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  • Slide 1
  • Mesolithic Pleistocene/Holocene Transition Hunter-Gatherer Complexity Mesolithic in Europe, Scandanavia, SW Asia, East Asia
  • Slide 2
  • Pleistocene/Holocene Transition 10-12,000 years ago. 10-12,000 years ago. Changes in ice distribution and sea levels irregular. Changes in ice distribution and sea levels irregular. Core borings of coral beds shows that sea levels at glacial max were 121 meters below modern levels. They rose by 20 between 15 and 10,500 years ago, then a rise of 24 meters in 1,000 years. Core borings of coral beds shows that sea levels at glacial max were 121 meters below modern levels. They rose by 20 between 15 and 10,500 years ago, then a rise of 24 meters in 1,000 years. Levels had significance to geography. Levels had significance to geography. Bering Land Bridge formed. Bering Land Bridge formed. North Sea flooded. North Sea flooded. Britain separated from the continent. Britain separated from the continent.
  • Slide 3
  • Vegetation, Fauna, Temp, Rainfall Northern latitudes after the ice sheet shifted from glacial tundra to northern forest. Northern latitudes after the ice sheet shifted from glacial tundra to northern forest. Pleistocene mammals such as mammoth, mastodon, Bison antiquus, camelids, others extinct. Pleistocene mammals such as mammoth, mastodon, Bison antiquus, camelids, others extinct. Temperatures became warmer, rainfall increased. Temperatures became warmer, rainfall increased. All responsible for major changes in complexity. All responsible for major changes in complexity.
  • Slide 4
  • Why Cultural Changes? Why didnt changes occur earlier during other climatic shifts (last interglacial 120,000 years ago)?? Why didnt changes occur earlier during other climatic shifts (last interglacial 120,000 years ago)?? population density increased population density increased carrying capacity became stressed, people couldnt move as freely so restricted mobility and greater competition for resources. carrying capacity became stressed, people couldnt move as freely so restricted mobility and greater competition for resources.
  • Slide 5
  • Ice Core Data
  • Slide 6
  • Sea Level Changes (~330 feet) Pleistocene Holocene
  • Slide 7
  • Pleistocene Mammal Extinctions natural declines natural declines over-exploitation by humans over-exploitation by humans habitat modification by humans habitat modification by humans human introduction of foreign organisms human introduction of foreign organisms
  • Slide 8
  • Consequences People began to be less mobile. People began to be less mobile. Exploit a greater variety of resources. Exploit a greater variety of resources. Changes in Technology Changes in Technology downsizing of projectile points. downsizing of projectile points. specialized hunting weapons. specialized hunting weapons. bow and arrow in the Old World around 15,000 bow and arrow in the Old World around 15,000 versatile toolkits. versatile toolkits. storage technology, such as basket and clay-line pits for nut and wild plant seeds storage technology, such as basket and clay-line pits for nut and wild plant seeds
  • Slide 9
  • Hunter-Gatherer Complexity Stereotype Stereotype Hunter-gatherers move around a lot and live in small groups Hunter-gatherers move around a lot and live in small groups Based on living, marginal groups such as the !Kung San and the Inuit. Based on living, marginal groups such as the !Kung San and the Inuit. Much greater diversity existed at end of Pleistocene. Much greater diversity existed at end of Pleistocene. !Kung san camp (http://www.wsu.edu/gened/learn-modules/top_agrev/3-Hunting-and-Gathering/hunt-gathering1.htm)l
  • Slide 10
  • Hunter-Gatherers Gathering in temperate and tropic areas provides 75 to 80% of the total calories consumed, with hunting providing the rest. Gathering in temperate and tropic areas provides 75 to 80% of the total calories consumed, with hunting providing the rest. In existing hunting and gathering cultures, women usually do most of the gathering, while the men specialize in hunting. In existing hunting and gathering cultures, women usually do most of the gathering, while the men specialize in hunting. They live in a small, personal world defined by the band, which seldom consists of more than 250 people. They live in a small, personal world defined by the band, which seldom consists of more than 250 people. http://www.wsu.edu/gened/learn-modules/top_agrev/3-Hunting-and- Gathering/hunt-gathering2.html
  • Slide 11
  • Conditions for more complexity Higher-than normal pop, concentrated in relatively small areas such as river valleys, circumscribed by geography and neighbors. Higher-than normal pop, concentrated in relatively small areas such as river valleys, circumscribed by geography and neighbors. More intense, diverse, specialized food gathering. More intense, diverse, specialized food gathering. Food storage and preservation Food storage and preservation Permanent and nearly permanet settlements, often linear. Permanent and nearly permanet settlements, often linear. Highly developed food procurement and processing technologies. Highly developed food procurement and processing technologies. Divison of labor, Simple social ranking, and trade. Divison of labor, Simple social ranking, and trade. More elaborate ritual and ceremonial beliefs. More elaborate ritual and ceremonial beliefs.
