In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic (Greek: μέσος, mesos "middle"; λίθος, lithos "stone") is the period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymously, especially for outside northern Europe, and for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus. The Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans roughly 15,000 to 5,000 BP; in Southwest Asia (the Epipalaeolithic Near East) roughly 20,000 to 8,000 BP. The term is less used of areas further east, and not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa.

The type of culture associated with the Mesolithic varies between areas, but it is associated with a decline in the group hunting of large animals in favour of a broader hunter-gatherer way of life, and the development of more sophisticated and typically smaller lithic tools and weapons than the heavy chipped equivalents typical of the Paleolithic. Depending on the region, some use of pottery and textiles may be found in sites allocated to the Mesolithic, but generally indications of agriculture are taken as marking transition into the Neolithic. The more permanent settlements tend to be close to the sea or inland waters offering a good supply of food. Mesolithic societies are not seen as very complex, and burials are fairly simple; grandiose burial mounds are another mark of the Neolithic.

Hunter gatherer's camp at Irish National Heritage Park - - 1252699
Reconstruction of a "temporary" house in Ireland; waterside sites offered good food resources.
The Mesolithic
Upper Paleolithic
Mesolithic Europe
Fosna–Hensbacka culture
Komsa culture
Maglemosian culture
Lepenski Vir culture
Kunda culture
Narva culture
Komornica culture
Swiderian culture
Epipaleolithic Transylvania
Mesolithic Transylvania
Schela Cladovei culture
Mesolithic Southeastern Europe
Epipaleolithic (Levant)
Levantine corridor
Zarzian culture


Mesolithic microliths

The terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" were introduced by John Lubbock in his work Pre-historic Times in 1865. The additional "Mesolithic" category was added as an intermediate category by Hodder Westropp in 1866. Westropp's suggestion was immediately controversial. A British school led by John Evans denied any need for an intermediate: the ages blended together like the colors of a rainbow, he said. A European school led by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet asserted that there was a gap between the earlier and later.

Edouard Piette claimed to have filled the gap with his naming of the Azilian Culture. Knut Stjerna offered an alternative in the "Epipaleolithic", suggesting a final phase of the Paleolithic rather than an intermediate age in its own right inserted between the Paleolithic and Neolithic.

By the time of Vere Gordon Childe's work, The Dawn of Europe (1947), which affirms the Mesolithic, sufficient data had been collected to determine that a transitional period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic was indeed a useful concept.[1] However, the terms "Mesolithic" and "Epipalaeolitic" remain in competition, with varying conventions of usage. In the archaeology of Northern Europ, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, Ukraine, and Russia, the term "Mesolithic" is almost always used. In the archaeology of other areas, the term "Epipaleolithic" may be preferred by most authors, or there may be divergences between authors over which term to use or what meaning to assign to each. In the New World, neither term is used (except provisionally in the Arctic).

"Epipaleolithic" is sometimes also used alongside "Mesolithic" for the final end of the Upper Paleolithic immediately followed by the Mesolithic.[2] As "Mesolithic" suggests an intermediate period, followed by the Neolithic, some authors prefer the term "Epipaleolithic" for hunter-gatherer cultures who are not succeeded by agricultural traditions, reserving "Mesolithic" for cultures who are clearly succeeded by the Neolithic Revolution, such as the Natufian culture. Other authors use "Mesolithic" as a generic term for post-LGM hunter-gatherer cultures, whether they are transitional towards agriculture or not. In addition, terminology appears to differ between archaeological sub-disciplines, with "Mesolithic" being widely used in European archaeology, while "Epipalaeolithic" is more common in Near Eastern archaeology.


Sépulture de Teviec Global
Two skeletons of women aged between 25 and 35 years, dated between 6740 and 5680 BP, both of whom died a violent death. Found at Téviec, France in 1938.

The Balkan Mesolithic begins around 15,000 years ago. In Western Europe, the Early Mesolithic, or Azilian, begins about 14,000 years ago, in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. In other parts of Europe, the Mesolithic begins by 11,500 years ago (the beginning Holocene), and it ends with the introduction of farming, depending on the region between c. 8,500 and 5,500 years ago. Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last glacial period ended have a much more apparent Mesolithic era, lasting millennia.[3] In northern Europe, for example, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies from the marshlands created by the warmer climate. Such conditions produced distinctive human behaviors that are preserved in the material record, such as the Maglemosian and Azilian cultures. Such conditions also delayed the coming of the Neolithic until some 5,500 BP in northern Europe.

