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Old, Old World [Upper Paleolithic Dark Era Brainstorming]

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  • Old, Old World [Upper Paleolithic Dark Era Brainstorming]

    This world is old.

    It has been existed for billions of years, starting as a cloud of cosmic dust gathered by the paralyzing grip of gravity and uncompromising, electromagnetic forces. It has been melded from rock, ice and iron, heated by the forges of a new, bright star. It was hit by countless celestial objects, like thousands of molten hammers shattering and melding its surfaces. It has birthed a sibling and a child, born from its own, molten flesh. As it cooled down, it breathed atmosphere from its cracks, and covered its scarred face with oceans deep and cold. At certain point, due to an unknown combination of heat, light, water and earth, a strange and new phenomenon has emerged upon it- life, simple at first, but quickly growing in complexity. Endless forms most beautiful were generated in a rapid speed, devouring each other in a mad race which lead to a more and more evolved forms. Disasters came and went, destroying countless species- and letting others take their place, prospering upon the death of their competitors. Life always find their way- crawling from the sea to the land, and from the land to the skies. Green covered the face of the not-so-young plant, opening the way to reptilian beasts and titanic behemoth. And after ages of rise and fall, suddenly came one new specie which spread around the world like a wild fire- humans.

    This world is old- but humanity is frightfully young.

    Humans have saw barely 200,000 years of light upon the planet. Around.. 0.004% of Earth's lifetime? Practically nothing, and civilization exists even less. Human weren't there when the first nuclear acids bonded together, they weren't there when the boundary between the land and sea was crossed, they weren't there when the lizard kings of old ruled the land and definitely weren't there when the celestial hammer shattered into Earth's surface (which is thankful, or else we wouldn't were around right now). It is easy to mistake and think that everything is about us- that we are the center of everything, and that the planet is merely a stage upon the great show of mankind could take place. That every other specie in the evolutionary chain was nothing but a stepping stone meant to allow humanity to claim its rightful place. After all, so much have changed in the few dozens of years, that recorded history seems like far fetched dream, and everything before it is nothing more than a decaying illusion. We have shattered atoms. We have connected the world. We have reached the stars. Technology advance in a rapid speed, harnessing the powers of light and fire and lightning to our uses, enslaving countless of other species to our uses and erasing countless others in an hindsight. We have won. This planet is ours, and we want more.

    That's, of course, a lie- but it is a good lie, one which people like to tell themselves even without noticing they do so. And in the shadows of the world, other beings beg to differ- things which, together with humanity, evolved and grew from the primordial soup into being apex predators, parasites and symbiots. Vampires consume the life of the living. Werewolves hunt while in sheep's clothing. Witches invoke dreadful powers. Creatures of flame bring disaster wherever they walk, while the kings of the fae and the lords of death reach their hand into the world and meddle with it for their own benefit. Clockwork demons steal the skins of mortals, and mythical beasts devour their souls. Humans do not rule Earth- they are simply there, next to countless other races, hunted by them and hunting them in a shadow war which is as ancient as humanity itself.

    But didn't I said that humanity is frightfully young?

    Evolution is not merely the law of the natural world- it is the law of the supernatural world, too. Those monsters which surrounds us today, they too had to evolve, one step at a time, standing upon the skulls of those before them. They didn't survived because they were the strongest, the fastest or even the smartest- they survived because they were the fittest. Because the world has changed, and they had to change with it. Because humanity became the dominant force in the world's ecology, and they were the most human. Because they were at the right place, at the right time, with the right capabilities to survive the upcoming changes. To cut a long story short- they survived, because they were lucky.

    But how the world would have been different if they weren't?

    Let's take a step back, let's spin the evolutionary wheel to the ages past. Let's close our eyes and be once more in a distant, primal age, on the very age of our racial memory. Let's return to the days, when homo sapiens has just diverged itself from the rest of its siblings, and started spreading across the globe. How the long journey of 200,000 years has started, with no way or guide to lead us in our way. Let's go back to the old, old world- and see that while changed, the darkness was still there. More primal and chaotic, of course, but jut as dark as it always been. It is an era, when shadows crept into the mouths of the dead, and the shapeless ruled unmatched. It is a time were the old gods toyed with the world around them, and horned predators celebrated in their hunt. A time when fire was wild and uncontrollable, and neverborn monsters made corpses dance again. A time of life with no laws, of visitors from faraway stars, of divine engineers and bestial demons, of hungry lands and spontaneous mutations, of hunters who wear hundred forms. Of those humans, who were there before.

