Week 6 Blog

As the weeks lectures go by I often find myself more and more fascinated by archeology and what it has uncovered for us in this present day. This week focused mostly on the Middle and Upper Paloeolithic eras. It was very interesting to learn the details that separate these eras from each other and how evolution has taken its course to bring us to our modern day species and civilization. The Middle Paleolithic era started about 300,000 years ago and had a span reaching up to about 45,000 years ago. When talking about the Middle Paleolithic era the main species that typically comes to mind is the Neanderthal. Neanderthals were originally from northern Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. Neanderthals were actually a quite civilized species and brought many new technological advancements to our evolution. Archeological records show that neanderthals often were “employed” and had specific tasks. These tasks were often in regards to hunting, gathering, and crafting tools and equipment. There is also evidence of “spiritual awakening” due to the findings of grave sites and funerals. In the middle paleolithic there were two types of stone tools that were named Mousterian and Aterian. The Mousterian tools are associated with the neanderthals in europe, north africa, and the near east and are bifacial, meaning that the stone was flaked to create a double sided sharp edge tool. This was also a popular technique used in the lower paleolithic era. Sometimes the tools were made of wood or bone instead of stone. Aterian stone tools are associated with anatomically modern human. These types of tools were found all around northern Africa from 80,000 years ago to 40,000 thousand years ago.

The Upper Paleolithic era ranged from about 50,000 to 11,000 years ago. During this era many significant world changes were occurring. Among these changes 4 were very important in distinguishing the upper paleolithic era as its own. These are the increased ecological range, technology regarding stone tool traditions, social organization, and written symbolic expression. Stone tool technology and traditions, in particular, were very important during this era and many changes were observed. Many new types of tools arose. Some of these tool types/ traditions are Aurignacian, Gravitation, Solutrean and Magdalenian. Each tradition gave their tools distinct characteristics. Aurignacian had stone tools that were bladed-based and mostly located in Europe and southwest Asia. Gravitation had stone tools that were types of burn. Solutrean was made by the method of pressure flint-knapping technique, and is primarily associated with southeastern Europe. Lastly, Magdalenian was unique for their use of bone to create tools and was widely used throughout Europe.

These two eras, Middle and Upper Paleolithic, were very different by the way by which species lived, behaved, and advanced technology. The difference in the technology used to create tools is the biggest difference between the two eras. Many new traditions and techniques were used to create tools, as well the materials that were used to create the tools. The use of symbolism is also a big difference between these two eras. It was interesting to learn and see the differences metween all of the paleolithic eras and how they have all contributed to the evolution of man.

One thought on “Week 6 Blog

  1. I briefly touched upon the topic of your last paragraph in my blog post this week. Compared to the Middle Paleolithic period, the Upper Paleolithic periods was a great leap forward for anatomically modern humans where we can observe the first evidence of behavioral modernity, among other advancement such as technology, social organizations, and like you said, culture and arts.

    It is also fascinating that you almost track the development of the brains of our ancestors through their art. When you look at the remnants of their cultures, such as cave paintings of the animals they hunted and Venus figurines, almost all of their art was of concrete ideas like animals and other members of their social groups. There seems to be very little evidence of abstract imagery or at least anything that wasn’t likely directly from the life of the creator of the art piece and this is mostly likely in my opinion because their brains hadn’t reached the level of complexity or even the need to think about abstract ideas. Which makes sense they were mostly hunters and gatherers who spent most of their time finding food to make it through the day so they didn’t have time to worry about things like math or shapes.

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