Stone Age

Stone Age
the period in the history of humankind, preceding the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, and marked by the use of stone implements and weapons: subdivided into the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods.

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First known period of prehistoric human culture, characterized by the use of stone tools.

The term is little used by specialists today. See Paleolithic Period; Mesolithic Period; Neolithic Period; stone-tool industry. See also Bronze Age; Iron Age.

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      prehistoric cultural stage, or level of human development, characterized by the creation and use of stone tools. The Stone Age is usually divided into three separate periods— Paleolithic Period, Mesolithic Period, and Neolithic Period—based on the degree of sophistication in the fashioning and use of tools.

      Paleolithic archaeology is concerned with the origins and development of early human culture between the first appearance of man as a tool-using mammal, which is believed to have occurred about 600,000 or 700,000 years ago, and the beginning of the Recent geologic era, about 8000 BC. It is included in the time span of the Pleistocene (Pleistocene Epoch), or Glacial, Epoch—an interval of about 1,000,000 years. Although it cannot be proved, modern evidence suggests that the earliest protohuman forms had diverged from the ancestral primate stock by the beginning of the Pleistocene. In any case, the oldest recognizable tools are found in horizons of Lower Pleistocene Age. During the Pleistocene a series of momentous climatic events occurred. The northern latitudes and mountainous areas were subjected on four successive occasions to the advances and retreats of ice sheets (known as Günz, Mindel, Riss, and Würm in the Alps), river valleys and terraces were formed, the present coastlines were established, and great changes were induced in the fauna and flora of the globe. In large measure, the development of culture during Paleolithic times seems to have been profoundly influenced by the environmental factors that characterize the successive stages of the Pleistocene Epoch.

      Throughout the Paleolithic (Paleolithic Period), man was a food gatherer (hunting and gathering culture), depending for his subsistence on hunting wild animals and birds, fishing, and collecting wild fruits, nuts, and berries. The artifactual record of this exceedingly long interval is very incomplete; it can be studied from such imperishable objects of now-extinct cultures as were made of flint, stone (stone-tool industry), bone, and antler. These alone have withstood the ravages of time, and, together with the remains of contemporary animals hunted by our prehistoric forerunners, they are all that scholars have to guide them in attempting to reconstruct human activity throughout this vast interval—approximately 98 percent of the time span since the appearance of the first true hominin (Hominidae) stock. In general, these materials develop gradually from single, all-purpose tools to an assemblage of varied and highly specialized types of artifacts, each designed to serve in connection with a specific function. Indeed, it is a process of increasingly more complex technologies, each founded on a specific tradition, that characterizes the cultural development of Paleolithic times. In other words, the trend was from simple to complex, from a stage of nonspecialization to stages of relatively high degrees of specialization, just as has been the case during historic times.

 In the manufacture of stone implements, four fundamental traditions were developed by the Paleolithic ancestors: (1) pebble-tool traditions; (2) bifacial-tool, or hand-ax, traditions; (3) flake-tool traditions; and (4) blade-tool traditions. Only rarely are any of these found in “pure” form, and this fact has led to mistaken notions in many instances concerning the significance of various assemblages. Indeed, though a certain tradition might be superseded in a given region by a more advanced method of producing tools, the older technique persisted as long as it was needed for a given purpose. In general, however, there is an overall trend in the order as given above, starting with simple pebble tools that have a single edge sharpened for cutting or chopping. But no true pebble-tool horizons had yet, by the late 20th century, been recognized in Europe. In southern and eastern Asia, on the other hand, pebble tools of primitive type continued in use throughout Paleolithic times.

      French place-names have long been used to designate the various Paleolithic subdivisions, since many of the earliest discoveries were made in France. This terminology has been widely applied in other countries, notwithstanding the very great regional differences that do in fact exist. But the French sequence still serves as the foundation of Paleolithic studies in other parts of the Old World.

Hallam L. Movius, Jr. Ed.
      There is reasonable agreement that the Paleolithic ended with the beginning of the Recent (Holocene) geologic and climatic era about 8000 BC. It is also increasingly clear that a developmental bifurcation in man's culture history took place at about this time. In most of the world, especially in the temperate and tropical woodland environments or along the southern fringes of Arctic tundra, the older Upper Paleolithic traditions of life were simply readapted toward more or less increasingly intensified levels of food collection. These cultural readaptations of older food procedures to the variety and succession of post-Pleistocene environments are generally referred to as occurring in the Mesolithic Period. But also by 8000 BC (if not even somewhat earlier) in certain semi-arid environments of the world's middle latitudes, traces of a quite different course of development began to appear. These traces indicate a movement toward incipient agriculture (agriculture, origins of) and (in one or two instances) animal domestication. In the case of southwestern Asia, this movement had already culminated in a level of effective village-farming communities by 7000 BC. In Mesoamerica, a comparable development—somewhat different in its details and without animal domestication—was taking place almost as early. It may thus be maintained that in the environmentally favourable portions of southwestern Asia, Mesoamerica, the coastal slopes below the Andes, and perhaps in southeastern Asia (for which little evidence is available), little if any trace of the Mesolithic stage need be anticipated. The general level of culture probably shifted directly from that of the Upper Paleolithic to that of incipient cultivation and domestication.

      The picture presented by the culture history of the earlier portion of the Recent period is thus one of two generalized developmental patterns: (1) the cultural readaptations to post-Pleistocene environments on a more or less intensified level of food collection; and (2) the appearance and development of an effective level of food production. It is generally agreed that this latter appearance and development was achieved quite independently in various localities in both the Old and New Worlds. As the procedures and the plant or animal domesticates of this new food-producing level gained effectiveness and flexibility to adapt to new environments, the new level expanded at the expense of the older, more conservative one. Finally, it is only within the matrix of a level of food production that any of the world's civilizations have been achieved.

Robert J. Braidwood Ed.

      Three major subdivisions—Lower, Middle, and Upper Paleolithic—are recognized in Europe. Although the dividing line between the Lower and Middle stages is not so clearly defined as that separating the Middle and Upper subdivisions, this system is still used by most workers.

      On the basis of the very rich materials from the Somme Valley in the north of France and the Thames Valley in the south of England, two main Lower Paleolithic traditons have been recognized in western Europe. These are as follows: (1) bifacial-tool, or hand-ax, traditions (Abbevillian (Abbevillian industry) and Acheulean (Acheulean industry)); and (2) flake-tool (flake tool) traditions (Clactonian (Clactonian industry) and Levalloisian (Levalloisian stone-flaking technique)).

      The type tools of the Abbevillian (formerly Chellean), which takes its name from the town of Abbeville, France, on the 45-metre (150-foot) terrace of the Somme Valley, consist of pointed, bifacial implements, or hand axes. Their forms vary, and the flaking is generally irregular; it is probable that they were manufactured either with a stone hammer or on a stone anvil. Associated with these crude types of hand axes, simple flake tools are found, but they lack definite form. The Abbevillian has been reported from deposits of lower Pleistocene (First Interglacial) age.

      The Acheulean, which begins in the Second Interglacial and persists to the close of the Third Interglacial, covers by far the longest time span of any of the Paleolithic traditions found in western Europe. The type site is on the 30-metre terrace of the Somme Valley at St. Acheul, near Amiens, in northern France. Acheulean hand axes, which display a marked technological refinement over their Abbevillian precursors, were apparently made by employing a wooden or bone billet rather than the more primitive stone-on-stone technique. But, except at the very end of the Acheulean cycle of development, there is very little typological difference in the types of hand axes found in the various layers.

      The Micoquian, or Final (Upper) Acheulean, is characterized by elongated hand axes that exhibit very straight and finely chipped edges, in marked contrast with the Lower Acheulean, in which ovate forms predominate. Flake tools occur in all Acheulean levels, the side scrapers being the predominant type. Many of these tools were made from trimming flakes produced during the process of hand-ax manufacture. In general, flake tools, including points with a triangular cross section, are found in greater quantities in Micoquian deposits than in the older horizons.

      The evidence from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, and Swanscombe, Kent, in the Thames Valley of southeastern England clearly shows that the main development of the Clactonian occurred during early Second Interglacial times. The type artifacts are flakes, although core tools—single-edged choppers and chopping tools—do in fact occur. The flakes, which have large, high-angle (greater than 90°), plain striking platforms, as well as prominent bulbs of percussion, were detached from roughly prepared, discoidal cores by the stone (stone-tool industry)-hammer or stone-anvil technique. Actual retouching or secondary working of the edge is found in some instances, but for the most part it is crude, and edge chipping resulting from use is far more characteristic.

      Named after a locality at Levallois, a suburb of Paris, the Levalloisian is primarily a flake tradition, although hand axes are found in certain of the Middle and Upper Levalloisian stages. It first appears in deposits of the late Second Interglacial in association with hand axes of Middle Acheulean type and persists into Fourth Glacial (Würm) times. It is characterized by a new and improved method of producing flakes, which previously had been obtained in a more or less haphazard manner. This involves the careful shaping of the core by the removal of centrally directed flakes, and the preparation of an extremity for the detachment of a symmetrical oval flake. Since unstruck cores of this type exhibit a plano-convex section suggesting the form of a tortoise, they are known as tortoise cores. On the striking platforms of typical levallois flakes, small vertical flake scars, called facets, may be observed, and the scars of the converging core-preparation flakes are present on the upper surface. The use of this technique resulted in the production not only of symmetrical flakes but also of larger ones in proportion to the size of the core. In the Middle and Upper Levalloisian a variation of this same basic technique was developed whereby it was possible to produce either triangular flakes (or points) or rectangular flakes (or flake blades) by modifying the method of core preparation.

Middle Paleolithic
      The Middle Paleolithic comprises the Mousterian (Mousterian industry), a portion of the Levalloisian, and the Tayacian (Tayacian industry), all of which are complexes based on the production of flakes, although survivals of the old hand-ax tradition are manifest in many instances. These Middle Paleolithic assemblages first appear in deposits of the third interglacial and persist during the first major oscillation of the Fourth Glacial (Würm) stage. Associated with the Tayacian, in which the artifacts consist of very crude flakes, remains of modern man (Homo sapiens) have been found. Mousterian man, on the other hand, is of the Neanderthal race. By the 1960s no human remains had yet been found associated with the Levalloisian. It is in the Mousterian levels of the caves and rock shelters of central and southern France that the earliest evidence of the use of fire and the first definite burials have been discovered in western Europe. The cave of Le Moustier, near Les Eyzies in the classic Dordogne region of France, is the type site of the Mousterian. The typology of the artifacts is complex; it consists of three distinct increments: (1) the prepared striking-platform–tortoise-core (Levalloisian) tradition; (2) the plain striking-platform–discoidal-core technique of ultimate Clactonian tradition; and (3) a persistence of the bifacial core tool, or Acheulean tradition. The type artifacts from the Mousterian consist of points and side scrapers, in addition to a few hand axes (especially heart- or triangular-shaped forms), and the secondary working is coarse. A crude bone industry appears here for the first time. Judging by what is known concerning modern hunting groups, small bands or tribes of people already had developed simple social institutions, even at this early level of development.

Upper Paleolithic
      The Upper Paleolithic, which occupies only approximately one-tenth of the time span of the period as a whole, first appears in horizons referable to the Würm I–II interstadial, and it persists to the very end of late Glacial times. Early man made his greatest cultural progress at this time. The hand axes and flake tools of the earlier assemblages were replaced by diversified and specialized tools made on blades struck from specially prepared cores. Many important inventions appeared, such as needles and thread, skin clothing, hafted stone and bone tools, the harpoon, the spear thrower, and special fishing equipment. Bone, ivory, and antler, in addition to flint, were extensively used. The earliest man-made dwellings are found, consisting of semisubterranean pit houses. Of prime importance and interest is the beginning of the basic techniques of drawing, modelling, sculpture, and painting (painting, Western), as well as the earliest manifestations of dancing (dance), music (music, Western), the use of masks, ceremonies, and the organization of society into patterns that were apparently fairly complex. Indeed, the location of certain settlements suggests a more complex social life, including perhaps collective hunting. There is evidence for fertility magic, private property, and possible social stratification. Furthermore, primitive types of early man disappeared, and the remains of men of modern type (Homo sapiens) alone are found in Upper Paleolithic sites.