    Let's return to the time of the first men.

    Let's return to the time, of the first monsters.

    ************************************************** ********


    So the first question you must have asked when you read this thread's headline was "why to bother?". I can understand that- after all, at first glance, we already have an excellent Era which already covers an ancient time frame in the history of mankind. Sundered World did some brave and fantastic things, after all, going deep into unexplored territories and examining just how did the world has changed since that ancient era. Sure, the Upper Paleolithic is, well, older- but what can that era offer that Sundered World didn't? What could going even further in time offer than than "jumping over the shark"?

    My answer- Primitive Templates.

    I mean, just think about it- what are the strix of not inhuman vampires? The idigam, as they naturally gain Essence in Hisil, seem to predate the coming of spirits to that realm, and the same is true about the Chthonians. Mummy itself details the existence of pre-human civilizations which has slowly collapsed with the rise of the Law, and the Pain Prophet's Testament mentions the existence of beings older than humans and demons. Arcadia was once ruled by the huntsmen, and the Old Gods of the Supernal were banished to become the Bound. Those monsters, and many others, are probably older than humanity itself- and as such, would have been there before humanity has to walk on two feet. Oh, I'm not going as far as suggesting that in this era you would play those dreadful entities (mostly). I suggest that just that as a human being you would play the first humans, as a monster you would play the first monsters to walk among mankind, just as they started to adapt to the new, rising specie. Some have evolved since then, becoming the modern monsters we all know and love. Others went extinct, leaving the path for new breeds to take their place. Some have simply survived- a bit broken and rough around the edges, but they are still there, relics of ancient times, living fossils of the era before the soul carrying beasts took over the world, creating new monsters with them.

    That not just a Dark Era. That's the beginning- and who knows what wonders wait for us at that, murky corner of history.

    (discuss!)

  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post

    Malazan Book of the Fallen series is good material for inspiration--the setting is indeed dark! But fair warning: the author(s) pull no punches with the material; some of it may offend sensibilities.


    --Khanwulf
    thankfully, then, that the project itself is already written. I could look for concepts from there for how the Awful Ice could have acted in ancient days, but it is already a complete project as far as I'm concerned.

    Leave a comment:


  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    Well, that sounds like a good place for inspiration for my already written Awful Ice project. Thanks for that!
    Malazan Book of the Fallen series is good material for inspiration--the setting is indeed dark! But fair warning: the author(s) pull no punches with the material; some of it may offend sensibilities.


    --Khanwulf

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Anyway, I think I'm going to work on template variants/hacks in order to represent some of the concepts I have for the primitives. If someone feels inspired to present their own view to an existing or new concept for such a template, feel free to do so. Remember that we aim for 5 such primitives per gameline, making them into the "x splat" parallel for the Era.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
    Well, that sounds like a good place for inspiration for my already written Awful Ice project. Thanks for that!

    Leave a comment:


  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    Now, it's time for us to cross the line to a much less.. official material. The Ice Age may have just ended, but some parts of it still linger. Beings colder than death and more silent than snow walk among the early human civilizations. They hate mankind, despise it in a way they could never understand. There is some force behind those cold ones, something which has brought the glaciers, and mourns for their end. Those who walk alone in the snow are never seen again- most of them are dead, their corpses so cold that they melt with the rising sun. Others have a more.. interesting fate. In the cold nights, their hearts are being ripped from their chests- yet they live still. The winter's winds blow in their empty chests, and the touch of the ice age burns upon their skin. The gods of the eternal white must leave- their time is up- but the ice age is still here. It still waits. It is patient. And when the fire would die out, it would come once more to cover the world. And until then, it waits in the cut eyes and hearts of those blessed by its holy, awful frost.
    When in doubt: ice.

