The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first development of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development, although this term may not be used, until European contact; the Neolithic comprises a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals. The term Neolithic derives from the Greek νέος néos, "new" and λίθος líthos, "stone" meaning "New Stone Age"; the term was coined by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system. Following the ASPRO chronology, the Neolithic started in around 10,200 BC in the Levant, arising from the Natufian culture, when pioneering use of wild cereals evolved into early farming.
The Natufian period or "proto-Neolithic" lasted from 12,500 to 9,500 BC, is taken to overlap with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of 10,200–8800 BC. As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 10,200–8800 BC farming communities had arisen in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor, North Africa and North Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat and spelt, the keeping of dogs and goats. By about 6900–6400 BC, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, the use of pottery. Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the Near East did not use pottery.
In other parts of the world, such as Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, independent domestication events led to their own regionally distinctive Neolithic cultures, which arose independently of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery before developing agriculture. In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are attested in southeastern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC; the prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 6000–5000 BC, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square yards, the collection of neolithic findings at the site encompasses two phases.
The Neolithic 1 period began around 10,000 BC in the Levant. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe, dated to around 9500 BC, may be regarded as the beginning of the period; this site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, as evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity, may be the oldest known human-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering 25 acres, contain limestone pillars carved with animals and birds. Stone tools were used by as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in Jericho, West Bank, Gilgal in the Jordan Valley, Byblos, Lebanon; the start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the Heavy Neolithic periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic Natufian cultures, wild cereals were harvested, early seed selection and re-seeding occurred; the grain was ground into flour. Emmer wheat was domesticated, animals were herded and domesticated.
In 2006, remains of figs were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings; this evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent, with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of mudbrick; the settlement had a surrounding stone wall and a stone tower. The wall served as protection from nearby groups, as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned; some of the enclosures suggest grain and meat storage. The Neolithic 2 began around 8800 BC according to the ASPRO chronology in the Levant; as with the PPNA dates, there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. This system of terminology, however, is not convenient for southeast Anatolia and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin.
A settlement of 3,000 inhabitants was found in th
Experimental archaeology is a field of study which attempts to generate and test archaeological hypotheses by replicating or approximating the feasibility of ancient cultures performing various tasks or feats. It employs a number of methods, techniques and approaches, based upon archaeological source material such as ancient structures or artifacts, it is distinct from uses of primitive technology without any concern for archaeological or historical study. Living history and historical reenactment, which are undertaken as a hobby, are the non archaeological person's version of this academic discipline. One of the main forms of experimental archaeology is the creation of copies of historical structures using only accurate technologies; this is sometimes known as reconstructional archaeology. In recent years, experimental archaeology has been featured in several television productions, such as BBC's "Building the Impossible" and the PBS's Secrets of Lost Empires. Most notable were the attempts to create several of Leonardo da Vinci's designs from his sketchbooks, such as his 15th century armed fighting vehicle.
A good example is Butser Ancient Farm in the English county of Hampshire, a working replica of an Iron Age farmstead where long-term experiments in prehistoric agriculture, animal husbandry, manufacturing are held to test ideas posited by archaeologists. In Denmark, the Lejre Experimental Centre carries out more ambitious work on such diverse topics as artificial Bronze Age and Iron Age burials, prehistoric science and stone tool manufacture in the absence of flint. Other examples include: The Kon-Tiki expedition, a balsa raft built by Thor Heyerdahl, sailed from Peru to Polynesia to demonstrate the possibility of cultural exchange between South America and the Polynesian islands. Attempts to transport large stones like those used in Stonehenge over short distances using only technology that would have been available at the time; the original stones were moved from Pembrokeshire to the site on Salisbury Plain. Since the 1970s the re-construction of timber framed buildings has informed understanding of early Anglo Saxon buildings at West Stow, England.
