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Mesolithic and Neolithic

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Information about Mesolithic and Neolithic

Published on November 2, 2008

Author: PaulVMcDowell

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Describes the Mesolithic and Neolithic precursors of civilization and their arts
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Precursors of Civilization: Mesolithic and Neolithic The Prehistoric Roots of the Humanities and the Arts

Formation of Human Settlements The formation of settled communities is the next phase The Mesolithic is not well defined except for the lack of domesticated plants or animals (Dogs for hunting is an exception.) The Neolithic is defined by the domestication of plant and animals By then, settled communities develop

The formation of settled communities is the next phase

The Mesolithic is not well defined except for the lack of domesticated plants or animals

(Dogs for hunting is an exception.)

The Neolithic is defined by the domestication of plant and animals

By then, settled communities develop

Mesolithic Communities: Some Examples Mount Sandel, Ireland, was settled after the extinction of megafauna (big game animals) Vedbaek, Denmark, was a coastal and Island community Nittano, Japan, is a classic example of a settled community with sophisticated pottery— And no agriculture or animal husbandry All three communities were seacoast communities that depended on fishing, hunting, and gathering All three began to develop specialized trades

Mount Sandel, Ireland, was settled after the extinction of megafauna (big game animals)

Vedbaek, Denmark, was a coastal and Island community

Nittano, Japan, is a classic example of a settled community with sophisticated pottery—

And no agriculture or animal husbandry

All three communities were seacoast communities that depended on fishing, hunting, and gathering

All three began to develop specialized trades

Mount Sandel Evidence of settled communities 4 huts accommodating 8-12 persons (upper left) Huts were circular with frame of bent saplings Evidence of consistent food yield Resource availability varied by season Location near seashore ensured year-round occupation Flints tools, such as this polished collection (lower left), were present

Evidence of settled communities

4 huts accommodating 8-12 persons (upper left)

Huts were circular with frame of bent saplings

Evidence of consistent food yield

Resource availability varied by season

Location near seashore ensured year-round occupation

Flints tools, such as this polished collection (lower left), were present

Vedbaek Grave sites (22) reveal a rich material culture, including ornaments Main living areas near sea, also with a rich marine life Land animals important but secondary The island of Vaenget Nord reveals specialized sites Butchering sites Stone and bone tool manufacture Woodworking

Grave sites (22) reveal a rich material culture, including ornaments

Main living areas near sea, also with a rich marine life

Land animals important but secondary

The island of Vaenget Nord reveals specialized sites

Butchering sites

Stone and bone tool manufacture

Woodworking

Nittano, Japan: Settlements Period is included in the Jomon pottery tradition (12,500-300 BCE) Settlements were permanent, as shown by: Complex tool assemblages Stone drills, knives, and scrapers Milling stones, including mortars and pestles, which indicate seeds and/or grains Pottery, with elaborate designs Horseshoe style residential patterns

Period is included in the Jomon pottery tradition (12,500-300 BCE)

Settlements were permanent, as shown by:

Complex tool assemblages

Stone drills, knives, and scrapers

Milling stones, including mortars and pestles, which indicate seeds and/or grains

Pottery, with elaborate designs

Horseshoe style residential patterns

Nittano, Japan: Subsistence Base Heavy dependence on sea resources 30 species of shellfish Fish was harvested in all seasons but winter Fishing gear: fishhooks, harpoons, canoes Land Resources: Land animals (deer and boar) Edible plant sources (180 species) Bones indicate year-round occupation

Heavy dependence on sea resources

30 species of shellfish

Fish was harvested in all seasons but winter

Fishing gear: fishhooks, harpoons, canoes

Land Resources:

Land animals (deer and boar)

Edible plant sources (180 species)

Bones indicate year-round occupation

Nittano, Japan: Jomon Pottery The period (12,500-300 BCE) begins with a rope design (upper left) Cords are pressed into the soft clay before firing : Jomon means “cord marking” They were probably modeled after reed baskets Later, in the Middle Jomon (2500-1500 BCE) the top of the pots took on a playful design (lower left) They may or may not have meaning Human figures (called dogu) also made their appearance.

The period (12,500-300 BCE) begins with a rope design (upper left)

Cords are pressed into the soft clay before firing : Jomon means “cord marking”

They were probably modeled after reed baskets

Later, in the Middle Jomon (2500-1500 BCE) the top of the pots took on a playful design (lower left)

They may or may not have meaning

Human figures (called dogu) also made their appearance.

Tassili, Algeria Rock painting suggests transition between foraging and herding domesticated animals This painting depicts men herding cattle and other animals at a site in Algeria, Tassili Other rock art show war scenes, herdsmen warding off lion attacks, and dancing Both human and animal figures reflect today’s population

Rock painting suggests transition between foraging and herding domesticated animals

This painting depicts men herding cattle and other animals at a site in Algeria, Tassili

Other rock art show war scenes, herdsmen warding off lion attacks, and dancing

Both human and animal figures reflect today’s population

The Neolithic: Overview The Neolithic, or “New Stone Age” begins at different dates (6000-4000 BCE in the Near East) in different locations. The features are the presence of: Domesticated plants, usually a staple such as wheat (Near East), corn (Mesoamerica) and rice (Central China or Southeast Asia) Domesticated animals (principally cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and camels)

The Neolithic, or “New Stone Age” begins at different dates (6000-4000 BCE in the Near East) in different locations.

