The exposition of the hall “Stone Age” is chronologically divided into three basic periods – Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. This hall also has a paleofauna presentation. Paleolithic is the earliest and longest period in the humanity history that lasts for more then 2 million years. Geologically it corresponds to Pleistocene – the period of great glaciations on the territory of Europe and North Asia. The man, his society and material culture were developing in severe climatic conditions of these two continents. Paleolithic is divided into three stages:
Lower Paleolithic (2 million years – 250 000-200 000 years). Pithecanthropus stage in human evolution. Communities of prehistoric people were gathering vegetables and hunting big animals. They had fire and primitive tools. Early Paleolithic sites on the territory of South Siberia are Ulalinka (Gorno-Altaysk city) and Mokhovo 2 (Lenisk-Kuznetsk region) where rude worked pebbles and bifaces–handaxes have been found.
Middle Paleolithic (200 000-40 000 years). Neanderthal stage in the anthropogenesis. The stage is characterized with developed Levallois technique tradition, tools production by retouch, trimming, beating, larger number of tools. Material culture of middle Paleolithic of South Siberia is represented by early complexes of caves Denisova, Kemennaya, Okladnikova, site Ust-Karakol.
Upper Paleolithic (40 000-12 000 years). Period of modern physical type of humans and developing of human society. Further improvement of horn and stone tools production, beginning of the rigidly patriarchal and stringently ruled family life and fur clothes production let semi-nomadic groups of hunters for animals of glacial fauna open large areas of North Asia and start settling of North America through Beringia. At late Paleolithic a range of archaeological cultures was developed on the South of Siberia – Kokarevskaya, Afontovskaya, Bedorevskaya on the Tom River, etc. (settlements Afontova Gora (excavations by I. T. Savenkov) – collection 105, Bedarevo I (excavations by S. V. Markin) – collection 108, Bedarevo II (excavations by S. V. Markin) – collection 127, Shorokhovo I (excavations by S. V. Markin) – collection 122, Ilyinka II (excavations by S. V. Markin) – collection 106, Shumikha I (excavations by S. V. Markin) – collection 107).
Mesolithic (11 000-8 000 years). Geologically it corresponds to a new stage of Holocene related to developing of the landscapes similar to modern ones. Mesolithic demonstrates life forces of the human society. A new geographic context demanded new production means, changing of the material culture. This period is marked by prevalence of the microlithic industry in production of tools, which have been made of different kinds of stone on small prismatic blades (wood treating tools, knives for cutting meat, burins, points, punches, end-scrapers, etc). Blades were used for producing big tools – spear points, daggers, knives, which base was of horn or wood. The basic achievement of the Mesolithic man was invention of bow and arrows. Probably the vehicle like boat and ski appear at this time.
In Mesolithic the process of North Asia discovering, including tundra zone, is finishing. At this time on the territory of Western Siberia there was formed a cultural and historical complex, which included Mesolithic culture of Altai, Khakassia and Kuznetsk-Salair mountain region (settlement Bolshoy Berchikul I (excavations by V. V. Bobrov) – collection 73).
Neolithic (5 000-first half of the 3rd millinery BC). Final period of Stone Age, period of tribal social system prosperity. The most important achievement of Neolithic man was invention of weaving and ceramic to make dishes. At this time a new step was done in technique improvement of stone tools production. Sawing, drilling, polishing let not only use solid kinds of stone but significantly improved the efficiency of tools.
The material culture of Neolithic tribes of Siberia witnesses existing of highly productive culture based on appropriating activities – hunting and fishing. Hunting equipment consisted of bow and arrows, spears, darts, stone daggers and knives. For fishing they used hooks, fish-spears, nets, fish blocking tactics in mouth of small rivers. Axes, adzes were necessary tools for building houses, making boats and wooden house objects. Neolithic man created an original and inimitable art. Its models were big taiga animals, water-fowl birds and fish. Art, as well as funeral ritual, reflects complicated spirit world of the man, level of his knowledge of nature.
During Neolithic period in the South of Western Siberia there existed archaeological cultures Verkhneobskaya and Kuznetskaya, represented by burial grounds Kuznetsky, Vaskovsky, Lebedi II (excavations by V. V. Bobrov) – collection 116, settlements Kuria IV (excavations by G. S. Martynova, A. I. Martynov) –collection 102, Sosnovka I (excavations by E. M. Rabinovich) – collection 91.
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