    --Khanwulf

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Thanks! In that case, the only difference in the writeup would be that the effects of the Awful Ice are not declining yet- sure, it may notice that its Era starts to end, but things like Glaciers and Blizzards are still common and powerful.

    Leave a comment:


  • glamourweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
    Wait, I thought the Neanderthals died off during or before the ice age? Is this Era pre, post or during the Ice Age?
    Neandrathals went existinct around 40,000 Years ago, which would be during the last glacial period.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    I may have mixed up with the dates. I need to look again to make sure what happened when and how, but the Era should take place during the decline of the Neanderthals.

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Wait, I thought the Neanderthals died off during or before the ice age? Is this Era pre, post or during the Ice Age?

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Well, that's a lot of inspirational material to read! Thanks, wyrdhamster!

    Anyway, let's talk a bit about Prometheans, shall we?

    Unlike the other games, as we know that Promethean is going to gain a new antagonist type in Night Horrors (apparently in the style of the Insatiable and their like), I'm going to present only 4 new types of Primitives- sure, apparently Werewolf also gets new antagonist, but as Shunned by the Moon seems to be focused around "other werewolves" I don't believe it would affect anything, and besides, I simply only have 4 ideas for Promethean right now, and even they are mostly based on fan made concepts :P

    The first one would be the creations of "wild fire"- Firestorms wreck through the ancient world, bringing to life things which should not have walked the earth, things which would make even the modern Frankenstein look calm and peaceful. Amalgams of men and beast, of flesh and the elements of the world, those beings are incarnations of wild divinity and the world's wrath and soul. They do not have a Pilgrimage to walk in, no Great Work to achieve, and no stars shine in their Saturnian Night. No one has walked the path before them, and there is no one to guide them. Yet, even with no fate, there is still hope. They have what no modern promethean has during the modern Era, not even the Extemporae who are birth out of luck and chance. They have choice- life or death, man or god. Will they leave a lineage behind them, to be remembered for all eternity? Will they achieve their ascension alone, transforming the world forever in the process? Or will they fade away, leaving behind nothing but dying embers and suffacted ash?

    Talking about ash, you should tread carefully where the Fire has passed, even after the flames has died out. Flux is as dominant power as Pyros, and where the cold winds of corruption and rot pass, the world itself collapse... and things rise from the primordial soup. Not exactly pandorans, yet nothing like the modern prometheans, those creatures are drawn toward humanity- they wish to study it, to understand it, and sometime to tear it apart and understand what makes them work. They want their souls, their warm light. Sometimes, people survive being attacked by those monsters- but the poison already sinks in, corrupting flesh and soul. Fight against the corruption, if you wish- but be careful. One wrong step, and you'll join the mound walkers in their festival of horrors.

    Now, it's time for us to cross the line to a much less.. official material. The Ice Age may have just ended, but some parts of it still linger. Beings colder than death and more silent than snow walk among the early human civilizations. They hate mankind, despise it in a way they could never understand. There is some force behind those cold ones, something which has brought the glaciers, and mourns for their end. Those who walk alone in the snow are never seen again- most of them are dead, their corpses so cold that they melt with the rising sun. Others have a more.. interesting fate. In the cold nights, their hearts are being ripped from their chests- yet they live still. The winter's winds blow in their empty chests, and the touch of the ice age burns upon their skin. The gods of the eternal white must leave- their time is up- but the ice age is still here. It still waits. It is patient. And when the fire would die out, it would come once more to cover the world. And until then, it waits in the cut eyes and hearts of those blessed by its holy, awful frost.

