Modern humans of 100,000 years ago looked just like we do today, so we have reached the end of our ancestral picture gallery. We will continue looking at the artifacts that people left behind.
The most important flake tools were spear points, awls for punching holes in leather, and scrapers for preparing hides and wood. Some tools were forged with heat treatment.
The blade was one of the most important innovations of the Upper Paleolithic.
Personal ornamentation was one of the earliest signs of the “modern” human mind. These Middle Stone Age seashells were found at Blombos Cave, South Africa. They have been carefully drilled, probably for stringing on a necklace. Some shells were dyed with red ochre. Similar specimens in Israel date to 100 TYA.
The oldest known visual art took the form of handprints and simple geometric designs.
Art quickly became representational. It usually depicted animals, like the rhinos above or the ivory lion-man below.
Back to Section 5.V: Chapter 5 Summary
Ch. 5 Margin Notes
Continue to CHAPTER 4: THE LAST FEW TEN-THOUSAND YEARS
- Point photograph by Vincent Mourre / Inrap, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blombos_point_white.JPG (accessed and saved 11/24/19, archived 12/29/19). ↩
- Blade photograph by Archaeodontosaurus, CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.de), https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Pointe_de_la_gravette_MHNT_PRE_2009.0.231.1_(2).jpg (accessed and saved 11/25/19, archived 12/29/19). ↩
- Photo of shell beads by Chris Henshilwood, user Chenshilwood at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BBC-shell-beads.jpg (accessed, saved, and archived 12/07/19). ↩
- Flute photograph by José-Manuel Benito Álvarez, CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flauta_paleol%C3%ADtica.jpg (accessed and saved 12/07/19, archived 12/29/19). ↩
- Handprint photograph by Cahyo Ramadhani, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hands_in_Pettakere_Cave_DYK_crop.jpg (accessed and saved 12/07/19, archived 12/29/19). ↩
- Photo of rhino art public domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rhinos_Chauvet_Cave.jpg (accessed and saved 12/07/19, archived 12/29/19). ↩
- Lion man photograph by Dagmar Hollmann [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) ↩
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