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The Mesolithic (
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
: μέσος, ''mesos'' "middle"; λίθος, ''lithos'' "stone") is the
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any ...
archaeological period between the
Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the is the third and last subdivision of the or Old . Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and years ago (the beginning of the ), according to some theories coinciding with the ...
and the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
. The term
Epipaleolithic In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the Late Stone Age The Later Stone ...
is often used synonymously, especially for outside northern Europe, and for the corresponding period in
the Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern approximate half, or third, of the Mediterranean Sea The M ...
and
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven ...
. The Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as cont ...

Eurasia
. It refers to the final period of
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the
Last Glacial Maximum The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Late Glacial Maximum, was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets In glaciology Lateral moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt">Gorner_Glac ...
and the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many s during the period from a lifestyle of to one of and , making an increasingly large population possible. These settled communities perm ...
. In Europe it spans roughly 15,000 to 5,000  BP; in Southwest Asia (the
Epipalaeolithic Near East In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic during the Stone Age. Mesolithic also falls between these two periods, and the two a ...
) roughly 20,000 to 8,000  BP. The term is less used of areas further east, and not at all beyond
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as cont ...

Eurasia
and
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
. The type of culture associated with the Mesolithic varies between areas, but it is associated with a decline in the group hunting of large animals in favour of a broader
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
way of life, and the development of more sophisticated and typically smaller lithic tools and weapons than the heavy-chipped equivalents typical of the Paleolithic. Depending on the region, some use of
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with and other materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include , and . The place where such wares are mad ...

pottery
and
textiles A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, o ...
may be found in sites allocated to the Mesolithic, but generally indications of agriculture are taken as marking transition into the Neolithic. The more permanent settlements tend to be close to the sea or inland waters offering a good supply of food. Mesolithic societies are not seen as very complex, and burials are fairly simple; in contrast, grandiose
burial mounds The Royal mounds of Gamla Uppsala in Sweden from the 5th and 6th centuries originally the site had 2,000 to 3,000 tumuli, but due to quarrying and agriculture only 250 remain. A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound A mound is a heaped pil ...

burial mounds
are a mark of the Neolithic.


Terminology

The terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" were introduced by John Lubbock in his work ''Pre-historic Times'' in 1865. The additional "Mesolithic" category was added as an intermediate category by Hodder Westropp in 1866. Westropp's suggestion was immediately controversial. A British school led by
John Evans
John Evans
denied any need for an intermediate: the ages blended together like the colors of a rainbow, he said. A European school led by
Louis Laurent Gabriel de MortilletLouis may refer to: * Louis (given name) Louis is the French language, French form of the Old Frankish language, Old Frankish given name Clovis (given name), Chlodowig and one of two English language, English forms, the other being Lewis (given nam ...
asserted that there was a gap between the earlier and later.
Edouard Piette
Edouard Piette
claimed to have filled the gap with his naming of the
Azilian The Azilian is a name given by archaeologists to an archaeological industry, industry in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. It dates approximately 10,000–12,500 years ago. Diagnostic Cultural artifact, artifacts f ...
Culture.
Knut Stjerna Knut (Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian languag ...

Knut Stjerna
offered an alternative in the "Epipaleolithic", suggesting a final phase of the Paleolithic rather than an intermediate age in its own right inserted between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. By the time of
Vere Gordon Childe Vere may refer to: Given name * Vere Fane, 4th Earl of Westmorland grandson to Horace Vere, 1st Baron Vere of Tilbury * Vere Fane, 5th Earl of Westmorland * Vere Fane, 14th Earl of Westmorland * Vere Monckton-Arundell, Viscountess Galway * Vere ...

Vere Gordon Childe
's work, ''The Dawn of Europe'' (1947), which affirms the Mesolithic, sufficient data had been collected to determine that a transitional period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic was indeed a useful concept. However, the terms "Mesolithic" and "Epipalaeolitic" remain in competition, with varying conventions of usage. In the archaeology of Northern Europe, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, Ukraine, and Russia, the term "Mesolithic" is almost always used. In the archaeology of other areas, the term "Epipaleolithic" may be preferred by most authors, or there may be divergences between authors over which term to use or what meaning to assign to each. In the New World, neither term is used (except provisionally in the Arctic). "Epipaleolithic" is sometimes also used alongside "Mesolithic" for the final end of the Upper Paleolithic immediately followed by the Mesolithic. As "Mesolithic" suggests an intermediate period, followed by the Neolithic, some authors prefer the term "Epipaleolithic" for
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
cultures who are not succeeded by agricultural traditions, reserving "Mesolithic" for cultures who are clearly succeeded by the Neolithic Revolution, such as the
Natufian culture The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia Western ...
. Other authors use "Mesolithic" as a generic term for hunter-gatherer cultures after the Last Glacial Maximum, whether they are transitional towards agriculture or not. In addition, terminology appears to differ between archaeological sub-disciplines, with "Mesolithic" being widely used in European archaeology, while "Epipalaeolithic" is more common in Near Eastern archaeology.


