Middle Paleolithic

From Academic Kids

The Middle Paleolithic (or Middle Palaeolithic) is the second subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between around 200,000 and 40,000 years ago. There are considerable dating differences between regions.

It was the time when Homo erectus (1.8 ? 0.1 mya), Homo heidelbergensis (400,000 ? 100,000 ya), Homo neanderthalensis (150,000 ? 30,000 ya) early Homo sapiens (130,000 ? 60,000 ya) and modern Homo sapiens sapiens (100,000 ya-present) lived. These hominids had an increasing control over their surroundings and later saw the emergence of modern humans around 100,000 years ago.

Stone tool manufacturing developed a more sophisticated toolmaking technique known as the prepared-core technique which permitted the creation of more controlled and consistent flakes. These could be hafted onto wooden shafts as arrows to form more efficient composite tools.

Hunting provided the primary food source but people also began to exploit shellfish and may have begun smoking and drying meat to preserve it. This would have required a mastery of fire and some sites indicate that plant resources were managed through selective burning of wide areas.

Artistic expression emerged for the first time with ochre used as body paint and some early rock art appearing. There is also some evidence of purposeful burial of the dead which may indicate religious and ritual behaviours.

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