Modeling the past
the paleoethnological approach
This chapter considers the earliest Paleolithic, Oldowan (Mode 1), and Acheulean (Mode 2) cultures of the Old Continent and the traces left by the earliest hominids since their departure from Africa. According to the most recent archaeological data, they seem to have followed two main dispersal routes across the Arabian Peninsula toward the Levant, to the north, and the Indian subcontinent, to the east. According to recent discoveries at Dmanisi in the Caucasus, the first Paleolithic settlement of Europe is dated to some 1.75 Myr ago, which indicates that the first "out of Africa" took place at least slightly before this date. The data available for Western Europe show that the first Paleolithic sites can be attributed to the period slightly before 1.0 Myr ago. The first well-defined 'structural remains' so far discovered in Europe are those of Isernia La Pineta in Southern Italy, where a semicircular artificial platform made of stone boulders and animal bones has been excavated. The first hand-thrown hunting weapons come from the site of Schöningen in north Germany, where the first occurrence of wooden spears, more than 2 m long, has been recorded from a site attributed to some 0.37 Myr ago. Slightly later began the regular control of fire. Although most of the archaeological finds of these ages consist of chipped stone artifacts, indications of art seem to be already present in the Acheulean of Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
Biagi, P. (2015)., Modeling the past: the paleoethnological approach, in W. Henke & I. Tattersall (eds.), Handbook of Paleoanthropology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 817-843.
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