The Dawn of Technology

[V. Gordon Childe].

Earliest tools = bone, wood, stone = ready materials.

100,000s years — stone = only effective tool. Master changing environment. Utilitarian tools — designed.

Stone Age technology = interplay of raw materials in development/refinement of tools, weapons (hunting), preparing food.


Crucial evolutionary processes — 200,000 > 10,000 BP. Geological. Genetic.

Sudden environmental changes.

Pm-metal = Palaeolithic > Mesolithic > Neolithic.

Palaeolithic = lower, earlier. Earliest industries = pebble tools, choppers.

Africa — 1,750,000 BP. Implements — rough trimmed, whole stone = core tools.

Next stage = hand axe — developed, refined core tools

Earliest — Africa > Europe/Near East.

Principal industry = Acheulian (Saint Acheul — N. France).

Probable life of Palaeolithic people

Small nomadic bands. Hunter/gatherers — plants, fruits, nuts, roots, insects.

Remains — ear water, camps, no vessels.

Bone tools — especially — no suitable stone. Eg., Peking finds.

End of Lower Palaeolithic = fire.

Lower Palaeolithic = 3,000,000 > 300,000 BC.

Middle Palaeolithic

Europe = beginning — last Pleistocene glaciations. Associated — Neanderthal Man. 300,000 > 40,000 BC.

Technological advance = flake tools, specialized tools, knives, preparing skins, spears, points, scrapers.

Possessed fire. Cave remains. Skin tents? 2

Upper Palaeolithic.

Homo sapiens — West Europe = 40,000 > 30,000 years ago.

Upper Palaeolithic = 40,000 > 20,000 BC. Mid > last phases of final glaciations.

Upper Palaeolithic = variety of stone implements — blades, flat, narrow flakes.

Many flakes from one core.

Main categories = (a) blades, (b) scrapers, (c) points, gravers, burins

Art, painting, engraving — totemic.

West Europe = 4 main cultures. All — named after French sites.

(1)     Solutrean — thin leaf-shaped points (laurel leaves) = typical. Hatted onto spear shafts.

(2)     Magdalenian — spear throwers, harpoons, needles.

Transitional cultures = North Germany, Scandinavia. Mesolithic

20,000 > 10,000 BC ?

Climatic changes — improved hunting techniques.

Magdalenian = bows, microlith techniques, bone fish hooks, hafted mattock, flake axe, adze/ axes hafted (tree felling/woodworking).

Denmark — semi-permanent settlements.


10,000 > 6,000 BC.

Hunting/gathering giving way to domestication of plants/animals.

Invention of agriculture. Pestles and mortars. Bone/antler tools, reaping knife.

Hunters/fishers. Natufian sickle =7,500 years old.

South West Asia — transitional Meso-Neo?


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