200,000 – 8,000 BCE Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic
We offer two characters to present this period:
Meet the Historian putting the jigsaw of research together. The visits starts with a very short overview of the topic. The audience then become detectives and undertake various activities designed to encourage them to find extra information. During the final session they are invited to suggest information that could be added to the initial presentation.
The Professor is a fun character, nearly always in a pickle. Things have got lost, a box was broken, things have been muddled! The audience help the Professor to unravel her current dilemma. Along the way they develop their history skills by becoming seekers, searchers, finders or makers.
Puzzles the Professor needs help with:
- Unmuddling the collection.
- Putting together an outfit
- Sorting the funny time words
- Creating the history work bank
- Finding the chronological order
- Digging for treasure
The Stone Age lasts nearly 3.4 million years. To help catalogue the changes within this time three terms are used – Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic. Palaeolithic lasts so long that it subdivided into a further three periods – Lower, Middle and Upper. Complicating things, once people had spread beyond Africa they developed at different rates. So geographical areas can have different beginning and end dates for each of these.
Dates relevant to Britain:
Palaeolithic – Old Stone Age, at least 700,000 – 12,000 B.C characterised by the use of fibres, leather, wood, bone and stone tools, living in small groups, hunter gathering with meat being the dominant food source.
Mesolithic – Middle Stone Age, approx. 11,600 – 4000 B.C stone tools are more refined and smaller enabling more efficient hunting. Fishing is also evident as is the use of hunting dogs.
Neolithic – New Stone Age, approx. 4000 – 2300 BC The most significant addition in the Neolithic period is the introduction of farming practices; plants become the dominant food source. Although hunter gathering exists alongside farming for about 2,000 years eventually farming becomes preferred option. Resulting in establishment of permanent settlements, large scale construction, the introduction of pottery and more polished stone tools. Pottery is seen for the first time.