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The Paleolithic

before Homo (Pliocene)

Lower Paleolithic (c. 2.6 Ma–300 ka)

Oldowan (2.6–1.8 Ma)
Acheulean (1.7–0.1 Ma)
Clactonian (0.3–0.2 Ma)

Middle Paleolithic (300–30 ka)

Mousterian (300–30 ka)
Aterian (82 ka)

Upper Paleolithic (50–10 ka)

Baradostian (36 ka)
Châtelperronian (35–29 ka)
Aurignacian (32–26 ka)
Gravettian (28–22 ka)
Solutrean (21–17 ka)
Magdalenian (18–10 ka)
Hamburg (15 ka)
Ahrensburg (13 ka)
Swiderian (10 ka)
Stone Age

Mousterian is a name given by archaeologists to a style of predominantly flint tools (or industry) associated primarily with Homo neanderthalensis and dating to the Middle Paleolithic, the middle part of the Old Stone Age.


Restoration of Le Moustier Neanderthals by Charles R. Knight

The culture was named after the type site of Le Moustier, a rock shelter in the Dordogne region of France.[1] Similar flintwork has been found all over unglaciated Europe and also the Near East and North Africa. Handaxes, racloirs and points constitute the industry; sometimes a Levallois technique or another prepared-core technique was employed in making the flint flakes.[2]


Mousterian tools that have been found in Europe were made by Neanderthals and date from between 300,000 BP and 30,000 BP (from Layer 2A dated 330 ± 5 ka, (OIS) 9 at Pradayrol, France).[3] In Northern Africa and the Near East they were also produced by anatomically modern humans. In the Levant for example, assemblages produced by Neanderthals are indistinguishable from those produced by Qafzeh type modern humans.[4] It may be an example of acculturation of modern humans by Neanderthals because the culture after 130,000 years reached the Levant from Europe (the first Mousterian industry appears there 200,000 BP) and the modern Qafzeh type humans appear in the Levant another 100,000 years later.

Possible variants are Denticulate , Charentian (Ferrassie & Quina) named after the Charente region,[5] Typical and the Acheulean Tradition (MTA) - Type-A and Type-B.[6] The Industry was superseded by the Châtelperronian during 35,000-29,000 BP.[7]

Right : Proximal Phalanges Left : Findspot : Beuzeville, Eure, France.


Geographical distribution of Mousterian sites

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William A. Haviland; Harald E. L. Prins; Dana Walrath; Bunny McBride (24 February 2009). The Essence of Anthropology. Cengage Learning. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-495-59981-4. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Mark Aldenderfer; Alfred J. Andrea; Kevin McGeough; William E. Mierse, Carolyn Neel (29 April 2010). World History Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 330. ISBN 978-1-85109-929-0. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Skinner et al., ʺNew ESR Dates for a New Bone‐Bearing Layer at Pradayrol, Lot, Franceʺ 2007, "Abstracts of the PaleoAnthropology Society 2007 Meetings." PaleoAnthropology 2007:A1-A35
  4. ^ Shea, J. J., 2003: Neandertals [sic], competition and the origin of modern human behaviour in the Levant, Evolutionary Anthropology, 12:173-187.
  5. ^ Andrew Lock, Charles R. Peters - Handbook of human symbolic evolution - 906 pages Oxford science publications Wiley-Blackwell, 1999 ISBN 0-631-21690-1 RETRIEVED 2012-01-06
  6. ^ University of Oslo P.O. Box 1072 - Blindern-0316 Oslo-Norway email : fa-admin@admin.uio.no. / international@mn.uio.no - Universitetet i Oslo RETRIEVED 2012-01-06
  7. ^ Gregory Cochran; Henry Harpending (19 October 2010). The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Basic Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-465-02042-3. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Langer, William L., ed. (1972). An Encyclopedia of World History (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 9. ISBN 0-395-13592-3. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
300,000–30,000 BP
Succeeded by

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