250px|Four views of an Acheulean handaxe
The Lower Paleolithic (or Lower Palaeolithic) is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic
or Old Stone Age
. It spans the time from around 3 million years ago when the first evidence
for stone tool
production and use by hominin
s appears in the current archaeological record
until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the Oldowan
("mode 1") and Acheulean
("mode 2") lithics
In African archaeology, the time period roughly corresponds to the Early Stone Age, the earliest finds dating back to 3.3 million years ago, with Lomekwi
an stone tool technology, spanning Mode 1 stone tool technology, which begins roughly 2.6 million years ago and ends between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago, with Mode 2 technology.
The Middle Paleolithic
followed the Lower Paleolithic and recorded the appearance of the more advanced prepared-core
tool-making technologies such as the Mousterian
. Whether the earliest control of fire
by hominins dates to the Lower or to the Middle Paleolithic remains an open question.
The Lower Paleolithic began with the appearance of the first stone tool
s in the world. Formerly associated with the emergence of ''Homo habilis
'', some 2.8 million years ago, this date has been pushed back significantly by finds of the early 2000s, the Oldowan
or Mode 1 horizon, long considered the oldest type of lithic industry, is now considered to have developed from about 2.6 million years ago, with the beginning Gelasian
), possibly first used by australopithecine
forbears of the genus ''Homo
'' (such as ''Australopithecus garhi
Still older tools discovered at the single site of Lomekwi 3
in Kenya, announced in 2015, dated to as early as 3.3 million years ago. As such, they would predate the Pleistocene (the Gelasian), and fall into the late Pliocene
The early members of the genus ''Homo'' produced primitive tools, summarized under the Oldowan industry, which remained dominant for nearly a million years, from about 2.5 to 1.7 million years ago. ''Homo habilis'' is assumed to have lived primarily on scavenging
, using tools to cleave meat off carrion or to break bones to extract the marrow
The move from the mostly frugivorous
diet of hominin ''Australopithecus'' to the carnivorous
scavenging lifestyle of early ''Homo'' has been explained by the climate changes in East Africa
associated with the Quaternary glaciation
. Decreasing oceanic evaporation produced a drier climate and the expansion of the savannah
at the expense of forests. Reduced availability of fruits stimulated some proto-australopithecines
to search out new food sources found in the drier savannah ecology. Derek Bickerton
(2009) has designated to this period the move from simple animal communication systems
found in all great apes
to the earliest form of symbolic communication systems capable of displacement (referring to items not currently within sensory perception) and motivated by the need to "recruit" group members for scavenging large carcasses.
'' appeared by about 1.8 million years ago, via the transitional variety ''Homo ergaster
''Homo erectus'' moved from scavenging to hunting
, developing the hunting-gathering
lifestyle that would remain dominant throughout the Paleolithic into the Mesolithic
The unlocking of the new niche
of hunting-gathering subsistence drove a number of further behavioral and physiological changes leading to the appearance of ''Homo heidelbergensis
'' by some 600,000 years ago.
''Homo erectus'' migrated out of Africa and dispersed throughout Eurasia. Stone tool
s in Malaysia
have been dated to be 1.83 million years old. The Peking Man
fossil, discovered in 1929, is roughly 700,000 years old.
In Europe, the Olduwan
tradition (known in Europe as Abbevillian
) split into two parallel traditions, the Clactonian
, a flake tradition, and the Acheulean
, a hand-axe
tradition. The Levallois technique
for knapping flint
developed during this time.
The carrier species from Africa to Europe was undoubtedly ''Homo erectus
''. This type of human is more clearly linked to the flake tradition, which spread across southern Europe through the Balkans
to appear relatively densely in southeast Asia
. Many Mousterian
finds in the Middle Paleolithic
have been knapped using a Levallois technique, suggesting that Neanderthals
evolved from ''Homo erectus'' (or, perhaps, ''Homo heidelbergensis''; see below).
, near Forlì
, Italy, is the location of an Acheulian littoral
dating from 1.8 to 1.1 million years ago.
The appearance of ''Homo heidelbergensis
'' about 600,000 years ago heralds a number of other new varieties, such as ''Homo rhodesiensis
'' and ''Homo cepranensis
'' about 400,000 years ago.
''Homo heidelbergensis'' is a candidate for first developing an early form of symbolic language
. Whether control of fire
and earliest burials
date to this period or only appear during the Middle Paleolithic is an open question.
Also, in Europe, a type of human appeared that was intermediate between ''Homo erectus'' and ''Homo sapiens'', sometimes summarized under archaic ''Homo sapiens''
, typified by such fossils as those found at Swanscombe
, and Vertesszollos
(''Homo palaeohungaricus''). The hand-axe tradition originates in the same period. The intermediate may have been ''Homo heidelbergensis'', held responsible for the manufacture of improved ''Mode 2'' Acheulean
tool types, in Africa, after 600,000 years ago. Flakes and axes coexisted in Europe, sometimes at the same site. The axe tradition, however, spread to a different range in the east. It appears in Arabia
, but more importantly, it does not appear in southeast Asia.
Transition to the Middle Paleolithic
From about 300,000 years ago, technology, social structures and behaviour appear to grow more complex, with prepared-core technique
lithics, earliest instances of burial
and changes to hunting-gathering
patterns of subsistence. ''Homo sapiens
'' first appear about 300,000 years ago, as evidenced by fossils found at Jebel Irhoud
Lower Paleolithic era by region
Neolithic Stone Age of Indian subcontinent
(7000 BCE - 5500 BCE) finds were excavated from Pinjore
in Haryana on the banks of the stream
(paleochannel of Saraswati river
) flowing through HMT complex,
, Oct 2018, p38-40.
by Guy Ellcock Pilgrim
, a British geologist and palaeontologist
, who discovered 1.5 million-year-old prehistoric human
teeth and part of a jaw denoting that the ancient people
, intelligent hominins
dating as far back as 1,500,000 ybp Acheulean
[Early Pleistocene Presence of Acheulian Hominins in South India](_blank)
/ref> lived in the Pinjore region near Chandigarh.
[Pilgrim, Guy, E. 'New Shivalik Primates and their Bearing on the Question, of the Evolution of Man and the Anthropoides, Records of the Geological Survey of India, 1915, Vol.XIV, pp. 2-61.] Quartzite tools of the lower Paleolithic period were excavated in this region extending from Pinjore in Haryana to Nalagarh (Solan district in Himachal Pradesh). [Haryana Gazateer]
Revennue Dept of Haryana, Capter-V.
*Control of fire by early humans
*Lomekwi, site of the oldest tools discovered
Category:Fossils of Serbia