In prehistory there are two macro moments that define the beginning and the end of this period of the beginning of humanity. The first is the Stone Age and the second is the Metal Age . The Stone Age can also be divided into several eras such as: the Paleolithic , the Mesolithic and the Neolithic.


What is the Paleolithic?

The Paleolithic period is the initial stage of the Stone Age and the longest of mankind. Its name means old stone and this is because the raw material for making tools and weapons was stone. Its beginning is estimated 2.85 million years ago in Africa and its end at 12,000 years BC. It is made up of three periods: The Lower Paleolithic, the Middle Paleolithic and the Upper Paleolithic . The man of this period is nomadic, he lives in caves or in huts, for this reason he is known as a caveman and his diet comes from hunting and gathering vegetables, tubers and fruits.


The Paleolithic is the first stage of the Stone Age and its name comes from the Greek meaning “old stone”. This term is due to the fact that in this period of time man uses the stone to make a tool for his subsistence.


According to specialists, this period begins 2.85 million years in Africa up to 12,000 years, which makes this period of humanity the longest of all existing ones.

It can be divided into three phases which are: the Upper Paleolithic, the Middle and the Lower.

It is also important to mention that in this period fire is discovered and used.

Paleolithic characteristics

Among the most representative characteristics of the Paleolithic period, the following can be highlighted:

  • It begins 2.85 million years ago.
  • Fire is discovered.
  • It is made up of three moments: Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic.
  • The first humans are identified within the genus Homo.
  • The lifestyle is nomadic . They move in groups of 8 or 12 members.
  • The feeding is based on the house and the harvest.
  • The type of dwelling is the cave or the hut.
  • Stone is the raw material for making weapons and some tools.
  • Its economy and food is based on hunting and gathering.

Paleolithic man

The Paleolithic man is dedicated to hunting and gathering fruits, tubers and other foods . Its way of life is nomadic since it moves continuously or periodically according to the conditions of the land it inhabits.

On the other hand, the religious element and funeral rites are present in the lives of these men as part of their culture.

In this period the genus “homo” had several exponents such as: homo erectus, homo neanderthaliensis, homo floresiensis, homo sapiens among others. The skills of this Palaeolithic man developed as he improved his ways of working with stone to build tools and perfect his hunting techniques.


At this stage of prehistory , the use of stone as a base material for the construction of tools can be identified , but in addition to this there were other materials such as bone, antler, wood, leather and fibers of plant origin that were used to build weapons and clothing to protect yourself from the weather.

In the beginning, tools made with stone were rough, heavy and difficult to handle , but with the passing of time, they became little by little smaller and more efficient in their use and handling.


During this time, man lived in caves and for this reason he is known as a caveman. There were also huts built with bones, stones, animal skins and reeds .


The economy in the Paleolithic period was based on hunting-gathering for survival. The hunt began with scavenging and developed over the course of this period. In addition, it was important to cover the needs of clothing and housing.

Paleolithic art

Paleolithic art developed in the Upper Paleolithic period with stone carvings, engraved bones, and cave paintings .

Among the topics discussed are religious, the representation of the man with grotesque features and the naked woman with prominent sexual attributes as symbols of fertility, among other topics related to hunting activities.

It is important to mention the presence of movable art, referring to the artistic pieces that could be transported since they were made of bones, shells or stones, such as sculptures or paintings that were made on sticks, bone necklaces, engraved plates, spear points, etc. .

Another type of artistic manifestation of this time is the parietal art known by this name because it appears on the walls of caves or in outdoor sanctuaries. Among the most frequent subjects are engravings, reliefs and paintings that show signs of animals, humans, ideomorphs, etc.

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