Paleolithic Era Explained
2,000 to 10,000 BCE
As you can see by your chart, we will
investigate both the Paleolithic as well as
the Neolithic time period and then we will
compare them. Our first focus will be the
Paleolithic time period.
Lascaux Caves was done during the
Paleolithic time period. We will have the
opportunity to see them (virtually) during a
web quest tomorrow.
The First Humans
Paleo = Old
Lithic = Stone
Neo = New
Lithic = Stone
The earliest humans
probably lived in Africa.
They spread to the
rest of the world over
the next tens of
thousands of years
as they hunted and
gathered food to
How old are we?
1 billion
Dinosaurs livedA.about
65 million
years ago… B. About 65 million
years old
C. About 30 million
…but even though you may find lots of
years old
movies with humans
D. About getting
3 millioneaten by
dinosaurs, dinosaurs
were long dead
years old
before humans showed up on earth!
• discovered in 1974
• discovered in Hadar,
• Lucy is believed to be
over 3 million years old!
• Evidence of humans
walking upright!
How do we know?
Paleolithic Era
• Paleolithic Era
also means Old
Stone Age.
• The Paleolithic
Age began two
million-years ago
Paleolithic Era
• Homo Sapiens during this
period were . . .
– Nomads
– Making simple
tools and weapons.
– Making cave art
– Mastering the use of fire.
– Developing language
– Living in clans
Paleolithic Lifestyle-Dwellings
• Small homes
• Caves, huts, or “tents”
• Small groups of people
• Found near water
(rivers, lakes)
• Nomadic – move
around often
• Hunter/Gatherers
• Meat was either hunted or
• Fruits/Vegetables must be
Key Concepts:- Dwellings
Nomadic Lifestyle – followed herds
Temporary Houses
Small groups of people
Animal skin tents, caves, and huts –
Interesting note: People did not live in caves like Lascaux or if they
stayed, it was for a very short period of time. One theory is that Lascaux
was more “magical”, used as a kind of place of worship
Remember that Paleolithic people often had to move from place
to place, hunting and gathering.
Because of the lack of food and the constant moving, populations
tended to be small. Although people were generally healthy, it is
relative because of their short life span. They died at a very early
age because of hunger, disease, or injury. It was a very rough
Groups of related families united in bands to
collect roots, nuts, fruits and seeds. They also
hunted together. By co-operating together they
met their basic needs for food, clothing and
The animals they killed provided meat for
food, bones for tools, and hides for clothing.
They set up seasonal camps in
caves or rock shelters wherever
the animals were plentiful.
Because populations were small, both men and women were important in
these early societies. It is believed that men were probably the leaders of
these little tribes.
The eldest man ruled until his death. At that point power would move to
the next oldest male.
 Women, however, had the most important roles during this time period.
 They had the important role of carrying on life and for the most part they
were more successful in finding food.
They were the “gatherers.” They found nuts and berries while the men
hunted. Most times the men were unsuccessful in finding food while the
women weren’t.
While the Paleolithic era refers to the "old
stone age," the entire time period during which
human beings were making tools of stone, art
begins at approximately 35,000 BCE a time at
which human beings seem to have circled the
globe. The time frame for "Paleolithic art" can
be described from 35,000 BCE to approximately
12,000 BCE.
Some theories state that cave artists
breathed life into their animal/hunting
pictures – Showing the important
connection between the hunt and the
cave paintings –
Other theories state that cave painted
stopped when early humans began
farming (agriculture) – and felt superior
to the animals that they drew before…
Key Concepts: - Clothes
Animal skins
Bones used as needles to sew skins together
Key concepts: ART
Key concepts: Hunt/Farm
Nomadic – moved with food supplies
– followed herds
Ice Age forced them to move/change
 Cave Paintings-mostly of
Cave art used in ritualssometimes animals sacrificed
 Animism – the belief that all
living things have spirits
The Paleolithic Age
Tool usage
The invention of chipped stone tools
Hunting and gathering bands (20-30 people)
Constantly moving from place to place following
food sources (herds of animals, etc.)
2 million
Paleolithic Age is
to as the
Stone Age
Stone Axe
Rocks were used as tools and weapons during the Paleolithic Revolution
Stone Age Artifacts
Cave Paintings are Artifacts too.
1.How did early people
get the food they
needed to survive?
3. Besides food, for what
purposes might early
people have worked
Bands migrated when food
(plants or animals) became
scarce in one location.
We’re outta
Spreading Through the World
Reasons for the Migrations
• Couldn’t find enough
• Growing number of
• Changing climate
• Follow animals on the
move (hunting)
Ice Age
About 35,000 years ago
Ice sheets covered about 1/3 of the earth
Result…ocean level lower & land bridges made
migration to various parts of world
And it made a cool movie too…
Key Concepts (chart): - Tools
Chipped stone tools
Spears, knives, axes, clubs scraper, needles, harpoons
Cave Lamps (as used for light to paint in caves)
Key Concepts (chart) Other:
Climate – cold, glaciers, fewer plants
Lived in small groups (clans)
Women gathered fruit, nuts, roots
Men were hunters, elders had power
Everyone SHARED property equally
People were generally healthy during
their short life span
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