Star Carr Engraved Pendant
Animated image showing the sequence of engravings on a pendant excavated from the Mesolithic archaeological site of Star Carr in 2015[4]

The type of stone toolkit remains one of the most diagnostic features: the Mesolithic used a microlithic technology – composite devices manufactured with Mode V chipped stone tools (microliths), while the Paleolithic had utilized Modes I–IV. In some areas, however, such as Ireland, parts of Portugal, the Isle of Man and the Tyrrhenian Islands, a macrolithic technology was used in the Mesolithic.[5] In the Neolithic, the microlithic technology was replaced by a macrolithic technology, with an increased use of polished stone tools such as stone axes.

There is some evidence for the beginning of construction at sites with a ritual or astronomical significance, including Stonehenge, with a short row of large post holes aligned east-west, and a possible "lunar calendar" at Warren Field in Scotland, with pits of post holes of varying sizes, thought to reflect the lunar phases. Both are dated to before c. 9,000 BP (the 8th millennium BC).[6]

As the "Neolithic package" (including farming, herding, polished stone axes, timber longhouses and pottery) spread into Europe, the Mesolithic way of life was marginalized and eventually disappeared. Mesolithic adaptations such as sedentism, population size and use of plant foods are cited as evidence of the transition to agriculture.[7] In one sample from the Blätterhöhle in Hagen, it seems that the descendants of Mesolithic people maintained a foraging lifestyle for more than 2000 years after the arrival of farming societies in the area;[8] such societies may be called "Subneolithic". In north-Eastern Europe, the hunting and fishing lifestyle continued into the Medieval period in regions less suited to agriculture, and in Scandinavia no Mesolithic period may be accepted, with the locally preferred "Older Stone Age" moving into the "Younger Stone Age".[9]


064 Pintures de la cova dels Moros, exposició al Museu de Gavà
Roca dels Moros, Spain, The Dance of Cogul, tracing by Henri Breuil

Compared to the preceding Upper Paleolithic and the following Neolithic, there is rather less surviving art from the Mesolithic. The Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin, which probably spreads across from the Upper Paleolithic, is a widespread phenomenon, much less well known than the cave-paintings of the Upper Paleolithic, with which it makes an interesting contrast. The sites are now mostly cliff faces in the open air, and the subjects are now mostly human rather than animal, with large groups of small figures; there are 45 figures at Roca dels Moros. Clothing is shown, and scenes of dancing, fighting, hunting and food-gathering. The figures are much smaller than the animals of Paleolithic art, and depicted much more schematically, though often in energetic poses.[10] A few small engraved pendants with suspension holes and simple engraved designs are known, some from northern Europe in amber, and one from Star Carr in Britain in shale.[11] The Elk's Head of Huittinen is a rare Mesolithic animal carving in soapstone from Finland.

The rock art in the Urals appears to show similar changes after the Paleolithic, and the wooden Shigir Idol is a rare survival of what may well have been a very common material for sculpture. It is a plank of larch carved with geometric motifs, but topped with a human head. Now in fragments, it would apparently have been over 5 metres tall when made.[12] The Ain Sakhri Lovers from modern Israel, are a Natufian carving in calcite.

Ceramic Mesolithic

In North-Eastern Europe, Siberia, and certain southern European and North African sites, a "ceramic Mesolithic" can be distinguished between c. 9,000 to 5,850 BP. Russian archaeologists prefer to describe such pottery-making cultures as Neolithic, even though farming is absent. This pottery-making Mesolithic culture can be found peripheral to the sedentary Neolithic cultures. It created a distinctive type of pottery, with point or knob base and flared rims, manufactured by methods not used by the Neolithic farmers. Though each area of Mesolithic ceramic developed an individual style, common features suggest a single point of origin.[13] The earliest manifestation of this type of pottery may be in the region around Lake Baikal in Siberia. It appears in the Elshan or Yelshanka or Samara culture on the Volga in Russia 9 ka,[14][15] and from there spread via the Dnieper-Donets culture to the Narva culture of the Eastern Baltic. Spreading westward along the coastline it is found in the Ertebølle culture of Denmark and Ellerbek of Northern Germany, and the related Swifterbant culture of the Low Countries.[16]