    Finally, as much as the endless white could be terrifying, a much greater danger waits inn the firmament's colourful flames. Burning in the far north, flashes of light engulf the sky in unnatural colours- colours our of space, so to speak. And when the auroras flash through the skies, they come- beings of war and death, of pristine beauty and grace. The chooser of the slain. And with those dread entities which butcher all who stumble upon their path, come their chosen soldiers, dead men who were brought to life in order to battle in a war they can't even understand. Through space and time they were gathered, from ages which were yet to happen, from pasts which never did. They burn with their prismatic, undefined light, like angels of fire. Like angels of ice. A world has ended, and from the smoldering ashes other worlds were born- but only one could survive, only one would become real. Grasp you weapons and prepare for war- Ragnarok is not yet to happen. Its happening right now. Just make sure not to die again.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hastur00
    replied
    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
    Still, it's 190 000 years difference of ( very slow ) technological progress.
    No, yeah, I get that, I have a passing familiarity with anthropology. I meant mining prehuman monstrosities and civilizations from it, since the settings both have those themes in common. I just meant, off the top of my head, I can't think if those particular inspirations would be too vested in the assumption of a more advanced tech/societal level to be viable options to transplant.

    Leave a comment:


  • wyrdhamster
    replied
    There is also great article from the same site about society of Paleolithic era...

    The Hunter-Gatherers


    Hunter-gatherer societies are – true to their astoundingly descriptive name – cultures in which human beings obtain their food by hunting, fishing, scavenging, and gathering wild plants and other edibles. Although there are still groups of hunter-gatherers in our modern world, we will here focus on the prehistoric societies that relied on the bounty of nature, before the transition to agriculture began around 12,000 years ago.Hunter-gatherer societies are – true to their astoundingly descriptive name – cultures in which human beings obtain their food by hunting, fishing, scavenging, and gathering wild plants and other edibles. Although there are still groups of hunter-gatherers in our modern world, we will here focus on the prehistoric societies that relied on the bounty of nature, before the transition to agriculture began around 12,000 years ago.
    Prehistoric hunter-gatherers often lived in groups of a few dozens of people, consisting of several family units. They developed tools to help them survive and were dependent on the abundance of food in the area, which if an area was not plentiful enough required them to move to greener forests (pastures were not around yet). It is probable that generally, the men hunted while the women foraged.

    Straight off the bat, it is important to realise that the variety between hunter-gatherer societies throughout time was so high that no single, all-compassing set of characteristics can be attributed to them. The earliest hunter-gatherers showed very different adaptations to their environment than groups at later points in time, closer to the transition to agriculture. The road towards increasing complexity – something we tend to consider to be the hallmark of ‘modernity’ - is a difficult yet interesting one to trace. Tools, for instance, became ever more developed and specialised, resulting in a large set of shapes that allowed hunter-gatherers to become better and better at exploiting their environment.
    To say anything meaningful about prehistoric hunter-gatherers and their way of life, then, their developments and adaptations throughout time must be highlighted. This will allow us to catch glimpses of how different people may have interacted with their environments in different ways.
    The Ice- & Stone Ages


    First off, it will be useful to explain some terminology that is used to describe the time during which hunter-gatherers roamed the earth. Geologically, based on the repeating cycles of glaciation (or Ice Ages) during this time, the epoch spanning from roughly 2,6 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago is known as the Pleistocene. Archaeologically, based on stone tool cultures, the Palaeolithic Age falls within the same timeframe as the Pleistocene. The Palaeolithic is further subdivided into the Early- or Lower Palaeolithic (c. 2,6 million years ago - c. 250,000 years ago), which starts with the first recognisable stone tools found to this date; the Middle Palaeolithic (c. 250,000 years ago - c. 30,000 years ago); and the Late- or Upper Palaeolithic (c. 50,000/40,000 - c. 10,000 years ago), ending when the Ice Age ended and agriculture began taking over. The dates overlap here and there because some cultures persisted for longer in certain areas, while others had already developed to the point where they match the characteristics of the next age. It is interesting to stop and consider that although we may feel that our tech savvy, industrialised world has been around for a good while, the Palaeolithic actually makes up about 99% of human technological history.

    The First Hunter-Gatherers



    Our genus of Homo first developed within the massive space that is Africa, and it is there that hunter-gatherers first appeared. There are a few hotspots where the land clearly provided decently lush living opportunities and where the remains of often several different groups of humans living there at various times have been found. In southern Africa sites such as Swartkrans Cave and Sterkfontein show more than one occupation, although they are a lot younger than sites in eastern Africa, where in or near Ethiopia the earliest known stone tools made by humans – dated to c. 2,6 million years ago – have been found. One of the oldest sites is Lake Turkana in Kenya: it was already home to our presumed ancestors the Australopithecines, to which the famous Lucy belongs, and it continued to be a popular spot for a very long time indeed.