This extensive program of research through experiment and experience continues today. The reconstruction of part of Hadrian's Wall at Vindolanda, carried out in limited time by local volunteers. Greek triremes have been reconstructed by skilled sailors from plans and archaeological remains and have been tried at sea. Attempts to manufacture steel that matches all the characteristics of Damascus steel, whose original manufacturing techniques have been lost for centuries, including computational fluid dynamics reconstructions by the University of Exeter of the Sri Lanka furnaces at Samanalawewa, thought to be the most sources for Damascus steel. Experiments using reproduction bâtons de commandement as spear throwers. Guédelon Castle, a medieval construction project located in Treigny, France. Ozark Medieval Fortress, a sister project to Guédelon The Pamunkey Project – Dr. Errett Callahan led a series of extended Late Woodland living experiences in Tidewater Virginia. Marcus Junkelmann constructed Roman devices and gear for various museums.
He tested and analyzed them in various reenactments, among them a group of legionaries in full authentic gear crossing the Alps from Augsburg to Verona. Ma'agen Michael II, A replica of a 2400 year old merchantman. Reconstruction of Lomonosov's discovery of Venus's atmosphere. Construction of a monastic community according to the ninth-century Plan of Saint Gall at Campus Galli. Janet Stephens utilizing her own skill as a hairdresser to reconstruct Roman-era hairstyles, rebutting held theories about single-prong pins being used to hold them in place. Ben Marwick trampled experimentally-produced flaked stone artefacts into sediments excavated from Malakunanja II to show that it was unlikely that they had moved extensively through the deposit during the Pleistocene. Killian Driscoll undertook a series of experiments to examine the prehistoric use of vein quartz; this involved experimental knapping to understand the fracture mechanics of the material. Other types of experimental archaeology may involve burying modern replica artifacts and ecofacts for varying lengths of time to analyse the post-depositional effects on them.
Other archaeologists have built modern earthworks and measured the effects of silting in the ditches and weathering and subsidence on the banks to understand better how ancient monuments would have looked. One example is Overton Down in England; the work of flintknappers is a kind of experimental archaeology as much has been learnt about the many different types of flint tools through the hands-on approach of making them. Experimental archaeologists have equipped modern professional butchers and lumberjacks with replica flint tools to judge how effective they would have been for certain tasks. Use wear traces on the modern flint tools are compared to similar traces on archaeological artifacts, making probability hypotheses on the possible kind of use feasible. Hand axes
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of agriculture. Anatomically modern humans are believed to have emerged out of Africa around 200,000 years ago, although these lifestyles changed little from that of archaic humans of the Middle Paleolithic, until about 50,000 years ago, when there was a marked increase in the diversity of artefacts; this period coincides with the expansion of modern humans from Africa throughout Asia and Eurasia, which contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals. The Upper Paleolithic has the earliest known evidence of organized settlements, in the form of campsites, some with storage pits. Artistic work blossomed, with cave painting, petroglyphs and engravings on bone or ivory; the first evidence of human fishing is found, from artefacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa.
More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tool types. This contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicity; the peopling of Australia most took place before c. 60 ka. Europe was peopled after c. 45 ka. Anatomically modern humans are known to have expanded northward into Siberia as far as the 58th parallel by about 45 ka; the Upper Paleolithic is divided during about 25 to 15 ka. The peopling of the Americas occurred during this time, with East and Central Asia populations reaching the Bering land bridge after about 35 ka, expanding into the Americas by about 15 ka. In Western Eurasia, the Paleolithic eases into the so-called Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic from the end of the LGM, beginning 15 ka; the Holocene glacial retreat begins 11.7 ka, falling well into the Old World Epipaleolithic, marking the beginning of the earliest forms of farming in the Fertile Crescent. Both Homo erectus and Neanderthals used the same crude stone tools.
Archaeologist Richard G. Klein, who has worked extensively on ancient stone tools, describes the stone tool kit of archaic hominids as impossible to categorize, it was as if the Neanderthals made stone tools, were not much concerned about their final forms. He argues that everywhere, whether Asia, Africa or Europe, before 50,000 years ago all the stone tools are much alike and unsophisticated. Firstly among the artefacts of Africa, archeologists found they could differentiate and classify those of less than 50,000 years into many different categories, such as projectile points, engraving tools, knife blades, drilling and piercing tools; these new stone-tool types have been described as being distinctly differentiated from each other. The invaders referred to as the Cro-Magnons, left many sophisticated stone tools and engraved pieces on bone and antler, cave paintings and Venus figurines; the Neanderthals continued to use Mousterian stone tool technology and Chatelperronian technology. These tools disappeared from the archeological record at around the same time the Neanderthals themselves disappeared from the fossil record, about 40,000 cal BP.