Geographical range Periodization Culture Temporal range Notable sites
Southeastern Europe (Greece, Aegean) Balkan Mesolithic 15,000–7,000 BP Franchthi, Theopetra[18]
Southeastern Europe (Romania/Serbia) Balkan Mesolithic Iron Gates culture 13,000–5,000 BP Lepenski Vir[19]
Western Europe Early Mesolithic Azilian 14,000–10,000 BP
Northern Europe (Norway) Fosna-Hensbacka culture 12,000–10,500 BP
Northern Europe (Norway) Early Mesolithic Komsa culture 12,000–10,000 BP
Central Asia (Middle Urals) 12,000–5,000 BP Shigir Idol, Vtoraya Beregovaya[20]
Northeastern Europe (Baltics and Russia) Middle Mesolithic Kunda culture 10,500–7,000 BP Lammasmägi, Pulli settlement
Northern Europe Maglemosian culture 11,000–8,000 BP
Western and Central Europe Sauveterrian culture 10,500–8,500 BP
Western Europe (Great Britain) British Mesolithic 11,000–5,500 BP Star Carr, Howick house, Gough's Cave, Cramond, Aveline's Hole
Western Europe (Ireland) Irish Mesolithic 11,000–5,500 BP Mount Sandel
Western Europe (Belgium and France) Tardenoisian culture 10,000–5,000 BP
Eastern Europe (Belarus, Lithuania and Poland) Late Mesolithic Neman culture 9,000–5,000 BP
Northern Europe (Scandinavia) Nøstvet and Lihult cultures 8,200–5,200 BP
Northern Europe (Scandinavia) Kongemose culture 8,000–7,200 BP
Northern Europe (Scandinavia) Late Mesolithic Ertebølle 7,300–5,900 BP
Western Europe (Netherlands) Late Mesolithic Swifterbant 7,300–5,400 BP

"Mesolithic" outside of Western Eurasia

While Paleolithic and Neolithic have been found useful terms and concepts in the archaeology of China, and can be mostly regarded as happily naturalized, Mesolithic was introduced later, mostly after 1945, and does not appear to be a necessary or useful term in the context of China. Chinese sites that have been regarded as Mesolithic are better considered as "Early Neolithic".[21]

In the archaeology of India, the Mesolithic, dated roughly between 12,000 and 8,000 BP, remains a concept in use.[22]

In the archaeology of the Americas, an Archaic or Meso-Indian period, following the Lithic stage, somewhat equates to the Mesolithic.

Geographical range Periodization Culture Temporal range Notable sites
North Africa (Morocco) Late Upper Paleolithic to Early Mesolithic Iberomaurusian culture 24,000–10,000 BP
North Africa Capsian culture 12,000–8,000 BP
East Africa Kenya Meseolithic 8200-7400 BP Gamble's cave[23]
Central Asia (Middle Urals) 12,000–5,000 BP Shigir Idol, Vtoraya Beregovaya[24]
East Asia (Japan) Jōmon cultures 16,000–1,350 BP
East Asia (Korea) Jeulmun pottery period 10,000–3,500 BP
South Asia (India) South Asian Stone Age 12,000–4000 BP[25] Bhimbetka rock shelters