    Dependency On The Environment



    From humans’ early start in Africa to spilling out across Eurasia and later the rest of the world, all this exploration across vastly different terrains was done while living off the land by hunting and gathering what it had to offer. The amount of food, looking at both flora and fauna, directly impacted the amount of people an environment could feasibly support. If food was abundant, resident groups of hunter-gatherers were more likely to stay in the same place, find ways to effectively store their food, and protect their territory against competing groups. Alternatively, if there was not enough food in a group’s direct vicinity, it meant they had to move around and lead more nomadic lifestyles in order to sustain themselves. If this sounds like too much of a piece of cake, imagine that the environment with both its terrain and its weather (think of droughts or huge storms) regularly tried to kill these early humans, with the assistance of animals that had bigger teeth and claws than they did. Luckily, prehistoric societies were made up of groups or bands of a few dozens of people, usually representing several families, that helped each other survive mother nature.
    The geographical spread of early man was so vast it is useful to elaborate on this a little. A huge continent such as Africa in itself already hosts all sorts of different landscapes, although in general, some degree of sun and heat would have been part of the deal, but once man spread beyond its borders, a whole new kind of adaptability would have been necessary. Early bands of Homo erectus were likely the first to venture out into new worlds, nearly 2 million years ago, spreading out all the way to Eurasia, China, and Indonesia by c. 1,7 - c. 1,6 million years ago. Europe was most likely not explored until much later; although the Mediterranean shows some tentative human activity before 1 million years ago, the major mountain ranges were not braved by daring travellers (usually thought to have been Homo heidelbergensis) until around 700,000 years ago. Once they had crossed, they flourished. Neanderthals later evolved from this population and themselves ended up expanding beyond their initial European homes into both the Near East and parts of Central Asia, up to the Altai region in Siberia. By the end of the Middle Palaeolithic, almost the entirety of the Old World had been reached by some group of humans. Insular Asia, Australia and the New World would also all be conquered by humans by the end of the Pleistocene. With our planet covered, there was no environment to which we did not eventually learn to adapt.
    Genetic studies are doing their best to come closer to a coherent picture of just how quiet or busy the world must have generally been during the Pleistocene. None has emerged just yet, but a non-genetic estimate of around 500,000 individuals is in agreement with a lot of the recent genetic results. In general, areas would not have been very densely populated. One might wonder what prehistoric man or woman would have to say about our present-day self-proclaimed modernity, which has spawned many massively polluted cities.

    Shelters



    Mostly, these prehistoric hunter-gatherers would have used natural shelters as living space; overhanging cliffs would have provided a place to nestle into to escape the wind and rain, and caves were highly popular as comfortable living spaces could be created within, mostly near the entrance to stay in range of the daylight. However, open sites, more exposed to the elements, have also been found.
    The living spaces of the earliest hunter-gatherers were basic and not clearly structured. Throughout the Middle Palaeolithic, however, designated areas for certain activities slowly become apparent, especially towards the late Middle Palaeolithic. As man harnessed the use of fire, the controlled and habitual use of which dates back to at least around 400,000 years ago, hearths also began to appear within settlements. Some of these sites even show the beginnings of long-distance transport, as certain raw materials can only have ended up there if they were transported from 100 or more kilometres away. Middle Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers moreover relied almost entirely on natural shelters, too; the evidence for manmade shelters is still extremely rare.
    In the Upper Palaeolithic, humans became ever more inventive and organised, as manmade structures were now created to a much higher degree than before. They offered an alternative to the still very popular cave life, but caves, of course, were not available everywhere, and they were so popular among cave bears and cave lions that it gave them their names. Thus, some societies built huts or tents with wooden supports, or even with mammoth bones forming the structure, which were also illuminated by the light of hearths and had clear architectural features that organised the spaces into designated areas. Materials and tools were moreover much more commonly transported over long distances than they were in the Middle Palaeolithic. However, it is in the persistently useful caves that one of the greatest developments of the Upper Palaeolithic is visible: brilliant cave paintings, such as those at Chauvet Cave or the famous Lascaux Cave, both in present-day France, provide some stunning examples of hunter-gatherer art. Often connected with symbolic thought, it is this that greatly sets these later hunter-gatherers apart and forms part of why they are generally considered to be full-fledged modern humans.
    Replica of a Mammoth-bone Structure