      The chronology of this interval in western Europe shows a succession of cultures known as Lower Périgordian (or Châtelperronian; formerly Lower Aurignacian), Aurignacian, Upper Périgordian (or Gravettian; formerly Upper Aurignacian), Solutrean, and Magdalenian, each characterized by its distinctive types of artifacts. These latter occur, together with gravers (or burins), end scrapers, points, etc., which are common to all levels. The graver itself is a very important tool, for its invention made possible the extensive working of bone and facilitated the development of art. The climate of the Upper Paleolithic varied from cold steppe, or even Arctic tundra, to north temperate (taiga), similar to parts of Siberia and Canada of the present day.

Périgordian (Perigordian industry)
      In the Périgordian, named after a region in south central France, blades with steeply retouched backs are typical. The Lower Périgordian is characterized by large curved points with blunted backs that are known as Châtelperron points. These first appear, together with other types of blade tools, in horizons immediately overlying Upper Mousterian levels. It is believed that the straight points with blunted backs, called Gravette points and characteristic of the Upper Périgordian, were evolved from the Châtelperron type. In the final stage of the Upper Périgordian, tanged Font Robert points and diminutive multiangle gravers, known as the Noailles burin, are found. A number of small sculptured human torsos depicting the female form have been found at Upper Périgordian sites.

 The type site of the Aurignacian is near the village of Aurignac (Haute-Garonne) in southern France. At many sites it is found intervening between horizons referable to the Lower and the Upper Périgordian, a fact that is considered to indicate that more than one cultural element was present in western Europe at the beginning of Upper Paleolithic times. The tool types include various kinds of steep-ended scrapers, nose scrapers, blades with heavy marginal retouch, strangulated blades, busked gravers (or burins), and split-base bone points. Bone was extensively used, mainly for javelin points, chisels, perforators, and bâtons de commandement, or arrow straighteners. Articles of personal adornment, probably worn as necklaces, such as pierced teeth and shells, as well as decorated bits of bone and ivory, appear for the first time in the Aurignacian.

      The oldest manifestations of art were produced during the Aurignacian, and the development continued during Upper Périgordian times. In general, Upper Paleolithic art falls into two closely related categories: mural art and portable art. The former includes finger tracings, paintings, engravings, bas-reliefs, and sculptures (Western sculpture) on the walls of caves and rock shelters; the latter is characterized by small engravings and sculptures on stone and bone found in the occupation layers. The whole development almost certainly owes its inspiration to the magico-religious idea, especially the custom of hunting magic as practiced today by living primitive peoples.

      The Solutrean, which is named after the site of Solutré, near Mâcon (Saône-et-Loire), is noted for the beautifully made, symmetrical, bifacially flaked, laurel-leaf, and shouldered points, the finest examples of flint workmanship of the Paleolithic in western Europe. In addition, the usual types of gravers, end scrapers, points, perforators, etc., are present. Examples of Solutrean art are comparatively rare; they consist of sculpture in low relief and incised stone slabs. The fauna indicates that this culture flourished in a relatively cold climate.

      The rock shelter of La Madeleine, near Les Eyzies (Dordogne), is the type Magdalenian locality. This final culture of the Upper Paleolithic is noted for the dominance of bone and antler tools over those of flint and stone and for the very remarkable works of art that were produced at this time. The wide variety of bone tools include javelin points, barbed bone points (or harpoons), eyed needles, bâtons de commandement (often elaborately decorated), perforators, spear throwers, chisels, etc. The flint and stone tools include a variety of special forms, among which small geometric forms, denticulated blades, scrapers with steeply retouched edges, and the parrot-beak graver are especially distinctive. The six phases of the Magdalenian have been established stratigraphically and are characterized mainly by the contained bone and antler implements. But the heights attained by the people responsible for this culture can best be evaluated on the basis of the art objects they produced. Magdalenian sites have yielded countless fine examples of both mural and portable art. Animals of the period, the usual subject matter, are portrayed in paintings (often polychrome), engravings, and sculptures. The fauna from the various Magdalenian horizons demonstrates that cold conditions prevailed in western Europe at the end of Paleolithic times.

Hallam L. Movius, Jr. Ed.

Mesolithic (Mesolithic Period)
      In the Upper Paleolithic of Europe, certain evidence exists for what must have already been well-organized collective-hunting activities, such as the horse-stampede traces of Solutré, France, and the great concentrations of mammoth bones of the Gravettian hut settlements of Czechoslovakia and Russia. Cultural adaptations appear to have been made to restricted local areas or niches and to the fluctuations of climate and environment during the changing phases at the end of the Pleistocene range of time. In fact, it could be maintained generally that Upper Paleolithic traditions flowed rather smoothly into the Mesolithic, with no more significant indication of cultural development than further environmental readaptations. The people of the Mesolithic stage, or level of development, can be said to have “changed just enough so that they would not have to change.”

The cultures

The Maglemosian (Maglemosian industry)
      The level of intensified food-collecting cultures of the early Recent period in the Old World is best known from northwestern Europe, and it is with regard to this area that the term Mesolithic has greatest currency to denominate archaeological traces. A classic example of such traces comes from the Maglemose bog site of Denmark, although there are comparable materials ranging from England to the eastern Baltic lands. These bogs were probably more or less swampy lakes in Mesolithic times. At about 6000 BC, when the Maglemosian culture flourished, traces of primitive huts with bark-covered floors have been found. Flint axes for felling trees and adzes for working wood have appeared, as well as a variety of smaller flint tools, including a great number of microlithic scale. These were mounted as points or barbs in arrows and harpoons and were also used in other composite tools. There were adzes and chisels of antler or bone, besides needles and pins, fish-hooks, harpoons, and several-pronged fish spears. Some larger tools, of ground stone (e.g., club heads) have appeared. Wooden implements also have survived because of the unusually favourable preservative qualities of the bogs; bows, arrow shafts, ax handles, paddles, and even a dugout canoe have been discovered. Fishnets were made of bark fibre. There is good evidence that the Maglemosian sites were only seasonally occupied. Deer were successfully hunted, and fish and waterfowl were taken, and it appears possible that several varieties of marsh plants were utilized. At Star Carr, in northern England, there are indications that four or five huts existed in the settlement, with a population of about 25 people.

      This description of the Maglemosian must suffice to represent a considerable variety of European manifestations of the level of intensified post-Pleistocene food collecting. The catalogs of the Azilian and Tardenoisian industries of western Europe, of the Ahrensburgian of northern Germany, of the Asturian of Spain, etc., would each differ in detail, but all would point in the same general direction as regards cultural-historical interpretation.

The Nachikufan (Nachikufan industry)
      As a further and far-distant example, the Nachikufan culture of southern Zimbabwe might be cited. Here again, microlithic flint bladelet tools, with certain types mounted as projectile points or in composite tools, existed. The Nachikufan cave walls show a few seminaturalistic drawings, and the caves also contain “pencils” of red and black pigment. Ground-stone axes and adzes, bored stones (digging-stick weights?), and normal-sized chopping and scraping tools of chipped stone also occurred. Grindstones of various types indicate a degree of dependence on collected vegetable foods, and the animal bones suggest specialization in the hunting of zebras, wildebeests, hartebeests, and wild pigs. These Nachikufan materials date back to at least 4500 BC. Again, an intensified level of food collecting is implied.

The general picture
      Though there are vast gaps in our knowledge of the Recent period in many parts of the Old World, enough is known to see the general cultural level of this range of time. Outside of the regions where food production was establishing itself, the period was one of a gradual settling-in and of an increasingly intensive utilization of all the resources of restricted regional niches. At first, the level seems nowhere to have achieved a climax of artistic expression, such as that for example, of Upper Périgordian–Magdalenian times. But, as time went on, certain climaxes within the matrix of an intensified level of food collection did occur. An often-cited example might be the complex art and social organization of the cultures of the northwest coast of British Columbia.

      More often, however, as the culture history of the Recent period proceeded, cultures at the level of intensified food collecting were “captured” by being absorbed within an expanding matrix of the new elements, procedures, and traditions of food production or—subsequent to its appearance—by the expansion of civilized societies.

Robert J. Braidwood Ed.

Neolithic (Neolithic Period)
 The origins and history of European Neolithic culture are closely connected with the postglacial climate and forest development. The increasing temperature after the late Dryas period during the Pre-Boreal and the Boreal (c. 8000–5500 BC, determined by radiocarbon dating) caused a remarkable change in late glacial flora and fauna. Thus, the Mediterranean zone became the centre of the first cultural modifications leading from the last hunters and food gatherers to the earliest farmers. This was established by some important excavations in the mid-20th century in the Middle East, which unearthed the first stages of early agriculture and stock breeding (domestication) (7th and 6th millennia BC) with wheat, barley, dogs, sheep, and goats. Early prepottery Neolithic finds (probably 6th millennium BC) have been made in the Argissa Magula near Larissa (Thessaly, Greece), while excavations in Lepenski Vir (Balkan Peninsula) have brought to light some sculptures of the same period. The independent origin of European Neolithic was established, and it was thought highly probable that the cradle of farming in the Middle East had not been the only one: there were others in Europe, too.

The zones
      Neolithic farming in Europe developed on its own lines in the four different ecological zones. These are: the Mediterranean zone of evergreen forest and winter rains; north of the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Balkans, the temperate zone of deciduous forest and evenly distributed annual rainfall; still farther north the circumpolar taiga, or coniferous forest (the only zone to remain free of agriculture and stock breeding); and to the southeast the western end of the Eurasian Steppe. Each zone itself is subdivided into natural regions by physiographic boundaries and peculiarities of climate or soil. Only the three major divisions of the temperate zone are not obvious from every map. We may distinguish: western Europe, from the Atlantic to the Vosges and Alps and including the British Isles; the loesslands of central Europe, including the Ukraine and limited by the Balkans and the Harz; and the northern province, that portion of the Eurasiatic plain lying between the Rhine and the Vistula and including Denmark and southern Sweden. The substantial Neolithic communities that arose by 6000 BC must have been largely recruited from indigenous Mesolithic hunters and fishers, attested to so abundantly in western and northern Europe by various remains. (Some communities indeed seem to be composed entirely of such Mesolithic stocks, though they had adopted a Neolithic equipment from immigrant farmers; such are sometimes termed Secondary Neolithic. From these Mesolithic survivors, too, must be derived much of the science and equipment applied in Neolithic times to adapting societies to European environments. Upon the resultant distinctively European technology and economy was reared a no less original ideological superstructure expressed in distinctive sepulchral monuments, styles of ceramic decoration, and fashions in personal ornaments.

Cultural elements

Rural economy
      In each of the above-mentioned provinces, the archaeological record begins with the early stages of farming, as in Thessaly. In the Mediterranean zone, this early farming is connected with the cardium pottery (decorated by shell impressions of Cardium edule), cultivation of the land having been proved by pollen-analytical methods in France, as elsewhere in temperate Europe, while northern Germany and southern Scandinavia revealed grain prints in potsherds (Ertebølle-Ellerbek). The process of cultural formation and modification during the Neolithic may be studied with the help of the different kinds of pottery and stone artifacts.

      Save in the taiga, where a Mesolithic economy persisted until the end of the Bronze Age, the basis of life everywhere was subsistence farming, supplemented by some measure of hunting and fishing—fish being a source of food curiously neglected in western and central Europe during the earlier phases of the Neolithic. Everywhere the same cereals were cultivated, together with beans, peas, and lentils. In the Mediterranean zone, orchard husbandry may already have begun, while around the Alps, apples were eventually cultivated and utilized for the preparation of a sort of cider. The balance between cultivation and stock breeding varied. Throughout the temperate zone, sheep, though bred even in Britain and Denmark, were at first rare. The damp temperate forests were uncongenial to these animals, and only toward the end of the Neolithic Period, when the greater dryness of the subboreal climatic phase and incipient clearing for plow cultivation were leaving their mark on the landscape, did flocks begin to multiply. On the loesslands, in early Neolithic times, animal husbandry may have played a subordinate role as compared with agriculture. But in the sequel, cattle raising combined with hunting proved to be the most productive pursuit among the deciduous forests with a Neolithic equipment; cultivation was relegated to an increasingly secondary place, until in the late Bronze Age more efficient tools for clearing land became generally available. The rural economy permitted the continuous occupation of permanent villages around the Aegean and in the Balkan Peninsula, perhaps also in southern Italy and the Iberian Peninsula. In the temperate zone, shifting cultivation may have been based on slash-and-burn clearance. Under this extravagant system, plots were presumably tilled with hoes, as in parts of Africa today. But by the beginning of the Bronze Age, the ox-drawn plow was beginning to replace the hoe.

