Week 6 Avrie Herrera

The Middle Paleolithic period is a cultural period ranging from 300,000 to 45,000 years ago. Neanderthals were already around since about 600,000 years ago, but it is in the Middle Paleolithic period that the first appearance of Neanderthals in Europe occurred. Besides the emergence of Neanderthals, the emergence of anatomically modern humans occurred during this period as well, around 195,000 years ago. Anatomically modern humans are defined as individuals with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans.

The Upper Paleolithic period ranged from 50,000 to 10,000 years ago and coincides with some thing called the Last Glacial Maximum which is the coldest phase of the last glacial period (24,500 to 17,000 BC), before a relatively rapid period of warming. Although the Upper Paleolithic was during this glacial period, there were still parts of the world that were not covered in ice called the Last Glacial Maximum Refugia. Research has shown that there was a lot of human activity in these areas because they could still be inhabited.

Besides being a lot warmer than the Upper Paleolithic, there are many differences between these two periods and their different types of technology. One example is their sustinence in each period. Although both periods (the entire Paleolithic period actually) had hunter-gatherer sustinence economies, the Middle Paleolithic supplemented their diet with fish and shellfish. There was also evidence of people drying and smoking their food for preservation and storage during this time. During the Upper Paleolithic, their tool technologies advances and allowed them to hunt larger animals such as mammoths, cave bears, and wooly rinoserouses.

During the Middle Paleolithic, their technology was primarily stone tool based. They had two stone tool tradition periods, the Mousterian and the Aterian. The Mousterian period, which was primarily associated with Neanderthals in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East between 300,000 and 30,000 years ago. Their stone tools were much more sophisticated than the tools of the Lower Paleolithic, with bifacial point designs as their main form of tool. The Aterian period, which was associated with anatomically modern humans between 80,000 and 40,000 years ago. This period was well known for its tangled projectile points which had a little bit at the bottom that could be mounted on a spear shaft. This tool type is much more advanced than the rocks with a sharp edge of the Lower Paleolithic.

Even more advanced still were the tools of the Upper Paleolithic period. The Aurignacian stone tool tradition period, between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago, featured blade-based stone tools. The Solutrean stone tool tradition period, between 22,000 and 17,000 years ago also featured blade-based stone tools but they also featured a double ended scraper, so the blade-based tool of the Aurignacian period has clearly evolved. This makes sense because as the tools evolved from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic periods, people became capable of hunting bigger animals.

2 thoughts on “Week 6 Avrie Herrera

  1. First off, great post! I thought it was very well put and very well organized. I really liked how you talk about each part of the Paleolithic Period separately and brought them all together at one point to show the similarities and differences between the different parts of the period. In my post I decided to compare the two different stages throughout my post instead of talking about them separately like you did. I thought your overall post was very well structured and flows nicely. I like how you don’t assume we know the definition of a certain term and add in a definition to help strengthen your point. Many good examples were used throughout your post to show the slight differences between the two stages and knowing those differences really helps to differentiate between the different stages. If I could take anything away from your entry that I should have done myself, it would be the inclusion of Neanderthals, as they played a big role in our ancestor’s life, as they coexisted and maybe even interbred with Homo sapiens. However, there are a lot of similarities between your post and mine with comparing the tool industries of the upper and middle paleolithic age.

  2. I want to start to say that your article is very well written. All included information is very clear and easy to understand. I think your article structure is well organized. There are many good explanations used throughout the article to show the similarities and differences between different parts of the period. In my post I think the evolution of the tradition tools shows the development of the human society. And, like you did, I compared the tradition of tools in the upper and middle Paleolithic era. Ancient human are so creativity and environmental forces have improved and developed stone tools. As the double-sided tool has better features, the old tool disappears. In the late Paleolithic period, stone tools were based on blades, which is another improvement. Ancient humans are always trying to create new technologies. Their creations have changed, but stone tools have gotten a lot of improvements in the environment that have caused ancient human changes and gradually changed the style of stone tools. These environments include not only the pressure of survival, but also the needs for entertainment or cultural uses. In conclusion, well done on the post!

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