Settlements were located in narrow valley bottoms associated with hunting of passing herds of animals. Some of them may have been occupied year round, though more they appear to have been used seasonally. Hunting was important, caribou/wild reindeer "may well be the species of single greatest importance in the entire anthropological literature on hunting."Technological advances included significant developments in flint tool manufacturing, with industries based on fine blades rather than simpler and shorter flakes. Burins and racloirs were used to work bone and hides. Advanced darts and harpoons appear in this period, along with the fish hook, the oil lamp and the eyed needle; the changes in human behavior have been attributed to changes in climate, encompassing a number of global temperature drops. These led to a worsening of the bitter cold of the last glacial period; such changes may have reduced the supply of usable timber and forced people to look at other materials. In addition, flint may not have functioned as a tool.
Some scholars argue that the appearance of complex or abstract language made these behavior changes possible. The complexity of the new human capabilities hints that humans were less capable of planning or foresight before 40,000 years, while the emergence of cooperative and coherent communication marked a new era of cultural development; the climate of the period in Europe saw dramatic changes, included the Last Glacial Maximum, the coldest phase of the last glacial period, which lasted from about 26.5 to 19 kya, being coldest at the end, before a rapid warming. During the Maximum, most of Northern Europe was covered by an ice-sheet, forcing human populations into the areas known as Last Glacial Maximum refugia, including modern Italy and the Balkans, parts of the Iberian Peninsula and areas around the Black Sea; this period saw cultures such as the Solutrean in Spain. Human life may have continued on top of the ice sheet, but we know next to nothing about it, little about the human life that preceded the European glaciers.
In the early part of the period, up to a
Field research, field studies, or fieldwork is the collection of raw data outside a laboratory, library, or workplace setting. The approaches and methods used in field research vary across disciplines. For example, biologists who conduct field research may observe animals interacting with their environments, whereas social scientists conducting field research may interview or observe people in their natural environments to learn their languages and social structures. Field research involves a range of well-defined, although variable, methods: informal interviews, direct observation, participation in the life of the group, collective discussions, analyses of personal documents produced within the group, self-analysis, results from activities undertaken off- or on-line, life-histories. Although the method is characterized as qualitative research, it may include quantitative dimensions. Field research has a long history. Cultural anthropologists have long used field research to study other cultures.
Although the cultures do not have to be different, this has been the case in the past with the study of so-called primitive cultures, in sociology the cultural differences have been ones of class. The work is done... in "'Fields' that is, circumscribed areas of study which have been the subject of social research". Fields could be industrial settings, or Amazonian rain forests. Field research may be conducted by zoologists such as Jane Goodall. Radcliff-Brown and Malinowski were early cultural anthropologists who set the models for future work. Business use of Field research is an applied form of anthropology and is as to be advised by sociologists or statisticians in the case of surveys. Consumer marketing field research is the primary marketing technique used by businesses to research their target market; the quality of results obtained from field research depends on the data gathered in the field. The data in turn, depend upon the field worker, his or her level of involvement, ability to see and visualize things that other individuals visiting the area of study may fail to notice.
The more open researchers are to new ideas and things which they may not have seen in their own culture, the better will be the absorption of those ideas. Better grasping of such material means a better understanding of the forces of culture operating in the area and the ways they modify the lives of the people under study. Social scientists have always been taught to be free from ethnocentrism, when conducting any type of field research; when humans themselves are the subject of study, protocols must be devised to reduce the risk of observer bias and the acquisition of too theoretical or idealized explanations of the workings of a culture. Participant observation, data collection, survey research are examples of field research methods, in contrast to what is called experimental or lab research; when conducting field research, keeping an ethnographic record is essential to the process. Field notes are a key part of the ethnographic record; the process of field notes begin as the researcher participates in local scenes and experiences in order to make observations that will be written up.