See also


  1. ^ Linder, F. (1997). Social differentiering i mesolitiska jägar-samlarsamhällen. Uppsala.: Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia, Uppsala universitet.
  2. ^ "final Upper Paleolithic industries occurring at the end of the final glaciation which appear to merge technologically into the Mesolithic" Bahn, Paul, ed. (2002). The Penguin archaeology guide. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-051448-3.
  3. ^ Conneller, Chantal; Bayliss, Alex; Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry (2016). "The Resettlement of the British Landscape: Towards a chronology of Early Mesolithic lithic assemblage types". Internet Archaeology. 42 (42). doi:10.11141/ia.42.12.
  4. ^ Morgan, C.; Scholma-Mason, N. (2017). "Animated GIFs as Expressive Visual Narratives and Expository Devices in Archaeology". Internet Archaeology (44). doi:10.11141/ia.44.11.
  5. ^ Driscoll, Killian (2006). The early prehistory in the west of Ireland: Investigations into the social archaeology of the Mesolithic, west of the Shannon, Ireland.
  6. ^ V. Gaffney; et al. "Time and a Place: A luni-solar 'time-reckoner' from 8th millennium BC Scotland". Internet Archaeology. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  7. ^ Price, Douglas, ed. (2000). Europe's first farmers. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0521665728.
  8. ^ Bollongino, R.; Nehlich, O.; Richards, M. P.; Orschiedt, J.; Thomas, M. G.; Sell, C.; Fajkosova, Z.; Powell, A.; Burger, J. (2013). "2000 Years of Parallel Societies in Stone Age Central Europe" (PDF). Science. 342 (6157): 479–481. Bibcode:2013Sci...342..479B. doi:10.1126/science.1245049.
  9. ^ Bailey, Geoff and Spikins, Penny, Mesolithic Europe, p. 4, 2008, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521855039, 978-0521855037
  10. ^ Sandars, Nancy K., Prehistoric Art in Europe, Penguin (Pelican, now Yale, History of Art), pp. 87-96, 1968 (nb 1st edn.)
  11. ^ "11,000 year old pendant is earliest known Mesolithic art in Britain", University of York
  12. ^ Geggel, Laura (25 April 2018). "This Eerie, Human-Like Figure Is Twice As Old As Egypt's Pyramids". Live Science. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  13. ^ De Roevers, pp. 162–163
  14. ^ Anthony, D.W. (2007). "Pontic-Caspian Mesolithic and Early Neolithic societies at the time of the Black Sea Flood: a small audience and small effects". In Yanko-Hombach, V.; Gilbert, A.A.; Panin, N.; Dolukhanov, P.M. The Black Sea Flood Question: changes in coastline, climate and human settlement. pp. 245–370. ISBN 978-9402404654.
  15. ^ Anthony, David W. (2010). The horse, the wheel, and language : how Bronze-Age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691148182.
  16. ^ Gronenborn, Detlef (2007). "Beyond the models: Neolithisation in Central Europe". Proceedings of the British Academy. 144: 73–98.
  17. ^ Detlef Gronenborn, Beyond the models: Neolithisation in Central Europe, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 144 (2007), pp. 73–98 (87).
  18. ^ Sarah Gibbens, Face of 9,000-Year-Old Teenager Reconstructed, National Geographic, 19 January 2018.
  19. ^ Srejovic, Dragoslav (1972). Europe's First Monumental Sculpture: New Discoveries at Lepenski Vir. ISBN 978-0-500-39009-2.
  20. ^ Central Asia does not enter the Neolithic, but transitions from the Mesolithic to the Chalcolithic in the fourth millennium BC ( The early onset of the Mesolithic in Central Asia and its importance for later European mesolithic cultures was understood only after 2015, with the radiocarbon dating of the Shigor idol to 11,500 years old. N.E. Zaretskaya et al., "Radiocarbon chronology of the Shigir and Gorbunovo archaeological bog sites, Middle Urals, Russia", Proceedings of the 6th International Radiocarbon and Archaeology Symposium, (E Boaretto and N R Rebollo Franco eds.), RADIOCARBON Vol 54, Nr 3–4, 2012, 783–794.
  21. ^ Zhang, Chi, The Mesolithic and the Neolithic in China (PDF), 1999, Documenta Praehistorica. Poročilo o raziskovanju paleolitika, neolotika in eneolitika v Sloveniji. Neolitske študije = Neolithic studies, [Zv.] 26 (1999), pp. 1–13 dLib
  22. ^ Sailendra Nath Sen, Ancient Indian History and Civilization, p. 23, 1999, New Age International, ISBN 8122411983, 978-8122411980
  23. ^ "Africa-Paleolithic". Britannica. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  24. ^ Central Asia does not enter the Neolithic, but transitions from the Mesolithic to the Chalcolithic in the fourth millennium BC ( The early onset of the Mesolithic in Central Asia and its importance for later European mesolithic cultures was understood only after 2015, with the radiocarbon dating of the Shigor idol to 11,500 years old. N.E. Zaretskaya et al., "Radiocarbon chronology of the Shigir and Gorbunovo archaeological bog sites, Middle Urals, Russia", Proceedings of the 6th International Radiocarbon and Archaeology Symposium, (E Boaretto and N R Rebollo Franco eds.), RADIOCARBON Vol 54, Nr 3–4, 2012, 783–794.
  25. ^ The term "Mesolithic" is not a useful term for the periodization of the South Asian Stone Age, as certain tribes in the interior of the Indian subcontinent retained a mesolithic culture into the modern period, and there is no consistent usage of the term . The range 12,000–4000 BP is based on the combination of the ranges given by Agrawal et al. (1978) and by Sen (1999), and overlaps with the early Neolithic at Mehrgarh. D.P. Agrawal et al., "Chronology of Indian prehistory from the Mesolithic period to the Iron Age", Journal of Human Evolution Volume 7, Issue 1, January 1978, 37-44: "A total time bracket of c. 6000–2000 B.C. will cover the dated Mesolithic sites, e.g. Langhnaj, Bagor, Bhimbetka, Adamgarh, Lekhahia, etc." (p. 38) S.N. Sen, Ancient Indian History and Civilization, 1999: "The Mesolithic period roughly ranges between 10,000 and 6,000 B.C." (p. 23).
Cheddar Man