    All in all, as their technologies developed and they became more versatile, humans were able to master all kinds of challenging environments, from scorching deserts to dense forests and frigid tundras.
    Food



    The exact types of food hunter-gatherers consumed obviously varied depending on the landscape and its resident flora and fauna. Whereas some might specialise in hunting the impressive prehistoric megafauna such as the megaloceros or giant elk, woolly mammoths and woolly rhinoceros, others might focus on trapping small game or on fishing. Although their name implies an active stance, hunter-gatherers most likely scavenged to some degree too.
    The earliest humans in Africa were still quite far removed from woolly mammoth-hunting, however, and not just because the time and geographical location do not quite match. They had no sophisticated hunting tools or strategies capable of bringing down quite such enormous prey as of yet, but they did eat meat. After these people had obtained their food, however, they still had to process it. For this, either powerful teeth – for grinding down tough plants with strong molars or biting into non-butchered flesh - or tools that did that for them were needed. Early humans, in general, went down the path towards smaller teeth. Already in species such as Homo rudolfensis the molars were not as large as their ancestors’, and later species such as Homo habilis and erectus continued this trend. Teeth size declined, while at the same time brain size grew. They made up for their smaller teeth by developing a stone tool culture, which allowed them to more efficiently exploit their environment than ever before. As such, these humans became more omnivorous - and thus, more versatile and adaptable - by adding more meat to their previously pretty green diet.
    Because plant remains do not stand the test of time as well as butchered animal bones do, it is generally hard to determine exactly what our ancestors’ veggie habits were like. However, a recent 2016 study gives us a rare glimpse into the plant diet of the people living at Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, Israel, some 780,000 years ago. A stunning 55 kinds of food plants were found there that include seeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and roots or tubers. The diversity shows these people had a good knowledge of which edible things could be found in their environment, and in which season, and reflects a varied plant diet. Besides the greens, the diet of this particular hunter-gatherer society also included both meat and fish. Moreover, fire was visibly used in food processing by this group, while cooking and the habitual use of fire seem not to have been widespread until around 500,000 - 400,000 years ago (see below). Whether this site just housed a group of prodigies or whether more general conclusions can be drawn from this is hard to say – it must at the very least be viewed in its geographical and chronological framework.
    A bit further along the timescale, Middle Palaeolithic sites show more evidence of local traditions and variation being present. As humans were now well-established both inside and outside of Africa, and had spanned out far north as well as east, population density increased, and that had an effect on the available food. Under the yoke of increased competition, hunters came up with new tactics and began picking targets across a wider range than before. When they were available, however, the prized large- or medium-sized deer, horses, and bovids like bison and gazelle presented too good of an opportunity to pass up. These were definitely the top picks on the hunter-gatherer menu.
    Megaloceros (Giant Elk) Skeleton






    ‘The bigger the animal, the better’ is a philosophy that definitely holds up when one is concerned with feeding a whole band of hungry humans leading active lives. For living that dream, the time to be alive was the Late Pleistocene (c. 120,000 - 10,000 years ago), specifically in the main part of Eurasia and stretching all the way into eastern Siberia. There, humans would have found an astonishingly high concentration of megafauna such as mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, Lena horse, and bison, in what has been called the ‘Mammoth complex’. Neanderthals, for instance, surely took advantage of this: they are known to have eaten a fair amount of mammoth and rhino meat, besides other meat from mammals such as bison, wild cattle, reindeer, deer, ibex and wild boar. Otherwise, various legumes and grasses, fruits, seeds and nuts generally made up a substantial part of their diet, like it must have done for most hunter-gatherer societies throughout time. The idea that they were mostly meat-eaters (apart from their early beginnings) has long since been overthrown.
    Tools