      Dwelling houses in Greece, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula were built, as in the Middle East, of pisé, or mud brick, on stone foundations. But in the Balkans and throughout the temperate zone, wood was used for the construction of gabled houses, stout posts serving to support the ridgepole and the walls of split saplings or wattle and daub. The earliest houses on the loessland of central Europe were very large, up to 42 metres (135 feet) in length and large enough to accommodate a whole lineage or small clan together with stalled cattle and grain stores. In the sequel these communal houses gave place to smaller two-roomed dwellings, 7.5 to 10 metres (24 1/2 to 33 feet) long but still entered through one end. Finally in late Neolithic times clusters of one-roomed huts became the most widespread fashion. Around the Alps such two-roomed houses and, less often, one-roomed huts were raised on piles above the shores of lakes or on platforms laid on peat mosses. These are the world-famous Swiss “lake-dwellings” (Uferrandsiedlungen (Lake Dwellings)) that have yielded such precious collections of the organic substances from wood to bread that are otherwise missing from the archaeological record. In northern Europe, too, the earliest villages consisted of two parallel, long communal houses, but these were subdivided by cross walls into 20 or more apartments, each with a separate door. But here again the communal houses eventually broke up into free-standing one-roomed huts. Finally, Skara Brae on the treeless island of Orkney illustrates an ingenious adaptation of the one-roomed wooden hut to an inhospitable environment but shows how commodiously such huts must always have been furnished.

Stone tools
      Carpenters used celts (celt) ( ax or adz heads) edged by grinding and polishing of fine-grained rock or of flint where that material was available in large nodules. In Greece and the Balkans, all over central Europe and the Ukraine, and throughout the taiga, adzes were used exclusively, as in the earlier Baltic Mesolithic; in northern and western Europe axes were preferred. In the Iberian Peninsula axes and adzes occur in equal numbers in early Neolithic graves, but the proportion of axes increased later. Often in western Europe, and occasionally in Greece and Cyprus, celts were mounted with the aid of antler sleeves inserted between the stone head and the wooden handle—a device that was already employed in the northern European Mesolithic. In Spain, the British Isles, and northern Europe axheads were simply stuck into or through straight wooden shafts, but adz heads must always have been mounted on a knee shaft (a crooked stick), a method regularly used for axheads, too, by the Bronze Age. Axheads like those in modern use, with a hole for the shaft, were rarely used for tools, but the Danubian peasants on the loesslands may sometimes have mounted adzes in this manner. They certainly knew how to perforate stone, using a tubular borer (a reed or bone with sand as an abrasive). From them the technique was adopted by various secondary Neolithic tribes in northern Europe for the manufacture of so-called battle-axes. The latter seem to derive their form from Mesolithic weapons of antler, but their splayed blades disclose the influence of metal forms.

Ax factories (factory system) and flint mines
      Celts, or axes, were manufactured in factories where specially suitable rock outcrops occurred, and they were traded over great distances. Products of the factories at Graig Lwyd, Penmaenmawr, North Wales, were transported to Wiltshire and Anglesey, those of Tievebulliagh on the Antrim coast to Limerick, Kent, Aberdeen, and the Hebrides. Similarly, large nodules of good flint were secured by mining in Poland, Denmark, The Netherlands, England, Belgium, France, Portugal, and Sicily.

      The mine shafts, which were cut through solid chalk sometimes to a depth of six metres (20 feet) with the aid only of antler picks and bone shovels, may be simple pits, but often regular galleries branching from them follow the seams of big nodules. Although the ancient miners appreciated the necessity of leaving pillars to support the roof, skeletons of workers killed by falls have been discovered at Cissbury, Spiennes, and elsewhere. In the British Isles and Denmark, at least, there is evidence that the ax factories and flint mines were exploited and the products distributed by trade, for example, to the northern parts of Sweden. Still, the operators and distributors need nowhere be regarded as full-time specialists.

  Neolithic art, except among the hunter-fishers of the taiga, was geometric and not representational. It is best illustrated by the decoration of pottery. Pots, which were always handmade, were painted in southeastern Europe, southern Italy, and Sicily; elsewhere they were adorned with incised, impressed, or stamped patterns. Many designs are skeuomorphic—i.e., they enhance the pot's similarity to vessels of basketry, skin, or other material. But on the loesslands of central Europe and the Ukraine and in the Balkans, spirals and meanders were favourite motifs (see photograph—>).

      While Neolithic societies could be completely self-sufficient, growing their own food and making all essential equipment from local materials, luxury objects were transmitted quite long distances by some sort of trade. So ornaments made of the shells of the Mediterranean mussel, Spondylus gaederopus, are found all across the Balkans, up the Danube Valley, and even on the Saale and the Main. Products of factories and flint mines were, as stated, traded widely throughout a single province, such as the British Isles, and some especially valued raw materials—the yellow flint of Grand-Pressigny (France), the obsidian of Melos and the Lipari Islands—became objects of “international trade” as much as shells. But the most prized object of such commerce was the amber of Jutland and Poland, whose electrical properties seemed evidence of potent mana.

Richard Pittioni Ed.

      During the Paleolithic, two major culture provinces can be recognized in Asia, each of which has yielded a distinctive sequence. The first of these includes the Middle East, Central Asia (formerly Russian Turkistan), central Siberia, and India; throughout this vast region a developmental sequence has been reported that, in all its essential respects, is related to that of Europe as well as to that of Africa in the early stages. The second of these provinces is in the south and east, and it embraces Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma), Java, Malaya, Thailand, and China. There the characteristic implement types consist of choppers (pebble chopper) and chopping tools that are often made on pebbles.

      Hand-ax industries of Abbevilleo-Acheulean type are missing in southern and eastern Asia, together with the intimately associated prepared striking-platform–tortoise-core, or Levallois, technique. There the pebble-tool tradition persisted to the very end of Paleolithic times uninfluenced by contemporary innovations characteristic of the western portion of the continent.

      In this area, especially in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, a Lower Paleolithic development closely paralleling that of Europe is indicated by the widespread distribution of hand axes of Abbevillian and Acheulean type. Unfortunately, the majority of these finds are from open-air, unstratified sites that cannot be dated. A crude flake industry, reminiscent of the Tayacian of western Europe, has been reported from several cave sites. This is followed by a typical Upper Acheulean horizon in which there occur many developed hand axes of Micoquian type, a wide variety of flake implements, and the prepared striking-platform–tortoise-core technique. The Levalloiso-Mousterian found in the next-younger horizon is associated with a series of Neanderthaloid burials at one of the Mount Carmel Caves of Israel and at Shanidar Cave in northern Iraq. Next in the sequence comes an early Upper Paleolithic development, which is characterized by various types of blade and flake-blade tools, including points that recall the Châtelperron type. This is overlain by the Antelian (formerly Middle Aurignacian), which in turn is followed by the Atlitian and the Kebarian. These assemblages, together with the recently discovered Baradostian of northern Iraq, constitute specialized late Upper Paleolithic industries that preceded various Mesolithic developments in the Middle East.

      In Central Asia, few investigations of Paleolithic sites have been conducted. Surface finds of Acheulean-type hand axes have been reported from Turkmenistan, and several Mousterian localities have been excavated in southeastern Uzbekistan. At the most important of these sites—the cave of Teshik-Tash—the burial of a Neanderthal child who was surrounded by horns of a Siberian mountain goat has been discovered. No convincing evidence has been reported showing that this region was occupied during Upper Paleolithic times.

      Certain Paleolithic assemblages from India and Pakistan demonstrate that during Pleistocene times the region played an intermediate role between western Asia and the Far East. In the Punjab province of Pakistan, assemblages of implements that are characteristic of both the chopper–chopping-tool and the hand-ax–Levallois-flake complexes have been found. The former, which is called the Sohanian (or Sohan), has been reported from five successive horizons, each of which yields pebble tools that are associated with flake implements. Massive and crude in the earliest phases of the Sohanian, these implements reveal a progressive refinement in the younger horizons, where the evolved pebble tools are associated with flakes produced by the prepared striking-platform–tortoise-core technique.

      In part contemporary with the Early Sohanian is a series of hand axes of Abbevilleo-Acheulean affinities, which occur in profusion at numerous sites in India from the Gujarāt region in the north to the Madras in the south. These sites yield hand axes, cleavers, and flake tools that are distinctly reminiscent of assemblages from southern and eastern Africa. As in the latter areas, the oldest materials are of Abbevillian type, and this is followed by the entire Acheulean cycle of development, just as in the case of the Stellenbosch of the Vaal Valley. Choppers and chopping tools made on pebbles and showing Sohanian affinities have been found throughout peninsular India in deposits of Middle Pleistocene Age. This suggests the probability that Lower Pleistocene horizons will ultimately be found in this area containing only pebble tools, as in the case of Africa.

      No convincing evidence has been reported to indicate that a blade–burin complex was introduced into India before the close of Paleolithic times.

      Pebble tools, including choppers and chopping tools, are found in the Pleistocene terrace deposits of the Irrawaddy Valley of upper Myanmar. This complex is known as the Anyathian. The Early Anyathian is characterized by single-edged core implements made on natural fragments of fossil wood and silicified tuff, and these are associated with crude flake implements. In the Late Anyathian, a direct development from the earlier stage, smaller and better made core and flake artifacts are found. No hand axes or flakes produced by the prepared striking-platform–tortoise-core technique have been found in Myanmar.

      Elsewhere in the Far East, pebble tools have been reported from deposits apparently of Middle Pleistocene Age in western Thailand, for which the name Fingnoian has been proposed. In northern Malaya a large series of choppers and chopping tools made on quartzite pebbles and found in Middle Pleistocene tin-bearing gravels have been referred to collectively as the Tampanian, since they come from a place called Kota Tampan in Perak. Still another late Middle Pleistocene assemblage, called the Patjitanian, is known from a very prolific site in south-central Java. In both the Tampanian and Patjitanian the main types of implements consist of single-edged choppers and chopping tools that occur in association with primitive flakes with unprepared, high-angle striking platforms. Also in both assemblages is an interesting series of pointed, bifacial implements that have been described as crude hand axes. Since these tools are very rare in each instance and are absent in Myanmar, it is probable that they were developed in southeastern Asia independently of influences from the West. Several sites of Upper Pleistocene age in central Java have produced artifacts made on small to medium-sized flakes and flake blades. Antler and bone implements belong to this complex, known as the Ngandongian, which has also been reported from the Celebes and from the Philippines.

      One of the oldest Lower Paleolithic occupation sites ever discovered is near the village of Chou-k'ou-tien, about 48 kilometres (30 miles) southwest of Peking in northern China. Associated with the remains of Peking man (Homo erectus pekinensis, formerly Sinanthropus pekinensis), pebble tools, together with quartz-flake implements, occur in quantity. This assemblage, which is known as the Choukoutienian (Choukoutienian industry), is of Middle Pleistocene age; it forms an integral part of the chopper-chopping tool tradition of the Far East.

      Also in northern China several Upper Paleolithic sites are known in the provinces of Shansi, Shensi, and northern Kansu, in the region encompassed by the great bend of the Yellow River (Huang Ho). Collectively known as the Ordosian, these materials are of Upper Pleistocene age. Typical of the Ordosian are blade implements of various types, points and scrapers of Mousterian-like appearance, and pebble tools of Choukoutienian tradition. Originally classified as Moustero-Aurignacian, it later became apparent that this development had much in common with that of the Yenisey–Baikal region to the north in central Siberia.

      The archaeological materials from the loess sites of Siberia between the Yenisey Valley and the Lake Baikal (Baikal, Lake) area is an interesting mixture of (1) blade tools, together with antler, bone, and ivory artifacts of classic Upper Paleolithic type; (2) points and scrapers made on flakes of Mousterian aspect; and (3) pebble tools representing a survival of the ancient chopper–chopping tool tradition of eastern Asia. Remains of semi-subterranean dwellings with centrally located hearths occur at certain of these stations, together with female statuettes in bone. One of the most striking features of this Siberian Upper Paleolithic is the fact of its comparatively late survival: in terms of the European sequence, it seems to have persisted as late as Early Mesolithic times. Indeed, in several instances it actually occurs in the uppermost layer of loess immediately below a horizon of humus containing Neolithic campsites. The problems of the Siberian Upper Paleolithic are of obvious importance to students of New World archaeology, since they have an intimate and direct bearing on the question of the peopling of the Americas.

