Palaeolithic and Mesolithic period (Old and Middle Stone Age) - National Museum Cardiff
250,000 years ago and around 5,500 years ago
See the physical evolution from early hominins, four million years ago, to modern humans c. 35,000 years ago on our enthralling skull wall.
The Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods are really exciting times for archaeologists.
They piece together the past by studying stone tools, identifying animal bones, the pollen record and other environmental evidence to learn more about these distant times.
A cycle of climate change happened naturally all through the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.
It alternated between very cold, glacial conditions when there was ice all over the land-surface of Wales, and warm periods or interglacials, like the one we live in today. This era is also popularly known as the ‘Ice Age’.
The ‘Red Lady’ of Paviland Cave in Origins is the oldest dated rich burial of a fully modern human (like ourselves) in Europe.
It is a skeleton of a young man, not a woman (discovered through later work), and the interpretation of the remains are always changing.
Mesolithic people lived as hunter-gatherer-fishers and made more complex stone tools, including microliths, or barbs for hunting and fishing.
The microlith from Burry Holms in Origins unusually shows traces of glue , for sticking it into its wooden or bone shaft.