Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Mesolithic Art

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 8 April 2016

Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Mesolithic Art

The earth and the sky factor into Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Mesolithic art and monuments. Paleolithic means Old Stone Age and the art was mainly consisted of paintings in their caves and Venus figurines. Neolithic means New Stone Age and the art was consisted of the Stonehenge, figures, and pottery. Mesolithic means Middle Stone Age and the art consisted of some pottery, hand tools, and some figurines. In the Old Stone Age, (Paleolithic) their art was consisted of mainly paintings on cave walls. People painted animals because that was what they would see in the dark due to the prolonged time of being in darkness in the caves. They didn’t see much sunlight. As time went on, mathematical aspects started to rise from observational astronomy. Some cave paintings became known as an understanding of the path the moon takes around the sun.

This is known as the ecliptic. The ecliptic lead to the discovery of the zodiac. Stars, moons, and planets in the Paleolithic culture are not the stars, moons and planets of modern time that we know. They are those whose habitat is the Milky Way and the celestial sphere now. Many of these paintings reflected images that were seen in the night sky. Such as the Bison that were painted in cave walls which is known as the Taurus in the zodiac sign today. The significance of their art was the astronomy and mathematical connections they made and how it created what we now know as the zodiac. The New Stone Age began to connect with the earth and the sun more by the use of famous monuments. In the New Stone Age (Neolithic) the people built villages that were built for family, life, and worship. They worshipped many gods, but their beliefs were strongly based on nature. They also built many walls that were used as a defense. The monuments they built was their main form art that had connections to the earth and the sun. They created a giant stone monument that was known as Stonehenge. It was made out of earth, timber, and stones. By viewing this monument, it was observed that the Neolithic people had knowledge in architecture, mathematics, and astrology.

The Stonehenge was created as an astrological observatory. It is known for this because of the rising and setting of the sun on the summer and winter solstice that can be seen through the monument. It was also considered to possibly have been used as an astronomical calendar. The significance of this monument is how these people had the mathematical and astronomy knowledge to build this in a way to be able to witness amazing views in the sky that come every year. The Middle Stone (Mesolithic) art consisted of mostly pottery and hand tools. During the Middle Stone age, the Mesolithic people made many hand tools because they began to gain more knowledge to be able to farm and capture animals more effectively. They created carved-engraved bone plates. These engraved or painted plates of stones were marked with dots. These dots were considered to be accurate lunar observations. The interpretation of the markings on many artefacts were considered to be marks that correlate with lunar or solar motion. This showed that the Mesolithic people had some astronomical skills. The significance of these findings show that over time people were gaining skills on astronomy and were creating their observations through the use of art. Over time art has changed dramatically. It started off as just paintings on cave walls and lead to massive monuments that are still standing today. There is significance behind all of the art since the Stone Age times. These people from the stone ages used art to express their knowledge in mathematics and astronomy. They used it to better understand the earth, the sky, the sun, and the stars. They not knowingly created what is today the zodiac and proved they didn’t need any technology to create an astrological observatory.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 8 April 2016

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