Hallam L. Movius, Jr.

Mesolithic–Neolithic: the rise of village-farming communities
      There is little question that a level of an effective food-producing, village-farming-community way of life had been achieved in certain portions of southwestern Asia by at least 7000 BC. Furthermore, increasing evidence indicated that the effective village-farming level was preceded by one of cultivation and animal domestication and that this incipient level was at least under way by about 9000 BC.

Incipient cultivation and domestication
      The level of incipient cultivation and domestication was essentially restricted to the piedmont and intermontane valley zone that flanks the Zagros–Taurus–Lebanon chain of highlands about the great basin of the upper Tigris–Euphrates and Karkheh–Kāİūn rivers and their tributaries. There are even hints that the zone extended to parts of the Iranian and Anatolian plateaus and that it may possibly have fingered northwest toward European Thrace. The significant point is that the zone appears to have formed a natural habitat for the cluster of plants and animals that were potentially domesticable. Most of these subsequent domesticates—wheat, barley, sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs, plus a possible wolf dog—still exist in their wild state in those parts of the zone that have been examined by prehistoric archaeologists and natural scientists.

      The level of incipient cultivation and domestication is best manifested by the archaeological materials of the Natufian group in the Palestine-Syro-Lebanese littoral and parts of its hinterland, and by the Karim Shahir group in Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan. The possibility of a continuation of the level into the northern Syrian and southern Turkish portions of the natural-habitat zone has been essentially untested by modern field research. Both of the available complexes of materials, the Natufian (Natufian culture) and the Karim Shahirian, appear to have been established by about 9000 BC.

The Natufian and Karim Shahirian
      In both, there are clear indications of open settlements that were of modest size, and there are some traces of round huts, some of which were built on stone foundations, although caves are also known to have still been inhabited. Both groups yield traces of normal developments of flint industries that are based essentially upon local Upper Paleolithic antecedents, and both must have been influenced in their food getting by the already intensified food-collecting practices of their immediate predecessors. It is freely admitted that the postulation of this incipient level rests considerably on a judgment that is based on the materials of the succeeding level of effective village-farming communities. Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated that sheep were already being used at the incipient level, and there are such hints as flint sickles, ground-stone mullers, mortars and pestles, and probable hoe blades to suggest that food plants were also receiving marked attention. Claims for the domesticated dog in the Natufian are not universally accepted, however.

      It has been rightly stressed that the materials of this level will be exceedingly difficult to interpret, since the earliest plant and animal domesticates will show little morphological difference from their wild contemporaries and since the procedures and artifacts of the new food-getting and food-preparation techniques will have taken considerable time to develop.

The effective village-farming community
      The next level, that of the effective village-farming community, yields, even in its earliest available phase (e.g., at Jarmo, in Iraqi Kurdistan, c. 7000 BC), materials that leave little doubt about the presence of food production. In the Jarmo phase, wheat, barley, a pea, goats, sheep, and—before the phase is completed—pigs and probably dogs all appear. The Jarmo settlement suggests a permanent village of about 20 rectangular several-roomed huts, which probably had a population of at least 150 people. Several other variants of the Jarmo phase have been excavated or at least located in Kurdistan. One of these, Sarab, near Kermānshāh in Iran, suggests a seasonal encampment of herdsmen. Sarab yields pottery throughout its shallow deposit; at Jarmo itself, similar pottery appeared only in the upper third of a much thicker deposit.

      “Preceramic” village sites have been recovered in the Dead Sea Valley, along the Syro-Palestinian littoral, on Cyprus, in the southwestern Turkish highlands, and even in Thessalian Greece. Controversy exists regarding the very spectacular architectural remains of the Dead Sea Valley site of Tall as-Sulṭān (reputedly also the site of the later Jericho), with disagreements about its “town” or even “urban” nature in view of the normal small-object assemblage there, the radiocarbon determinations now available for it, and the relative lack of firm evidence for cultivation. These disagreements will certainly be resolved as more sites in the time range of about 9000 to 6000 BC are excavated in the Syro-Palestinian littoral and in parts of its hinterland.

Fully established village sequences in the Middle East
      By 6000 BC or not long thereafter, a variety of more or less complete regional cultural sequences developed in the Middle East. In Iran, two sequences appeared. That beginning at the site of Sialk developed most characteristically in the northern and northeastern parts of the country and evidently extended into what is now Turkmenistan and northern Baluchistan and possibly beyond to the Indus. A somewhat different tradition developed in southwestern and southern Iran, early traces of which may be seen at Jaʾfarabad in Susiana (Elam) and at Bakun B near Persepolis. This tradition exhibited a closer proximity to the earlier sites in Iraq; its eastern extension may also be traced as far as Baluchistan, if not beyond into the Indus Valley.

      The earliest full-bodied assemblage in northern Iraq, following that of Jarmo, is the Hassunan of the Mosul–Kirkuk piedmont. Next—either as elements in the developed Hassunan phases or alone at the mid-Euphrates site of Baghouz or at the mid-Tigris site of Samarra—comes the Samarran phase. Then, with further overlap, comes the Halafian phase of the upper (Syro-Turkish-Iraqi) piedmont. The overlapping of these three assemblages is indicated by the availability of a radiocarbon determination for an early Halafian level, which is as early as either of the two determinations of the Hassunan—about 5750 BC. The beginning of the food-producing sequence in classic southern Mesopotamia (Mesopotamia, history of) comes after this time and is, perhaps, partly an amalgam of (1) a southward extension of Hassuna–Samarra–Halaf traits, (2) the westward extension of early Susiana traits from southwestern Iran, and (3) the probable presence of indigenous riverine-oriented food collectors.

      Another local tradition, at least contemporary with that of Hasuna (and perhaps earlier than that of Sialk), appears to have its focus in the Syro-Cilician corner of the eastern Mediterranean; its preceramic antecedents may be seen in the basal levels of coastal Ras Shamra. Later, this Syro-Cilician tradition appears to have been affected by the Halafian and later inland developments. To the north of Syro-Cilicia the early materials of Hacilar and of atal Hüyük must be given place, including the possibility of their implications for the early developments in the Aegean. To the south, the Syro-Cilician tradition merged gradually into a somewhat related coastal Palestinian tradition. But in the more arid reaches of inland Palestine, a somewhat different tradition developed that appears to have culminated in the sites of semi-nomadic traders, such as that at Beersheba.

      Food production appears to have reached Egypt (and northern Africa generally) relatively late, perhaps not much before 4500 BC. Such northern Egyptian occurrences as Merimde (on the western flank of the Nile Delta) and the Fayum (Fayyūm) A pit sites might argue for an expansion directly (by boats?) from the Asian coast. But some authorities favour the idea of a way into middle Egypt via the Red Sea and the Wādī Rawḍ ʿĀid to account for the available developments there.

General cultural level of the early villages
      This very compressed sketch is meant only to suggest the variety of regional variations and adjustments within the general development of the effective village-farming level in the Middle East, from about 6000 to 4500 BC. Wheat and barley were the staple crops; cattle join sheep, goats, and pigs as major food animals, at least by the Halafian phase. Villages—except the Tall as-Sulṭān fortified establishment—were small; an informed guess would put their limit of population at about 500 people. Again, except for some dubious interpretations of certain rather modest buildings as “shrines,” the architecture appears to be entirely domestic in nature. Aesthetic expression also took the form of an almost bewildering variety of regionalized and successive painted-pottery styles. The modeling of clay figurines—already well attested in the phase of Jarmo and its contemporaries—continues, with both animals and stylized human females being rendered. The latter, especially, may be suspected as having represented some magico-religious aspect of concern with fertility, upon which the livelihood of the communities depended. Flint tools were gradually replaced by copper and, eventually, by bronze implements, and the early trade routes in obsidian (a volcanic glass of restricted occurrence) were doubtless taken over by the metallurgists. Certain artifacts indicate the presence of weaving; in addition to their local utility, woven fabrics may also have served as media of exchange. It would be difficult to maintain that there was a strict subdivision of labour on a full-time scale (except perhaps on a basis of sex or age), but such a trend must have been setting in.

      It should be emphasized that the complexity of this picture cannot readily be conceived apart from a system of effective food production. It may also be noted that an older trend was not being reversed. The intensified food collecting at the close of the Pleistocene was apparently accompanied by increasing regional specialization and a tendency toward full utilization of a rather restricted environmental niche. Now—with the establishment and spread of the effective village-farming community, its expansion beyond the confines of the natural-habitat zone, and the beginnings of trade—the horizon began to widen again. The oikoumenē, or known world of these first effective village farmers, became an ever-expanding one. Hence, just as it is probably not very fruitful to ask exactly where any particular element was “invented” or first discovered within the level of incipient cultivation and domestication in the natural-habitat zone, it is probably most useful to view the development of the way of life of the effective village-farming community as a general regional phenomenon of cultural interrelationships and stimulations. It might be further suggested that this general development took place over a broad area that had certain localized environmental variables and natural resources. These environmental conditions, however, had been there, just as the natural-habitat zone itself had been, long before incipient and effective food production came into being. The latter were human, cultural achievements; favourable environment, though it enabled them to come into being, did not cause them.

The threshold of town and city life in the Middle East
      The end of prehistory and the threshold of urban civilization are first seen in classic southern Mesopotamia about 4500 BC. The materials of the Ubaidian assemblage make their appearance after a still rather poorly delineated phase in the basal levels of the mound of Eridu. Whatever elements combined in the earliest amalgam (northern Iraqian, Susianan, or indigenous), the resultant traits of the Ubaidian tradition are revealed in their greatest clarity, consistency, and variety in southern Mesopotamia by 4000 BC.

      There are mound accumulations and at least one large cemetery, which suggest a scale of communities well beyond that of the simple village. Buildings sufficiently large, formal in design and size, and monumental in concept and decoration to be judged as temples were present. Great quantities of painted pottery of high quality appear in the excavations. This pottery, by its very uniformity and the somewhat cursive nature of its decoration, may already have been the product of specialized craftsmen. No unquestionable instances of metal tools were available by the early 1960s from Ubaidian contexts in southern Mesopotamia (although metal was available by that time in the north), but quantities of very highly fired clay tools (axes, adzes, sickles) had been found. These were useful for cutting the pithy woods, reeds, and grain of the southern alluvial environment or for dressing sun-baked bricks. The female clay figurines continued, but in a unique and highly characteristic stylization.

General cultural level of the Ubaidian Phase
      A Ubaidian town supplied itself from fields of wheat and barley and its animal herds. The agricultural regime in the hot, dry alluvium of southern Mesopotamia depends, however, upon the utilization of the braided lower channels of the Tigris and especially of the Euphrates. Though elaborate irrigation works did not exist, the management of even quite informal ditches, with necessary shifts when the natural channels of the rivers shifted, added a new dimension to the sociopolitical necessities of Ubaidian culture. This system of irrigation may have been one of the factors that contributed to the expansion of society in late prehistoric Mesopotamia. Given the proper management and water, the yield of the rich alluvial soil was magnificent (until salinity became a problem several centuries later). There were also important dietary additions, such as dates from the groves of date palms and fish from the river channels and ditches.

      With southern Mesopotamia as its focus, the Ubaidian tradition “exported” some of its elements at least as far as the Mediterranean coast and throughout the great upper drainage basin of the Tigris–Euphrates and Karkheh–Kāİūn rivers. These exported traits doubtless reflect the growth of another oikoumenē, and one much more explicitly southern Mesopotamian in character. In southern Mesopotamia itself, the Ubaidian phase was followed (after a “Warkan” interval) by the proto-Literate period, in which the usual criteria of civilization are manifest.

South and East Asia
      It is known that village-farming communities existed in the Indus Valley as early as 3000 BC, if not earlier. The original complexion of their assemblages resembled those of Iran (and perhaps those of the Ubaidian imprint on southwestern Iran), but this complexion gradually changed to something characteristic of the Indus Valley itself and evidently culminated in the Harappan urban civilization. Some degree of contact between the cities of the Indus and of Mesopotamia certainly continued to exist, however. It is becoming evident that the Harappan complex was not restricted to the Indus Valley alluvium but extended into the adjacent semitropical portions of India as well.

