Prehistory pp 85-110 | Cite as

Final Palaeolithic Cultures and the Middle Stone Age

  • Derek Roe


The Middle Stone Age or Mesolithic Period has lost something of the meaning originally attributed to it. With the close of the Wiürm glaciation, the west European area which dominated much of the last chapter loses its importance for the moment, and the centre of interest shifts to south-west Asia, where the human groups and the special circumstances existed which were to produce probably the most important breakthrough of the whole of prehistory—the change from a hunting economy to one of controlled food production. The development of the vital new ideas of crop-growing and animal husbandry is, by the standard definition, the work of the earliest Neolithic communities; it therefore follows that the actual inventions were those of Mesolithic man. This splitting of hairs shows as well as anything the uselessness of adhering rigidly to the old concepts of Mesolithic and Neolithic, and indeed of trying to draw a sharp dividing line between any two consecutive archaeological periods.


Tanged Point Tool Type Woolly Rhinoceros Palaeolithic Culture Mesolithic Period 
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© Derek Roe 1970

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  • Derek Roe

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