The features are the presence of:

Domesticated plants, usually a staple such as wheat (Near East), corn (Mesoamerica) and rice (Central China or Southeast Asia)

Domesticated animals (principally cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and camels)

Fertile Crescent: The First Neolithic Region The earliest known sites are found in the Near East around the so-called Fertile Crescent, from the Upper Nile to the East Mediterranean (Levant) Then into Turkey and Syria and to present-day Iraq.

The earliest known sites are found in the Near East around the so-called Fertile Crescent, from the Upper Nile to the East Mediterranean (Levant)

Then into Turkey and Syria and to present-day Iraq.

Land Use in Foraging versus Agriculture Hunting and Gathering entails: : Extensive plant/animal exploitation Foraging over wide era Agriculture entails: Plant/Animal Domestication Intensive plant/animal exploitation Intensive cultivation of a small geographical area; herding (if practiced along) may involve extensive land use.

Hunting and Gathering entails: :

Extensive plant/animal exploitation

Foraging over wide era

Agriculture entails:

Plant/Animal Domestication

Intensive plant/animal exploitation

Intensive cultivation of a small geographical area; herding (if practiced along) may involve extensive land use.

Defining Characteristics of Neolithic Era Plant/Animal domestication Settled Communities or Regular Migration within small, well-defined area Technologies requiring settlement involve: Stones for grinding grains Pottery for cooking and storage Metallurgy for making agricultural implements Food Storage in pottery or in bins made of stone or clay Housing on permanent sites Trash sites: where you have large populations you have a lot of trash and garbage.

Plant/Animal domestication

Settled Communities or Regular Migration within small, well-defined area

Technologies requiring settlement involve:

Stones for grinding grains

Pottery for cooking and storage

Metallurgy for making agricultural implements

Food Storage in pottery or in bins made of stone or clay

Housing on permanent sites

Trash sites: where you have large populations you have a lot of trash and garbage.

Characteristics of Agriculture: Plants Cultivation: Preparing soil Propagation: Seed selection and planting Husbandry : weeding, providing water, protection from pests Harvesting of seeds (grain), fruits, or leaves when ripe Reproduction: seed storage

Cultivation: Preparing soil

Propagation: Seed selection and planting

Husbandry : weeding, providing water, protection from pests

Harvesting of seeds (grain), fruits, or leaves when ripe

Reproduction: seed storage

Characteristics of Agriculture: Animals Selection and breeding of animals for desired characteristics (meat, milk, wool) Husbandry: feeding and protecting animals during nonproductive periods Harvesting: Slaughter for meat, milking, shearing

Selection and breeding of animals for desired characteristics (meat, milk, wool)

Husbandry: feeding and protecting animals during nonproductive periods

Harvesting: Slaughter for meat, milking, shearing

Primary Centers: Near East Timeline: ca 6 Eastern Mediterranean Wheat, barley, rye Legumes: peas, lentils Fruits: Grapes, figs, olives Fibers: flax Animals: Pigs, sheep, goats Principal technology: canal irrigation

Timeline: ca 6

Eastern Mediterranean

Wheat, barley, rye

Legumes: peas, lentils

Fruits: Grapes, figs, olives

Fibers: flax

Animals: Pigs, sheep, goats

Principal technology: canal irrigation

Primary Centers: Egypt and the Nile Valley Timeline: ca 7000-5000 BC Grains: Wheat, Barley Fibers: Flax Animals: Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Cattle Principal Technology: flood plain irrigation

Timeline: ca 7000-5000 BC

Grains: Wheat, Barley

Fibers: Flax

Animals: Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Cattle

Principal Technology: flood plain irrigation

Primary Centers: South Asia (Indus River) Wheat may have diffused from Near East Animals were indigenous: camels, goats, water buffalo Principal technology: canal irrigation

Wheat may have diffused from Near East

Animals were indigenous: camels, goats, water buffalo

Principal technology: canal irrigation

Origins of Agriculture: Commonalities in Explanations Usually rejected: evident advantages of agriculture Involves more work than foraging Productivity beyond need Explanatory Commonalities Less available land for foraging Limitation of water supply Relative overpopulation Occurrence of plants and animals that can be domesticated

Usually rejected: evident advantages of agriculture

Involves more work than foraging

Productivity beyond need

Explanatory Commonalities

Less available land for foraging

Limitation of water supply

Relative overpopulation

Occurrence of plants and animals that can be domesticated

Concomitants of Domestication: Technology Grinding tools, from mano and metate or mortar and pestle to millstones Pottery Metallurgy Transportation: horse, oxen and cart Roads and trade routes Seagoing vessels

Grinding tools, from mano and metate or mortar and pestle to millstones

Pottery

Metallurgy

Transportation: horse, oxen and cart

Roads and trade routes

Seagoing vessels

Concomitants of Domestication: Social Consequences Settled communities Socioeconomic differentiation Simple to complex social structure Economic specialization (nonfarm) and trade Rise of money Political institutions: chiefdom to state Legal institutions and codified law

Settled communities

Socioeconomic differentiation

Simple to complex social structure

Economic specialization (nonfarm) and trade

Rise of money

Political institutions: chiefdom to state

Legal institutions and codified law

Concomitants of Domestication: Rise of the Humanities We encounter a more leisured society because High productivity allows freedom for some from subsistence activities. Full-time artisans take up the slack Artisans include those of luxury goods which include sculpture, painting, drawing They also include more intangible pursuits, such as music, drama, dance, and even philosophy

We encounter a more leisured society because

High productivity allows freedom for some from subsistence activities.