      Knowledge of the developmental sequence in China is obviously incomplete. Except for a few snatches of typologically more simple materials, the first evidence of food production in China appears to pertain to a well-advanced phase of the effective village-farming-community level. This is the Yangshao complex, focussed in the basin about the confluence of the Yellow River (Huang Ho), the Fen Ho, and the Kuei Shui. Characterized by a handsome painted-pottery style, the Yangshao catalog also includes cultivated millet, rice, kaoliang, and possibly soybeans, as well as domesticated pig, cattle, sheep, dog, chicken, and possibly the horse and silkworm. The village houses were built of tamped earth; there was a flourish of “ceremonial” pottery vessels and of elaborately worked objects in jade, as well as flint, bone, and ground-stone objects of daily use. The Yangshao phase is followed by that called Lungshan, after which comes the Yin, or Shang, early dynastic complex of about 1500 BC. The date for the beginning of the Yangshao is unknown; 3500 BC is probably much too early.

      Even less is known of southern China and southeastern Asia; the former seems to have been affected by the expansion of the makers of the Lungshan black pottery and perhaps was also stimulated from the south. The rather amorphous Hoabinhian and Bacsonian sequence in Indochina, with ground-stone axes and adzes, appears to be quite late—perhaps of the 1st millennium BC. In Japan, on the other hand, the first appearance of pottery of early Jōmon (Jōmon culture) type (evidently all of the Jōmon development lies before effective cultivation had begun) has several radiocarbon determinations at about 7000 BC, but some authorities suspect contamination of the samples. Positive cultivation (wet rice) appears in Japan about 300 BC, in the Yayoi phase.

Robert J. Braidwood Ed.

Central Asia and Siberia
      The Mesolithic–Neolithic era and the settlement of northern Siberia started in the 7th to 6th millennia BC—the period of climatic optimum in Postglacial times, when forest conditions were introduced. Stratified sites in the Lake Baikal area show a long and gradual transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic stage. The Postglacial culture in Siberia was not a true “Neolithic” food-producing, but a “Mesolithic,” or “sub-Neolithic,” hunter-and-fisher, culture (except in southern Siberia around the Aral Sea) with a microlithic flint industry in western and southern Siberia and with polished-stone tools, pointed- or round-based pottery, and bow and arrow, starting in about the 4th millennium BC in almost all parts of Siberia.

      Culturally and racially, the territories of this vast area are divisible into two blocks: (1) the southwestern, covering the area from the Caspian Sea to the upper Yenisey, extending over the zones of semidesert, steppe, and forest steppe, and (2) the eastern and northern, covering mountainous regions from Lake Baikal to the Pacific Ocean and the taiga (coniferous forest) and tundra belts of northern Siberia. The first is represented by peoples of European descent, the second by peoples of Asian descent. These two groups were in conflict until the latter overcame the former in several waves.

European cultures
      The earliest Neolithic culture in the steppes and in the oases may reach the 4th millennium or earlier, but its beginnings are not as yet satisfactorily investigated. The small flint industry continued from the earlier Mesolithic times. In the 3rd millennium BC, copper, painted ware, and other elements from the south entered the area. Sheep, cattle, and horses were the chief domesticated animals. Copper knives and stone sledges for mining appeared. Pottery was mostly round-bottomed, decorated with geometric stamped or scratched patterns in rows. Typical burial of the dead was in a contracted position under an earth mound. Excavations in Khwārezm (Khorezm, Khiva) revealed large communal houses of oval form. In the region of the Aral Sea (Khwārezm) this culture was given the name Kelteminar, while in Altai and the region of Bisk, Krasnodar, and Minusinsk, it was known as Afanasievo, although related cultural features are found between southern Russia and the upper Yenisey, the area presumed to be Indo-European homeland. The Afanasievo was replaced by the Okunev group of stock breeders, famous for stone stelae incised with mythical figures, elsewhere in southern Siberia.

      Continuous cultural development is seen in the 2nd millennium BC. This culture, named Andronovo, is relatively uniform in this wide area, in spite of some local variations. Agriculture now played an important role. People lived in earth huts and reared cattle, sheep, and horses. Bowl- and flowerpot-shaped vessels were flat-bottomed, well smoothed, decorated with geometric patterns, triangles, rhombs, and meanders, pointing to relationship with the painted pottery of the southern regions. Burial in contracted position persisted. The typical elements of a religion of food producers, the fire and sun cult, as well as bread offering, are evidenced. Wooden constructions in rich graves may have designated social differentiation. The Andronovo complex is intimately related to the Timber-Grave (Russian Srubna) group in southern Russia: both represent branches of the Indo-Iranian cultural block.

      In the second half of the 2nd millennium BC in the region of Minusinsk, a Sinid group broke in that brought with it a bronze inventory of Ordos (northern China) type. Cemeteries of single graves covering the dead in extended position in stone cists, equipped with round-bottomed pots, appeared. New people mixed with the local Andronovo population. Through this immigration the so-called Karasuk culture originated and spread its influences farther to western Siberia and Russian Turkistan. Trade relations extended to central Russia. Exchange with the centres of the Far Eastern metallurgy introduced a new character of material culture (daggers and knives terminating in animal sculptures, series of ornaments) and stimulated the flourishing of metal industry in a wide area. The regions west of Minusinsk—Altai, Kazakhstan, and Kirghizia—show variations of Karasuk culture with strong local elements with which the persistence of the ancient racial type corresponds. Chronology of this period is based on comparisons with northern Chinese bronzes.

      The Karasuk period persisted down to c. 700 BC. From c. 700 to c. 200 BC, culture developed along similar lines. Vital trade contact is traced from northern China and the Baikal region to the Black Sea and the Urals, influencing the uniformity of the culture. A mounted-warrior element occurred, although the agricultural and cattle-breeding elements persisted. In the high Altai, Tien Shan, and Pamirs appeared graves of nomadic warriors with co-burial of horses. Regarding the local facies, or separate political confederations, cultures of this period are called Tagar in the region of Minusinsk, Maiemiric in Altai, Sauromatian (Sarmatian) in western Kazakhstan, Sakian in Tien Shan and Pamirs, and Massagetian in Khwārezm.

      The art of the steppe zone from southern and eastern Russia to China developed into specific animal style. The decorative talent is illustrated in the great ingenuity that the artist displayed in filling up with animal figures a shape determined by practical ends. The elk, ram, bird, and cat-animal portrayals of the middle of the 1st millennium BC exhibit a conjunction of the highest verisimilitude with rigorous stylization; later the organic form of the animal was ruled by extreme stylization. The elements of naturalism link this style with the naturalistic animal style of the northern Eurasian forest belt. New motifs in the steppe and forest-steppe belt—portrayal of groups of animals, antithetic and intertwined groups of bodies, curled up animals, beasts, and birds of prey—originated in a borrowing of ideas from the Middle East and China.

      Pre-Christian culture, although influenced by the Persian Empire, progressed gradually until the new flow from the east started. The territory between the lower Volga and Altai represents a unit with a common destiny. Chinese and Western sources report that the Sarmatian–Sakian time was followed by the supremacy of the Huns, who dominated the western steppes as far as the Urals and the Volga. Archaeological investigations show that the east–west movement started at a time when the Hun confederation had not yet been consolidated. In eastern Kazakhstan appeared an eastern group of Stone Tombs people not later than the 5th century BC. The main east–west stream ran presumably from Manchuria–upper Lena, along the northern border of the Gobi, into the Lake Balqash territory, and from there on, avoiding powerful cities in Khwārezm, into the steppes north of the Caspian. For centuries up to the consolidation of the Turkish khanate in the 6th century AD, Asian components were mingling with the local European, which have never been wiped out. The known pre-Turkic tribes—Massagetians, Sakians, Usuns, Khakas—all show more or less European physical traits.

      The cultural pattern from Altai to Transbaikalia in the last centuries BC and first centuries AD is largely traced to China of the Han period. Social differentiation is evidenced by princely burials, extraordinarily well preserved in five large burial mounds of Pazyryk and Shibe in the high Altai. Complete burial places were frozen, and even perishable substances were preserved, including human bodies and horses with harness and saddles, textiles, felt and leather objects, clothing, fur coats, false beards, besides jewelry, mirrors, hair plaits, etc. All materials were finished with virtuosity. The art combined animal, plant, geometric, and human designs. Polychromy played an important part. Mummification, tattooing, scalping, and the use of amulets are evidenced.

      Meanwhile, in the region of the Aral Sea, the apogee of the Khwārezm civilization was reached in the epoch of the empire of the Kushans. During the 1st and 2nd centuries AD the irrigation system attained its greatest development. Numerous cities were built along the banks of the canals.

Asian cultures
      The Arctic and sub-Arctic zones exhibit a continuous culture belt in a sub-Neolithic stage from Boreal times through several millennia. Making of pottery and polishing of stones, but neither farming nor domestication of animals, except the dog, were known. People lived in small, semi-nomadic communities, in semi-subterranean houses. The Arctic seashores demonstrate sea-hunter cultures. In the north this stage of life has lasted down to the present time. The region of the Amur River in eastern Siberia shows a long-lasting Neolithic, of which the oldest forms resemble certain finds of northern Japan (Proto-Ainu) and China. Cultural continuity is traced from the Neolithic through the stages in which copper smelting and iron were known. In the farthest northeast, archaeological and other data suggest that the Kamchadal, Koryak, and Chukchi entered the area from the west less than 2,000 years ago and found the coastal region occupied by a population related to the Eskimo.

      The Ural region was linked with the northern Russian and western Siberian culture on one hand and with the Aral Sea region on the other. Throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Age times, two cultural branches were evident: the middle Ural (or Shigir) and that of the Ob River basin. During the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC the culture of the middle Ural region is famous for its elk and water-bird sculptures portrayed in wood, found in the peat bogs of Gorbunovo and Shigir, and that of the upper Ob region for its cemeteries in the area of Tomsk, abundant art objects, including bear figurines, and rock carvings. Cultural relationships between the northern Baltic and northwestern Siberia, forming a continuum up to the early historic period, furnish this area with the characteristics of the homelands of the Finno-Ugric-speaking peoples.

      The best-explored regions are the shores of Lake Baikal, the Angara Valley, the upper Lena, and the lower Selenga. The earliest Neolithic culture shows Siberian Upper Paleolithic traits; the flint tradition of small implements persisted alongside a wood-working and quartzite industry, which developed as a result of adaptation to a taiga environment. Chronological phases are based chiefly on the Angara grave materials by means of stratigraphy and comparisons. The following successive cultures are discerned: (1) Isakovo, showing the earliest appearance of pottery, alongside flint and bone tools (arrowheads, knives, points, half-ground adzes). Pointed-based pots in Isakovo probably were copies of similarly shaped baskets. Art monuments are not numerous here. The period may reach back to c. 4000 BC. (2) Serovo, characterized by thinner pottery, decorated by dentate stamping, boss, pit, and net impressions and by stone inventory of more regular forms; reinforced bows with bone backing and fish effigies of stone appear. A marked increase of population is indicated by settlements covering hundreds of square metres, including storage pits for fish. In cemeteries, women's graves were richly equipped, which may indicate woman's equal rights in Serovo community. Serovo people migrated to the steppe and deserts of Central Asia and Inner Mongolia. The period belongs to the 3rd millennium BC. (3) Kitoi, placed before the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, shows a variety of more developed forms of equipment; the great number of fishhooks found in the graves indicates that subsistence was now based primarily on fishing instead of hunting; sculptures (Western sculpture) of human faces in stone, stone rings, and nephrite and copper objects appear; close parallels in stone and bone industry, as well as in art style, are found from northern Scandinavia and northern Russia to China. (4) Glazkovo, extending through the middle of the 2nd millennium BC to c. 1300 BC, continues a similar mode of life; novelties include the appearance of burial mounds and burials in stone cists, copper knives and arm rings, nephrite rings and disks.

      The first bronze inventory in the region of Lake Baikal is related to the bronzes of the Shang period in northern China and the earliest Ordos bronzes. Life was then of semi-settled character, and cattle breeding was known. Continuity of culture in the Bronze Age stage is traced up to c. 300 BC. The period between c. 700 and 300 BC in Transbaikalia, called Stone Tombs I, exhibits a transition to nomadism and mounted-warrior conditions. Cultural elements held in common with the Scythian steppe zone appear as far in the northeast as the Lena River. South–north and north–south movements are attested in the last centuries BC. The south–north movement is assumed as Sakha (Yakut) migration from the Baikal to the upper Lena region, the north–south movement from Cisbaikalia to Transbaikalia as migration of the taiga group, related to the Tungus of the present day.