The field researcher tries first to take mental notes of certain details in order that they be written down later. Field Note Chart Another method of data collection is interviewing interviewing in the qualitative paradigm. Interviewing can be done in different formats, this all depends on individual researcher preferences, research purpose, the research question asked. In qualitative research, there are many ways of analyzing data gathered in the field. One of the two most common methods of data analysis are narrative analysis; as mentioned before, the type of analysis a researcher decides to use depends on the research question asked, the researcher's field, the researcher's personal method of choice. In anthropology, field research is organized so as to produce a kind of writing called ethnography. Ethnography can refer to a product of research, namely a monograph or book. Ethnography is a grounded, inductive method that relies on participant-observation. Participant observation is a structured type of research strategy.
It is a used methodology in many disciplines cultural anthropology, but sociology, communication studies, social psychology. Its aim is to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals and their practices through an intensive involvement with people in their natural environment over an extended period of time; the method originated in field work of social anthropologists the students of Franz Boas in the United States, in the urban research of the Chicago School of sociology. Traditional participant observation is undertaken over an extended period of time, ranging from several months to many years, generations. An extended research time period means that the researcher is able to obtain more detailed and accurate information about the individuals, and/or population under study. Observable details and more hidden details are more observed and interpreted over a longer period of time. A strength of observation and interaction over extended periods of time is that researchers can discover discrepancies between what participants say—and believe—should happen and what does happen, or between different aspects of the formal s
Robert Neil MacGregor, is a British art historian and former museum director. He was the editor of the Burlington Magazine from 1981 to 1987 Director of the National Gallery, from 1987 to 2002, Director of the British Museum from 2002 to 2015, is the founding director of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. Neil MacGregor was born in Glasgow to two doctors and Anna MacGregor, he was educated at Glasgow Academy and read modern languages at New College, where he is now an honorary fellow. The period that followed was spent studying philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, as a law student at Edinburgh University, where he received the Green Prize. Despite being called to the bar in 1972, MacGregor next decided to take an art history degree; the following year, on a Courtauld Institute summer school in Bavaria, the Courtauld's director Anthony Blunt spotted MacGregor and persuaded him to take a master's degree under his supervision. Blunt considered MacGregor "the most brilliant pupil he taught".
From 1975 to 1981, MacGregor taught History of Architecture at the University of Reading. He left to assume the editorship of The Burlington Magazine, he oversaw the transfer of the magazine from the Thomson Corporation to an independent and charitable status. In 1987 MacGregor became director of the National Gallery in London. During his directorship, MacGregor presented three BBC television series on art: Painting the World in 1995, Making Masterpieces, a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Gallery, in 1997 and Seeing Salvation, on the representation of Jesus in western art, in 2000, he declined the offer of a knighthood in 1999. MacGregor was made director of the British Museum in August 2002, at a time when that institution was £5 million in deficit, he has been lauded for his "diplomatic" approach to the post, though MacGregor rejects this description, stating that "diplomat is conventionally taken to mean the promotion of the interests of a particular state and, not what we are about at all".
His tenure included exhibitions that were more provocative than the museum had shown and some told stories from perspectives that were less Eurocentric than including a project about the Muslim Hajj. He sparked debate with his claim. In 2010, MacGregor presented a series on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service entitled A History of the World in 100 Objects, based on one hundred artefacts held in the British Museum's collection. From September 2010 to January 2011 the British Museum lent the ancient Persian Cyrus Cylinder to an exhibition in Tehran; this was seen by at least a million visitors on the Museum's estimation, more than any loan exhibition to the United Kingdom had attracted since the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition in 1972. Holding office when the Acropolis Museum in Athens was completed, MacGregor followed previous Director in arguing against returning the British Museum's sculptures from the Parthenon to Greece. A poll in 2014 suggested that more British people supported the marbles' restoration to Greece than opposed it.
MacGregor stated that it is the British Museum's duty to "preserve the universality of the marbles, to protect them from being appropriated as a nationalistic political symbol" and that "there is no legal system in Europe that would challenge the legal title" to the works. The legal basis of various Ottoman period documents, now lost, to which the British Museum has traditionally appealed in order to claim ownership of the Marbles are disputed. Under the directorship of MacGregor, the Museum rejected UNESCO mediation. In view of the activity of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures,it is unclear for how much longer MacGregor's successor will be able to reject the case for repatriation will be tenable. In 2018, three years after MacGregor's retirement as Director, British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed to repatriate the Marbles to Athens, if necessary overriding the British Museum trustees: "As with anything stolen or taken from occupied or colonial possession – including artefacts looted from other countries in the past – we should be engaged in constructive talks with the Greek government about returning the sculptures."
