(2,8 millions - 10.000 years ago)
Palaeo = old Lithic = stone
The Palaeolithic is the first period of history and prehistory where modern humans (homo sapiens sapiens) appear.
Homo sapiens (the current human being) is not the only member of the Homo genus that lived in the Palaeolithic. Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, Homo Neanderthaliensis among others, were also part of this extensive historical period.
They lived in small groups called tribes and their main activities were hunting, fishing and gathering. This means they couldn´t produce their own food.
Scientists believe men were the hunters, they used to hunt animals like mammoth and reindeer and women gathered berries, nuts, fruits and roots.
They couldn´t farm, so they had to follow animals to survive, which means, they didn´t live in villages or towns, they were travelling all the time so they lived in camps. In other words, they were nomads.
Life was very hard those days, people had to make everything by themselves, they couldn´t go to the supermarket, that´s why they used the skins of animals for clothes and their bones and horns for tools.
In Stone Age times there was no writing as such but people did record the world around by carving or painting on stones and cave walls.
Historians are still not entirely sure why people in the Stone Age created cave art, although lots of people have different theories about it.
Prehistoric people drew or painted the animals they hunted on the walls or ceiling of the caves. They also painted scenes of ritual or magical meaning.
The most famous prehistoric paintings are those of the Altamira Cave in Santillana del Mar (Cantabria).
Click on the picture.
Click on the bison for a virtual tour to Alatmira Cave