Paleolithic Europe | Wikipedia audio article


Paleolithic Europe, the Lower or Old Stone
Age in Europe encompasses the era from the arrival of the first archaic humans, about
1.4 million years ago until the beginning of the Mesolithic (also Epipaleolithic) around
10,000 years ago. The period thus covers over 99% of human history
on the European continent.The period is usually divided into: the Lower Paleolithic, from the earliest human
presence (Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis) to the Holstein interglacial, c. 1.4 to 0.3
million years ago. the Middle Paleolithic, marked by the presence
of Neanderthals, 300,000 to 40,000 years ago the Upper Paleolithic, c. 45,000 to 12,000
years ago, marked by the arrival of anatomically modern humans and extending throughout the
Last Glacial Maximum the Mesolithic or Epipaleolithic, beginning
about 14,000 years ago and extending until as late as 4,000 years ago in northern Europe. The Mesolithic may or may not be included
as the final phase of the Upper Paleolithic==Paleolithic=====Lower Paleolithic : 1.4 mya – 300,000
BP===The oldest evidence of human occupation in
Eastern Europe comes from the Kozarnika cave in Bulgaria where a single human tooth and
flint artifacts have been dated to at least 1.4 million years ago. In Western Europe at Atapuerca in Spain, human
remains have been found that are from 1.2 million years ago.The earliest evidence for
the use of the more advanced Acheulean technology are 900,000-year-old flint hand axes found
in Iberia. Notable human fossils from this most ancient
period of European prehistory are Kozarnika in Bulgaria 1.4 mya, Atapuerca in Spain 1.2
mya, Mauer 1 from Germany 500k, Eartham Pit, Boxgrove England 478k, Swanscombe Man from
England 400k, and Tautavel Man from France 400k. The oldest complete hunting weapons ever found
anywhere in the world were discovered in 1995 in a coal mine in Schoningen, Germany, where
three 380,000-year-old wooden javelins 6-7.5 feet long were unearthed.===Middle Paleolithic : 300,000 BP – 50,000
BP===Eventually these European Homo erectus evolved
through a series of intermediate speciations including Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis
into the species Homo neanderthalensis (since c. 250,000 BP) associated with the Mousterian
technologies. A possible flute from the Divje Babe I cave
reveals that the Middle Paleolithic Neanderthal inhabitants of Europe may have made and used
musical instruments.===Upper Paleolithic : 50,000 BP – 10,000
BP=======Aurignacian====Modern human remains dating to 43-45,000 years
ago have been discovered in Italy at Grotta di Fumane near Verona and Grotta del Cavallo
and in Britain. The bearers of most or all Upper Paleolithic
technologies were H. sapiens. Some locally developed transitional cultures
(Szletian in Central Europe and Chatelperronian in the Southwest) use clearly Upper Paleolithic
technologies at very early dates and there are doubts about who were their carriers:
H. sapiens, Neanderthal or the interbred population. Nevertheless, the definitive advance of these
technologies is made by the Aurignacian culture. The origins of this culture can be located
in what is now Bulgaria (proto-Aurignacian) and Hungary (first full Aurignacian). By 35,000 BCE, the Aurignacian culture and
its technology had extended through most of Europe. The last Neanderthals seem to have been forced
to retreat during this process to the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula. The first works of art appear during this
phase.====Gravettian====Around 32,000 BCE, the Gravettian culture
appears in the Crimean Mountains (southern Ukraine). Around 22,000 BCE, the Solutrean and Gravettian
cultures reach the southwestern region of Europe. The Gravettian technology/culture has been
theorized to have come with migrations of people from the Middle East, Anatolia, and
the Balkans. The cultures might be linked with the transitional
cultures mentioned before, because their techniques have some similarities and are both very different
from Aurignacian ones but this issue is thus far very obscure. The Gravettian soon disappears from southwestern
Europe, with the notable exception of the Mediterranean coasts of Iberia. The Gravettian culture also appears in the
Caucasus and the Zagros mountains. The Solutrean culture, extended from northern
Spain to SE France, includes not only an advanced stone technology but also the first significant
development of cave painting, the use of the needle and possibly that of the bow and arrow. The more widespread Gravettian culture is
no less advanced, at least in artistic terms: sculpture (mainly venuses) is the most outstanding
form of creative expression of these peoples.====Transition to the Mesolithic====Around 17,000 BCE, Europe witnesses the appearance
of a new culture, known as Magdalenian, possibly rsooted in the old Aurignacian one. This culture soon supersedes the Solutrean
area and also the Gravetian of Central Europe. However, in Mediterranean Iberia, Italy and
Eastern Europe, epi-Gravettian cultures continue evolving locally. With the Magdalenian culture, Paleolithic
development in Europe reaches its peak and this is reflected in the advanced art, owing
to the previous traditions of painting in the West and sculpture in Central Europe. Around 10,500 BCE, the Würm Glacial age ends. Slowly, through the following millennia, temperatures
and sea levels rise, changing the environment of prehistoric people. Nevertheless, Magdalenian culture persists
until circa 8000 BCE, when it quickly evolves into two microlithist cultures: Azilian, in
Spain and southern France, and Sauveterrian, in northern France and Central Europe, which
are described as either Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic. Though there are some differences, both cultures
share several traits: the creation of very small stone tools called microliths and the
scarcity of figurative art, which seems to have vanished almost completely, being replaced
by abstract decoration of tools, and in the Azilian, pebbles.In the late phase of this
Epipaleolithic period, the Sauveterrean culture evolves into the so-called Tardenoisian and
influences strongly its southern neighbour, clearly replacing it in Mediterranean Spain
and Portugal. The recession of the glaciers allows human
colonization in Northern Europe for the first time. The Maglemosian culture, derived from the
Sauveterre-Tardenois culture but with a strong personality, colonizes Denmark and the nearby
regions, including parts of Britain.==See also==Chalcolithic Europe
Geological history of Europe Neolithic Europe
Prehistoric Europe==References====External links==
Paleolithic sites in France Culture.gouv.fr: Lascaux—(in English)
Culture.gouv.fr: Chauvet—(in French)

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