In January 2008, MacGregor was appointed chairman of the World Collections programme, for training international curators at British museums. The exhibition The First Emperor, focussing on Qin Shi Huang and including a small number of his Terracotta Warriors, was mounted in 2008 in the British Museum Reading Room; that year MacGregor was invited to succeed Philippe de Montebello as the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He declined the offer as the Metropolitan charges its visitors for entry and is thus "not a public institution"; as of 2015, MacGregor was paid a salary of between £190,000 and £194,999 by the British Museum, making him one of the 328 most paid people in the British public sector at that time. MacGregor retired from the post in December 2015 and was succeeded in Spring 2016 by Hartwig Fischer, till the director of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. On 8 April 2015, MacGregor announced his retirement as Director of the British Museum, it was announced that MacGregor would become founding director and head of the management committee of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, that he would make recommendations to the German government on how the future museum can draw on the resources of the Berlin collections to "become a place where different narratives of world c
In the history of art, prehistoric art is all art produced in preliterate, prehistorical cultures beginning somewhere in late geological history, continuing until that culture either develops writing or other methods of record-keeping, or makes significant contact with another culture that has, that makes some record of major historical events. At this point ancient art begins, for the older literate cultures; the end-date for what is covered by the term thus varies between different parts of the world. The earliest human artifacts showing evidence of workmanship with an artistic purpose are the subject of some debate, it is clear that such workmanship existed by 40,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic era, although it is quite possible that it began earlier. In September 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the earliest known drawing by Homo sapiens, estimated to be 73,000 years old, much earlier than the 43,000 years old artifacts understood to be the earliest known modern human drawings found previously.
Engraved shells created by Homo erectus dating as far back as 500,000 years ago have been found, although experts disagree on whether these engravings can be properly classified as ‘art’. From the Upper Palaeolithic through to the Mesolithic, cave paintings and portable art such as figurines and beads predominated, with decorative figured workings seen on some utilitarian objects. In the Neolithic evidence of early pottery appeared, as did sculpture and the construction of megaliths. Early rock art first appeared during this period; the advent of metalworking in the Bronze Age brought additional media available for use in making art, an increase in stylistic diversity, the creation of objects that did not have any obvious function other than art. It saw the development in some areas of artisans, a class of people specializing in the production of art, as well as early writing systems. By the Iron Age, civilizations with writing had arisen from Ancient Egypt to Ancient China. Many indigenous peoples from around the world continued to produce artistic works distinctive to their geographic area and culture, until exploration and commerce brought record-keeping methods to them.
Some cultures, notably the Maya civilization, independently developed writing during the time they flourished, later lost. These cultures may be classified as prehistoric if their writing systems have not been deciphered; the earliest undisputed art originated with the Aurignacian archaeological culture in the Upper Paleolithic. However, there is some evidence that the preference for the aesthetic emerged in the Middle Paleolithic, from 100,000 to 50,000 years ago; some archaeologists have interpreted certain Middle Paleolithic artifacts as early examples of artistic expression. The symmetry of artifacts, evidence of attention to the detail of tool shape, has led some investigators to conceive of Acheulean hand axes and laurel points as having been produced with a degree of artistic expression. A zig-zag etching made with a shark tooth on a freshwater clam-shell around 500,000 years ago, associated with Homo erectus, was proposed as the earliest evidence of artistic activity in 2014. There are other claims of Middle Paleolithic sculpture, dubbed the "Venus of Tan-Tan" and the "Venus of Berekhat Ram".