Full-time artisans take up the slack

Artisans include those of luxury goods which include sculpture, painting, drawing

They also include more intangible pursuits, such as music, drama, dance, and even philosophy

Northern Europe Europe was a secondary center of the Neolithic Revolution, having acquired agriculture from the Near East Several megalith (large stone) structure dotted Malta, France, Germany, and England Temples and a necropolis (city of the dead) were found at Ggandija on Gozo island near in Malta, an island between Italy and North Africa Carnac, Brittany, France, is a site of megaliths The best known is Stonehenge, southern England

Europe was a secondary center of the Neolithic Revolution, having acquired agriculture from the Near East

Several megalith (large stone) structure dotted Malta, France, Germany, and England

Temples and a necropolis (city of the dead) were found at Ggandija on Gozo island near in Malta, an island between Italy and North Africa

Carnac, Brittany, France, is a site of megaliths

The best known is Stonehenge, southern England

Case Studies: Stonehenge Stonehenge is the best-known megalithic structures in the European Neolithic (upper left) Location: plains of Salisbury in S. England Structure is a post-and-lintel type of construction Menhirs are vertical columns of massive stone (post) Dolmens are the stone “tables” placed on the dolmens (lintels) This structure is called a trilithon

Stonehenge is the best-known megalithic structures in the European Neolithic (upper left)

Location: plains of Salisbury in S. England

Structure is a post-and-lintel type of construction

Menhirs are vertical columns of massive stone (post)

Dolmens are the stone “tables” placed on the dolmens (lintels)

This structure is called a trilithon

Stonehenge: Structure (Con’t) Posts and lintels are attached using a projection from the post called a tenon The tenon fits into a hole, or mortice , in the lintel (upper left) The trilithons are arranged in a circle, or chromtechs These stones, composed of limestone, are called sarsens

Posts and lintels are attached using a projection from the post called a tenon

The tenon fits into a hole, or mortice , in the lintel (upper left)

The trilithons are arranged in a circle, or chromtechs

These stones, composed of limestone, are called sarsens

Stonehenge: Aubrey Holes Outside the circle are 56 Aubrey holes, named after their discoverer John Aubrey These are 3-foot holes filled with chalk A ditch surrounds the outer perimeter The holes are said to be calibrated to track the eclipse of the moon over 56 years

Outside the circle are 56 Aubrey holes, named after their discoverer John Aubrey

These are 3-foot holes filled with chalk

A ditch surrounds the outer perimeter

The holes are said to be calibrated to track the eclipse of the moon over 56 years

Other Parts of Stonehenge Outside the structure is the Heel Stone, placed northeast (upper left) Within the cromtech is the Altar Stone, partly surrounded by five inner trilithons, made of bluestone Viewed from the Altar stone, it is said that the sun rises directly over the heel stone in summer solstice

Outside the structure is the Heel Stone, placed northeast (upper left)

Within the cromtech is the Altar Stone, partly surrounded by five inner trilithons, made of bluestone

Viewed from the Altar stone, it is said that the sun rises directly over the heel stone in summer solstice

Questions Raised by Stonehenge How were such heavy stones moved from their sources no less than 26 miles away and as far away as Wales? How were these structures built without pulleys and other modern technologies? What were these sites for? Religion? Predictions? Is there anything to archaeological astronomy, such as claims of the Aubrey holes forecasting lunar eclipses? How about the claim that the sun rises directly above the Heel Stone when viewed from the Altar Stone? Inferences are many; conclusive evidence is limited.

How were such heavy stones moved from their sources no less than 26 miles away and as far away as Wales?

How were these structures built without pulleys and other modern technologies?

What were these sites for? Religion? Predictions?

Is there anything to archaeological astronomy, such as claims of the Aubrey holes forecasting lunar eclipses?

How about the claim that the sun rises directly above the Heel Stone when viewed from the Altar Stone?

Inferences are many; conclusive evidence is limited.

Neolithic Revolution Every civilization began with a Neolithic Revolution These will be mentioned at the beginning of each section for Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Egypt In all areas, a surplus supported an increasing population Nonagricultural crafts led to specialization and trade Large populations and trade had to be coordination, leading to the rise of a political elite and thereby social classes

Every civilization began with a Neolithic Revolution

These will be mentioned at the beginning of each section for Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Egypt

In all areas, a surplus supported an increasing population

Nonagricultural crafts led to specialization and trade

Large populations and trade had to be coordination, leading to the rise of a political elite and thereby social classes

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