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Lecture

Archaeology-Chapter 10-The Upper Paleolithic and Peopling of the New World Nov 20 2008

by

Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT100Y1
Professor
Marcel Danesi

Page:
of 3
Reading Notes
11-20-08
Chapter 10: The Upper Paleolithic & Peopling of the µNew World
Upper Palaeolithic Cultures
y Upper Palaeolithic: the period associated with the emergence of MH and their spread around
the world
y Mesolithic: the archeological period in the Old World beginning about 12,000 BC. Humans
were starting to settle down in semi permanent camps/villages as ppl began to depend less
on big game and more on relatively stationary food resources: fish, shellfish, small game,
wild plants (rich in crabs, protein, oils)
y emergence of art- painting on cave walls/stone slabs, carving tools, decorative objects,
personal ornaments (out of bone, antler, shell etc)
y Larger sites, human population increased,
y New inventions- bow/arrow, spear thrower, tiny replacement blades
The Last Ice Age
y Glaciers covering Europe as far as Berlin and Warsaw, NA-> Chicago
y To the south of these glaciers fronts was a tundra zone extending in Europe to the Alps, and
in NA to the Ozarks, Appalachians, well out onto the great plains
y Different climate compared to today- average annual temperatures were as much as 10
degrees Celsius, changes in ocean currents (temp contrasts-extreme)
y Europe- heavy snowfall, N Africa- much wetter than today, S Asia- drier
y Large animals (Megafauna)- Siberian mammoths, sloths, wooly rhinoceros, giant deer
Upper Palaeolithic Europe
y Vast supplies of meat available from Megafauna: UP cultures relied on hunting
y Began trade with neighboring groups in order to obtain resources not available in their local
territories
y Caves, rock shelters, tent like structures, paved floors, etc, made from animal bones, fur/skin
y Could hold 20-25 ppl
y Other huts: dug into the ground, contained bake oven, fire fragments, animal figurines,
bones (maybe used as musical instruments)
Upper Palaeolithic Tools
y Indirect percussion: a tool making technique common in the UP. After shaping a core around
into a pyramidal or cylindrical form, the toolmaker could put a punch of antler or wood or
another hard material into position and strike it with a hammer. Using a hammer struck
punch enabled the toolmaker to strike off consistently shaped blades
y Pressure Flaking: tool making technique whereby small flakes are struck off by pressing
against the core with a bone, antler, or wood tool
y Microlith: a small, razor like blade fragment that was probably attached in a series to a
wooden or bone handle to form a cutting edge
How Were the Tools Used?
y Tools made by the UP ppl suggested- effective hunters and fishers than their predecessors
y Atlatl: Aztec word for spear thrower
y Bow/arrow: used in various places, harpoon: fishing, hunting
y Still scavenging animal remains
Art
y Beads. Carvings, paintings (displayed skill)
y Paintings in W Europe: inhabited rock shelters/cave entrances, galleries - immediately off the
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inhabited areas of caves, inner reaches of caves- whose difficulty of access has been
interpreted by some as a sign that magical-religious activities were performed there
y Subject of paintings: animals (improve luck of hunting)
y Drawing of humans- could cause injury/death (superstition)
y Animals portrayed in the cave paintings were mostly the ones that painters preferred for
meat/material use
y Shafts of spears- decorated with figures of animals
y Hunters may have used a system of notation, engraved on bone and stone, to mark the
phases of the moon
y Venus: figurine- female, large breasts, stomach, hips- desire for fertility
Upper Palaeolithic Cultures in Africa and Asia
y N Africa: UP ppls hunted large animals on grasslands that covered the region during that
period
y Lived in small communities (easy access to water, other resources, moved regularly- to follow
animal herd)
y Trade between local groups
y S Asia: sedentary lifestyle developing along banks of fresh water streams
y Hunting, fishing, gathering
The Earliest Humans in the New World
y Migration of humans to the new world had taken place sometime after the emergence of HSS
y 3 waves of migration to new world: 1 arrivals spoke a language that diverged overtime into
most of the languages found in the New World
y Next came ancestors of those ppl who spoke language belonging to the Na-Dene family
y 4000 YA came the ancestors of the Inuit and Aleut - speaking languages belonging to the
Inuit-Aleut family
The Paleo-Indians
y Remains of early New World hunters called, PI, have been found in the US, CAN, MEX
y Clovis points- large leaf-shaped, flaked on both sides
y Hunted large game
y Tools found with many other kings of animal remains: wolf, turtle, rabbit, horse, fox, deer,
camel
y Base camps began to be located farther from ponds and grazing areas and closer to streams
(Ponds were no longer reliable )
y Olsen-Chubbuck Site: a kill site excavated in Colorado, shows organization that may have
been involved in hunting bison
y Remains of 200 bison, at the bottom were complete skeletons, at the top those of completely
butchered animals
y Hunters deliberately stampeded the animals into a natural/steep-sided gully
y H&G- highly organized (stampede, butchering, distributing, carrying back to camp- about
25,000 kg of meat)
y Woodland areas- relied on plants, smaller game
y Pacific coast- fish
y As climate became warmer- Megafauna- extinct
y Less meat available
y Began to follow more sedentary lifestyle
y Development of ground stone woodworking tools
y Axes, adzes, tools for grinding seeds, nuts
y Greater reliance of fish and wood
Early Arctic Populations
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y Palaeo-Artic Traditions: the first undisputed cultural development in the artic, after the more
tentative early occupation sites associated with the peopling of the New World. The earliest
well-documented Palaeo-artic sites occurs from 8000BC- 5000BC
y Artic Small Tool Tradition: culture that follows that Palaeo-artic traditions, representing the
first humans to move into E Canadian arctic and Greenland. In Alaska the arctic small tool
tradition evolved into Norton tradition, while in the eastern arctic it became the Dorset
culture
Arctic Small Tool Traditions
y Widespread phenomenon in NA artic (2000 BC and 800 BC)
y Characterized by finely made micro blades, burins, scrapers, blades, bow/arrow
Dorset
y Incredibly stable artic culture (surviving longest in the E arctic regions)
y Depended mostly on- seal, caribou, muskox, fish
y Seals hunted along edges of ice flows
y They did not appear to have necessary equipment for open-water hunting (they probably
used small kayaks
y Caribou hunting was a group effort as the herds were channeled into a small area and killed
y Technology was limited; although possessed kayak they lacked larger seagoing
umiak/flotation gear
y Did have sleds pulled by hand rather than dogs
y Snow houses
y Other winter dwelling were made out of sod blocks/roofed with skins
Thule
y A population migration from Alaska that brought with it a whole new technology
y Use of materials, which came through contact with Siberia in their Alaskan homeland
y West: some Thule groups made use of crude ceramics
y E Africa: soap stone was utilized for bowls and cooking pots
y It is from the Thule ppl, that modern Inuit ppls derived
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