Cheddar Man is a human male fossil found in Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England. The skeletal remains date to the Mesolithic (ca. 9100 BP) and it appears that he died a violent death. A large crater-like lesion just above the skull's right orbit suggests that the man may have also been suffering from a bone infection.

Excavated in 1903, Cheddar Man is Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton. The remains are kept by the Natural History Museum in London in the new Human Evolution gallery.Analysis of his nuclear DNA indicates that he was a typical member of the western European population at the time, probably with lactose intolerance, dark skin, blue eyes, and dark curly or wavy hair.

Culverwell Mesolithic Site

Culverwell Mesolithic Site is a Mesolithic settlement, located on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England. It is found in the local area known as Culverwell, along the Portland Bill Road. It is within an area of unspoiled countryside, with no past quarrying. The site is maintained by the Association for Portland Archaeology – a small group dedicated to researching, investigating and excavating on Portland.Open days have been held on the site, where guided tours take place of the preserved site, showing and explaining the visible remains and artefacts and how Mesolithic people lived. In 2004, the Culverwell Mesolithic Site won an archaeological award; the prestigious "Pitt Rivers Award", for developing this Mesolithic site on Portland.The surrounding fields between the Bill and Southwell are made up of an ancient strip field system, once found all over the island before quarrying continued to destroy them. These particular fields remain untouched from housing or quarrying. Culverwell Mesolithic Site has become a scheduled monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.


In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period intervening between the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic in the Stone Age. This position is also occupied by the Mesolithic and the two are sometimes confused, or used as synonyms. More often they are used for different areas: Epipaleolithic for the Levant (Middle East near the Mediterranean coast), and the Near East in general, as well as sometimes parts of Europe other than North and Western Europe, where Mesolithic is much more often used. A Mesolithic period is not usually recognized for the Levant or Near East; in Europe a period categorized as Epipalaeolithic is followed by a Mesolithic one in the same area, and will itself be described as Mesolithic by many archaeologists.

The Epipalaeolithic has been defined as the "final Upper Palaeolithic industries occurring at the end of the final glaciation which appear to merge technologically into the Mesolithic". The period is generally dated from c. 20,000 BP to 10,000 BP in the Levant, but later in Europe. If used as a synonym or equivalent for Mesolithic in Europe, it might end at about c. 5,000 BP or even later.

In the Levant the period may be subdivided into Early, Middle and Late Epipaleolithic, the last also being the Natufian. The preceding final Upper Paleolithic period is the Kebaran or "Upper Paleolithic Stage VI".Epipalaeolithic hunter-gatherers, generally nomadic, made relatively advanced tools from small flint or obsidian blades, known as microliths, that were hafted in wooden implements. There are settlements with "flimsy structures", probably not permanently occupied except at some rich sites, but used and returned to seasonally.

European early modern humans

European early modern humans (EEMH) in the context of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe

refers to the early presence of anatomically modern humans in Europe. The term "early modern" is usually taken to include fossils of the Bohunician, Ahmarian, Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian, extending throughout the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), covering the period of roughly 48,000 to 15,000 years ago.

The early presence from 45,000 years ago is informed by the dating of the Grotta del Cavallo fossil in 2011,

earlier literature also cites 40,000 or 35,000 years. The upper limit of 15,000 marks the transition to the European Mesolithic,

depending on the region also given in the range of 12,000 to 10,000 years ago.

Use of "Cro-Magnon" is mostly to times after the beginning of the Aurignacian proper, c. 37 to 35 ka.

Genetically, EEMH form an isolated population between 37 and 14 ka, with significant Mesolithic admixture from the Near East and Caucasus beginning around 14 ka.

