Prehistory: Paleolithic hunters and gatherers, who, where and when? –

In order to better understand the vast universal history, historians have divided the past into different historical periods. The first of these periods is that of prehistory and that we now explain in detail in the Paleolithic era. Learn how we were able to overcome obstacles using and creating tools that were functional for them. In About History, Prehistory: Paleolithic hunters and gatherers, who, where and when?.

The prehistory

To begin, the first thing we need to set the difference between history and prehistorywell, we call prehistory to the period of time covered from the beginning of the evolution of man to the appearance of writing.

From the appearance of the first written testimonies to the present day, it is known as history. The importance of the appearance of writing lies fundamentally in the fact that from the first written documents that appeared, we can know with total accuracy and truthfulness everything that concerned the society of the moment, beliefs, events, wars, events, etc.

in prehistorythe importance of the arqueology It lies in being the only means we have to be able to reconstruct the past, what happened in that period, what their way of life was like, where they lived, how they related, etc. Many of these data have come down to our days thanks to their pictorial representations, utensils, etc.

Prehistory is classified into three periods fundamental, these periods coincide with the evolution of man.

  • Paleolithic: 2,500,000 years ago
  • Neolithic : Approximately 10,000 years ago
  • Age of metals : Approximately 5,000 years ago

The exact dates are very difficult to specify since it must be taken into account that not all groups evolved at the same time. Today there are Amazonian groups that continue to live in the age of metals and have practically not evolved.

Now that we know the prehistoric periods, in broad strokes, we are going to begin to see in more detail the period that concerns us, the appearance of man and the Paleolithic.

Prehistory: Paleolithic

The word Paleolithic derives from the Greek Palaios (ancient) and Lithos (stone). These terms were coined in the 17th century, when the different periods of evolution and history were established. Until now, the archaeological remains and the study of what we now call history were simply isolated events. In the 17th century, space-time became aware, the sites were telling an evolutionary chronology that until now man had ignored.

We call Paleolithic period in which the first humans begin to use stones, bones, fibers, etc.. as tools, at first very crude and coarse, which will evolve throughout this period.

Prehistory: Paleolithic | Climatological and Geographic Situation

The appearance of man was a consequence of the evolution of living beings, from unicellular beings to the appearance of the great apes.

With the end of the last period, the tertiary era, the quaternary era, era in which we can already speak of prehistory. Today to speak of prehistory is to speak of a blank book where every day new discoveries reveal more data and more knowledge of this stage, which is the origin of what we are today.

Climate, another factor that has influenced evolution, It has undergone different variations throughout its history, often due to the tilt of the Earth with respect to the axis of rotation, the polar cycles or changes in the Earth’s orbit, these were the main reasons why the climate was changing.

Changes they brought with them glacial periods especially in the quaternary era, periods in which the average temperatures were -10 or -12 degrees, with climatological conditions similar to those of what can currently be lived in Greenland or Siberia. These temperatures and weather conditions corresponded to alternating periods with others of temperate climate, more similar to today. These warmer periods are known as interglacial periods.

The alternation of cold periods and warmer periods caused the topography will change constantlyexisting periods in which the water level in the oceans was lower, due to the accumulation of ice in the northern hemisphere, which caused spaces oltongues of land could unite the continents that in the warmest periods were under water. So we could say that the climate contributed to the expansion of the first humans to other continents.

The first groups of humans arose in East Africa and then spread to the west of the African continent. More than 1 million years later, a small group of these hunter-gatherer men left Africa and migrated to South Asia.

From there they spread to the rest of Asia Already Europe. Other groups crossed the sea on rafts and settled in Oceania. Finally, the man crossed from the north of Asia a North America and then spread south American continent.

Through these different migrations that occurred at different times, man populated the entire planet. Here’s a Map that shows how these were migrations.

We already know what situation we were in in the Paleolithic, now we are going to see how people lived.

Prehistory: Paleolithic | the first humans

Although it is not possible to have an exact date, it is considered that the first human groups (homo habilis) appeared around 2,500,000 BC (two and a half million years).

At that time, human societies subsisted on hunting and gathering. This was the only way of subsistence until approximately 8,000 BC.

