Marciniak A. The Paleolithic period begins with the first evidence of human technology (stone tools) more than three million years ago, and ends with the major changes in human societies instigated by the invention of agriculture and animal domestication. Oxford: Elsevier. The earliest successful and permanent Homo sapiens occupations outside of Africa date to about 60,000 years ago. Domestication of plants and animals marks the beginning of modern human society. By the Upper Paleolithic (45,000-10,000 years ago), the Neanderthals were in decline, and by 30,000 years ago, they were gone. ASIA, EAST - China, Paleolithic Cultures. Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Archaeologists study the recent past of our planet and the evolution of physical human beings and their behaviors. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. p 570-597. Those archaeologists who study the very earliest human beings specialize in the Paleolithic; scientists who study the periods prior to the Paleolithic are paleontologists. With the Palaeolithic spanning such an almost incomprehensibly huge timeframe, thankfully our organisationally oriented modern human minds have come up with some subdivisions. In Europe, where humans finally arrived after about a million years in Africa, the Paleolithic was marked by a cycle of glacial and interglacial periods, during which time glaciers grew and shrank, covering massive portions of land and forcing a cycle of human depopulation and recolonization. Philosophy & Religion Today scholars divide the Paleolithic into three categories, called Lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic, and Upper Paleolithic in Europe and Asia; and Early Stone Age, Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age in Africa. Dinosaurs ruled the Earth in the mighty Mesozoic. Close AE, and Minichillo T. 2007. Oxford: Elsevier. Select: all / none. In: Pearsall DM, editor. In: Elias SA, editor. Oxford: Elsevier. This era began about 2.6 Million years ago. New York: Academic Press. The species that evolved in the Lower Paleolithic include Australopithecus,  Homo habilis,  Homo erectus,  and Homo ergaster, among others. After decades of debate, the majority of scientists are now convinced that our earliest human ancestors evolved in Africa. Lower Paleolithic (or Early Stone Age) about 2.7 million-300,000 years ago . p 99-107. New York: Academic Press. Human ancestors, as a group, are called hominids. The productive Paleozoic era gave rise to hard-shelled organisms, vertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. It thus covers the time from the Middle Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) to the very beginnings of world history. The Industrial Revolution was powered by coal formed during this ancient ice age, and much of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere today comes from these coals. Her work has appeared in scholarly publications such as Archaeology Online and Science. EUROPE, CENTRAL AND EASTERN. Cities & Buildings New York: Academic Press. The people who study the past of humans are called archaeologists. These tools were simple fist-sized cores and whole flakes created by two ancient hominids (human ancestors), Paranthropus boisei and Homo habilis. Civilization & Science Lower Paleolithic (or Early Stone Age) about 2.7 million-300,000 years ago, Mousterian: A Middle Stone Age Technology That May Be Outmoded, Lower Paleolithic: The Changes Marked by the Early Stone Age, A Beginner's Guide to the Neolithic Period, Tracing Human History: The Stone Age to the Middle Ages, Acheulean Handaxe: Definition and History, Mesolithic Period, Hunter-Gatherer-Fishers in Europe, Guide to Prehistoric Europe: Lower Paleolithic to Mesolithic, History of Animal and Plant Domestication, ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECORDS - Global Expansion 300,000-8000 years ago, Africa, ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECORDS - 2.7 MYR-300,000 years ago in Africa, ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECORDS - 1.9 MYR-300,000 years ago in Europe, ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECORDS - Global Expansion 300,000-8000 years ago, Asia. tl_categories_checked(); In: Pearsall DM, editor. $('.chk_timeline_types').change(function() { Categories: K. Kris Hirst is an archaeologist with 30 years of field experience. function tl_categories_checked() { Modern humans spread all over the planet, reaching the Sahul (Australia) about 50,000 years ago, mainland Asia about 28,000 years ago, and finally the Americas, about 16,000 years ago. ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECORDS - Global Expansion 300,000-8000 years ago, Africa. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Harris JWK, Braun DR, and Pante M. 2007. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. Lower … Mesolithic. }); Encyclopedia of Archaeology. During this era, early humans shared the planet with a number of now-extinct hominin relatives, includin… People were beginning to understand their … - 9600. States & Territories In Africa, where the earliest humans arose, the Early Stone Age begins some 2.7 million years ago, with the earliest stone tools recognized to date in the Olduvai Gorge of East Africa. Nature & Climate 2008. ASIA, WEST - Palaeolithic Cultures. $('#timeline_types_input').attr('value',timelineTypesChecked.join(',')); Oxford: Elsevier. ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECORDS - 1.9 MYR-300,000 years ago in Europe In: Elias SA, editor. Petraglia MD, and Dennell R. 2007. McNabb J. Shen C. 2008. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. tl_categories_checked(); We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. The Stone Age in human prehistory also referred to as the Paleolithic Period, is the period between about 2.7 million and 10,000 years ago. The Middle Paleolithic period (ca 300,000 to 45,000 years ago) witnessed the evolution of Neanderthals and the first anatomically and eventually behaviorally modern Homo sapiens. The onset of the Paleolithic Period has traditionally coincided with the first evidence of tool construction and use by Homo some 2.58 million years ago, near the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch (2.58 million to 11,700 years ago). This timeline of human prehistory comprises the time from the first appearance of Homo sapiens in Africa 315,000 years ago to the invention of writing and the beginning of history, 5,000 years ago. In: Pearsall DM, editor. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. var timelineTypesChecked = []; Search through the entire ancient history timeline. Divided into three periods: Paleolithic (or Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (or Middle Stone Age), and Neolithic (or New Stone Age), this era is marked by the use of tools by our early human ancestors (who evolved around 300,000 B.C.) }); Looking at the different ‘stages’ and characteristics we think we can see in stone tool cultures across the world during this period – and, crucially, not at absolute chronological boundaries - has produced the following highly unoriginal labels: 1. Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Migration & Trade Specify between which dates you want to search, and what keywords you are looking for. The Paleolithic period begins in Africa with the earliest human-like behaviors of crude stone tool manufacture about 2.7 million years ago and ends with the development of fully modern human hunting and gathering societies. and the eventual transformation from a culture of hunting and gathering to farming and food production. 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