Klein, Richard G. Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Pike-Tay, Anne Department of Anthropology, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Lower Paleolithic
- Middle Paleolithic
- Upper Paleolithic
- Other aspects of culture
- Population expansion
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The prehistoric period when people made stone tools exclusively by chipping or flaking. John Lubbock proposed and defined the term Paleolithic, or Old Stone Age, in 1865 and also defined a subsequent stage, Neolithic or New Stone Age, during which some stone tools were formed by polishing or grinding. Later archeologists altered these definitions; to many today, the Paleolithic is the period during which human beings lived entirely by hunting and gathering, while the Neolithic is the following interval during which plant and animal domestication was introduced. To other archeologists, the Paleolithic is simply a time interval, roughly equivalent to the Pleistocene Epoch, while the Neolithic comprises the early part of the succeeding Holocene (or Recent) Epoch. See also: Anthropology; Archeology; Geologic time scale; Neolithic
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