The Art of the Mesolithic Era
The Mesolithic Era and Art
The Mesolithic Era is also known as the "Middle Stone Age" because it links the older, Upper Paleolithic Era otherwise known as the "Old Stone Age" to the Neolithic Era which is also known as the "New Stone Age". The Mesolithic Era covered approximately 2,000 years and took place between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago. The earth was going though temperature changes during this time, glaciers were receding and some of the larger mammals became extinct. Forests were soon established across northern Germany and Poland, southern Sweden and Norway, and all of Denmark. The changes in temperature and the extinction of various large animals forced humankind make lifestyle changes as well. Humans went from nomadic, hunter gatherers that followed animal migrations for food search more for edible plants and to live near the sea, lakes and streams for fishing and to hunt what sea life was available to them. This era also saw the beginnings of the domestication of food animals. The people of the Mesolithic Era tended to settle into small communities and stay in one place. Life became more sedentary for the Mesolithic people. The art became utilitarian and was created with a purpose for use.
Breaking News! Mesolithic Peoples Lived in Texas!
Texas Find Turns Back Clock On Settlers In America
A newly excavated site in central Texas contains evidence that the first human settlers in the Lone Star state arrived more than 15,000 years ago. That's more than 2,000 years earlier than scientists originally thought.
Read the entire story by clicking on the photo!
A Site Showing Excellent Mesolithic Art Photos
Stock photos can give you great views, but do not copy unless you purchase
This is a site that has some excellent photos of Mesolithic art, sculpture and pottery. However, this is a stock photo site and you are not permitted to copy or use any of these images unless you purchase the right to do so. I have included this site because of the exquisite views of Mesolithic art that are contained here. Please have a look, your time will be well spent. Click on the link below to view:
The "Microlith" Era
Flint knapping becomes important
Because metal and metalworking had not yet come about, flint was the mainstay for weapons and tools. The Mesolithic people became very skilled in working flint in arrow heads, spear heads, knives and scrapers. We can assume that the villages who had the best flint knappers were able to use the products as trade goods and to create some sort of wealth. Archeologists have found many Mesolithic Era dig sites strewn about with flint points, tools and the waste from flint knapping. Thus, the Mesolithic Era is not only called the "Middle Stone Age" but it is also called the "Microlith" Era as well.
Microliths were also used as a cutting edge for a larger spear head made of bone, antler or wood. The smaller, razor-sharp pieces were embedded along the edges of the spear point to give it greater cutting and piercing abilities.
Flint Knapping was Important to the Mesolithic People
Great Books on Flint Points and Tools
Types of Art Created by Mesolithic People
A complete change from the Upper Paleolithic Era
Bow and Arrows - The bow and arrow were invented during the Mesolithic Era. The spear thrower, which was invented in the Late Upper Paleolithic Era was probably beginning to be phased out as it was more for hunting large game, and much of the large game was becoming extinct.
Flint Knapping - Flint knapping for arrow and spear points was very important. Other tools such as scrapers for cleaning hides and knives were also made from flint.
Pottery for Food Storage - The first fired pottery was created for use as food storage. The clay was fired over an open fire during this time. There were also some small sculptures created of clay that have been found.
Small Sculpture- Small sculptures were carved from stone and a few have been found made of fired clay.
Rock Art - Art moved from inside on cave walls to outside on cliff walls and rock outcroppings. The subjects were mostly people in various groups or hunting scenes. Many of the paintings use stick-like figures and red coloring. Researchers believe that these painting represented mostly religious practices and / or were used to record various groups and communities. The colorful paintings of the Upper Paleolithic Era gave way to stick-like drawings of groups of people painted mostly in red.
Basketry - There is fossil evidence of wicker fish traps and nets used by Mesolithic fisherman. Head dresses made of woven plant fiber and shells have also been found in burial sites.
Jewelry and Ornamentation - the Mesolithic people had belts and necklaces made with beads of shell and animal teeth. The females were buried with "jewelry" on and the men were mainly buried with flint tools.
Doggerland - Where Many Artifacts are Bring Found In Europe
Now submerged in the North Sea
Doggerland is what many archeologists and anthropologists call the area where various new artifacts from the Mesolithic Era are being found. This was a land area that contained rich soil for growing and supported many wild edible plants as well as providing a large amount of shoreline for fishing and gathering from the sea.
Doggerland was a land mass that connected Great Britain to Europe and extended to the the east coast of the Netherlands. It also included the western coasts of Germany and Denmark. This area was said to be the richest hunting and fishing ground in Europe at that time, so of course early man would have settled there.
Doggerland became submerged in the North Sea once the glaciers of the last ice age melted around 6500 B.C., although scientist believe that part of Doggerland remained as an island (now called the "Dogger Bank") until about 5,000 B.C. when the water level rose considerably.
In 1931, a fishing boat discovered a barbed antler point which created interest in the area and since that time archeologist and discovered many artifacts from under the sea in this area commonly referred to as the Dogger Bank.
Mesolithic Era Art - Photos found around the webClick thumbnail to view full-size
Some Other Mesolithic Art Sites
Click on the name of the site to read more about each one
Kamennaya Mogila - Located in the Ulraine near Melitopol. Carved and scratched depictions of mammals near a recent excavation of a Mesolithic settlement.
Gobustan (Kobystan) - Located between the Great Caucasian Range and the Caspian Sea. Numerous petroglyphs including groups of people, bulls, deer , predators and even reptiles and insects.
Zaraut-Kamar - Located in Uzbekistan in the lower range of the Kugitang mountains. Ocher paintings of four groups of depictions of anthropomorphs and bulls.
Bhimbetka - Located in North Central India. The site contains numbers rock paintings on sandstone of groups of people and animals.
Mesolithic Art Books
A good book on just Mesolithic Art is difficult to find. Many times you will need to purchase an art history book to find Mesolithic Art.