Vasco-Cantabria is a term used in archaeology and the environmental sciences, for an area on the northern coast of Spain. It covers similar areas to the northern parts of the adjacent modern regions of the Basque country and Cantabria. In geology the "Vasco-Cantabrian Basin" or "Basque-Cantabrian Basin" covers the area and the seas off the coast, in the Bay of Biscay, an area between the Iberian and European tectonic plates; the area is of special significance in the archaeology of the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods of the Stone Age. A narrow coastal strip was a glacial refugium, never covered by glaciers during the Last Glacial Maximum, appears to have been densely populated, it is part of the wider Franco-Cantabrian region that stretches from Asturias, the next region west of the Basque Country, to Provence in southeastern France. The main archaeological industries in the area during this period are the Middle Paleolithic Mousterian, the Upper Paleolithic Chatelperronian, Gravettian, Solutrean and the Azilian, variously classified as Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic.
Vasco-Cantabrian sites contain much of the surviving art of the Upper Paleolithic in terms of cave paintings. The UNESCO World Heritage Site "Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain" consists of ten caves in Cantabria and three in the Basque County, as well as five from the Comarca de Oriente, the easternmost part of Asturias; the region is and was part of the Eurosiberian climatic zone, remained moist throughout the period, unlike much of Spain. In the relevant period common trees included birch, Scots pine, beech and willow, these fluctuating with changes in temperature; the animal remains found at human sites include red deer, ibex and goats. Reindeer are rare, unlike in southern France. During this period the climate fluctuated, warmer periods brought a great increase in forest cover, changing the populations of larger animals, with herd animals preferring a more open landscape, notably bison and red deer, giving way to "smaller, less gregarious game", such as wild boar and roe deer.
At the start of the Holocene, a rise in sea levels reduced the width of the coastal strip, taking some 6-16 km from a strip that had only been 25-50 km wide between the sea to the north and the Cantabrian Mountains and their glaciers, which lie to the south of the whole region. Cave of El Castillo in the Caves of Monte Castillo group, Cantabria. Important early cave paintings Cave of La Pasiega Cave of Altamira Cave del Valle El Mirón Cave Cave of Chufín more at Caves in Cantabria Armintxe Cave Cave of Altxerri Santimamiñe, a long continuous sequence from the Mousterian to the Azilian Praileaitz Cave Straus: Straus, Lawrence Guy, Valentin Eriksen, Jon M. Erlandson, David R. Yesner, eds. Humans at the end of the Ice Age: the archaeology of the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition.] New York: Plenum Press, 1996:346. ISBN 0-306-45177-8, google books Straus: Straus, Lawrence Guy, in Bailey and Spikins, Mesolithic Europe, 2008, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521855039, 9780521855037 Straus: Straus, Lawrence Guy, Chapter 7 in Zooarchaeology and Modern Human Origins: Human Hunting Behavior during the Later Pleistocene, eds.
Jamie L. Clark, John D. Speth, 2013, Springer, ISBN 9400767668, 9789400767669, google books
The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make implements with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted 3.4 million years and ended between 8700 BCE and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking. Stone Age artifacts include tools used by modern humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, by the earlier contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools were used during this period as well but are preserved in the archaeological record; the Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use. The Stone Age is the first period in the three-age system of archaeology, which divides human technological prehistory into three periods: The Stone Age The Bronze Age The Iron Age The Stone Age is contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception being the early Stone Age, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands.
The closest relative among the other living primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved. The rift served as a conduit for movement into southern Africa and north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia. Starting from about 4 million years ago a single biome established itself from South Africa through the rift, North Africa, across Asia to modern China, called "transcontinental'savannahstan'" recently. Starting in the grasslands of the rift, Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it, becoming a "tool equipped savanna dweller"; the oldest indirect evidence found of stone tool use is fossilised animal bones with tool marks. Archaeological discoveries in Kenya in 2015, identifying the oldest known evidence of hominin use of tools to date, have indicated that Kenyanthropus platyops may have been the earliest tool-users known.
The oldest stone tools were excavated from the site of Lomekwi 3 in West Turkana, northwestern Kenya, date to 3.3 million years old. Prior to the discovery of these "Lomekwian" tools, the oldest known stone tools had been found at several sites at Gona, Ethiopia, on the sediments of the paleo-Awash River, which serve to date them. All the tools come from the Busidama Formation, which lies above a disconformity, or missing layer, which would have been from 2.9 to 2.7 mya. The oldest sites containing tools are dated to 2.6–2.55 mya. One of the most striking circumstances about these sites is that they are from the Late Pliocene, where previous to their discovery tools were thought to have evolved only in the Pleistocene. Excavators at the locality point out that: "...the earliest stone tool makers were skilled flintknappers.... The possible reasons behind this seeming abrupt transition from the absence of stone tools to the presence thereof include... gaps in the geological record."The species who made the Pliocene tools remains unknown.
