People of the Old Stone Age

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1 1 People of the Old Stone Age Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons Mr. Graver Old World Cultures Name Period Notebook Number

2 2 Neanderthal People Learned Basic Skills Imagine, if you can, a muscular group of people standing before a cave and looking out over a cold landscape. Some of them have stone axes in their hands and animal skins over their shoulders. What you are imagining are Neanderthal men and women, one group of people who lived in the Old Stone Age. These people lived from about 100,000 to 40,000 years ago. Scientists named them after a valley in Germany where their remains were first found. The Neanderthal people were among the first people to be classified as human beings, or Homo Sapiens. How Neanderthal People Looked When archaeologists found the first complete skeleton of a Neanderthal, they drew some wrong conclusions about how these people looked. They said that Neanderthal people walked with their upper bodies hunched over and their arms swinging by their sides almost like monkeys! As they continued their study of the skeleton, they realized their mistakes. They had actually been studying a skeleton of an old person whose bones were diseased and bent with arthritis. Since then, archaeologists have found many other Neanderthal skeletons that show they looked and walked much like modern humans. Evidence has shown that these people were muscular, about 5 feet to 5 feet 6 inches tall, and stood upright. Their brains were as big as ours, although their skulls were shaped differently. Their noses, jaws, and teeth stuck out farther than modern humans. A famous archaeologist once said If you dressed a Neanderthal man in modern clothing and put him in an airport, he would probably would blend in with all the other passengers. Neanderthal Progress Neanderthal women and men made important discoveries that later people used and developed even further. During the Old Stone Age, Neanderthal people learned to make stone tools such as axes, spears, knives, arrowheads, and chisels. From the tusks of animals, they made needles and learned to sew fur skins together to make clothing. Neanderthal people were among the first to live in colder climates. They could do this because of their discovery of fire. Fire kept early people warm and allowed them to cook their food and to keep enemies, especially wild animals, away at night.

3 3 Old Stone Age people were hunters and gatherers. They hunted giant prehistoric animals like the musk ox, mammoth, cave bear, reindeer, and woolly rhinoceros for meat and furs. They also gathered roots, nuts, and fruits. To survive, the Neanderthal people had to live where there was a good food supply. If the supply of animals decreased in once place, they would move to another place and then another. People who move in search of food, and have no permanent homes as the Neanderthal people did, are called nomads. Even though the Neanderthals moved from place to place, they still had customs and families. By hunting together, the family provided for its needs. It cared for its members and it defended itself against enemies. Archaeologists think as many as 30 people probably hunted and lived together, developing many customs. One custom that scientists know the Neanderthal people had was the burial of their dead. Neanderthals probably buried their dead because they didn t want to see family members decay or be eaten by animals after they died. Today, archaeologists are lucky the Neanderthals buried their dead because careful burial in the ground increases the chance that a skeleton would be well preserved as a fossil. Several interesting burial sites have been discovered that show that Neanderthals practiced burial rituals. One young child was found buried with six pairs of animal horns arranged around his head. Another man was found buried with flowers arranged around his body. When archaeologists analyzed the pollen fossils, they realized all of the flowers were medicinal herbs. The man may have been considered a doctor. Although we re not sure, Neanderthal burial rituals might show that these early people thought about the meaning of life and death. They may have even believed in an afterlife. Cro-Magnon People Advanced Rapidly About 40,000 years ago, the Cro-Magnon people gradually replaced the Neanderthal people. These people were named after the location in southern France where their remains were first discovered. Why or how the Cro- Magnon people replaced the Neanderthals is still a mystery. Some historians think the Cro-Magnon people may have had more advanced weapons that enabled them to destroy the Neanderthal people. Other historians

4 4 believe the Neanderthals may have been overcome by disease. It seems more likely that the Neanderthal people simply changed physically over time until they could no longer be distinguished from Cro-Magnon people. The technology of the Cro-Magnon people advanced far more rapidly than the technology of the Neanderthal people, which allowed the Cro-Magnons to live easier lives. Cro-Magnon people made more delicate and effective stone, bone and wood tools than Neanderthal people did. These later people carved fish hooks, harpoons, and fine needles from bone. They chipped away pieces of stone to make knives, scrapers, arrowheads, and spear points. While Neanderthal people lived mostly in caves to protect themselves from wild animals, enemies, and the cold, Cro-Magnon people began to move from caves and began to build shelters for themselves. Animal skins were sometimes stretched over bones to create shelters. These dome shaped dwellings almost looked like teepees made by Native Americans. Archaeologists believe Cro-Magnons were very intelligent because they painted pictures on their cave walls. Many of the pictures are of animals. Because of their paintings, we know Cro-Magnon people understood how animals lived and behaved. The art also shows that Cro-Magnons had the ability to express their thoughts, their dreams, their hopes and fears, and their religious beliefs.

5 5 Get ready to travel back into human pre-history as far as we can possibly go! We re headed back about 100,000 years to a time called the Old Stone Age. Heck, it was so long ago the people who lived during this time even looked a little different than we do! You re going to learn about two groups of people called the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons. You ll find out what they looked like, how they lived, what their technology was like, and why they disappeared. You ll probably be surprised at how intelligent these people were and how much they cared about each other! Neanderthal People Learned Basic Skills 1. What do we call one group of people who lived during the Old Stone Age? 2. What are Homo Sapiens? Are Neanderthals considered Homo Sapiens?

6 6 How Neanderthal People Looked 3. Describe how Neanderthal people looked and walked: Neanderthal Progress 4. What are some examples of discoveries Neanderthal people made? 5. Why was the discovery of fire so important for the Neanderthals? 6. How did Neanderthals get their food? What were some things they ate? 7. What is a NOMAD? Why were the Neanderthals nomads?

7 7 8. Why was the FAMILY so important to Neanderthal life? 9. What was one custom the Neanderthals practiced? Cro-Magnon People Advanced Rapidly 10. What group of people slowly replaced the Neanderthals? Why were they called this? 11. How do historians think the Cro-Magnons replaced the Neanderthals? A. B. C.

8 8 12. What are some examples of Cro-Magnon technology? 13. What does Cro-Magnon cave art show us?

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