Marija Gimbutas

      The Paleolithic of Africa is characterized by a variety of stone-tool assemblages, some of which represent purely local developments while others are practically identical with materials from corresponding horizons in Europe. Geological investigations of the Late Cenozoic deposits of this continent indicate that, as the result of fluctuations in rainfall, the Pleistocene Epoch throughout most of Africa can be subdivided on the basis of a succession of pluvial and interpluvial stages. The pluvials, known as Kageran, Kamasian, Kanjeran, and Gamblian, are believed to represent the tropical and subtropical equivalents of the four major glacial stages of the Northern Hemisphere, but this has not yet been proved. The archaeological succession is well established in certain areas, although not in the continent as a whole.

      In this area, very crudely worked pebble tools have been reported from one site in Algeria in direct association with a Lower Pleistocene (Villafranchian) mammalian assemblage. Throughout Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and the Sahara region, Lower Paleolithic hand axes of both Abbevillian and Acheulean type, together with flake tools, have been found in great numbers. The geological evidence shows that the Sahara region was far less arid during Pleistocene times than it is at present. The Middle Paleolithic of both Levalloisian and Mousterian facies is very widespread in North Africa, and it apparently persisted as late as the second maximum of the Würm glaciation in terms of the European sequence. A specialized Middle Paleolithic development, known as the Aterian (Aterian industry), occurred there; it is characterized by tanged points made on flakes and flake blades. This was succeeded by two distinctive blade-tool complexes—the Capsian (Capsian industry) and Oranian—which are more or less contemporary. Their main development took place during the time span of the European Mesolithic. The Capsian sites are all inland, whereas the Oranian has a coastal distribution. Both are microlithic tool complexes that persisted after the introduction of Neolithic traits into the area.

      The Pleistocene terrace gravels of the Nile Valley in Egypt have produced a wealth of Paleolithic materials. The 30-metre terrace contains typical Abbevillian and early Acheulean hand axes, including a special form with a triangular section known as the Chalossian type. These are associated with primitive flake implements. In the 15-metre terrace, developed Acheulean has been recorded, while the nine-metre terrace yields large flakes and cores of Levalloisian type. In the low terrace, which occurs at a height of three metres above river level, developed Levalloisian (originally called Mousterian) has been reported. Overlying the low terrace, a local development known as the Sebilian is found. It contains very highly evolved flake implements of Levallois type and, in its later phases, a definite microlithic industry. Of approximately the same age as the Sebilian are several Epi-Levalloisian sites in the Lower Nile drainage, including the Fayyūm Depression and the al-Khārijah (Kharga) Oasis. In the latter area, where the specialized Levalloisian development is called the Khargan, an Egyptian version of the Aterian has been discovered.

East Africa
      In Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, very simple types of pebble tools, roughly chipped to an edge on one side only, occur in deposits of Lower Pleistocene age. This development, known as the Kafuan, apparently evolved into an industry characterized by implements made on pebbles chipped to an edge on both sides, called the Oldowan (Oldowan industry). Overlying the latter are beds containing true Lower Paleolithic hand axes of Abbevillian and Acheulean type, together with flake tools. Associated with the Middle and Late Acheulean are cleavers made on flakes, as well as evidence of the use of the prepared striking-platform–tortoise-core (Levallois) technique in the production of flakes. In the next-younger horizon, two distinct toolmaking traditions are found: the Kenya Stillbay, a Levalloisian derivative characterized by small- to medium-sized, bifacially flaked points or minute hand axes; and the Kenya Fauresmith, basically of Acheulean inspiration and very similar to the true Fauresmith of southern Africa. Carefully shaped round stone balls, believed to have been used as bola weights in hunting, constitute part of the Fauresmith assemblage. In the post-Gamblian dry phase, microlithic tools appear for the first time in an assemblage known as the Magosian. This was followed by the introduction into the area of a true blade technique, called the Kenya Capsian, together with the art of pottery making. More or less contemporary with the localities where the earliest pottery is found in East Africa, a series of sites has been discovered yielding typical microlithic assemblages and referable to the Kenya Wilton, also found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

      The sequence in southern Africa is well established on the basis of the terrace stratigraphy of the Vaal Valley. Just as in North and East Africa, the succession begins in the basal Pleistocene with the occurrence of simple pebble tools of Kafuan type. These develop into what is called the pre-Stellenbosch, which is found in the oldest gravels of the Vaal and which includes artifacts made on pebbles that recall both the Kafuan and the Oldowan. The true Stellenbosch complex occurs in the next-younger series of deposits; it is simply a southern African version of the Abbevillian and Acheulean of other parts of Africa and Europe. Typical are hand axes, cleavers, flakes struck from Victoria West cores, and (in its later phases) various sorts of flakes produced by the prepared striking-platform–tortoise-core technique. The Stellenbosch was followed by the Fauresmith (Fauresmith industry), which is characterized by evolved hand axes and Levallois-type flakes. The Stellenbosch and Fauresmith together constitute what is called the South African Older Stone Age, a period roughly corresponding to the Lower and Middle Paleolithic stages of Europe. On the other hand, the South African Middle Stone Age belongs to the later part of the Upper Pleistocene. It is characterized by a series of more or less contemporary flake-tool assemblages, each of which displays local features. These are known as Mossel Bay, Pietersburg, Howieson's Poort, Bambata Cave, Stillbay, etc.; Stillbay, which occurs in Kenya and Uganda, is the only one of these found outside southern Africa. The characteristic tools are made on flakes produced by a developed Levalloisian technique, including slender unifacial and bifacial lances or spear points for stabbing or throwing. In the final stages of the Middle Stone Age, known as the South African Magosian, microlithic elements appear, just as in the case of East Africa. The Later Stone Age cultures of this region—the Smithfield and the Wilton—developed during post-Pleistocene times. These are closely related and, in their later stages, reveal varying degrees of influence as the result of contact with the culture introduced by the Bantu-speaking peoples. Both were extant at the time the first Europeans arrived in southern Africa, and there is little doubt that the Wilton, which is a typical microlithic assemblage, is to be associated with the modern San (Bushman). There are many paintings in the rock shelters and engravings on stones in the open-air sites of southern Africa, the oldest of which belong to the Later Stone Age. The naturalistic style of art revealed at these sites persisted until well into historic times.

      The Lower Paleolithic sequence of Central, or Equatorial, Africa is essentially a repetition of what has already been outlined for East and southern Africa. At the beginning of Middle Stone Age times, however, a special development took place known as the Sangoan (Sangoan industry) (formerly Tumbian). This is characterized by picks and adzes made on bifacially flaked cores, the tranchet type of ax, hand axes of developed Acheulean (Acheulean industry) form, massive side scrapers, and many elongated, bifacially flaked points that probably served as lances or spearheads. The Sangoan seems to represent a response to the environmental conditions of this tropical rain-forest region. Its main development took place during Upper Pleistocene times, but it persisted after the introduction of Neolithic traits into the area.

Hallam L. Movius, Jr.

      The Paleolithic was everywhere followed by the Mesolithic, a period when man continued to use stone tools, mostly microlithic, and, while still in the hunting-and-gathering stage, depended less for his food supply on large mammals than on fish and mollusks. In Africa the evidence for the Mesolithic is still scanty. In the Lower Nile Valley, sites have been examined only at Ḥulwān (Helwan) and Kawm Umbū (Kom Ombo). At the latitude of Khartoum, for a considerable distance to each side of the Nile, have been found sites of a Mesolithic culture in which large, well-fired, unburnished pots decorated with designs impressed with a fish spine to make them resemble baskets were made and barbed bone harpoons were used for fishing. Arrows were mostly armed with stone lunates, and in general the microlithic industry shows relations with the Capsian (of northwestern Africa) and the Wilton (of east central Africa). The fauna indicates a climate much wetter than the present. The upper Kenya Capsian, with traces of similar pottery found at Gamble's Cave, probably represents the Mesolithic of Kenya. Its pottery also copies basketwork. And while it is impossible to say where pottery was invented, the discovery of a prepottery Neolithic in Asia, with the existence of modern mud-lined baskets among the Nilotes, the accidental burning of which could have led to the invention of pottery, suggests that pottery was possibly an African discovery.

      The Neolithic inventions that led to the rise of man above the conditions of the Old Stone Age were made gradually in different places and probably over a long period. Some, such as the domestication of animals, took place more than once. In a famine, a wild animal will sell itself into slavery to man for the food that will preserve its life. Thus, cattle and goats, while certainly domesticated in Asia, may have been independently domesticated in Africa, too. African jackals may have provided one breed of domestic dog, while the donkey and the cat are African. The polishing of stone implements was probably a by-product of the grinding of red ochre, in wide demand for its magic properties since the Paleolithic and extensively used in Africa in the Mesolithic and later. One result of the grinding of ochre was to polish the grindstone, and another, when the upper grindstone was used at an angle, was to develop a sharp edge that, produced accidentally, may have led to the idea of grinding the cutting edge of celts or other tools. Repeated pecking of the flat surfaces of the grindstones that became too smooth to grind ochre efficiently led to perforation of the stone and thus to the development of the disk macehead of the Nile Valley. Archaeology must establish where and when celts were first ground; but the partly polished celts of the Fayum and Khartoum are probably the earliest forms of that tool known. The cultivation of wheat, barley, and flax probably were Asiatic developments that first entered Africa through the Nile Delta. The cultivation of one form of wheat may have originated in Ethiopia, however.

      In Egypt, civilization first reached its full development c. 3000 BC, but though it passed through Copper and Bronze ages and introduced copper tools to The Sudan, there is no evidence of either of these ages in the rest of Africa, where a transition from the Stone Age, generally still Mesolithic in type, directly to the Iron Age took place gradually during the last two millennia and in a few places did not take place until the middle of the 20th century. In some localities, an intermediate state, when Neolithic forms were used, occurred (e.g., Zaire and Ghana), but elsewhere (e.g., Kenya) polished-stone celts, or axes, seem so rare that they may have been comparatively late imports from the north.


      The prehistoric sequence in the New World shares many essential developmental features with the Old World and provides a test for generalizations about cultural development based upon Old World materials. In the New World there is evidence for an early horizon of primitive food collectors, followed by an increasing specialization of food collecting based primarily upon differences in localized resources. These specialized collectors were followed by a tradition of food production independent of the Old World.

      With food production came gradual increases in centres of population; villages were succeeded by towns and finally by centres of urban civilizations, which at the time of European contact were comparable to the ancient civilizations of the Middle East.

      The absence of a suitable fossil record and of cultural remains from Early and Middle Pleistocene deposits in the New World have led prehistorians to look to the Old World as the ultimate source of the diverse populations of American Indians found in the Western Hemisphere by the early European explorers. Present knowledge of Pleistocene glaciations and of accompanying alterations in sea level indicates that the most probable route of entry for man from the Old World was via a land bridge between Alaska and Siberia, crossing what is now the Bering Strait. It appears that a dry-land crossing of this area was possible during periods of continental glaciation, until about 10,000 years ago. The subsequent flooding of this region has hidden whatever traces these early migrants may have left of their arrival on the threshold of the American continents, and it is necessary to look to the interior of North America for evidence of their presence. Although these early horizons of American prehistory are little known, a few sites in central Mexico have cultural remains or other possible evidences of man in a context suggesting occupation as early as 20,000 years ago. At no site in this early context are there any types of implements distinctive enough to be recognized in a context of crudely chipped stone tools from later horizons.

Early cultures
      The earliest well-defined cultures in the New World have been placed by radiocarbon dating at about 9000 to 10,000 BC. At this period, two distinct traditions in North America are known: the Paleo-Indian big-game hunters of the Great Plains and eastern North America, and the Desert-culture peoples of the western basin–range region.

Paleo-Indian tradition
 The oldest remains of the Paleo-Indian tradition are found on sites where large Pleistocene mammals were killed and butchered. The most distinctive artifact type of this horizon is the Clovis (Clovis complex) Fluted projectile point, a lanceolate point of chipped stone that has had one or more longitudinal flakes struck from the base of each flat face. These points are accompanied by side scrapers and, in one instance, by long cylindrical shafts of ivory. They are most frequently associated with mammoth, although associations with extinct species of bison, horse, and camel have also been reported.