In 2002 in Blombos cave, situated in South Africa, stones were discovered engraved with grid or cross-hatch patterns, dated to some 70,000 years ago. This suggested to some researchers that early Homo sapiens were capable of abstraction and production of abstract art or symbolic art. Several archaeologists including Richard Klein are hesitant to accept the Blombos caves as the first example of actual art. In September 2018 the discovery in South Africa of the earliest known drawing by Homo sapiens was announced, estimated to be 73,000 years old, much earlier than the 43,000 years old artifacts understood to be the earliest known modern human drawings found previously. In November 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known figurative art painting, over 40,000 years old, of an unknown animal, in the cave of Lubang Jeriji Saléh on the Indonesian island of Borneo. One of the oldest undisputed works of figurative art were found in the Schwäbische Alb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The earliest of these, the Venus figurine known as the Venus of Hohle Fels and the Lion-man figurine, date to some 40,000 years ago. Further depictional art from the Upper Palaeolithic period includes cave painting and portable art: Venus figurines like the Venus of Willendorf, as well as animal carvings like the Swimming Reindeer, Wolverine pendant of Les Eyzies, several of the objects known as bâtons de commandement. Paintings in Pettakere cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are up to 40,000 years old, a similar date to the oldest European cave art, which may suggest an older common origin for this type of art in Africa. Monumental open-air art in Europe from this period includes the rock-art at Côa Valley and Mazouco in Portugal, Domingo García and Siega Verde in Spain, Rocher gravé de Fornols in France. A cave at Turobong in South Korea containing human remains has been found to contain carved deer bones and depictions of deer that may be as much as 40,000 years old. Petroglyphs of deer or reindeer found at Sokchang-ri may date to the Upper Paleolithic.
Potsherds in a style reminiscent of early Japanese work have been found at Kosan-ri on Jeju island, due to lower sea levels at the time, would have been accessible from Japan. The oldest petroglyphs are dated to approxi
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes used carving and modelling, in stone, ceramics and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast. Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, represents the majority of the surviving works from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, this has been lost. Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private individuals to create, were an expression of religion or politics; those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and China, as well as many in Central and South America and Africa.
The Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, Greece is seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith; the revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's David. Modernist sculpture moved away from traditional processes and the emphasis on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, the presentation of found objects as finished art works. A basic distinction is between sculpture in the round, free-standing sculpture, such as statues, not attached to any other surface, the various types of relief, which are at least attached to a background surface. Relief is classified by the degree of projection from the wall into low or bas-relief, high relief, sometimes an intermediate mid-relief. Sunk-relief is a technique restricted to ancient Egypt. Relief is the usual sculptural medium for large figure groups and narrative subjects, which are difficult to accomplish in the round, is the typical technique used both for architectural sculpture, attached to buildings, for small-scale sculpture decorating other objects, as in much pottery and jewellery.
Relief sculpture may decorate steles, upright slabs of stone also containing inscriptions. Another basic distinction is between subtractive carving techniques, which remove material from an existing block or lump, for example of stone or wood, modelling techniques which shape or build up the work from the material. Techniques such as casting and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work; the term "sculpture" is used to describe large works, which are sometimes called monumental sculpture, meaning either or both of sculpture, large, or, attached to a building. But the term properly covers many types of small works in three dimensions using the same techniques, including coins and medals, hardstone carvings, a term for small carvings in stone that can take detailed work; the large or "colossal" statue has had an enduring appeal since antiquity. Another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades.
The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the "head", showing just that, or the bust, a representation of a person from the chest up. Small forms of sculpture include the figurine a statue, no more than 18 inches tall, for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin. Modern and contemporary art have added a number of non-traditional forms of sculpture, including sound sculpture, light sculpture, environmental art, environmental sculpture, street art sculpture, kinetic sculpture, land art, site-specific art. Sculpture is an important form of public art. A collection of sculpture in a garden setting can be called a sculpture garden. One of the most common purposes of sculpture is in some form of association with religion. Cult images are common in many cultures, though they are not the colossal statues of deities which characterized ancient Greek art, like the Statue of Zeus at Olympia; the actual cult images in the innermost sanctuaries of Egyptian temples, of which none have survived, were evidently rather small in the largest temples.
The same is true in Hinduism, where the simple and ancient form of the lingam is the most common. Buddhism brought the sculpture of religious figures to East Asia, where there seems to have been no earlier equivalent tradition, though again simple shapes like the bi and cong had religious significance. Small sculptures as personal possessions go back to the earliest prehistoric art, the use of large sculpture as public art to impress the viewer with the power of a ruler, goes back at least to the Great Sphinx of some 4,500 years ago. In archaeology and art history the appearance, sometimes disappearance, of large or monumental sculpture in a culture is regarded as of great significance, though tracing the emergence is complicated by the presumed existence of sculpture in wood and other perishable materials of which no record remains; the ability to s