The description as "modern" is used as contrasting with the "archaic" Neanderthals who lived within Europe from 400,000 to 37,000 years ago.

The term EEMH is equivalent to Cro-Magnon Man, or Cro-Magnons, a term derived from the Cro-Magnon rock shelter

in southwestern France, where the first EEMH were found in 1868. Louis Lartet (1869) proposed Homo sapiens fossilis as the systematic name for "Cro-Magnon Man".

W.K. Gregory (1921) proposed the subspecies name Homo sapiens cro-magnonensis.

In literature published since the late 1990s, the term EEMH is generally preferred over the common name Cro-Magnon, which has no formal taxonomic status, as it refers neither to a species or subspecies nor to an archaeological phase or culture.The earliest known remains of EEMH can be dated to before 40,000 years ago (40 ka) with some certainty: those from Grotta del Cavallo in Italy, and from Kents Cavern in England, have been radiocarbon dated to 45–41 ka.

A number of other early fossils are dated close to or just after 40ka, including fossils found in Romania (Peștera cu Oase, 42–37 ka) and Russia (Kostenki-14, 40–35 ka).

The Siberian Ust'-Ishim man, dated to 45 ka, was not geographically found in Europe, and indeed is not part of the "Western Eurasian" genetic lineage, but intermediate between the Western Eurasian and East Asian lineages.The EEMH lineage in the European Mesolithic is also known as "West European Hunter-Gatherer" (WHG).

These mesolithic hunter-gatherers emerge after the end of the LGM ca. 15 ka and are described as more gracile than the Upper Paleolithic Cro-Magnons.

The WHG lineage survives in contemporary Europeans, albeit only as a minor contribution overwhelmed by the later Neolithic and Bronze Age migrations.


A fisherman or fisher is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish.Worldwide, there are about 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers. Fishermen may be professional or recreational and may be both men or women. Fishing has existed as a means of obtaining food since the Mesolithic period.

Franchthi Cave

Franchthi cave or Frankhthi cave (Greek: Σπήλαιον Φράγχθη) is a cave overlooking the Argolic Gulf opposite the village of Koilada in southeastern Argolis, Greece.

The cave was occupied from the Upper Paleolithic circa 38,000 BCE (and possibly earlier) through the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, with occasional short episodes of apparent abandonment. Last occupied around 3,000 BCE (Final Neolithic), it is one of the very few settlements in the world that shows nearly continuous human occupation for such an extended period of time, and is one of the most thoroughly studied sites from the stone age in southeastern Europe.

Grotte du Bichon

Grotte du Bichon is a karstic cave in the Swiss Jura, overlooking the Doubs river at an altitude of 846 m, some 5 km north of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

It is the site of the discovery of the skeleton a hunter-gatherer of the Azilian (late Upper Paleolithic to early Mesolithic), dubbed "Bichon man" (homme de Bichon), a young male about 20 to 23 years old, carbon dated to 13,770–13,560 years ago (95% CI).

The skeleton was discovered in 1956, about 15 m from the cave entrance, intermingled with the bones of a female brown bear, nine flint arrowheads and traces of charcoal.

In 1991, flint chips were found embedded in the bear's third vertebra, without indication of healing, suggesting the interpretation that the bear was wounded by arrows, retreated into the cave, and was pursued by the hunter, who made a fire to fumigate the bear from the cave, but was killed by the dying animal.A genetic analysis of the man showed membership in the "West European Hunter-Gatherer" lineage known from younger fossils of the European Mesolithic.

He was a bearer of Y-DNA haplogroup I2a and of mt-DNA haplogroup U5b1h.

Y-DNA haplogroup I2a probably arose in Europe prior to the Last Glacial Maximum.

Morphologically, his skull was described as relatively long, with a low face and subrectangular

eye-sockets. He would have weighed just above 60 kg at a height of 1.64 m.

He was relatively slender, but muscular (based on muscle attachments visible on the skeleton), with a pronounced lateral asymmetry suggesting right-handedness.

Study of carbon and nitrogen fractionations suggests a largely meat-based diet.

Irish cuisine

Irish cuisine is the style of cooking that originated from Ireland, or was developed by the Irish people. It has evolved from centuries of social and political change, and the mixing of the different cultures in Ireland, predominantly the English and Irish (and, in Ulster, the Scottish). The cuisine is founded upon the crops and animals farmed in its temperate climate.