      A second Paleo-Indian horizon, which seems in part to be contemporary with the Clovis material and partially to postdate it, is the Folsom (Folsom complex) phase of the central high plains. It is characterized by lanceolate points of more careful manufacture (including broader fluted surfaces) than Clovis, associated with the remains of extinct Bison antiquus. The Lindenmeier site, a Folsom campsite in northeastern Colorado, has yielded a wide variety of end and side scrapers, gravers, and miscellaneous bone artifacts. Clovis sites have been dated at about 9000 BC by radiocarbon, and Folsom sites at about 500 to 1,000 years later. Fluted points similar to western Clovis specimens have been found over most of the eastern United States south of the limits of the last major glacial advance. A single series of radiocarbon dates from the Debert site in Nova Scotia places the age of points of similar type at about 8500 to 9000 BC in that area. The distribution of this artifact type with respect to glacial events, however, suggests an appearance as early as 11,000 BC and a terminal date about 3,000 years later. In the east, several specialized varieties of fluted points may replace Clovis-type points toward the end of the Paleo-Indian occupation. While there is no instance of the discovery of eastern fluted points in association with an extinct fauna, the similarity of the accompanying assemblages of scrapers and gravers to those of the western industries suggests a similar carnivorous economic orientation in the east. Outside of the United States, fluted points have been reported at scattered sites from Alaska to Ecuador, but no certain temporal context has been established for any of these finds, and faunal associations are not clear.

      Another variety of Paleo-Indian culture, which appears to be contemporary with the Clovis and Folsom phases, is characterized in its early horizons by rather crudely flaked lanceolate points that have been found associated with the bones of mammoth at two sites near Ixtapan in the Valley of Mexico and between the Clovis and Folsom horizons in a gravel pit near Portales, New Mexico. Similar points in circumstances suggesting comparable age have been found at San Jon, New Mexico, and Lime Creek, Nebraska. It appears that by about 7000 BC the fluted-point industries were replaced by a succession of lanceolate-point-using phases, which continued the Paleo-Indian hunting tradition, concentrating primarily on large, now-extinct species of bison until the onset of the Altithermal dry period about 5000 BC. The eastern limit of these cultures is in the vicinity of the western Great Lakes, while the most intensive occupation was on the western plains.

Desert tradition
      The Desert-culture tradition, an adaptation of food-collecting peoples to the impoverished habitats of the basin–range area of western North America, seems to have been established by about 9000 BC. The most extensive knowledge of this way of life comes from cave or rock-shelter sites, such as Danger Cave in western Utah, in which the desiccated remains of vegetal and animal materials have been discovered along with stone tools. The Desert peoples made intensive use of virtually all aspects of their habitat, specializing in the use of vegetable fibres for a wide variety of implements, including twine, nets, baskets, sandals, and snares. Projectile points appear to have been mostly leaf- or lozenge-shaped or lanceolate in earlier phases, with a greater use of notching for hafting in later phases. An essential feature of Desert assemblages is the milling stone, for use in grinding wild seeds. In earlier sites this is likely to be a small, thin, portable slab of stone used with a small pebble handstone, while later in the sequence, large, basin-shaped milling stones are more characteristic. Large choppers and scrapers are common in Desert sites and appear to have been used for the processing of plant materials.

Rise of agriculture
      Although the southern limits of the Desert culture are not yet clearly defined, it is known that it extended into Mexico, where, in the state of Tamaulipas, Desert materials have been found associated with the earliest known cultivated plants in the New World. Here, in the Infernillo phase, it appears that native American squash, peppers, and perhaps beans were being cultivated as early as 6500 BC. At this time, domesticates formed only a small portion of the total diet, the bulk of which was derived from wild animals and, to a lesser extent, wild plants. At about 2500 BC a primitive variety of corn (maize) first appeared in the Tamaulipas area in the La Perra phase. It appears, however, that corn was first domesticated elsewhere, possibly in the Puebla area of south central Mexico, where a date of 3600 BC is reported from materials associated with early corn in a cave near the town of Tehuacán. Even in the La Perra phase, cultivated species formed only a small part of the total diet, the majority of foodstuffs being wild plants. It appears that the development of efficient techniques of production of the three major New World domesticates—corn, beans, and squash—was necessary before real sedentary village and town life was possible in most of nuclear America. This level of efficiency seems to have been reached between 2000 and 1500 BC in Mesoamerica and Peru. Thus, there is evidence in the New World for plant domestication comparable in age to that of the Old World, but for many years this was unattended by the development of village life that closely followed domestication there.

Other developments
      While the earliest cultivation was under way in Middle America, other areas of the New World also show evidence of interesting developments. At the site of Palli Aike, on the Strait of Magellan, the earliest cultural horizon has yielded a radiocarbon date of about 8000 BC, indicating that man reached the southern extremity of the New World well before 10,000 years ago. In the Northern Hemisphere, food-collecting cultures were well adapted to several specialized ways of life by about 4000 BC.

      In the eastern United States, two basic traditions utilizing the woodland areas appear to have grown from an earlier culture that was present in that area by 6000 or 7000 BC. This early Archaic tradition is best known from the Modoc Rock Shelter in southern Illinois and from Graham Cave in Missouri and Russel Cave in Alabama. It differs from preceding Paleo-Indian horizons in its orientation toward a broad range of resources, including plant foods, as evidenced by the frequent use of milling stones. While some projectile points from these sites suggest Paleo-Indian varieties, the majority are stemmed or notched and differ in flaking technique from contemporary western Paleo-Indian specimens. By 2500 BC the Archaic cultures of eastern North America had separated into several distinct phases. There appears to have been a major division between peoples adapted to a riverine environment in the south and those adapted to the lacustrine resources of the north. Both depended, to a large extent, on the forest resources bordering these aquatic habitats. The Middle Atlantic coastal area appears to have supported another type of Archaic culture, and the boreal forests of the north yet another. In areas without concentrations of particularly favourable resources, a generalized Archaic culture similar to the earlier pattern seems to have persisted. Most Archaic cultures are characterized by a rather extensive use of ground-stone implements, both woodworking tools and other categories, such as bowls, knives, net sinkers, and elaborate weights for spear throwers. Projectile points vary widely but are usually rather large and crude and are stemmed or broadly notched for hafting. Perhaps the most interesting of the late Archaic manifestations is the Old Copper culture of the northern Great Lakes area. Here, exposures of native copper were quarried and cold-hammered into implements, such as projectile points, knives, awls, and axes; and highly valued copper from this region was traded over much of eastern North America.

Western North America
      In western North America, similar developments were under way during this same period. It appears that the more arid regions of the basin–range country were largely depopulated during the Altithermal dry period (from about 5600 to 2500 BC) and that in surrounding regions diversification and specialization took place. In the drainages of the major rivers of the northwest, such as the Columbia and the Fraser, the annual abundance of salmon was the basis of a cultural adjustment as early as 7000 BC. Implements of this horizon are similar to those found earlier in the Desert culture, with projectile points, the most diagnostic artifact types, tending to be long and leaf-shaped or slightly stemmed and with a few notched forms also present. Following the Altithermal drought, a broad horizon characterized by the use of indented-based points with serrate-edged blades (generally termed “Pinto-like,” after the type locality in the Pinto Basin of California) is found over much of the southern portion of western North America. In at least one of the phases representing this horizon, the Chiricahua of southern Arizona and New Mexico, it appears that primitive corn cultivation was practiced. The site of Bat Cave in western New Mexico has produced specimens of a type of primitive corn that is also known from the Flacco phase in Tamaulipas at 2000 BC but that is here in association with a Chiricahua assemblage from which materials have been dated at about 1000 BC.

South and Middle America
      By 2500 BC, techniques of cultivation had also reached the northern coast of Peru, where, at such sites as Huaca Prieta at the mouth of the Chicama Valley, there was a mixed dependence upon marine foods such as sea urchins, mollusks, and fish; upon wild plants, mostly tubers and roots; and upon cultivated plants, including beans, peppers, and a different genus of squash than that cultivated in the early horizons in Tamaulipas. Gourds and cotton were also grown, the gourds for use as containers and net floats, the cotton for twined fabric and cordage. The use of stone at Huaca Prieta is interesting in its simplicity. Crude flakes and shattered pebbles compose the entire chipped-stone industry, while pecked and ground-stone artifacts are chiefly perforated net sinkers. In the upper levels of the site are architectural remains consisting of one- or two-room, small cobble-walled subterranean houses. The absence of ceramics at the Huaca Prieta site poses a number of interesting problems. From the Valdivia site in Ecuador, several hundred miles to the north, radiocarbon samples indicate that ceramics may have been present there as early as 2500 BC, and another date from Panama indicates that the ceramics of the Monagrillo phase were manufactured by about 2000 BC. Present knowledge of the northern coast of Peru does not reveal ceramics before about 1200 BC, indicating an isolation of this area from cultural developments to the north. With ceramics, corn and other indications of Middle-American influence appear in Peru.

Village farming and towns
      The appearance of village farming in the upper levels at Huaca Prieta and in the immediately succeeding Guañape phase in surrounding areas is roughly contemporaneous with the first appearance of this way of life in the Valley of Mexico at such sites as Zacatenco and El Arbolillo. Here a relatively sophisticated ceramic tradition (clearly derived from elsewhere) appears in the earliest levels. While evidence for architecture is not completely clear, it appears that by about 1500 BC there were small villages of wattle-and-daub (wattle and daub) huts scattered along the shores of the lakes of the Valley of Mexico, with inhabitants subsisting largely on corn–bean–squash cultivation, supplemented by the meat of game animals and by various aquatic resources.

      Earliest evidences for the next cultural advances are apparent by about 800 BC in changes in architecture and settlement pattern in several areas of Middle America and Peru. At this time, fairly extensive public works are represented by temple structures and large sculptured monuments, which occupy a central position in towns and villages. Phases as widely separated as the Olmec of Veracruz and the Cupisnique of coastal Peru appear to be linked not only in time and patterns of basic subsistence but in specific ritual practices involving a jaguar or feline deity. Throughout Middle America and in the Andean area, this appears to have been a time of consolidation and establishment of the basic traditions that dominated the development of high cultures in the New World up to European contact.

      The spread of cultivation into North America seems to have proceeded along two separate courses, one from northern Mexico into the southwest and the other from an unknown Middle American source into the Mississippi Valley. One of the earliest known phases in eastern North America in which corn cultivation appears to have had a role in subsistence is the Adena, which occupied the middle Ohio River Valley by about 800 BC. The stimulus of the Adena farmers was apparently instrumental in bringing about the spectacular Hopewell culture in the Illinois and Ohio valleys. The success of the Hopewell peoples (400 BC to AD 400) seems to have been due largely to their combining elements of the preceding Archaic cultures with elements of the Adena culture and perhaps with some features of a local cultivating tradition. It is evident that the Hopewell culture included a well-organized village-based society in which surplus resources were used in the construction of elaborate earthworks and were concentrated as wealth in a restricted group of individuals. The most outstanding feature of Hopewell culture is a burial (burial mound) complex that called for the deposition of concentrations of wealth in tombs of one or several deceased individuals. The interment procedure was elaborate and involved the construction of a large log tomb, later burned and covered by an earth mound. Artifacts found within these burial mounds indicate that the Hopewell were able to obtain goods from widespread localities in North America. Obsidian and grizzly-bear teeth were apparently derived from the Rocky Mountain region, copper from the northern Great Lakes, and conch shells and other exotic objects from the southeast and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The ceramics of the Hopewell appear to be based in two major traditions, one derived from northern Asia, which reached eastern North America by about 1000 BC, and the other from Middle America, where the decorative technique of rocker-stamping, characteristic of finer Hopewell pottery, existed several hundred years prior to the earliest appearance of the Hopewell culture. In less favourable areas of eastern North America, a “generalized Woodland” culture paralleled the Hopewell in time, probably based more on collecting than on cultivation.