  • Slide 12
  • Population growth over time http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/human_pop/human_pop.html
  • Slide 13
  • Mesolithic in Europe Mesolithic forest and coastal h-gs replaced tundra reindeer hunters around 13,000 b.p. Mesolithic forest and coastal h-gs replaced tundra reindeer hunters around 13,000 b.p. Not impoverished as earlier thought but rich in wildlife such as red and roe deer, many plant foods. Not impoverished as earlier thought but rich in wildlife such as red and roe deer, many plant foods. Coast, estuaries very productive. Coast, estuaries very productive. Called affluent foragers. Called affluent foragers. Distinct cultures of the Upper Paleolithic covering areas of over 38 k sq miles, but in the Holocene reduced to 6 k sq miles and many different zones and territories. Distinct cultures of the Upper Paleolithic covering areas of over 38 k sq miles, but in the Holocene reduced to 6 k sq miles and many different zones and territories. European Mesolithic ended around 8,000 B.P. with the spread of agriculture. European Mesolithic ended around 8,000 B.P. with the spread of agriculture.
  • Slide 14
  • Discovery of a Mesolithic burial at Mezzocorona, Trento, Italy The modern town of Mezzocorona is located north of Trento, in the Adige valley, by the northern margin of the Rotaliana plain, a fertile alluvial fan at the confluence of the Noce stream and the river Adige. http://web.unife.it/progetti/notes/emezzoc.htm
  • Slide 15
  • Mezzocorona burial The burial was formed by a shallow grave, oriented east-west; the eastern and western walls were slightly inclined, whereas the northern and southern ones were almost vertical. The northern side of the grave is bordered by the cliff wall face and the southern side by one fallen large rock. The deepest part of the grave is in the middle. On the west, the grave cut into an occupational level rich in artifacts (flint, bones, charcoal) and on the east, into a gravel deposit. The burial was covered by more than forty stones of different sizes; they were assembled directly over the body (particularly its upper part) and arranged to form a small tumulus. On some of them, there were traces of red ochre. http://web.unife.it/progetti/notes/emezzoc.htm
  • Slide 16
  • Inside the grave, a skeleton, probably of a female aged over 30 years, lied in a supine position. She was oriented east-west, with her face looking south, her hands on the stomach and her feet slightly on top of one another. Both here head and feet were positioned above her pelvic girdle. No grave goods were present. Inside the grave, a skeleton, probably of a female aged over 30 years, lied in a supine position. She was oriented east-west, with her face looking south, her hands on the stomach and her feet slightly on top of one another. Both here head and feet were positioned above her pelvic girdle. No grave goods were present. A preliminary analysis of the skeleton, which was well preserved, showed that she had lost her molar teeth from some time as the roots had filled in naturally. A preliminary analysis of the skeleton, which was well preserved, showed that she had lost her molar teeth from some time as the roots had filled in naturally. Mezzocorona burial http://web.unife.it/progetti/notes/emezzoc.htm
  • Slide 17
  • Mesolithic people at Mezzocorona The occupation layers are rich in tools, microliths, cores, shatters and flaking products. The occupation layers are rich in tools, microliths, cores, shatters and flaking products. Among tools, endscrapers, either made from blades, or ogee-shaped, shoulder shape and nosed flakes are present. Among tools, endscrapers, either made from blades, or ogee-shaped, shoulder shape and nosed flakes are present. The endscrapers obtained from flakes are short and very short. In addition to the above-mentioned lithics there were found denticulated flakes and blades, and notched flakes. The endscrapers obtained from flakes are short and very short. In addition to the above-mentioned lithics there were found denticulated flakes and blades, and notched flakes. The burins that wer