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March 20

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Anthropology 1020E
Andrew Nelson

March 20, 2012 UPPER PALEOLITHIC 40 000 – 50 000 yr ago -upper Europe -emergence of modern tendencies -shell beads (aesthetics qualities) Term employed to refer to developments associated with modern humans in Europe and northern Asia after 40, 000 years ago Are comparable developments elsewhere but called by different names (e.g. Africa = Late Stone Age) KEY EVENTS: -thoroughly recognize human patterns of behavior including complex technologies, art, evidence of sacred beliefs -humor -aesthetics (decoration) -literal explosion of art, not just in Europe but in Africa, Australia of time too -includes rock art (some on cave walls) and more portable art carved bone, antler, etc. -rapid changes in time and lots of spatial variability -peopling of new areas (e.g. Siberia) and points east -begins ca. 40, 000 BP in eastern Europe and spreads west and east over time -by 30, 000 BP in East Asia and by 20, 000 at Bering Strait area – first people in that area -spread coincides with warm interstadial ca. 35, 000 – 28, 000 years ago in Wurm Glacial -but after 28, 000 very cold glacial climate until almost 10, 000 years ago -much of area open treeless tundra with large ice-sheets to north and in alpine areas as in earlier Neanderthal times -lots of game animals: herds of bison, mammoths, red deer, woolly rhinos, ibex, etc.; fewer plant foods -fishing -Upper Paleolithic subsumes several different temporally and geographically different “cultures” or “industries” -e.g. in Europe Aurignacian (40, 000 – 30, 000), Solutrean (22, 000 – 18, 000) -all share certain things in common but vary in emphases and details COMMON FEATURES: 1) Stone Tools New techniques of tool manufacture: >Blade-making -flat elongated flakes with parallel sides -requires great skill to make -use of new techniques = indirect percussion with a punch or intermediary -very efficient = 40 ft. of cutting edge per pound of material >Use of pressure flaking -press off rather than stroke off flakes -produce elaborate tools of great artistic beauty 2) New Tool Forms >Bifacial “points” or weapon tips -much more efficient >Burins: spall struck along edge of blade or flake = thick working edge ideal for shaving and engraving bone, antler, wood -engraving tools -almost like a razor ORGANIC TOOLS: -highly shaped bone or antler tools 1) Utilitarian -spear points; can be decorated -harpoons for fishing -eyed needles = tailored clothing made of bone -spear-throwers or “atalatls”; can be carved into animal forms; bow and arrow: 12, 000 years 2) Non-Utilitarian/Decorative/Symbolic -portable or “mobile” (mobiliary) art of amulets? -“Venus Figurines” = female forms with exaggerated sexual charact
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