Fragments of Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus and Homo Homo habilis, have been found in sites near the age of the Gona tools. In July 2018, scientists reported the discovery in China of the oldest stone tools outside Africa, estimated at 2.12 million years old. Innovation of the technique of smelting ore began the Bronze Age; the first most significant metal manufactured was bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, each of, smelted separately. The transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age was a period during which modern people could smelt copper, but did not yet manufacture bronze, a time known as the Copper Age, or more technically the Chalcolithic, "copper-stone" age; the Chalcolithic by convention is the initial period of the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age; the transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BCE and 2500 BCE for much of humanity living in North Africa and Eurasia. The first evidence of human metallurgy dates to between the 5th and 6th millennium BCE in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek and Pločnik in modern-day Serbia, though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or "Copper Age", this provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy.
Note the Rudna Glava mine in Serbia. Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from about 3300 BCE carried with him a flint knife. In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Stone Age was followed directly by the Iron Age; the Middle East and southeastern Asian regions progressed past Stone Age technology around 6000 BCE. Europe, the rest of Asia became post-Stone Age societies by about 4000 BCE; the proto-Inca cultures of South America continued at a Stone Age level until around 2000 BCE, when gold and silver made their entrance. The Americas notably did not develop a widespread behavior of smelting Bronze or Iron after the Stone Age period, although the technology existed. Stone tool manufacture continued after the Stone Age ended in a given area. In Europe and North America, millstones were in use until well into the 20th century, still are in many parts of the world; the terms "Stone Age", "Bronze Age", "Iron Age" were never meant to suggest that advancement and time periods in prehistory are only measured by the type of tool material, rather than, for
History of the world
The history of the world, in common parlance, is the history of humanity, as determined from archaeology, genetics and other disciplines. Humanity's written history was preceded by its prehistory, beginning with the Palaeolithic Era, followed by the Neolithic Era; the Neolithic saw the Agricultural Revolution begin, between 8000 and 5000 BCE, in the Near East's Fertile Crescent. During this period, humans began the systematic husbandry of animals; as agriculture advanced, most humans transitioned from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle as farmers in permanent settlements. The relative security and increased productivity provided by farming allowed communities to expand into larger units, fostered by advances in transportation. Whether in prehistoric or historic times, people always needed to be near reliable sources of potable water. Settlements developed on river banks as early as 3000 BCE in Mesopotamia, on the banks of Egypt's Nile River, in the Indus River valley, along China's rivers; as farming developed, grain agriculture became more sophisticated and prompted a division of labour to store food between growing seasons.
Labour divisions led to the rise of a leisured upper class and the development of cities, which provided the foundation for civilization. The growing complexity of human societies necessitated systems of writing. With civilizations flourishing, ancient history saw the fall of empires. Post-classical history witnessed the rise of Christianity, the Islamic Golden Age, the early Italian Renaissance; the mid-15th-century invention of modern printing, employing movable type, revolutionized communication and facilitated wider dissemination of information, helping end the Middle Ages and ushering in the Scientific Revolution. The Early Modern Period, sometimes referred to as the "European Age", from about 1500 to 1800, included the Age of Enlightenment and the Age of Discovery. By the 18th century, the accumulation of knowledge and technology had reached a critical mass that brought about the Industrial Revolution and began the Late Modern Period, which started around 1800 and has continued through the present.
This scheme of historical periodization was developed for, applies best to, the history of the Old World Europe and the Mediterranean. Outside this region, including ancient China and ancient India, historical timelines unfolded differently. However, by the 18th century, due to extensive world trade and colonization, the histories of most civilizations had become intertwined. In the last quarter-millennium, the rates of growth of population, technology, commerce, weapons destructiveness, environmental degradation have accelerated, creating opportunities and perils that now confront the planet's human communities. Genetic measurements indicate that the ape lineage which would lead to Homo sapiens diverged from the lineage that would lead to chimpanzees and bonobos, the closest living relatives of modern humans, around 4.6 to 6.2 million years ago. Anatomically modern humans arose in Africa about 300,000 years ago, reached behavioural modernity about 50,000 years ago. Modern humans spread from Africa into the frost-free zones of Europe and Asia around 60,000 years ago.
