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The Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age is a time interval between the Paleolithic (Ancient Stone Age) and the Neolithic (New Stone Age). This epoch is associated with the end of the Ice Age in Europe and the disappearance of animals and plants familiar to ancient people. The need to rebuild our entire way of life under the changed conditions had a great impact on the evolution of our distant ancestors.

Natural and climatic conditions of the Mesolithic

The transition from the Paleolithic to the Mesolithic was accompanied by serious climatic changes. 13 thousand years ago, global warming began in Europe. The lands covered with a thick ice layer were gradually freed from shackles, and huge volumes of melted water invariably changed the shapes and outlines of the primitive relief.

In IX-VIII thousand BC the water level in the World Ocean reached the highest level in the history of its existence. The Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas rose the most. The process of changing landscapes was long, and ended only in the V millennium BC, with the advent of the Neolithic era.

In the post - glacial period , the following global changes occurred in nature:

  • Formation of new natural zones. The northern lands were given over to the power of the tundra, coniferous forests occupied vast territories to the south of them, and broad–leaved forests to the south.
  • Climate and vegetation changes have significantly affected the animal world. With the establishment of stable warm weather, such cold-loving animals as musk ox, mammoth, woolly rhinoceros began to die out. They were forced to move closer to the taiga and tundra, but global warming caused their death. Their place was taken by other representatives of the fauna: bears, wild boars, wolves, foxes, beavers, moose, deer.
Following the cold-loving animals that served as the main source of food, people also moved north. Quite quickly they reached the shores of the Baltic Sea, the upper reaches of the largest rivers – the Volga and the Dnieper. Settlements of ancient people were found on the coasts of the Far East, the Arctic and the Kola Peninsula.

Man in the Mesolithic Period

Changes in people's lives in the Mesolithic era are directly related to the large-scale variable of natural and climatic conditions. The widespread distribution of various animal species, a significant increase in the number of fish and marine animals, waterfowl, and various types of vegetation required decisive steps from primitive man.

  • Changing hunting tactics. The extinction of large herd animals led to a change in hunting strategy. To kill smaller and more mobile animals, hunters had to gather in small groups and use a fundamentally new type of weapon.
  • Hunting in the Mesolithic era could be successful only with the use of throwing weapons. Spears and darts were replaced by more effective weapons – bows and arrows, which allowed hunting not only large and small animals, but also birds.
    Mesolithic Onion
  • Fishing. With an increase in water spaces and a decrease in the number of herd animals, ancient people began to pay more attention to fishing. For these purposes, they used various hooks, spears, harpoons. An important achievement in the fishing of that period was the use of nets.
  • Use of dogs for hunting and protection of housing.
  • Domestication of wild animals.
  • Manufacture of tools made of flint. They were still plates of geometric shapes or small points for composite tools.
  • Production of wicker and wooden utensils.

The Mesolithic economy was characterized by a gradual transition to agriculture. This was facilitated by the appearance of large treeless spaces suitable for growing crops. However, the main occupations of people were still hunting, gathering and fishing.

Mesolithic Art

The Mesolithic man embodied his craving for art in rock paintings depicting people, animals, plants, scenes of battles or hunting. In such drawings, ancient artists emphasized the action of the figures depicted: striking with a spear, archery, chasing prey.

Mesolithic rock carvings

During the Mesolithic period, various variations of ornament, schematicity, and signedness in images became very popular. The main materials for applied art were bones, fish teeth, pebbles, amber, wood.

The ancient people in the Mesolithic era deepened religious pagan ideas. During the burial, the deceased person was given a special pose, with the obligatory direction of the head to the east. In the burial pit they put all the items that could be "needed" by a tribesman in another world: weapons, household items, tools, necklaces.

What have we learned?

When studying the report on the topic "Mesolithic", we learned what a historical period of time called the Mesolithic is, what features it was characterized by. We found out what changes in the way of life occurred among ancient people, how art and culture developed.

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