Middle and Upper Paleolithic Lifestyle
Research the lifestyle of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. In your description, use specific archaeological and physical data to support your generalizations about these periods. Compare and contrast their technology, focusing on general trends, specific tool types, and the manufacture of tools.The Paleolithic era was considered the longest period in the history of human beings. The different disciplines that deal with the evolution of human beings relate the beginning of the Old Stone Age with many events. From the historian’s point of view, the determining factor is the manipulation of environment and tool-making, which can be traced by excavations (Rukang & Olsen, 2016). The consequential framework of the Old Stone Age is given by the Ice Age. Pools of glacial can be identified in geohistory, and their causes can be associated with different astronomical events. In the Paleolithic periods and specifically the upper and middle Paleolithic periods, Homos started to advance past what was witnessed in the Lower Paleolithic era. Stone tools became more and more advanced with different artifacts being specialized for specific uses.
General Technological Trends
The Middle Stone Age introduced a broad range of new technologies: distinct types of tools crafted from flakes such as stone points and retouched scrapers, elongated picks, miniature handaxes, and hafting techniques were widely adopted. Parts of the African record also give an occasional glimpse at some precocious technologies like early traces of shell jewelry, highly sophisticated bone tools and small geometric flakes (Aggarwal, 2015). Compared with prior periods, a more significant number of Middle Paleolithic tools were quite standardized in some aspects. The middle stone age saw the production of artifacts using a combination of two or more technologies. An example included the wooden spears which were made from stone spear points and wooden handles. When making lithic artifacts, toolmakers in the Middle Stone Age commonly used prepared core technologies. Using this approach, books of stones were knapped into desired sizes and shapes.
On the other hand, the Later Stone Age reflected a dramatic extension of material culture. Improving upon technological origins that extended deep into the middle stone age, toolmakers started to focus on producing and using geometric microliths and prismatic blades (Aggarwal, 2015). Animal bones were used for the first time, in the Later Stone Age and routinely used as primary raw materials for designing and manufacturing artifacts. The upper Paleolithic tools were also manufactured using new technologies like fish hooks, tiny sewing needles, and harpoon tips. Toolmakers in this stage also left behind some of the earliest and unambiguous evidence of ritualized behaviors and symbolic thoughts like bone flutes, cave paintings and necklaces made of bones, teeth, and shell. Collectively, technologies in the Upper Paleolithic period depicted the emergence of modern capacities to modify useful innovations on a large scale. Beginning much earlier but gaining momentum in the Upper Paleolithic, hominines began to adapt to complex challenges through different inventions like sewn clothing and spear-throwers.
The Manufacture of Tools.
Different techniques were used to manufacture tools in the Middle and Later Stone Age. The Middle Stone Age shifted a focus on Aucheulean handaxe to tools made of flakes such as the Levallois point. Ideally, even at Olduvai, the archaic humans were taking advantage of sharp-edged flakes and modifying them for specialized tasks (Ellen, 2011). As such the unique feature that differentiates the Middle Stine Age from other cultures is that hominids shaped cores carefully to make flakes of different shape and sizes. Such flakes were modified further into complex and simple tools. The manufacturing techniques in the Middle Stone Age included the Disk Core Technique and the Levallois Technique.
The Levallois Technique worked in four steps. First, the cobble edges were cut into small shapes. Next, the upper part was trimmed to eliminate the cortex and then a flake was removed from one edge to make a flat platform. Finally, the core’s end was hit at the produced platform site to drive a flake from the core.
The Disc Core technique also depended on a careful shaping of the core to remove flakes to be used as tools. The only difference between this technique and the Levallois Technique was that more skill and refinement was used in preparing the core so that more flakes could be produced from one core (Ellen, 2011). Notably, two tool making techniques were dominant in the upper Paleolithic period: Burin Manufacturing and Prismatic Blade Technology. The blade technique improved on the Disc Core technique. Provided that raw materials were available, the Blade Technique enabled humans to manufacture large amounts of tools with very sharp and straight cutting edges. In return, the blades enabled humans to manufacture some essential implements like Burins. The two tools, Burins, and blades opened up a stunning new world of bone and woodworking with efficiency and ease that previous culture could not match.Specific Tool Types.
The Upper and Middle Paleolithic were two unique periods in the history of human beings. During the Middle Stone Age, the tools tradition started to adopt a complex tone. Tools manufactured in this stage were more complex as compared to the Acheulean that was used in the Earlier Stone Age (Rukang & Olsen, 2016). There were two different tool types established in the middle Paleolithic: the Aterian and Mousterian tools. Mousterian tools were mainly used by Neanderthals. They consisted of bifacial tools utilized by the archaic man in hunting small and large animals. Aterian tools, on the other hand, were crafted by anatomically modern man. Aterian tools were unique because they were characterized by the development of extending handles and tangs which were attached to craft handles and spears.
Conversely, the upper Paleolithic reflected a slight advancement in technology that emerged in the Middle Paleolithic. The Later Stone Age had four distinct tool traditions: The Gracettian, Aurignacian, Magdalenian, and Solutrean (Rukang & Olsen, 2016). The tools in these four categories all consisted of blade-based tools used by the anatomically modern man for big-game hunting. The tools from the Later Stone Age were more complex as compared to those of the Middle Stone Age and were crafted using pressure flaking. This technique was not present in earlier stages and provided toolmakers with more control over their blade designs. Another tool that appeared for the first time during the Later Stone Age was the harpoon, which made seafood to become one of the human diets. It is also worth noting that during the middle stone age, the archaic humans had started feeding on seafood, yet there were no harpoons. As such, they could have been using fishing baskets for catching small fish. Also, food was smoked in the middle Paleolithic, and this continued up to the upper Paleolithic showing progress in the evolution of human beings.
The study of the evolution of man evokes some critical insights which may be used in explaining the current trends. Most practices in modern society were shaped by prehistory. For example, religion, social gatherings, and culture can be traced from the prehistoric times. Human beings are evolving gradually to embrace more advanced technologies and complex social structures. Recognizing and appreciating these changes enables human beings to live in a better world.