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Mesolithic Period: The Middle Stone Age

Mesolithic Period: The Middle Stone Age

The Mesolithic Period was among the three specific periods of Stone Age. In the archaeology of the Old World, Mesolithic Period was the period between of Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. When the last era of glaciers finally came to an end, the Earth warmed up, people loved this weather and began the period of Mesolithic. Another term for “Mesolithic Period” was Epipaleolithic.

The word “Mesolithic” was the creation of an archaeologist John Lubbuck. The term consists of two compounds “Mesos” meaning middle and “Litho” meaning stone. The most remarkable difference between Paleolithic and Mesolithic was the sophistication of the weapons. Mesolithic people favored to stay in fixed places. They developed agriculture and started to domesticate the animals like goats, sheep, pigs, and cattle. These animals were the certain sources of milk, meat, skin, and wools. And then came the creation of drawing ploughs and carts which helped human a lot in labouring.

Agriculture Development in Mesolithic Period

Although Mesolithic people used new agricultural methods, they still didn’t give up their nomadic lifestyles. For example, one famous method was the “swidden”. This swidden method was the process when the men harvested their crops and burned the remnants to drive off the insects. The ash was to nourish the land so it would promise a fruitful harvest. But as time went by, the land lost its nutrients and crops were no longer fruitful. When this time finally came, Mesolithic would abandon this plot of land and found another. It might take several years for a plot of  land to revive.

Image of Mesolithic period lifestyle
A modern depiction of Mesolithic lifestyle

This period experienced not only the new agricultural method but also the techniques of domesticating animals. People of this time started to raise and domesticate animals. They became the main source of meat, skin, and milk. So without hunting and risking life with dangerous animals, life was more secure with controllable supply of food.

Human Survival

Some people now see the invention of agriculture in Mesolithic was a threat to people of that time. Because if people chose to grow crops, they would have to encounter the incredible power of nature. Other believed that this new agricultural invention was just temporary and the innovations of this time would trigger the new Neolithic period.

The Mesolithic culture evolved in many ways. For example, they no longer lived in small tents. Rather, they built bigger house. But it seemed that those houses were not strong enough to win the power of harsh weather.


Image of Mesolithic artifact
Mesolithic artifact

With the development of agriculture, the Mesolithic people continued to invent and improve their weapons. Most of the Mesolithic artifacts were found in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Indeed, the stone tools helped the agriculture life a lot. Especially the plough which had the greatest effect at that time. When they figured out that animals could draw the ploughs, it reduced a great amount of human labor.

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