The rapid expansion of humankind to North America and Oceania took place at the climax of the most recent ice age, when temperate regions of today were inhospitable. Yet, humans had colonized nearly all the ice-free parts of the globe by the end of the Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago. Other hominids such as Homo erectus had been using simple wood and stone tools for millennia, but as time progressed, tools became far more refined and complex; as early as 1.8 million years ago, but by 500,000 years ago, humans began using fire for heat and cooking. They developed language in the Paleolithic period and a conceptual repertoire that included systematic burial of the dead and adornment of the living. Early artistic expression can be found in the form of cave paintings and sculptures made from ivory and bone, showing a spirituality interpreted as animism, or shamanism. During this period, all humans lived as hunter-gatherers, were nomadic. Archaeological and genetic data suggest that the source populations of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers survived in sparsely wooded areas and dispersed through areas of high primary productivity while avoiding dense forest cover.
The Neolithic Revolution, beginning around 10,000 BCE, saw the development of agriculture, which fundamentally changed the human lifestyle. Farming developed around 10,000 BCE in the Middle East, around 7000 BCE in what is now China, about 6000 BCE in the Indus Valley and Europe, about 4000 BCE in the Americas. Cultivation of cereal crops and the domestication of animals occurred around 8500 BCE in the Middle East, where wheat and barley were the first crops and sheep and goats were domesticated. In the Indus Valley, crops were cultivated by 6000 BCE, along with domesticated cattle; the Yellow River valley in China cultivated millet and other cereal crops by about 7000 BCE, but the Yangtze River valley domesticated rice earlier, by at least 8000 BCE. In the Americas, sunflowers were cultivated by about 4000 BCE, corn and beans were domesticated in Central America by 3500 BCE. Potatoes were first cultivated in
A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging. Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was humanity's first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change have been displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world. In West Eurasia, agriculture lead to widespread genetic changes when older hunter-gatherer populations were replaced by Middle Eastern farmers during the Neolithic who in turn were overrun by Indo-Europeans during the Bronze Age. Only a few contemporary societies are classified as hunter-gatherers, many supplement their foraging activity with horticulture or pastoralism. During the 1970s, Lewis Binford suggested that early humans were obtaining food via scavenging, not hunting. Early humans in the Lower Paleolithic lived in forests and woodlands, which allowed them to collect seafood, eggs and fruits besides scavenging.
Rather than killing large animals for meat, according to this view, they used carcasses of such animals that had either been killed by predators or that had died of natural causes. Archaeological and genetic data suggest that the source populations of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers survived in sparsely wooded areas and dispersed through areas of high primary productivity while avoiding dense forest cover. According to the endurance running hypothesis, long-distance running as in persistence hunting, a method still practiced by some hunter-gatherer groups in modern times, was the driving evolutionary force leading to the evolution of certain human characteristics; this hypothesis does not contradict the scavenging hypothesis: both subsistence strategies could have been in use – sequentially, alternating or simultaneously. Hunting and gathering was the subsistence strategy employed by human societies beginning some 1.8 million years ago, by Homo erectus, from its appearance some 0.2 million years ago by Homo sapiens.
Prehistoric hunter-gatherers lived in groups that consisted of several families resulting in a size of a few dozen people. It remained the only mode of subsistence until the end of the Mesolithic period some 10,000 years ago, after this was replaced only with the spread of the Neolithic Revolution. Starting at the transition between the Middle to Upper Paleolithic period, some 80,000 to 70,000 years ago, some hunter-gatherers bands began to specialize, concentrating on hunting a smaller selection of game and gathering a smaller selection of food; this specialization of work involved creating specialized tools such as fishing nets and bone harpoons. The transition into the subsequent Neolithic period is chiefly defined by the unprecedented development of nascent agricultural practices. Agriculture originated as early as 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, independently originated in many other areas including Southeast Asia, parts of Africa and the Andes. Forest gardening was being used as a food production system in various parts of the world over this period.
Forest gardens originated in prehistoric times along jungle-clad river banks and in the wet foothills of monsoon regions. In the gradual process of families improving their immediate environment, useful tree and vine species were identified and improved, whilst undesirable species were eliminated. Superior introduced species were selected and incorporated into the gardens. Many groups continued their hunter-gatherer ways of life, although their numbers have continually declined as a result of pressure from growing agricultural and pastoral communities. Many of them reside in arid regions or tropical forests. Areas that were available to hunter-gatherers were—and continue to be—encroached upon by the settlements of agriculturalists. In the resulting competition for land use, hunter-gatherer societies either adopted these practices or moved to other areas. In addition, Jared Diamond has blamed a decline in the availability of wild foods animal resources. In North and South America, for example, most large mammal species had gone extinct by the end of the Pleistocene—according to Diamond, because of overexploitation by humans, one of several explanations offered for the Quaternary extinction event there.
