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Related to Mesolithic: Mesolithic Age, Mesolithic era


the period between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic, in Europe from about 12 000 to 3000 bc, characterized by the appearance of microliths



(Middle Stone Age), an epoch of the Stone Age; the transitional period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The transition from the Paleolithic to the Mesolithic on the whole coincided with the replacement of the Pleistocene epoch by the Holocene (Recent) epoch, characterized by modern climate, flora, and fauna. Radiocarbon dating has set the Mesolithic period in Europe at 10,000–7,000 years ago; however, in northern Europe it continued until 6,000–5,000 years ago. The Mesolithic in the Middle East occurred 12,000–9,000 years ago.

Miniature stone implements called microliths are typical of Mesolithic cultures everywhere. Stone chipped chopping tools, such as axes, adzes, and picks, were used. Tools made of bone and horn were also used—spearheads, harpoons, fishhooks, points, and picks. Bows and arrows and various devices for fishing and hunting aquatic animals (dugout canoes, nets) were widespread. Clay vessels first appeared by the time of the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic.

The dog, which was probably domesticated in the Upper Paleolithic, was extensively used in the Mesolithic. The domestication of some other animals was undertaken (for example, the pig). The principal occupations were hunting, fishing, and gathering, including the gathering of edible mollusks. Some Mesolithic tribes, for example, the tribes of the Natufian culture in Palestine (tenth to eight millennia B.C.), attempted to cultivate cereals. Thus, the preconditions arose for the transition (in the Neolithic stage) to productive forms of the economy—agriculture and stock raising.

A large number of the Mesolithic places of habitation, which consisted of only several temporary dwellings, were located on dunes or peat bogs. Many sites constitute accumulations of mollusk shells (kitchen middens); sites in caves are rare. Clan burial grounds have been discovered near some of the Mesolithic settlements.

The Mesolithic cultures are numerous and varied, including the Azilian and the Tardenoisian cultures in Western Europe, the Maglemosian and the Erteb^lle cultures in northern Europe, the Sebilian culture in the Nile valley, the Capsian culture in North Africa, the Wilton culture in South Africa, and the Hoa Binh culture in Southeast Asia. Some archaeologists do not use the term “Mesolithic” and date early Mesolithic remains to the Epipaleolithic period, and late Mesolithic remains to the Protoneolithic, or the Prepottery Neolithic, period.


Uistokov drevnikh kuVtur (Epokha mezolita). Moscow-Leningrad, 1966. (Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, no. 126.)
Bader, N. O. “Mezolit.” In Kamennyi vek na territorii SSSR. Moscow, 1970.
Clark, G. World Prehistory, 2nd ed. Cambridge, 1969.
LaPréhistoire. Paris, 1966. (Nouvelle Clio:L’histoireetsesproblemes, no. 1.)


References in periodicals archive ?
Lead author, Dr Andy Needham from the University of York's Department of Archaeology, said the latest discoveries helped further our understanding of Mesolithic life.
It is the only continuously occupied Mesolithic site in Western Europe and we believe the eco-home is the sort of place the first Brits lived in.
A new study by Carles Lalueza-Fox, researcher from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in collaboration with the Centre for GeoGenetics (Denmark) found that La Brana 1, name used to baptize a 7,000 years old individual from the Mesolithic Period, had blue eyes and dark skin.
In the course of his survey, Heath looks at the oldest art in Wales, hunter-gatherers in Pembrokeshire and Mesolithic sites in North Wales, with illustrations enriching every chapter.
Dr Richard Bates, from the University of St Andrews, was also involved in the project and said the pit monument provided new evidence of the "sophistication" of societies in early Mesolithic Scotland.
ABSTRACT: Ah analysis of the documents on the late Mesolithic and early Neolithic groups would seem to confirm that the participation of the former was decisive in the formation of the Neolithic.
Accurate carbon dating has put them at 10,400 years ago - during the Mesolithic or middle stone age.
Archaeology has successfully moved away from the environmental determinism of the Mesolithic versus the social determinism of the Neolithic models that beset our understandings during the 1980s and 1990s, but this is surely no reason to throw out information on the environmental side.
Professor Hillman is an expert in what people have eaten through the ages, and the aim of the series is to unravel the mystery of what our Stone Age ancestors were eating in the late Mesolithic age, around 7,500 years ago.
Remains of Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Iron Age settlements are found on Gorica Island in the middle of the lake, as well as prehistoric settlements from the 12th to the 4th centuries BC and a Roman necropolis nearby.
There is negligible evidence of tribological skills in the Mesolithic periods.