Europe

The Balkan Mesolithic begins around 15,000 years ago. In Western Europe, the Early Mesolithic, or
Azilian The Azilian is a name given by archaeologists to an archaeological industry, industry in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. It dates approximately 10,000–12,500 years ago. Diagnostic Cultural artifact, artifacts f ...
, begins about 14,000 years ago, in the
Franco-Cantabrian region, Dordogne Dordogne ( , or ; ; oc, Dordonha) is a Departments of France, department in Southwestern France, with its Prefectures in France, prefecture in Périgueux. The department is located in the Regions of France, region of Nouvelle-Aqui ...

Franco-Cantabrian region
of northern
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and southern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
. In other parts of Europe, the Mesolithic begins by 11,500 years ago (the beginning
Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch In geochronology, an epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age (geology), age but shorter than a period (geology), period. The current epoch is the Holocene E ...
), and it ends with the
introduction Introduction, The Introduction, Intro, or The Intro may refer to: General use * Introduction (music), an opening section of a piece of music * Introduction (writing), a beginning section to a book, article or essay which states its purpose and go ...
of farming, depending on the region between c. 8,500 and 5,500 years ago. Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last glacial period ended have a much more apparent Mesolithic era, lasting millennia. In northern Europe, for example, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies from the marshlands created by the warmer climate. Such conditions produced distinctive human behaviors that are preserved in the material record, such as the
Maglemosian Maglemosian ( 9000 –  6000 BC) is the name given to a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, ar ...
and
Azilian The Azilian is a name given by archaeologists to an archaeological industry, industry in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. It dates approximately 10,000–12,500 years ago. Diagnostic Cultural artifact, artifacts f ...
cultures. Such conditions also delayed the coming of the Neolithic until some 5,500 BP in northern Europe. The type of stone toolkit remains one of the most diagnostic features: the Mesolithic used a microlithic technology – composite devices manufactured with Mode V chipped
stone tool A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made either partially or entirely out of Rock (geology), stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistory, prehisto ...

stone tool
s (
microliths A microlith is a small stone A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rocks form the ...
), while the Paleolithic had utilized Modes I–IV. In some areas, however, such as Ireland, parts of Portugal, the Isle of Man and the Tyrrhenian Islands, a macrolithic technology was used in the Mesolithic. In the Neolithic, the microlithic technology was replaced by a macrolithic technology, with an increased use of polished stone tools such as stone axes. There is some evidence for the beginning of construction at sites with a ritual or astronomical significance, including
Stonehenge Stonehenge is a prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Ar ...

Stonehenge
, with a short row of large
post hole Image:Postholegraphic2.png, Fig 1. types of post hole In archaeology a posthole or post-hole is a cut (archaeology), cut feature (archaeology), feature used to hold a surface timber or stone. They are usually much deeper than they are wide although ...
s aligned east–west, and a possible "lunar calendar" at
Warren Field A warren is a network of wild rabbit burrow An Eastern chipmunk at the entrance of its burrow A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that fo ...
in Scotland, with pits of post holes of varying sizes, thought to reflect the
lunar phase s in 2022 as viewed from the Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (hemisphere Hemisphere may refer to: * A half of a sphere As half of the Earth * A hemispheres of Earth, hemisphere of Earth ** Northern Hemisphere ** Sout ...
s. Both are dated to before c. 9,000 BP (the 8th millennium BC). An ancient chewed gum made from the pitch of birch bark revealed that a woman enjoyed a meal of hazelnuts and duck about 5,700 years ago in southern Denmark. Mesolithic people influenced Europe’s forests by bringing favored plants like hazel with them. As the "
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
package" (including farming, herding, polished stone axes, timber longhouses and pottery) spread into Europe, the Mesolithic way of life was marginalized and eventually disappeared. Mesolithic adaptations such as sedentism, population size and use of plant foods are cited as evidence of the transition to agriculture. Other Mesolithic communities rejected the Neolithic package likely as a result of ideological reluctance, different worldviews and an active rejection of the sedentary-farming lifestyle. In one sample from the Blätterhöhle in
Hagen Hagen () is the Largest cities in Germany, 41st-largest List of cities and towns in Germany, city in Germany. The municipality is located in the States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located on the south eastern edge of the Ru ...

Hagen
, it seems that the descendants of Mesolithic people maintained a foraging lifestyle for more than 2000 years after the arrival of farming societies in the area; such societies may be called " Subneolithic". For hunter-gatherer communities, long-term close contact and integration in existing farming communities facilitated the adoption of a farming lifestyle. The integration of these hunter-gatherer in farming communities was made possible by their socially open character towards new members. In north-Eastern Europe, the hunting and fishing lifestyle continued into the
Medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

Medieval
period in regions less suited to agriculture, and in
Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a in , with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In English usage, ''Scandinavia'' can refer to , , and , sometimes more narrowly to the , or more broadly to include , th ...

