The Paleolithic Era is a well defined cultural epoch which also coincides with a geological period, that of the Pleistocene. Covering the time of diverse glacial periods going back well beyond 500,000 BCE years and indeed continuing through to the last glacial period, known as the Wurm Glaciation which ended approximately 8,000 years BCE, it has been divided into several sub-periods with less specific and defined boundaries. These seperate Ages are entitled: Plio-Paleolithic, (until ~500,000 BCE); Early Paleolithic, (until ~75,000 BCE); Middle Paleolithic, (until ~40,000 BCE); Late Paleolithic, (until ~15,000 BCE); and Epi-Paleolithic, (time-line varies for this particular age).
Sometimes this oft confusing and ill-defined transition of the Paleolithic Era, (Old Stone Age), merging into that of the Neolithic Era, (New Stone Age), is referred to as the Mesolithic Era, (Middle Stone Age), in which very early human settlements, oft times nothing more than an intimate collection of round huts, are found to be loosely grouped together along with numerous signs of skilled handiwork and other fine artifacts, implying the diverse selection of the hunted species, and some control over wild herds is even attested to. Surprisingly, this era can now be easily defined by the findings which are continually being brought to light, including mortars and pestles with which to mainly grind grasses, grains, acorns, and also red ochre, and also the use of certain tools and materials, but even for a given place there is no sharp beginning or ending of this Era.
The Neolithic Era is in fact a cultural epoch for it does not scientifically coincide with a geological era, rather it is an era of horizons which are viewed as being separated by significant changes in such spheres as exchange systems, the production and function of ceramics, the sizes of and durations of occupation at settlement sites, and also changing degrees of cultural uniformity throughout the region. Thus it starts and ends at widely different times from place to place. This rather miniscule fact unfortunately tends to apply to other major cultural periods such as the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age and most recently, the Electronic Age.
However, when we accept the fact that when the Wurm Glaciation ice began to rapidly melt, a fact which is indeed rather well substantiated geologically. It was quite possibly due to global warming from a rather rapid series of intense volcanic eruptions in what is currently Indonesia. Of course it may have just as likely been brought about, or even further induced, by Mother Jord (the Earth) shifting ever so slightly upon her axis and thus bringing about the poles into a much more dramatic alignment with Lady Sunna (the Sun). Whatever the reasons for the melt, it indeed brought about an epoch of The Great Deluge, estimated to be around the 10th millenium.
The length of time before this Great Wurm Deluge is even considered by most of today's culture's to be the period of eight or ten individual and powerful ruling kings, although it is more commonly believed to be that of individual societies, it could even be of remarkably noticable geological changes- the Norse Eddas do make mention of nine worlds before this one. This period is oft referred to as antediluvial by scholars and lasted for 250,500 years, give or take a few centuries, just before the Wurm De-Glaciation process ultimately began in full force causing this zealously abundent worldwide glacial water flooding. Which, truthfully considered, is quite factual, as it is both well substantiated by geological evidence, and is also found to be within the world's diverse culture's great epics.
Could this be what is oft refered to as the Atlantian Epoch which dwells within our collective unconscious…
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