The development of Irish cuisine was altered greatly by the English conquest of the early 17th century, which introduced a new agro-alimentary system of intensive grain based agriculture. Large areas of land were turned over to cereal and a large portion of the population were confined to more marginal agricultural areas. The rise of a commercial market in grain and meat altered the diet of the native population by redirecting these products abroad as cash crops used to feed the British Empire's armed forces and cities. Consequently, the potato, after its widespread adoption in the 18th century, became just about the only food the poor could afford (which was the vast majority of the population). As a result, the potato is often associated with Ireland and "Irish potato" has come to mean any dense, white potato with a low starch content. Many elements of Irish cuisine were lost or abandoned during that time, with the loss being particularly acute between the Great Famine of the mid 19th century and the mid 20th century.

By the 21st century, much of Irish cuisine was being revived. Representative traditional Irish dishes include Irish stew (made with lamb, mutton, or goat), bacon and cabbage (with potatoes), boxty (potato pancake), coddle (sausage, bacon, and potato), colcannon (mashed potato, kale or cabbage, and butter), and, in Ulster, the soda farl. Modern Irish Food still uses these traditional ingredients but they are now being cooked by chefs with world influences and are presented in a modern artistic style.

Kunda culture

Kunda Culture, originating from the Swiderian culture, comprised mesolithic hunter-gatherer communities of the Baltic forest zone extending eastwards through Latvia into northern Russia, dating to the period 8500–5000 BC according to calibrated radiocarbon dating. It is named after the Estonian town of Kunda, about 110 kilometres (70 mi) east of Tallinn along the Gulf of Finland, near where the first extensively studied settlement was discovered on Lammasmäe Hill and in the surrounding peat bog. The oldest known Kunda culture settlement in Estonia is Pulli. The Kunda Culture was succeeded by the Narva culture, who used pottery and showed some traces of food production.

Loschbour man

The Loschbour man (also Loschbur man) is a skeleton of Homo sapiens from the European Mesolithic discovered in 1935 in Mullerthal, in the commune of Waldbillig, Luxembourg.

Maglemosian culture

Maglemosian (c. 9000 – c. 6000 BC) is the name given to a culture of the early Mesolithic period in Northern Europe. In Scandinavia, the culture was succeeded by the Kongemose culture and Tardenoisian culture.

Narva culture

Narva culture or eastern Baltic (c. 5300 to 1750 BC) was a European Neolithic archaeological culture found in present-day Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad Oblast (former East Prussia), and adjacent portions of Poland, Belarus and Russia. A successor of the Mesolithic Kunda culture, Narva culture continued up to the start of the Bronze Age. The technology was that of hunter-gatherers. The culture was named after the Narva River in Estonia.

Pit–Comb Ware culture

The Pit–Comb Ware culture or Comb Ceramic culture was a northeast European characterised by its Pit–Comb Ware.

It existed from around 4200 BCE to around 2000 BCE.

The bearers of the Comb Ceramic culture are thought to have still mostly followed the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, with traces of early agriculture.

Prehistory of Southeastern Europe

The prehistory of Southeastern Europe, defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkan peninsula (including the territories of the modern countries of Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia, Romania, Bulgaria, and European Turkey) covers the period from the Upper Paleolithic, beginning with the presence of Homo sapiens in the area some 44,000 years ago, until the appearance of the first written records in Classical Antiquity, in Greece as early as the 8th century BC.

Human prehistory in Southeastern Europe is conventionally divided into smaller periods, such as Upper Paleolithic, Holocene Mesolithic/Epipaleolithic, Neolithic Revolution, expansion of Proto-Indo-Europeans, and Protohistory. The changes between these are gradual. For example, depending on interpretation, protohistory might or might not include Bronze Age Greece (2800–1200 BC), Minoan, Mycenaean, Thracian and Venetic cultures. By one interpretation of the historiography criterion, Southeastern Europe enters protohistory only with Homer (See also Historicity of the Iliad, and Geography of the Odyssey). At any rate, the period ends before Herodotus in the 5th century BC.

Prehistory of Sri Lanka

This article deals with the prehistory of Sri Lanka since human habitation and covers the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and early Iron ages until the ancient history of Sri Lanka.

