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The Epipalaeolithic was a transition period in the technological development of man from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic , i.e. from the way of life of the Paleolithic hunters and gatherers to that of the peasant cultures of the Neolithic. This term is used for those regions that were not or hardly influenced by the change between the ice ages with mighty ice sheets and warmer interglacials. If anything, this change in the more southern latitudes had the effect of a series of rainy versus dry periods . This was particularly the case in North Africa, the Levant, and southern Europe, as well as northern India and southern Afghanistan. North of the Alps, for the period from the beginning of the Holocene around 9,600 BC. The term Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic) was used.

Regional and temporal processes

The Epipalaeolithic began in different regions around 20,000 years ago and ended - also very differently regionally - with the beginning of the Neolithic. This term is used in the western or Mediterranean cultural area, especially in the Middle East , Anatolia and Cyprus as well as in North Africa , i.e. in areas that entered the process of Neolithization very early . The reforestation process that began in northern Central Europe with post-glacial climate change had an impact in the Middle East in the form of several extremely arid climatic phases . This accelerated the economic change (“ Neolithic Revolution ”) in these areas . Archaeological cultures of this region are the Natufia ( Levant ) and the Pre-Ceramic Neolithic (South Anatolia, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Syria ).

The term Epipalaeolithic is also used in southern Europe - especially in the Romance-speaking area . It includes the archaeological cultures of the late glacial at the end of the Würm Ice Age , such as the Azilien . The end of the Epipalaeolithic is with the beginning of the Neolithic around 6000 BC. Marked.

There is also an Epipalaeolithic in South Asia, especially in Sri Lanka , where, according to archaeological findings, it may start from 30,000 BP, and in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. It also does not coincide with the European Mesolithic and ranges from 20,000 BP to 8000 BC in North Africa, where Ibéromaurusia is to be regarded as the main representative. Chr. Or later.


Tool molds

The Epipalaeolithic hunters and gatherers used flint - or obsidian - tools and weapons, in the manufacture of which so-called microliths were preferred. They are the typical lead forms for that period and often decisive for the archaeological findings. These very small, retouched, partly geometric blade fragments or micro- blades were attached to wooden shafts ( spears , knife handles, sickles, etc.) with birch pitch , tar or glue . The way of life was still predominantly nomadic , but towards the end there was also a beginning peasant way of life, because you can now also find grating and grinding stones , as they were needed for the production of flour. In the Middle East, the Natufien embodies the transition from the Epipalaeolithic to the Neolithic.

Sites of the Epipalaeolithic

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Britannica. Volume 21, p. 27.
  2. Fiedler, p. 113; Britannica, Vol. 21, p. 27; Clark, pp. 377-396, 551-553.
  3. Fiedler, p. 113; Hahn, pp. 255-267.