Scandinavia
no Mesolithic period may be accepted, with the locally preferred "Older Stone Age" moving into the "Younger Stone Age".


Art

Compared to the preceding Upper Paleolithic and the following Neolithic, there is rather less surviving art from the Mesolithic. The
Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin The group of over 700 sites of prehistoric Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin, also known as Levantine art, were collectively declared a World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an inter ...
, which probably spreads across from the Upper Paleolithic, is a widespread phenomenon, much less well known than the cave-paintings of the Upper Paleolithic, with which it makes an interesting contrast. The sites are now mostly cliff faces in the open air, and the subjects are now mostly human rather than animal, with large groups of small figures; there are 45 figures at
Roca dels Moros The Roca dels Moros or Caves of El Cogul is a rock shelter containing paintings of prehistoric Levantine rock art and Iberian schematic art Iberian schematic art is the name given to a series of prehistoric representations (almost always ca ...
. Clothing is shown, and scenes of dancing, fighting, hunting and food-gathering. The figures are much smaller than the animals of Paleolithic art, and depicted much more schematically, though often in energetic poses. A few small engraved
pendant A pendant is a loose-hanging piece of jewellery, generally attached by a small loop to a necklace, which may be known as a "pendant necklace". A pendant earring is an earring with a piece hanging down. Its name stems from the Latin word '' ...

pendant
s with suspension holes and simple engraved designs are known, some from northern Europe in
amber Amber is fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ...

amber
, and one from
Star Carr A star is an astronomical object In astronomy, an astronomical object or celestial object is a naturally occurring physical entity, association, or structure that exists in the observable universe. In astronomy, the terms ''object'' a ...

Star Carr
in Britain in
shale Shale is a fine-grained, clastic of a clast (sand grain), derived from a basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron ('' mafic '' lava) ...

shale
. The Elk's Head of Huittinen is a rare Mesolithic animal carving in
soapstone Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a talc- schist, which is a type of metamorphic rock. It is composed largely of the magnesium Magnesium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic ...
from
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
. The rock art in the
Urals The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı'') or simply the Urals, are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountai ...

Urals
appears to show similar changes after the Paleolithic, and the wooden Shigir Idol is a rare survival of what may well have been a very common material for sculpture. It is a plank of
larch Larches are deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, v ...

larch
carved with geometric motifs, but topped with a human head. Now in fragments, it would apparently have been over 5 metres tall when made. The '' Ain Sakhri Lovers'' from modern Israel, are a Natufian carving in
calcite Calcite is a and the most stable of (CaCO3). The , based on , defines value 3 as "calcite". Other polymorphs of calcium carbonate are the minerals and . Aragonite will change to calcite over timescales of days or less at temperatures exceed ...

calcite
. File:Lovers 9000BC british museum.jpg, The '' Ain Sakhri lovers''; c. 9000 BCE (late
Epipalaeolithic Near East In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic during the Stone Age. Mesolithic also falls between these two periods, and the two a ...
);
calcite Calcite is a and the most stable of (CaCO3). The , based on , defines value 3 as "calcite". Other polymorphs of calcium carbonate are the minerals and . Aragonite will change to calcite over timescales of days or less at temperatures exceed ...

calcite
; height: 10.2 cm, width: 6.3 cm; from Ain Sakhri (near
Bethlehem Bethlehem (; ar, بيت لحم , "House of Meat"; he, בֵּית לֶחֶם ', , "House of Bread"; ; la, Bethleem; initially named after Canaanite fertility god Laḫmu) is a city in the central West Bank, State of Palestine, Palestine, a ...

Bethlehem
,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
);
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
(London) File:Star Carr Engraved Pendant.gif, Animated image showing the sequence of engravings on a pendant excavated from the Mesolithic archaeological site of
Star Carr A star is an astronomical object In astronomy, an astronomical object or celestial object is a naturally occurring physical entity, association, or structure that exists in the observable universe. In astronomy, the terms ''object'' a ...

Star Carr
in 2015 File:064 Pintures de la cova dels Moros, exposició al Museu de Gavà.JPG,
Roca dels Moros The Roca dels Moros or Caves of El Cogul is a rock shelter containing paintings of prehistoric Levantine rock art and Iberian schematic art Iberian schematic art is the name given to a series of prehistoric representations (almost always ca ...
, Spain, ''The Dance of Cogul'', tracing by
Henri Breuil Henri Édouard Prosper Breuil (28 February 1877 – 14 August 1961), often referred to as Abbé Breuil, was a French Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by num ...

