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Rough Stone Age

Palaeolithic, also known as the Old Stone Age, is a period of prehuman history represented by the early development of stone tools and nearly all prehuman technology. This period dates back to about 3.3 million years ago, when hominids first began using known stone tools, and continues until the end of the Pleistocene, about 11,650 calendar years ago (BCE).

The Paleolithic Period is generally divided into three parts: Upper, Middle and Lower. However, anthropologists avoid setting rigid time limits for each subdivision and phase because technologies specific to different industries appear at different times in different regions. There is also a degree of overlap between some stages and subdivisions because new technologies take time to spread, which has created a situation where some groups were able to achieve higher levels of technology before their contemporaries.

The Lower Paleolithic is traditionally known as the Oldowan Period (about 2.6 million to 1 million years ago) and saw the development of flint tools, and is known as the Acheulean Period (about 1.7-1.5 million years ago to about 250,000-200,000 years ago). More sophisticated hand axes and splitting tools emerged during this period. The beginning of the Paleolithic Period is traditionally placed 2.58 million years ago, coinciding with the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch (approximately 2.58 million to 11,700 years ago). However, in 2015, researchers digging in a dry stream bed near Kenya's Lake Turkana discovered primitive stone tools embedded in the rock dating to 3.3 million years ago. These are tools that predate the first confirmed examples of Homo by almost 1 million years, raising the possibility that stone-making may have begun with Australopithecus or his contemporaries. The timing of the onset of this cultural phase may need to be reconsidered.


The Middle Paleolithic is associated with the emergence of Neanderthals and other archaic human species and also contains the first evidence of human burial, art, and symbolic behavior. The Middle Paleolithic covers a period from 300,000 to 50,000 years ago. Some of the earliest evidence of religious practice originating from this period dates back to the mid-3rd millennium. Deliberate burial, especially with grave goods, may symbolize a "concern for the dead" that transcends everyday life, as Philip Lieberman has suggested. The oldest definitive example of human burial dates back to 100,000 years ago. Human skeletal remains with red oxide stains were found in the Skhul cave in Israel. The site contained various grave goods, including the lower jaw of a wild boar.

The Upper Paleolithic is the final phase of the Paleolithic Period and is characterized by the emergence of modern humans, the development of more complex and diverse stone tools, art and culture. The Upper Paleolithic covers a period lasting from 50,000 to 12,000 years ago. During the Upper Paleolithic, humans reached every continent except Antarctica and developed complex innovations such as knife technology and art, as well as personal adornment. The most famous examples of the Upper Paleolithic include the cave paintings of Lascaux and Altamira, Venus figurines, and animal and human carvings. At the same time, the Upper Paleolithic period witnessed the emergence of language, music and religion, and the beginning of social stratification and trade.

The Paleolithic Period was an important phase in human evolution and shaped the biological and cultural characteristics of our species. This period also witnessed the development of early human creativity, spirituality, and social organization and laid the foundation for the subsequent development of civilization. The Paleolithic Period is an interesting and informative source about the origins and diversity of human life. 

You can research other eras using the table below.

Written by: Adil Sevim

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