paintings in which the signs of domestic life extend into the first cavern which contain the actual paintings The paintings at Altamira primarily focus on bison, important because of the hunt. The groups of animals portrayed, particularly those on the walls, are of bison, deer, wild boar, and other combinations which do not normally aggregate in nature

  • VENUS or GODDESSFEMALE FIGURINES The distinctive features consist of breasts, buttocks, bellies and vulvas, emphasized and greatly exaggerated, The extremities: head, arms, hands, legs and feet, are very much diminished or missing. The fact that many of these figures are often faceless, and sometimes headless, further suggests that these images are signs of woman rather than images of women.

  • Woman of Willendorf24,000-22,000 bce

  • The Caves of Balzi Rossi explored in late 1890s by Louis Jullien

  • Woman, Doll or Goddess?Earth mother or mother goddess? Fertility symbol or charm? Some figurines daubed with red ochre in vulva area -- connection with menstrual cycle? Tradition of making figurines lasted 17,000 years Venus of Kostienski Russia Venus of Respugue France

  • Venus of Laussel20,000-18,000 bce Left hand rests on pregnant bellyRight hand holds a horn marked with 13 lines: 13 lunar months in a year.

  • Bowmen and Deer, Cliff PaintingLos Caballos, Spain,10,000-9000 BCMESOLITHIC PERIODClick here to continue

    At sites dating from the Lower Paleolithic Period (about 2,500,000 to 200,000 years ago), simple pebble tools have been found in association with the remains of what may have been the earliest human ancestors. A somewhat more sophisticated Lower Paleolithic tradition, known as the Chopper chopping-tool industry, is widely distributed in the Eastern Hemisphere. This tradition is thought to have been the work of the hominid species named Homo erectus. Although no such fossil tools have yet been found, it is believed that H. erectus probably made tools of wood and bone as well as stone.About 700,000 years ago, a new Lower Paleolithic tool, the hand ax, appeared. The earliest European hand axes are assigned to the Abbevillian industry, which developed in northern France in the valley of the Somme River; a later, more refined hand-ax tradition is seen in the Acheulian industry, evidence of which has been found in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Some of the earliest known hand axes were found at Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) in association with remains of H. erectus. Alongside the hand-ax tradition there developed a distinct and very different stone-tool industry, based on flakes of stone: special tools were made from worked (carefully shaped) flakes of flint. In Europe, the Clactonian industry is one example of a flake tradition. The early flake industries probably contributed to the development of the Middle Paleolithic flake tools of the Mousterian industry, which is associated with the remains of Neanderthal man.

    There may have been two species of early transitional humans living in East Africa--Homo rudolfensis and Homo habilis . The rudolfensis fossils are earlier, dating 2.4-1.9 million years ago, while the habilis remains are 1.9-1.6 million years old. Rudolfensis apparently was a bit taller and relatively smaller brained. However, many paleoanthropologists consider the differences to be too slight to warrant a separate species designation. As a result, they classify them both as a single species--Homo habilis. That is the approach taken in this tutorial.Early transitional human fossils were first discovered in 1960 at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by Louis and Mary Leakey. They named them Homo habilis (Latin for "handy or skilled human") because of their apparent association with stone tools. Similar fossils were found at East Lake Turkana in Kenya by Richard Leakey's team of fieldworkers that began searchin...

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