      The period of the Hopewell culture was followed by relative decline in social cohesion in the northern Mississippi and Ohio valleys, evidenced by the absence of unifying features comparable to the Hopewell in the succeeding generalized Woodland culture. At about AD 800 a new tradition, with much stronger and more specific Middle American elements, moved up the Mississippi Valley. This Mississippian culture was based on more intensive cultivating techniques than the Hopewell and resulted in impressive concentrations of population in large towns through the southern and central Mississippi Valley and in several areas of the southeastern United States. A central ceremonial plaza provided the nucleus of a Mississippi town, and each settlement had one or more pyramidal or oval earth mounds, surmounted by a temple or chief's residence, grouped around the plaza. This settlement pattern is typical of most of Middle America after about 850 BC but is not found in North America until the Mississippian culture appears. The scale of public works in the culture can be estimated from remains of the largest of the Mississippian earthworks, Monk's Mound near Cahokia, Illinois, which measures 1,000 feet in length, more than 700 feet in width, and is still 100 feet in height. The first European explorers in the southern Mississippi Valley in the early 16th century found the Mississippian culture still flourishing as warring alliances of towns, each ruled through a theocratic system based on kin ties.

Pueblos (Pueblo Indians)
      In the southwest, the earliest villages of farmers appeared by about 200 BC, and this initial development in southern New Mexico and Arizona was succeeded by a gradual spread of this way of life as far north as southwestern Colorado, east to the Pecos River, and west into the lower valley of the Colorado River. The maximum expansion of the Puebloan culture of the eastern and northern portions of the southwest appears to have taken place by AD 1150 or 1200 and was followed by the gradual abandonment of much of the area by farming peoples. This decline seems to have been due to a combination of factors, including drought, deforestation, and lack of social cohesion within the villages. At the time of historic contact the Puebloan peoples were restricted to the Rio Grande Valley and adjacent localities and to scattered settlements in west central New Mexico and on the Hopi mesas of Arizona. The early explorers encountered other less well-organized farming groups, descended from the Hohokam and Patayan traditions of the southwest, in scattered localities along the Gila, Salt, and Colorado rivers.

      In South America, little is known of cultural development outside the Andean area, where, as in Middle America, urban civilization was well under way by the first few centuries AD. From a sequence near the mouth of the Orinoco, it appears that manioc cultivation, which formed the subsistence base for stable villages in the tropical forest, had been developed by about 1000 BC. Peripheral to the Andean area, numerous cultures are known, particularly in Colombia and northern Argentina and Chile, that show marked influence from Andean urban centres and yet preserve distinct local traditions throughout the late prehistoric period.

The general picture
      An overall view of the prehistory of the New World prior to the development of urban civilization reveals several general trends. The outline above follows the forefront of cultural development as it took place in several well-known areas. In localities less favourable to primary or intensive cultivation, the level of cultural development tended to stabilize at the point at which maximum food production was possible with the techniques at hand. Thus, in the Arctic and in the boreal forests of the north, as well as through most of southern South America and various other regions unfavourable for cultivation, cultural activity remained at an Archaic food-collecting level through the entire prehistoric period. In the tropical forests of South America and the woodlands of the northeastern United States, farming villages were the apex of cultural development under prehistoric conditions. In relatively favourable areas, such as the Mississippi Valley, the oasis regions of the southwestern United States, and several other regions peripheral to the South and Middle American high-culture centres, temple-centred towns were the climactic development. A general appraisal of cultural complexity reveals a trend from a single or few early cultural phases of uniform composition covering the entire New World, to the extremely diversified cultures of the last two millennia of the prehistoric period. Within the sequence of cultural development, it appears that the greatest diversity is present at the village-farming level, with hundreds of distinct phases indicating essentially locally oriented social groups that gradually united into larger units as communication and political pressures from more successful centres submerged the cultures of the weaker local phases.

      When compared with the Old World sequence, a similar succession of cultural levels can be distinguished in the New World, but there are differences in such basic qualities as the lack of economically important domestic animals in the New World and the much greater diversity of habitats and forms in which the various cultivated plants originated. These factors seem basic in explaining the wide discrepancy in rapidity of cultural development between the Old and the New World once the idea of cultivation was present. It was not until several cultivated crops (corn, beans, and squash for most of the New World) were fully developed and assembled that higher cultural levels were possible.

Robert McCormick Adams Ed.

      The archaeology of Oceania involves, for the most part, short time perspectives, because migrations within the open Pacific could have occurred only after the development of seagoing canoe navigation in Neolithic times. The exception is the New Guinea–Australia region, where the ancestors of the Australoid- and Negritoid-type peoples evidently arrived in Paleolithic times.

      The long-term history of the Oceanic peoples, especially the Polynesians (Polynesian culture), has been the subject of many theories. Scholars reject ideas involving a lost continent (e.g., Lemuria, Mu) or direct relations with the Middle East (e.g., the Ten Lost Tribes, migrations of Children of the Sun from Egypt), early India (e.g., Indus Valley–Easter Island connections), or Japan (e.g., supposed language relations). They also insist that, while eastern-voyaging Polynesians could well have reached the American continent and some may have found their way back into the islands, none of the various theories claiming that Oceanic peoples had their homelands in North or South America is scientifically credible (e.g., E. Rout's imaginative Maori Symbolism, T. Heyerdahl's thesis for the “Kon Tiki” voyage). Similarly, they reject theories explaining the Pre-Columbian civilizations on the American continent in terms of influences by way of the tropical Pacific islands from Asia. Most archaeological as well as racial, linguistic, and ethnological evidence continues to support the long-standing hypothesis of the settlement of Oceania by a succession of migrants from the Southeast Asia region, with at most very minor contacts eastward to America.

      The archaeological record begins when early Homo sapiens populations, comparable with the fossils of Wadjak in Java, Aitape in New Guinea, and Keilor and others in Australia, were moving eastward. This apparently occurred during the Fourth Glacial Epoch, when sea levels were lower, land pathways perhaps more uplifted, and inter-island channels narrower than now. Early man could migrate with lessened water obstructions from the Asiatic continental platform (Sunda Shelf) through the intermediate Celebes–Molucca–Lesser Sunda zones on to the Australian continental platform (Sahul, or Papuan, Shelf). Some scholars suggest such movements even during the Third Glacial, but this seems dubious. Core tools typologically Paleolithic and sometimes heavily patinated occur in both Southeast Asia and Australia, and crude flake tools often of microlithic size are found in the intermediate zones (e.g., Timor) as well. Yet all these are surface finds or of dubious age when at subsurface levels. Doubtless most early groups moved, in glacial times, near shorelines now inundated, though valleys suitable for inland hunting or locally uplifted coasts might yield finds. The vital western New Guinea region, much of which is swampy and lacking stone, has had little systematic study.

      The hypothetical picture has the isolated Australian and Tasmanian populations developing along regional and local lines characteristic of their later archaeological perspectives: generally Paleolithic, but with some Neolithic and also recent Malay trading contacts along the northern coasts. The New Guinea region was penetrated by canoe-migrating peoples carrying Neolithic elements that come to dominate the picture. The evidence suggests that the first comers were “dry” gardeners living in semi-sedentary hamlets, with crude stone tools including adzes and axes of oval cross section; such shifting cultivators are found still from Southeast Asia to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu (New Hebrides). The Melanesian areas were also penetrated, apparently later and especially along the coasts, by village-living peoples with more sedentary cultivation; stone construction in various forms; finer tools, including quadrilateral cross-section types; stone pestles and mortars; pottery; and other later Neolithic elements. In New Guinea, as shown by A. Riesenfeld, these influences appeared to arrive by way of the northeastern coast from the outer fringe of islands, perhaps the Bismarcks, Admiralties, and others. Unhappily, archaeological work in all these Melanesian zones has been limited to sporadic surface collecting and recording and to occasional tools turned up by garden workers or miners; time-sequence definitions are out of the question except as they may be inferred from Neolithic chronology in Southeast Asia.

      By contrast, archaeological work in Polynesia and some zones of Micronesia is considerably more advanced. For northwestern Micronesia a vital clue is a radiocarbon dating of approximately 1527 BC from a stratified deposit excavated in the Marianas. Collateral evidence suggests that occupation may go back to 2000 BC. The Mariana latte sites (rows of capped stone pillars, probably posts of important houses), together with stone mortars, pottery, and other artifacts, suggest migrations from the Philippines area in late Neolithic times.

      Farther east, the low coral islands of the Carolines, Marshalls, and Gilberts yield limited artifacts of shell, bone, and coral rock capable of some comparative study. The few high islands in this part of Micronesia, however, have extensive stone construction and other more diversified elements. Yap, for example, has stone ceremonial platforms, stepped tombs, “stone money,” pottery, etc. Ponape's most spectacular site, the “Venice” called Metalanim, has several acres of stone-faced islands and canals, the principal structure being a rectangular enclosure with double walls up to 40 feet high containing a central stepped tomb and also vault tombs. A much smaller Venice exists on Kosrae (formerly Kusaie), most easterly of the Carolines. Scholars generally attribute such elaborations of the basic stonework elements, in Polynesia as well as Micronesia, to local creativity rather than undemonstrated outside influences.

      Micronesia and Polynesia may usefully be treated as a continuous zone. With them, too, may justifiably be placed the Fiji zone of eastern Melanesia, the most easterly limit of the potter's craft. In compiling known data on stonework in this whole area, one may distinguish two great types: one to the west (Micronesia, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa areas), characterized by ceremonial courts, perhaps with god houses, and platform tombs often of stepped types; the other to the east (Societies, Hawaii, New Zealand, and islands eastward to Easter Island), characterized by temple structures, usually with altars, standing stones probably as backrests for gods and priests in the rituals, and cist burials within the structures. From simpler shrines having a few standing stones (e.g., inland Tahiti, New Zealand, small, outlying Hawaiian islands), the Polynesian temple became elaborated into various local forms including usually larger-size and “megalithic” stonework. In Hawaii wooden posts or images generally replaced standing stones. In the Tuamotus huge coralline slabs were often used, and in the Marquesas the stones were sometimes carved in human (or god) form. Some specialists consider that such comparative study solves the “mystery” of the Easter Island statues. Rather than being relics of some lost continent or pre-Polynesian migration, they follow this last pattern of carved figures, standing on altar platforms (called by the standard Polynesian name ahu) in which there are cist burials. Apparently a local inventive urge toward large size, combined with the presence of easily worked volcanic tuff, produced this one of the many variants of the Polynesian place of worship.

      Such local constructions, however, together with other more spectacular elements, such as widely scattered petroglyphs and a dubiously old “script” on Easter Island, have less significance for historical reconstruction than detailed study of variability in minor artifacts.

      Theories of contacts with the American continent must be treated with caution so far as they lean on gross parallels such as stone images or art resemblances; the most concrete evidence has been the presence of the sweet potato, apparently an American plant, in Oceania in prehistoric times.

Felix M. Keesing

Additional Reading
A sampling of the many regional studies includes, on Africa, C. Garth Sampson, The Stone Age Archaeology of Southern Africa (1974), an archaeological sourcebook surveying 2,000,000 years of human prehistory; on Asia, Robert Stigler (ed.), The Old World: Early Man to the Development of Agriculture (1974), a brief introduction to Paleolithic culture and the beginnings of the major civilizations in South Asia and the Middle East; on Europe, Sarunas Milisauskas, European Prehistory (1978), an anthropological treatment from the first settlements to the Roman Empire, tracing economies, settlements, social organization, trade, and ideology in the Neolithic and subsequent periods; Timothy Champion et al., Prehistoric Europe (1984), a comprehensive introduction; and Barry Cunliffe (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe (1994), through the decline of the Roman Empire; on the Americas, Shirley Gorenstein (ed.), Prehispanic America (1974), a discussion of Paleo-Americans, Mesoamericans, and the rise of civilization in South America; Robert F. Spencer et al., The Native Americans, 2nd ed. (1977), a scholarly study of traditional North American Indian cultures; Jesse D. Jennings (ed.), Ancient North Americans (1983), and Ancient South Americans (1983); Brian M. Fagan, The Great Journey: The Peopling of Ancient America (1987), and Ancient North America (1991), for the general reader; and Jesse D. Jennings, Prehistory of North America, 3rd ed. (1989), a survey of the earliest cultures of North America; and on Oceania, J. Allen, J. Golson, and R. Jones (eds.), Sunda and Sahul: Prehistoric Studies in Southeast Asia, Melanesia, and Australia (1977), essays exploring biology, agriculture, ethnography, biogeography, and other aspects; J. Peter White, A Prehistory of Australia, New Guinea, and Sahul (1982), a scholarly overview; and Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime: The Story of Prehistoric Australia and Its People, rev. ed. (1990), for the general reader. Ed.

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