Early Paleolithic

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The Old Paleolithic - from ancient Greek παλαιός palaios 'old' and λίθος (lithos) 'stone' - is the earliest section of the Paleolithic and stands at the beginning of human history. The beginning of the Old Paleolithic is regionally defined with the earliest evidence of stone tools being cut as the first evidence of human culture: in Africa ( Early Stone Age ) about 2.5 million years ago, in Western Asia 1.8 million years ago, in the Middle East about 1 , 6 million years ago and in southern Europe at least 1.2 million years ago. In Central Europe , the early Paleolithic begins with undisputed stone artefacts less than a million years ago, for example from the clay pit Mülheim-Kärlich or Miesenheim in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The end of the Early Paleolithic and the beginning of the Middle Paleolithic is set worldwide with the transition to the Levallois technique (a new stone processing technique ) and is dated around 300,000 to 200,000 years ago.

Old Paleolithic in Africa

The beginning of this era marked the first appearance of simple stone tools of the " Oldowan culture", named after the first discoveries in the East African Olduvai Gorge . As manufacturers are Homo rudolfensis , Homo habilis and Homo erectus considered. A production by representatives of the genus Australopithecus cannot be excluded. The oldest use of stone tools is seen in controversial cutting marks from Dikika ( Ethiopia ), which are dated to an age of more than three million years and are attributed to Australopithecus afarensis .

The Oldowan culture ("mode 1") with its chopping tools was replaced in Africa about 1.6 million years ago by the Acheuléen ("mode 2"), which is marked by hand axes. The oldest hand axes are dated 1.75 million years ago.

Early Paleolithic in Europe

In Europe, the oldest stone artifacts fall at the earliest in the time range between 1.7 and 1.3 million years. In 2009 rubble tools and Old Pleistocene large mammal bones with traces of incision were published that were found near the southern French town of Lézignan-le-Cèbe in the Hérault valley (between Montpellier and Béziers ). Similar old tools from the Pirro Nord site ( Apulia ) were presented as early as 2007 . Undisputed human fossil remains and tools, however, only come from the approximately 1.2 million year old Sima del Elefante in the Sierra de Atapuerca .

In Europe, the first secured hand axes are recorded around 900,000 years ago in Estrecho del Quípar ( Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar ) in southeastern Spain. However, these are made of limestone and are therefore not undisputed. Flint hand axes from La Solana del Zamborino (also south-eastern Spain) are dated around 760,000 years ago. The oldest evidence of the Old Paleolithic in northwestern Europe comes from the Boxgrove Quarry site in southern England. The technically excellent hand axes were made more than 500,000 years ago.

See also

Portal: Prehistory and Protohistory  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Prehistory and Protohistory


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Bahn (ed.): Archeology. Cambridge Illustrated History. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1996.
  2. Olaf Jöris: The old Paleolithic site Dmanisi (Georgia, Caucasus). (= Monographs of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum. Volume 74). Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-7954-2140-3 .
  3. ^ Ofer Bar-Yosef et al. a .: The lithic assemblages of 'Ubeidiya: a Lower Palaeolithic site in the Jordan Valley. (= Monogr. Inst. Archaeol. Qedem. 34). Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1993.
  4. ^ Wil Roebroeks, Thijs van Kolfschoten: The Earliest Occupation Of Europe. University Press, Leiden 1995.
  5. ^ Gerhard Bosinski: The Transition Lower / Middle Paleolithic in Northwestern Germany. In: A. Ronen (Ed.): The transition from lower to middle Paleolithic and the origin of modern man. (= British Archaeological Reports. International Series 151). Oxford 1982, pp. 165-175.
  6. Shannon P. McPherron et al .: Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika. In: Nature. Volume 466, 2010, pp. 857-860 doi: 10.1038 / nature09248 .
  7. Christopher J. Lepre et al.: An earlier origin for the Acheulian. In: Nature. Volume 477, 2011, pp. 82-85 doi: 10.1038 / nature10372 .
  8. Ralf-Dietrich Kahlke et al .: Western Palaearctic palaeoenvironmental conditions during the Early and early Middle Pleistocene inferred from large mammal communities, and implications for hominin dispersal in Europe. In: Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 30, Issues 11–12, June 2011, pp. 1368–1395 doi: 10.1016 / j.quascirev.2010.07.020 .
  9. Jean-Yves Crochet et al: Une nouvelle faune de vertébrés continentaux, associée à des artifacts dans le Pléistocène inférieur de l'Hérault (Sud de la France), verse 1.57 Ma. In: Comptes Rendus Palevol. 8, 2009, pp. 725-736 doi: 10.1016 / j.crpv.2009.06.004 .
  10. M. Arzarello, F. Marcolini, G. Pavia, Pavia M., C. Petronio, M. Petrucci, L. Rook, R. Sardella: Evidence of earliest human occurrence in Europe: the site of Pirro Nord (Southern Italy) . In: Natural Sciences. 94, 2007, pp. 107-112.
  11. Atapuerca aumenta aún más la antigüedad del primer europeo. In: El Periódico de Catalunya. March 27, 2008 (Spanish).
  12. ^ Eudald Carbonell et al .: The first hominin of Europe. In: Nature . Volume 452, 2008, pp. 465-469 doi: 10.1038 / nature06815 .
  13. ^ A b Gary R. Scott, Luis Gibert: The oldest hand-axes in Europe. In: Nature. Volume 461, 2009, pp. 82-85 doi: 10.1038 / nature08214 .