The Age of Stone (Stone Age), Paleolith, The Ancient...

Section II. Stone Age (The Stone Age)

Chapter 2. Paleolithic

Main events and inventions:

o the appearance of the most ancient people and the beginning of the anthropogen (Olduvai period);

o The first instruments of work, the technique of cleavage, pebble tools, bifacies, hand chippers;

o Settlement of people in Europe and Asia in the Early Paleolithic (Acheulian period)

o First burials in the Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian period);

o appearance of art;

o America's settlement in the Late Paleolithic.

Paleolith, or the ancient stone age, is the initial period of human history.

It is divided into several chronological stages: the lower, or early, Paleolithic (3 million - 250 thousand years ago), the Middle Paleolithic (250-40 (35) thousand years ago), the Upper, or late, Paleolithic (about 40-12 thousand years ago). It is not possible to set exact dates for the transition from one period to another, since the transition process was, in most cases, quite long.

2.1. The oldest people. Olduvai period

The period of the history of the Earth, which lasts from the rise of man to our days, is called anthropogen, i.e. time, marked by the history of mankind. Anthropogenic changes occurred as the number of mankind increased, the territory of its settlement expanded, its economic activity developed, and the role of innovations increased. At the center of these phenomena, which have now reached a threatening scale, is the person himself and his influence on nature - its change under the influence of economic activity, including its pollution and the imbalance in the fauna and flora of the Earth. Studying the archaeological past, we must understand that, in the end, the whole history of mankind is the history of the mutual relations of human populations and the natural environment, and the deeper you look into history, the more evident is the significance of these relations in the history of mankind, in the process of cultural genesis.

Anthropogen problems from an archaeological point of view include: 1) the origin of man as a species, the place and chronology of this phenomenon, the definition of the boundary between man as an active-thinking being and his immediate ancestors; 2) the connection between anthropogenesis, i.e. physical development of man as a species or several subspecies with the development of material production; 3) racogenesis, i.e. the study of the causes and processes of the emergence of racial and genetic differences.

The origin of man has always been considered from two mutually exclusive positions: as the result of a supernatural, divine, cosmic (in modern version) influence and as a result of evolutionary development of living nature.

Anthropogenesis occurred during the Quaternary period of Earth's geology and covered eopleistocene (3 million - 350 thousand years ago) and Pleistocene (350-12 thousand years ago), which corresponded to the paleolith and phases of the glacial period.

The question of the origin of man in science has always been placed in dependence on the finds at some time or other of the remains of the oldest people.

In the XIX-XX centuries. in different years, there were three main centers of human origin: Asian (South-East Asia), Central Asian (early XX century) and African (accepted in our days). Before the last discoveries in Africa for many years it was believed that the human forefathers of man were in Southeast Asia.

Modern knowledge concerning the beginning of the anthropogen differs from those existing in the middle of the 20th century. (at that time it was believed that the earliest archaeological evidence of the beginning of human history refers to a period not earlier than a million years ago).

Everything has changed as a result of a series of remarkable finds of the English archaeologist R. Leakey in the Olduvai Gorge, located in Africa, on the Serengeti plateau in Tanzania. The first finds of the tools of the ancient man, made from pebbles by chipping, were discovered in 1960 in the lower horizon of the Olduvai Gorge. The analysis confirmed that they were made specifically, with the use of certain processing techniques, which was called the "cleavage technique". By the radiocarbon method it was established that the age of these ancient tools totaled 1.7-2.8 million years. Later they were dated by earlier terms.

In the emergence of man, not only evolutionary factors played a role. The very appearance in nature of a new species - man - was a qualitative leap, accompanied by genetic changes. In recent years, it has been revealed that such changes usually occur in the animal and plant world in places of seismic and radiation activity. This place is also the zone of the African fault, where the remains of the oldest people, who made and used tools, were discovered. The fact that an ancient man creates tools of labor is fundamentally important - making tools of certain forms is impossible without a qualitatively new level of mental activity, knowledge of the properties of the stone. The tools of labor can not be made from every stone. For this purpose, pebbles of suitable shape are needed, they are well cleaved, giving an even surface of cleavage. Siliceous rocks, jasper, agate, obsidian, volcanic glass possess this property. The most ancient people knew about their properties, they used them for making tools.

Man became a man when he made the first tools. From that moment on Earth a new period of the Earth's history began - the anthropogen, a new history of the relationship between man and the natural environment began.

Historically, the development of mankind has been a constant unity of different origins - evolutionary development and the phenomenon of qualitative leaps of biological, natural-ecological and social character. Human development occurred in a constant and close interaction with nature: the more perfect a person became, the more actively he acted on nature, adapting it to his needs. However, in archaeological epochs, unlike the industrial one, this process has always been rational: a man thought of himself only as part of the surrounding natural environment with which he interacted.

Olduvai-type parking was subsequently discovered in Africa and beyond the original zone (in South Africa, in the vicinity of Lake Turkan in Kenya and north in Ethiopia). At these sites, the earliest human tools were discovered.

It is significant that all the places of the earliest culture of mankind are associated with the geological zone of the East African rift, the most powerful tectonic faults that extend from the Dead Sea basin through the Red Sea, to the south through the territories of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

It is believed that the manufacture of tools began simultaneously in different territories of East Africa.

A series of ancient pebble tools of labor is represented by so-called choppers and chopping. They were made from solid pebbles by several strokes with another pebble (drummer), forming an oblique cut on the stone. There are several types of them with a transverse lateral working edge. In the developed Olduvai there are also so-called cleavers with a sharp end. All guns are similar in form and technique of manufacture. They constitute a series of the most ancient tools of mankind.

Among the kind of basic elements of human culture, apart from the tools, is the creation of proto-shelves (shelters) and stone processing sites. These monuments of the Olduvai period were also found in Africa. Another indicator is very important. At the parking lot of Chesovania in Kenya, along with the guns, evidence was found of the use of fire by an ancient man.

Fig. 7. The oldest pebble tools of the Olduvai culture

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