The Palaeolithic era is the first Stone Age of human development. There are three Stone Ages, namely Palaeolithic Stone Age, Mesolithic Stone Age, and the Neolithic Stone Age. The Palaeolithic era is the first Stone Age of human development. The main characteristic feature of this Stone age is old chipped stones. The Old Stone Age timeline lies between 30,000 BCE and 10,000 BCE.
This era lacks any written records, and all the evidence and knowledge are from the excavations. This era is roughly subdivided into three parts: the Lower Palaeolithic Age, the Middle Palaeolithic age, and the Upper Palaeolithic Age. However, it is hard to place boundaries between these classes due to a lack of strong evidence.
Significant Features of Old Stone Age
The significant basic features of the Old Stone Age are as follows:
- The humans of the Palaeolithic Era obeyed the hunter-gatherer economy, i.e. they hunted down the animals for food. Moreover, they gathered food, materials for weapons, firewood, and clothes mainly out of animal skin.
- At the end of the Palaeolithic era, humans became creative and made several cave paintings, rock arts, and jewellery.
- The humans also started religious activities and obeyed the burial system.
- They were mostly nomadic (i.e. they continuously migrated from place to place in search of food). They took shelter in the areas where they felt protective from the predator animals and where the weather was appropriate. Thus, they mostly took shelter near the rivers and lakes. They only constructed temporary settlements in the form of small huts (made up of straw, bones, or rocks), or they lived in caves.
- The caves give great evidence of the lifestyle of the Palaeolithic era.
- As the people advanced (as in the upper Palaeolithic Period), they used caves only for religious purposes.
We can say that the invention of language was a very big step in the Palaeolithic Era. The humans of that time were indulged in trading, having established settlements, and following cultures and traditions. It shows that they must have learned communication skills to do all these tasks. Without communication, it is impossible to trade or follow any culture. Moreover, the examination of skulls reveals the development of areas of brains associated with speech. However, there is no crystal clear evidence of how humans developed the ability to speak.
The Palaeolithic Era represents a variety of cave paintings. Although, it is extremely rare to find these artworks. However, there are several cave paintings and figurines that were excavated. Some of these paintings had facial features. Large wild animals such as horses, bison and deer were the most common themes of these cave paintings. There were rare paintings of humans. The human figure was portrayed as a stick figure. Animals like foxes and lizards are frequent animal motifs in early Indian paintings; later, numerous other creatures were also portrayed. Wavy lines, square geometric structures, and many circles were also present. Starting with black, red, and ultimately white, paintings were layered one on top of the other. During the Upper Palaeolithic period, Bhimbetka is among India’s and the world’s oldest paintings.
Difference Between the Three Stone Ages
Let’s compare and study the basic difference between the three Stone Ages, namely the Palaeolithic, the Mesolithic and the Neolithic Ages.
The Old Stone Age
The Middle Stone Age
The New Stone Age
They used stones already available in nature with cutting edges.
People in the Middle Stone Age started to sharpen these stones for hunting.
The people start learning more about agriculture rather than completely depending upon hunting.
The people of the Old Stone Age mostly depended upon meat for their food and roasted it in fire. They created fire by rubbing rocks.
Although in the Middle Stone Age people began to settle (semi-permanently), they still remained as hunters and gatherers of meat, fish, fruits, etc.
The new stone-aged people grinded cereals and grains using stone mortars and pestles.
The Palaeolithic Stone Age was the first Stone Age, and the Mesolithic Stone Age succeeded it. In the Palaeolithic Stone Age, humans mostly used basic stones available for hunting and making weapons.
The Old Stone Age timeline lies between 30,000 BCE and 10,000 BCE. Due to the lack of written records, there is less information about this era. The humans of the Palaeolithic Era obeyed the hunter-gatherer economy, i.e., they hunted down animals for food. Moreover, they gathered food, materials for weapons, firewood, and clothes mainly out of animal skin. At the end of the Palaeolithic Era, humans became creative and made several cave paintings, rock arts, and jewellery.