Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Prehistoric Art - Mesolithic / Archaic

The Mesolithic is the period of middle Stone Age, from about 10,000 - 5,000 BC years ago. It corresponds to period of primarily nomadic hunting and gathering which preceded the adoption of domesticated plants and animals.

The term Mesolithic is used to characterize that period in Europe and, sometimes, parts of Africa and Asia. That stage is usually called the Archaic in the Americas and in the rest of the world, it's usually characterized by Microliths.

This was a period when humans developed new techniques of stone working. At that time, people stayed longer in one place and gave increased attention to the domestication. There is a gap in the artistic activity of people of that epoch. Most of what has survived from the Mesolithic era is small statuette size works and paintings in shallow shelter caves.

The rich art of the Paleolithic is replaced by a Mesolithic art that is quite different. There are many changes in style as well as meaning. Upper Paleolithic cave art depicts colored drawings and expressive features of animals. A full range of color is used. Mesolithic art in contrast is schematic; no realistic figures are present and only the color red is used. This form is also found in North Africa and the northern Mediterranean.

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