• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What were the main differences between Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic societies?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐What were the main differences between Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic societies? Illustrate your answer with a discussion of the evidence from two archaeological sites. The departure of ice sheets from the British Isles in circa 18,000 B.P. led to reoccupation in about c.12,500 B.P. At this time, the climate was harsh, terrain baron, food scarce and survival difficult. To occupy such a disagreeable place, the glacial hunters of the Upper Palaeolithic were hardened nomads who followed food supplies. Their main food sources were fish, elk, deer and mammoths. They probably seasonally migrated back and forth to continental Europe. Beginning around 8,000 B.C. however, the climate began to warm up and sea levels rose separating Britain from Europe stopping the seasonal migration. This climate change led to a change in food and plant life being more diverse and plentiful. As a result, life during the Mesolithic was considerably more comfortable than during the Upper Palaeolithic. Mesolithic society changed as a result and the differences in the two periods? societies will be explored in this essay. Upper Palaeolithic Britain was resembled the tundra of Northern Canada today. The flora was sparse consisting of inedible ferns and pine and boreal trees towards the end of the era and these were of little value for woodworking. The fauna would have been fierce to cope with such living conditions and animals such as mammoths would clearly pose a challenge to even the most proficient hunting society. These people constantly moved and usually inhabited caves. ...read more.

Middle

These communal burials were routine until the Bronze Age. Another similarity between the two periods is although Mesolithic people did indeed migrate more infrequently than Upper Palaeolithic people, they did overall remain nomadic hunter-gathers, just to a much lesser extent. Starr Carr, a hunting camp that was located at the edge of ancient Lake Pickering, North Yorkshire provides archaeologists with a wealth of information as this site was as a microcosm of Mesolithic life. Excavated by Grahame Clark, the site was occupied from c.7,500 B.C. and consists of a main settlement set back from the shoreline with multiple outer lying smaller camps. During the Mesolithic, this area was not too dissimilar to the Norfolk Fens today (wet lands). The site included an elevated birch planked deck, originally situated on the edge of the lake. This pier-like structure was presumably for fishing however fish bones were not recovered from Star Carr. Smith suggested out this is probably because of acid in the peat that was strong enough to disintegrate fish but not mammal bones whilst Pryor thinks the until recently frozen North Sea had not been colonised by fish yet. (Pryor, 2003, p.85) The peat enabled artefacts to be well preserved. Archaeological finds here include around 17,000 flint artefacts, animal bones, stone and amber beads, and, crucially, a wooden paddle (indicating boating, maybe for fishing and/or travelling), 21 ornate antler headdresses and remains of canis familiaris (a dog). The headdresses are deer skull with antlers mounted on it to make a person resemble a deer. ...read more.

Conclusion

The foremost reason for this change in society is due to Britain being isolated from continental Europe, thus, migration to the continent was not possible and improvement in climate. In short, there is a definite and clear transition between the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods instigating numerous social changes. Paramount of these is the far less relocation of and increased quality of settlements, after that; new hunting strategies. All said changes were a direct result of, or at least party influenced by the Mesolithic?s warmer climate. Clark, G. 1967. Stone Age Hunters. London: Thames & Hudson. Dawkins, W. and Mello, J. 1879, ?Further discoveries in the Cresswell Crags? in Journal of the Geological Society, volume 35, pp. 724-735. Degerbol, M. 1961. ?On the find of a preboreal dog (canis familiaris) from Star Carr, Yorkshire with remarks on other Mesolithic dogs?. in The Prehistoric Society, volume 27. p. 35. Pike, A. Gilmour, P. and Pettitt, R. 2005. ?Verification of the age of the Palaeolithic rock art at Creswell? in the Journal of Archaeological Science, volume 32, pp.49-50. Pryor, F. 2003. Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans. London: Harper Perennial. pp. 79- Scarre, C. ed. 2005. The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies. London: Thames and Hudson. pp. 396-397. Scarre, C. ed. 2001. The Times: Archaeology of the World. London: Times Books. pp. 85-86. Smith, C. ed. 1992. Late Stone Age Hunters of the British Isles. London: Routledge. pp. 159-168 and 168-180. Thatcham through the ages. (2007). Retrieved from Thatcham Historical Society: http://thatchamhistoricalsociety.org.uk/publications/papers/ages ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Ancient History section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Ancient History essays

  1. Mesolithic food. The hunting of mammals remains central to the Mesolithic even if ...

    Looking at one example, that of red deer which can weigh between 90-190 kilograms, a person would have to consume 52,000 oysters or 156,000 cockles to match the calorie content of one red deer. Aurochs were most probably high on the menu due to their large size.

  2. Archaeological Controversy. The Bosnian "pyramids". Mr Osmanagic also thinks the findings around the hills ...

    2006, he did an about turn on the statement saying he was misinterpreted and saying though the Illyrians were most definitely responsible for the structures while the inhabited the area between 12,000 and 500 BC, the original date of 12,000BC may be inaccurate (www.crystalinks.com)

  1. The aim of this essay is to examine the environment and settlement of some ...

    An assembly of wooden stakes and holes were prominent on the site and are gathered to have made up a number of moorings and jetties for boats. Also along with this there was evidence of 13 fish baskets and a fish trap in the shape of a v.

  2. What are the legal and ethical responsibilities of Archaeologists in regard to the protection ...

    Many of these archaeologists were n**i collaborators (Reinbach, 2002: 331). From a modern ethical viewpoint, the actions of these archaeologists were reprehensible, using archaeology to justify a r****t regime. In more recent history, Israeli archaeologists were embroiled in international condemnation when on November 14th 1993, a month before the agreed

  1. A251 In no more than 500 words, summarise the major stages in the development ...

    In 1958 Mellaart discovered the settlement at Catalhoyuk which was inhabited between 7300 bc- 6200bc. Catalhoyuk shows unusual architecture with plaster modelling on the walls and paint used on the floors and as motifs on the walls. Houses were built closely with the walls touching and there is evidence of burials under the floors.

  2. Discussing the biblical historiography of images of the Jew in the ancinet world

    In Daniel 5 there is an outright denunciation of the gentile king and his downfall is prophesized; in ch4 Nebuchadnezzar is reduced to a b*****l state whilst ch7 sees various kings reduced to beasts. Collins notes that as the primary function of wise men is revealing the future, they might

  1. "With reference to the period 1880, explain why people chose to migrate to Britain"

    It wasn't just in the 1880s the Jewish were being persecuted, they were persecuted before then and again in 1939 onwards by the n**i. Jewish people have become scapegoats in many different periods of time. An alternative group to suffer persecution and flee to Britain was the East African Asians.

  2. The battle of Issus, 333 BC

    Thirdly, the worse counsel who told him what at the moment he liked hear. Lastly, more than any other things, there was surely some supernatural power which led Darius to take up a position where he could get little advantage either from his cavalry or his superiority in numbers of men and weight of missiles.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work