Henri Breuil


Ceramic Mesolithic

In North-Eastern
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
,
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
, and certain southern European and
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
n sites, a "ceramic Mesolithic" can be distinguished between c. 9,000 to 5,850 BP. Russian archaeologists prefer to describe such pottery-making cultures as Neolithic, even though farming is absent. This pottery-making Mesolithic culture can be found peripheral to the sedentary Neolithic cultures. It created a distinctive type of pottery, with point or knob base and flared rims, manufactured by methods not used by the Neolithic farmers. Though each area of Mesolithic ceramic developed an individual style, common features suggest a single point of origin. The earliest manifestation of this type of pottery may be in the region around
Lake Baikal Lake Baikal (; russian: Oзеро Байкал, Ozero Baykal ; bua, Байгал далай, Baigal dalai; mn, Байгал нуур, Baigal nuur) is a rift lake A rift lake is a lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in ...

Lake Baikal
in Siberia. It appears in the Elshan or Yelshanka or
Samara culture Samara culture is the archaeological term for an eneolithic culture that bloomed around the turn of the 5th millennium BC, located in the Samara bend region of the upper Volga River (modern Russia). The Samara culture is regarded as related t ...

Samara culture
on the
Volga The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the longest river in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention ra ...

Volga
in Russia 9,000 years ago, and from there spread via the Dnieper-Donets culture to the
Narva culture Narva culture or eastern Baltic was a European Neolithic archaeological culture found in present-day Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in Northern Europe. It i ...
of the Eastern Baltic. Spreading westward along the coastline it is found in the
Ertebølle culture The Ertebølle culture (ca 5300 BC – 3950 BC) () is the name of a hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposab ...
of
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
and Ellerbek of Northern Germany, and the related Swifterbant culture of the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
. A 2012 publication in the ''
Science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...
'' journal, announced that the earliest pottery yet known anywhere in the world was found in Xianrendong cave in China, dating by radiocarbon to between 20,000 and 19,000 years before present, at the end of the Last Glacial Period. The carbon 14 datation was established by carefully dating surrounding sediments. Many of the pottery fragments had scorch marks, suggesting that the pottery was used for cooking. These early pottery containers were made well before the
invention of agriculture The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments ...
(dated to 10,000 to 8,000 BC), by mobile foragers who hunted and gathered their food during the Late Glacial Maximum.


Cultures


"Mesolithic" outside of Western Eurasia

While Paleolithic and Neolithic have been found useful terms and concepts in the
archaeology of China The archaeology of China is researched intensively in the universities of the region and also attracts considerable international interest on account of the region's civilizations. The application of scientific archaeology to Chinese sites began ...
, and can be mostly regarded as happily naturalized, Mesolithic was introduced later, mostly after 1945, and does not appear to be a necessary or useful term in the context of China. Chinese sites that have been regarded as Mesolithic are better considered as "Early Neolithic". In the
archaeology of India Archaeology in India is mainly done under the supervision of Archaeological Survey of India. History Origin of modern archaeology The history of archaeology began in Western Europe, and the earliest scholars to take an interest in the arch ...
, the Mesolithic, dated roughly between 12,000 and 8,000 BP, remains a concept in use.Sailendra Nath Sen
''Ancient Indian History and Civilization''
p. 23, 1999, New Age International,
In the
archaeology of the Americas The archaeology of the Americas is the study of the archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance the ...
, an
Archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken between 31st - 26th centu ...
or Meso-Indian period, following the
Lithic stage In the sequence of cultural stages first proposed for the archaeology of the Americas by Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips (archaeologist), Philip Phillips in 1958, the Lithic stage was the earliest period of human occupation in the Americas, as ...
, somewhat equates to the Mesolithic. *
Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer Caucasus hunter-gatherer (CHG), also called Satsurblia Cluster is an anatomically modern human human genetics, genetic lineage, first identified in a 2015 study, based on the population genetics of several modern Eurasia, Western Eurasian (European ...
* History of archery#Prehistory *
List of Stone Age art #REDIRECT List of Stone Age art This is a descriptive list of Stone Age art, the period of prehistory characterised by the widespread use of stone tools. This article contains, by sheer volume of the artwork discovered, a very incomplete list of ...
* Mammoth extinction *
Western Hunter-Gatherer In , the term Western Hunter-Gatherer, West European Hunter-Gatherer or Western European Hunter-Gatherer, is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent from s of , and . The term is often abbreviated as WHG. During ...
*
Younger Dryas The Younger Dryas (around 12,900 to 11,700 years BP) was a return to glacial conditions after the Late Glacial Interstadial The Late Glacial Interstadial (LGI) c.14,670 to c.12,890 BP represents the first ''pronounced'' warming since the end of ...


References


External links

* {{Authority control Holocene