Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Olena V. Smyntyna
The Mesolithic epoch, or the “middle stone age,” nowadays is interpreted as a Holocene stage of hunter-gatherer society development. Two opposing interpretations of historical status of the Mesolithic epoch have competed in archaeological science during the past century. Many researchers regard the Mesolithic as an important phase of human history and as a specific archaeological epoch characterized by a set of features in tool production, livelihood, economy, social organization, art, ideology, and so forth. Another group of Early Holocene settlement investigators regard the Mesolithic as a period of transition from a society of Pleistocene hunter-gatherers to mid-Holocene communities of early farmers and cattle breeders. Although the term Mesolithic had been proposed as early as 1874 by M. Torell, the taxonomic importance and historical essence of this period is discussed in contemporary archaeology. The term Epipaleolithic is often applied to this period by those scientists who believe that no principal nonceramic ...