This first historical period in prehistory is called “Paleolithic” and it has been the longest in the history of the Humanity. As we can see in the timelineIt is the longest period of time in prehistory and fundamental for human evolution.

Due to its extension, the Paleolithic can be divided into:

  • Lower Paleolithic: This period covers from 2.8 million years ago to 127,000 years ago.
  • Middle Paleolithic: Covers from 127,000 years to 40,000-30,000 years ago.
  • Superior paleolithic: It covers from 12,000 years ago to 5,000 years ago, the date on which the Neolithic begins.

Prehistory: Hunters and Gatherers in the Paleolithic | who were

Within the broad period that includes the Paleolithic and within this classification, we identify individuals who They used stones bones or other utensils to improve different activities, such as hunting, butchering, tanning, etc. The clarification is due to the fact that a good part of the hominids that inhabited the planet in that period were not able to use lithic tools, such is the case of Australopithecus, which is why it ended up disappearing and therefore is left out of this classification. .

  • homo habilis. It lived in Africa 2.5-1.6 million years ago.
  • Homo Rudolfensis. Its location is reduced only to the part of East Africa and it lived between 2.4-1.9 million years ago.
  • Homo Ergaster. The first to leave the African continent, they lived between 1.8-1.4 million years. Ancestor of the African Homo Erectus.
  • Homo Georgicus. It only lived in Georgia, it could be a variant of Homo Ergaster and it lived 1.6 million years ago.
  • homo erectus. Belonging to the Asian continent where it lived between 1.8 and 0.2 million years.
  • homo ancestor. It descends from Homo Ergaste, its place of location is both in Europe and in Africa approximately 800,000 years ago.
  • Homo Heidelbergensis. It is considered the ancestor of Homo Neanderthaliensis, it was found in Europe and is between 500,000 and 150,000 years old.
  • Homo Neanderthaliensis. It inhabited both Europe and the Middle East approximately 110,000 – 30,000 years ago.
  • Homo Floresiensis. Its remains were located on the Flores Island, from which it is named, in Indonesia until 15,000 years ago.
  • Homo Rhodesiensis. It inhabited only the African continent with an antiquity of between 500,000 and 200,000 years
  • Homo sapiens. The man as we know him today, his first remains place them in Africa approximately 200,000 years ago.

Prehistory: Hunters and Gatherers in the Paleolithic

When dividing the different periods that make up Prehistory, the beginning of the Paleolithic period has always been related to the appearance of the first archaeological evidence of the use, modification and creation of different tools by hominids. These first tools that characterize the period that we are dealing with were made of stone and the enormous importance that these objects had is the reason that this space of time was baptized by specialists as “Paleolithic”, which literally means “ancient stone”.

Prehistory: Hunters and Gatherers in the Paleolithic | The Fight for Survival

Although it is known that at this time other materials were used to make tools that helped Paleolithic men and women in their arduous fight for survival, such as bone, the horns of different mammals or, even, with ivory, those made of stone are the great protagonists of the investigations linked to the Paleolithic era. This type of tools The original devices were initially very crude and large, but were refined over time and became more and more useful, allowing those who used them to perform increasingly complex tasks.

These early stone tools were carved in different ways to be able to adapt each one of them to the function that was going to be given to it. The most common way of carving these stones was called percussion: a stone was struck, generally flint, with another harder material to detach flakes from the original stone and thus create cutting edges of different sizes and sharpness. This method did not allow to create very complex tools and the craftsman never had much control over the final result, but thanks to these primitive tools the first hominids were able to better adapt to the environment around them and improve their life expectancies.

The most important tool linked to this era, whose evolution has even been used to determine important cultural changes within primitive societieswas the call biface.

The handaxe was an almond-shaped tool, carved on both sides and finished in a point, conceptually very advanced compared to previous tools such as carved edges, and which was used to perform a multitude of tasks, such as cutting hides, digging, skinning animals, or breaking up various materials. This tool became specialized over time and continued to be used throughout the period, becoming increasingly complex and eventually evolving into other types of tools, such as the first spearheads or increasingly functional knives.

However, increasingly complex bifaces were not the only tools used by early hominids. Despite…