There is evidence of Paleolithic (Homo erectus) people in Sri Lanka from about 300,000 BP and possibly even as early as 500,000 BP. There is strong evidence of prehistoric settlements in Sri Lanka by about 125,000 BP. Evidence of a transition between the Mesolithic and the Iron Age is scant.

Fluctuations in sea level led to Sri Lanka being linked to the Indian subcontinent from time to time over the past million years. The last such link occurred about 5000 BC.

South Asian Stone Age

The South Asian Stone Age covers the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods in South Asia. Evidence for the most ancient anatomically modern Homo sapiens in South Asia has been found in the cave sites of Cudappah of India, Batadombalena and Belilena in Sri Lanka. In Mehrgarh, in what is today western Pakistan, the Neolithic began c. 7000 BCE and lasted until 3300 BCE and the first beginnings of the Bronze Age. In South India, the Mesolithic lasted until 3000 BCE, and the Neolithic until 1400 BCE, followed by a Megalithic transitional period mostly skipping the Bronze Age. The Iron Age began roughly simultaneously in North and South India, around c. 1200 to 1000 BCE (Painted Grey Ware culture, Hallur).

Star Carr

Star Carr is a Mesolithic archaeological site in North Yorkshire, England. It is around five miles (8.0 km) south of Scarborough.

It is generally regarded as the most important and informative Mesolithic site in Great Britain. It is as important to the Mesolithic period as Stonehenge is to the Neolithic period or Scandinavian York is to understanding Viking age Britain.

The site was occupied during the early Mesolithic archaeological period, which coincided with the preboreal and boreal climatic periods. Though the ice age had ended and temperatures were close to modern averages, sea levels had not yet risen sufficiently to separate Britain from continental Europe. Highlights among the finds include Britain’s oldest structure, 21 red deer stag skull-caps that may have been head-dresses and nearly 200 projectile, or harpoon, points made of red deer antler. These organic materials were preserved due to having been buried in waterlogged peat. Normally all that remains on Mesolithic sites are stone tools.

Excavation of the site began in 1948, a year after artefacts were first noticed by an amateur archaeologist. The site is most famous for some of the extremely rare artefacts discovered during the original excavations but its importance has been reinforced by new understandings of the nature and extent of the Mesolithic archaeology in the area and reinterpretations of the original material.

Three-age system

The three-age system is the categorization of history into time periods divisible by three; for example: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age; although it also refers to other tripartite divisions of historic time periods. In history, archaeology and physical anthropology, the three-age system is a methodological concept adopted during the 19th century by which artifacts and events of late prehistory and early history could be ordered into a recognizable chronology. It was initially developed by C. J. Thomsen, director of the Royal Museum of Nordic Antiquities, Copenhagen, as a means to classify the museum’s collections according to whether the artifacts were made of stone, bronze, or iron.

The system first appealed to British researchers working in the science of ethnology who adopted it to establish race sequences for Britain's past based on cranial types. Although the craniological ethnology that formed its first scholarly context holds no scientific value, the relative chronology of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age is still in use in a general public context, and the three ages remain the underpinning of prehistoric chronology for Europe, the Mediterranean world and the Near East.The structure reflects the cultural and historical background of Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East and soon underwent further subdivisions, including the 1865 partitioning of the Stone Age into Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods by John Lubbock. It is, however, of little or no use for the establishment of chronological frameworks in sub-Saharan Africa, much of Asia, the Americas and some other areas and has little importance in contemporary archaeological or anthropological discussion for these regions.


Trialetian is the name for an Upper Paleolithic-Epipaleolithic stone tool industry from the area south of the Caucasus Mountains and to the northern Zagros Mountains. It is tentatively dated to the period between 16,000 / 13,000 BP and 8,000 BP. The name of the archaeological culture derives from sites in the district of Trialeti in south Georgian Khrami river basin. These sites include Barmaksyzkaya and Edzani-Zurtaketi. In Edzani, an Upper Paleolithic site, a significant percentage of the artifacts are made of obsidian.The Caucasian-Anatolian area of Trialetian culture was adjacent to the Iraqi-Iranian Zarzian culture to the east and south as well as the Levantine Natufian to the southwest. Alan H. Simmons describes the culture as "very poorly documented". In contrast, recent excavations in the Valley of Qvirila river, to the north of the Trialetian region, display a Mesolithic culture. The subsistence of these groups were based on hunting Capra caucasica, wild boar and brown bear.

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