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Upper Paleolithic Period

The Upper Paleolithic Period includes the period of time during which anatomically modern human became behaviorally modern humans, beginning about 40,000 years ago.
  1. Clovis PreClovis Debate (13)
  2. Jomon (13)
  3. Paleolithic Cave Paintings
  4. Pre-Clovis Sites (12)

Byzozova (Russia)
The Upper Paleolithic site of Byzozova is located near the Arctic circle in Russia.

Swabian Jura and the Kulturpumpe Model
A blossoming of innovation apparently occurred in the Swabian foothills of the Alps when Neanderthals and Early Modern Humans first met--at least, that's what the Kulturpumpe (culture pump) model attempts to explain.

Azilian Culture
The Azilian or Federmesser culture is what archaeologists use to refer to the people that suffered through the climatic transition in Europe from steppe tundra to woodland.

American Megafaunal Extinctions
At about the same time that humans colonized North and South America, a massive die off of large bodied mammals occurred. Here's where you will find the evidence.

Nazlet Khater
Nazlet Khater, located in the Nile Valley of Egypt, is where the oldest early modern human in north Africa has been discovered, associated with a set of chert quarries.

Guide to the Châtelperronian
The Chatelperronian period refers to a cultural phenomenon that links the Middle and Upper Paleolithic in Europe, and is generally associated with Neanderthals

Yana RHS Decorated Bone and Ivory
The 28,000 year old Siberian site of Yana RHS has produced a considerable quantity of decorated and carved bone and ivory tools and vessels.

Laussel Venus
The Venus of Laussel is sculpture of a woman found in the Laussel Cave, stylistically dated to the Gravettian

Guide to Pre-Clovis
Pre-Clovis is what archaeologists now call the oldest, fairly well-established human occupations of the Americas.

Ancient Human Migrations at Kostenki, Russia
Archaeological and chronological data from the Kostenki site in Russia have convinced researchers that beneath a previously identified 40,000 year-old Aurignacian component representing Early Modern Humans is an early, previously unknown Initial Upper Paleolithic component.

Pre-Clovis Sites
Preclovis is the name given to what archaeologists are coming to consider the founding population of the American continents; although the dates and living strategies are widely diverse.

Yuchanyan Cave (Hunan Province, China)
The rockshelter called Yuchanyan cave is located in the Yangtze river valley of China, and it is where early evidence of pottery making has been discovered.

Devil's Lair (Australia)
Devil's Lair is an archaeological cave site located in Western Australia, which earliest has been dated to approximately 41,000-46,000 years ago and perhaps earlier still.

Abri Castanet Photo Essay
Abri Castanet is the site of some of the earliest rock art in the world: this photo essays shows why.

Guide to the Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic (ca 40,000-10,000 years BP) was a period of great transition in the world. The Neanderthals in Europe became edged out and disappeared by 33,000 years ago, and modern humans began to have the world to themselves.

Upper Paleolithic Sites in Europe
A list of important archaeological sites in Europe, including cave painting sites, which were occupied during the Upper Paleolithic period.

Cro-Magnons - Why Don't We Call Them Cro-Magnon Any More?
Cro-Magnon is the informal word once used by scientists to refer to the people who were living alongside Neanderthals at the end of the last ice age (ca. 35,000-10,000 years ago).

Afontova culture
The Afontova culture is the name given to the Upper paleolithic culture in Siberia, 22,000-14,000 years before the present.

Aurignacian Period
The Aurignacian period (40,000 to 28,000 years ago) is an Upper Paleolithic stone tool tradition.

Box Gully (Australia)
Box Gully is a small hunting camp located on saline Lake Tyrrell, northern Victoria, Australia, with dates ranging between 26,600 and 32,000 years before the present, thus making Box Gully one of the earliest known occupations of the region.

Hohle Fels Figurines
The Hohle Fels figurines are a set of mammoth ivory figurines carved by humans and buried in the Hohle Fels cave of southwestern Germany at separate times between 30,000 and 35,000 years ago. This image is of a horse head (or possibly another animal)

Maisières-Canal (Belgium)
Maisières-Canal, located in southern Belgium, has evidence for early use of Tanged Points, around 33,000 years ago.

Howburn (Scotland)
Howburn is a Late Upper Paleolithic (Fedder messer) site in South Lankarkshire, Scotland.

Denisova Cave (Siberia)
Denisova cave is a rockshelter located in the Altai mountains of Siberia, with evidence for hominid occupation beginning 175,000 years ago. It is also the typesite for the discovery of the Denisovans, thought to represent a newly identified human species.

Early Upper Paleolithic Beyond Western Europe
The edited volume Early Upper Paleolithic Beyond Western Europe presents data from over 100 sites throughout eastern Europe and Asia on the transition period of 50,000 to 35,000 years ago, which saw the evolution of modern human behavior.

The History of Aboriginal Australia: Who, Where, When, and How
New mitochondrial data reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on May 7, 2007, supports the somewhat still controversial Australian colonization as having occurred at about 50,000 bp--and that it was a single founder population who were subsequently isolated from the rest of the world.

Lagar Velho (Portugal)
The Upper Paleolithic Lagar Velho rockshelter contained a 30,000 year old child burial with both Neanderthal and early modern human characteristics.

Kostenki Revisited (John Hoffnecker)
How old is the Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe? John Hoffnecker replies to some queries about the Kostenki site from John Hawks.

Kostenki-Avdeevo culture
An upper paleolithic culture in the Ukraine, dated between 26,000 and 12,500 years before the present

Megafaunal Extinctions
at several points during the human occupation and colonization of our planet, large bodied animals died out in massive numbers and species. These megafaunal extinctions co-occurred with climate change.

Kostenki: The Middle/Upper Paleolithic Transition in Europe
How old is the Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe? John Hoffnecker replies to some queries about the Kostenki site from John Hawks.

Paleolithic Notation
Paleolithic notation is the term used by archaeologists for deliberate markings made by our ancestors to count objects or remember events in a sequence.

Sanghao Cave (Pakistan)
Sanghao Cave is a rockshelter located on the Potwar Plateau of Pakistan, with an Upper Paleolithic occupation.

Son Vi Culture
The Son Vi culture is the name given to the Upper Paleolithic lithic tradition of highland Vietnam.

Mal'ta-Buret' culture
The Upper Paleolithic (ca. 28000-25000 BP) culture of Mal'ta Buret' is in the Irkutsk district of Siberia.

The Early Upper Paleolithic Beyond Western Europe
The edited volume Early Upper Paleolithic Beyond Western Europe presents data from over 100 sites throughout eastern Europe and Asia on the transition period of 50,000 to 35,000 years ago, which saw the evolution of modern human behavior.

The Population of America
The date and pathway of the first human occupants of the American continents is still perhaps one of the most highly debated topics in archaeology today.

The Mothers of Time: Venus Figurines
Seven of the most famous sculpture type of the Upper Paleolithic period, also known as earth mother images. These are the Balzi Rossi figurines, the largest collection ever recovered from one site, in a cave on the Mediterranean Sea.

Venus Figurines - Ancient Paleolithic Art
"Venus figurine" is the name given to a nearly universal type of art, appearing first in the Upper Paleolithic period between 31,000 and 9,000 years ago.

Mal'ta (Russia)
Mal'ta is an Upper Paleolithic site in central Siberia, where the burial of a human child contained a large collection of ivory artifacts.

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