As the number and size of agricultural societies increased, they expanded into lands traditionally used by hunter-gatherers. This process of agriculture-driven expansion led to the development of the first forms of government in agricultural centers, such as the Fertile Crescent, Ancient India, Ancient China, Sub-Saharan Africa and Norte Chico; as a result of the now near-universal human reliance upon agriculture, the few contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures live in areas unsuitable for agricultural use. Archaeologists can use evidence such as stone tool use to track hunter-gatherer activities, including mobility. Most hunter-gatherers are semi-nomadic and live in temporary settlements. Mobile communities construct shelters using impermanent building materials, or they may use natural rock shelters, where they are available; some hunter-gatherer cultures, such as the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and the Yakuts, lived in rich environments that allowed them to be sedentary or semi-sedentary.
Hunter-gatherers tend to have an egalitarian social ethos, although settled hunter-gatherers are an exception to this rule. Nearly
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was or desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago. It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km2, representing 0.7 % of the global ocean surface, but its connection to the Atlantic via the Strait of Gibraltar-the narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa- is only 14 km wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.
The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 1,500 m and the deepest recorded point is 5,267 m in the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea. The sea is bordered on the north by Europe, the east by Asia, in the south by Africa, it is located between latitudes 30° and 46° N and longitudes 6° W and 36° E. Its west-east length, from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Iskenderun, on the southwestern coast of Turkey, is 4,000 km; the sea's average north-south length, from Croatia's southern shore to Libya, is 800 km. The sea was an important route for merchants and travellers of ancient times that allowed for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region; the history of the Mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies. The countries surrounding the Mediterranean in clockwise order are Spain, Monaco, Slovenia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Albania, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. In addition, the Gaza Strip and the British Overseas Territories of Gibraltar and Akrotiri and Dhekelia have coastlines on the sea.
The Ancient Greeks called the Mediterranean ἡ θάλασσα or sometimes ἡ μεγάλη θάλασσα, ἡ ἡμέτερα θάλασσα, or ἡ θάλασσα ἡ καθ'ἡμᾶς. The Romans called it Mare Mare Internum and, starting with the Roman Empire, Mare Nostrum; the term Mare Mediterrāneum appears later: Solinus used it in the 3rd century, but the earliest extant witness to it is in the 6th century, in Isidore of Seville. It means'in the middle of land, inland' in Latin, a compound of medius, -āneus; the Latin word is a calque of Greek μεσόγειος, from μέσος and γήινος, from γῆ. The original meaning may have been'the sea in the middle of the earth', rather than'the sea enclosed by land'; the Carthaginians called it the "Syrian Sea". In ancient Syrian texts, Phoenician epics and in the Hebrew Bible, it was known as the "Great Sea" or as "The Sea". Another name was the "Sea of the Philistines", from the people inhabiting a large portion of its shores near the Israelites. In Modern Hebrew, it is called HaYam HaTikhon'the Middle Sea'. In Modern Arabic, it is known as al-Baḥr al-Mutawassiṭ'the Middle Sea'.
In Islamic and older Arabic literature, it was Baḥr al-Rūm'the Sea of the Romans' or'the Roman Sea'. At first, that name referred to only the Eastern Mediterranean, but it was extended to the whole Mediterranean. Other Arabic names were Baḥr al-šām'the Sea of Syria' and Baḥr al-Maghrib'the Sea of the West'. In Turkish, it is the Akdeniz'the White Sea'; the origin of the name is not clear, as it is not known in earlier Greek, Byzantine or Islamic sources. It may be to contrast with the Black Sea. In Persian, the name was translated as Baḥr-i Safīd, used in Ottoman Turkish, it is the origin of the colloquial Greek phrase Άσπρη Θάλασσα. Johann Knobloch claims that in Classical Antiquity, cultures in the Levant used colours to refer to the cardinal points: black referred to the north, yellow or blue to east, red to south, white to west; this would explain both the Turkish Akdeniz and the Arab nomenclature described above. Several ancient civilizations were located around the Mediterranean shores and were influenced by their proximity to the sea.
It provided routes for trade and war, as well as food for numerous communities throughout the ages. Due to the shared climate and access to the sea, c