Cenolithic: Characteristics And Stages

The enolithic C was one of the stages in which Mexican prehistory is divided. It is found within the lithic stage, along with the archaeological and protoneolithic. This classification is not the only one that experts use to divide this stage, since other authors prefer to use the Proto-Indian, Paleo-Indian and Meso-Indian periodization.

The first inhabitants of Mexico took advantage of the improvement of the climate to settle in the territory. Among the most important characteristics is the improvement of the weapons, which led to the hunting of large animals was very common. Some experts point out that this could be behind the extinction of some species in the area.

Recreation of life on the hill of Tlapacoya during the Cenolithic period – Source: Yavidaxiu under the Creative Commons Generic Attribution / Share-Alike 3.0 license

The Cenolithic is divided into two different stages. The first, the Lower Cenolithic, began between 14,000 and 9,000 BC For its part, the Upper Cenolithic spans from 7,000 BC to 2,500 BC One of the great differences between the two subdivisions in increasing the ability to make tools.

Likewise, evidence has been found that, apart from hunting, the human groups present at that time were gatherers. Even at the end of the Upper Cenolithic, it seems that they had begun to practice a very rudimentary agriculture.

Article index

  • one

    Characteristics

    • 1.1

      Gun revolution

    • 1.2

      Percussion technique

    • 1.3

      Great hunters

    • 1.4

      Human groups

    • 1.5

      Tools

  • two

    Stages

    • 2.1

      Lower Cenolithic horizon

    • 2.2

      Upper Cenolithic Horizon

  • 3

    References

Characteristics

The Cenolithic is part of the Lithic Stage, the oldest in the history of Mexico. The remains found have offered many data to researchers on how the human being arrived and was distributed in that territory.

Gun revolution

One of the characteristics of the Cenolithic was the revolution that affected the ways of building hunting weapons. Thus, it was then that the blade-shaped projectile tips appeared.

These tips were ribbed and spread throughout most of North America and Mesoamerica. Likewise, the so-called Clovis and Folsom tips began to be manufactured.

As the Cenolithic was advancing, already in its second stage, the technique of making weapons advanced remarkably. Projectile points, for example, began to be built thinking about what kind of animal to hunt.

Percussion technique

One of the novel tool-making techniques that emerged during this stage is percussion.

This new method, plus others that began to be used, allowed the number of tools that could be created to expand.

Great hunters

The findings found in various deposits, especially those located on the shores of Lake Texcoco, show that the inhabitants of the area during that period were great hunters. In fact, many historians have called the period “the mammoth hunters.”

Human groups

Another characteristic of this stage was that human beings came together, forming large groups. This was the origin of the tribes or clans.

This grouping was favored by survival factors. Hunting large animals required the collaboration of several individuals and the meat obtained could feed the entire group.

Similarly, these groups began to collect various plants and fruits, in addition to hunting smaller animals.

Tools

The Cenolithic was the time when grinding tools appeared, such as mortars or grinding wheels. Examples of the first slabs have also been found, irregular in shape and quite simple.

On the other hand, those first settlers baskets, which used to boil crushed grain flour. To give it that use, the baskets had great resistance to fire. Little by little, the food diet was expanding, something that favored the resistance of individuals.

Stages

During the Lithic Stage, of which the Cenolithic is part, the human being expanded throughout the American continent. It was then, as the name of the period indicates, when they began to use stone as a material to make tools.

In this respect, the Lithic Stage overlaps with the Stone Age. The only difference is that the Lithic Stage was shorter and that the concept is only used in America.

The Cenolithic period, also called the Cenolithic Horizon, began around 14000 BC. Experts divide it into two parts: lower and upper.

Lower Cenolithic horizon

The first stage of the Cenolithic is called the Lower Horizon. It began around 14,000 BC, although there are authors who place its beginning later. Temporarily, the period was located at the end of the Pleistocene, at a time when the climate was becoming more temperate and, therefore, more favorable for the inhabitants of the area.

At first, the settlers during this stage based their survival on hunting large animals. However, these began to be scarce, partly as a result of the catches made. This caused them to change their way of life, beginning to pay more attention to small animals.

In the same way, evidence has also been found that they practiced the collection of fruits, vegetables and roots as a way to complete their diet.

Their social organization was very basic, based on the nuclear family. However, already at that time they began to group into larger bands.

As mentioned, by the end of this subdivision several large animals had already become extinct. Many authors point out that the effects of the hand of man in the alteration of ecosystems can already be seen.

Upper Cenolithic Horizon

The second part of the Cenolithic, the Upper Horizon, began between 9,000 and 7,000 BC. Among its main characteristics is the improvement in the manufacture of weapons. Among them, the projectile points.

The large animals, the megafauna, had disappeared, so that gathering became a basic necessity for different human groups. To complete the diet, they hunted smaller animals, such as rabbits or deer.

A major advance that occurred during the Upper Cenolithic was a very rudimentary early form of agriculture. Some of the plants that humans began to care for and exploit were squash, chili, avocado or corn.

The camps were set up in the open air, housing larger groups. They had developed better tools, in addition to increasing their variety. The use of percussion, pressure and wear techniques allowed them to use harder stones and to make instruments such as axes.

References

  1. Ancient Mexico. Cenolithic. Recovered from sites.google.com
  2. Mirambell, Lorena. Archeolithic and Lower Cenolithic (30000-7000 BC). Obtained from arqueologiamexicana.mx
  3. History of Mexico and the World. The lithic stage and its periods. Obtained from historia-de-mexico-y-el-mundo.blogspot.com
  4. Wikiblog. What is the meaning and definition of Lithic Stage ?. Retrieved from dictionaryofdefinitions.blogspot.com
  5. Susan Toby Evans, David L. Webster. Archeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia. Recovered from books.google.es
  6. Revolvy. Lithic stage. Retrieved from revolvy.com

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