    The tools used by hunter-gatherers to make their lifestyle possible had their humble beginnings, so far traced back to around 2,6 million years ago, in the Oldowan technology (lasting until c. one million years ago). Simple stone cores were used as choppers, hammerstones, and retouched flake scrapers, in order to both cut the meat off of animals and get to the nutritious marrow inside, or process plants and seeds. This technology was brought out of Africa towards Asia by early waves of Homo erectus that went adventuring.
    In Africa, in the meantime, the Acheulean (c. 1,7 million years ago to c. 250,000 years ago) had begun to evolve, which came to Eurasia a bit later on. It saw the development of tools into large bifaces like hand axes, picks and cleavers, enabling Homo erectus, and later on Homo heidelbergensis, to literally get a better grip on the processing of their kills. Although wood of such age generally does not survive, a site in Northern Europe suggests that wooden tools may well have been a part of the daily life of early hunter-gatherers too, presumably stretching all the way into the Middle Palaeolithic.

    Acheulean Handaxe







    The above mentioned Homo heidelbergensis, who was very widespread indeed, deserves some special attention. They appeared around 700,000 years ago in Africa, were probably descendent from Homo erectus, and seemingly spread into Europe as far as present-day England by around 500,000 years ago. At a site in Schöningen, Germany, dated to at least 300,000 years old, Heidelbergensis astounded researchers: eight carefully crafted wooden spears were found, alongside flint tools and chips. These weapons represent the earliest indication for active hunting behaviour, and, interestingly, their targets were also present: the bones of numerous horses showing cut marks were found at the site, too. The systematic hunting of large animals is no mean feat, as it is hard to envision hunters being successful in this way without cooperating with one another to a decent degree. Indeed, researchers suggest that Homo heidelbergensis was already capable of making quite sophisticated tools and hunting not only large but also dangerous animals, which, they say, may indicate that they engaged in cooperative social activities.

    Tool use was by now decently established, and the following Middle Palaeolithic saw a fine-tuning; retouched flake tools, such as scrapers, points, and backed knives were made by early forms of Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and the earliest anatomically modern humans. A huge proliferation then occurred in the Late Palaeolithic, where blade tools were created alongside bone, antler and ivory artefacts, and even such technological feats as spear throwers and bows and arrows began to appear. All in all, around the world, as time went on more and more variability appeared in the stone industries we are uncovering, which not only suggests increasing innovation over time, but also the presence of stronger regional (material) cultures.
    Creeping Hyena Spear Thrower of La Madeleine





    Fire As A Catalyst



    Besides the development of tools, another huge change that had an incredible effect on our species is the harnessing of fire. In short, the use of fire meant our ancestors could huddle around it for protection (wild animals in general are not very keen on fire) and warmth, and it allowed them to cook their food - which has an amazing array of benefits. Fire thus plays a central role in human survival and in catalysing the processes of becoming ‘human’ as we define it.
    The earliest evidence we have found so far for the use of hominin fire dates back to over a million years ago. Around Lake Turkana fire is indicated from around 1,8 million years ago onwards; sites show reddened patches and, for instance, stones altered by heat, but the early African sites show no certain signs of hearths. Indeed, throughout this early stage traces of fire remain very rare on African open sites. Here, fire use may have been more connected to taking advantage of natural fires, such as forest fires or the after-effects of a particularly violent lightning strike, rather than actively creating and maintaining it personally.
    It is hard to accurately trace the way in which the use of fire gradually developed throughout time, after its first beginnings. However, by at least 400,000 years ago it is clear that the human bands roving around and setting themselves up in caves not just in Africa, but also the Middle East and Europe, knew and used fire; clear evidence of hearths has been found in Acheulean levels. These people were clearly skilled at maintaining and using fire. Over the next 100,000 years, the habitual and very deliberate use of fire becomes very apparent, like for instance in the Middle East and even at open sites in southern France. It thus became a central part of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
    Fire had important benefits. Apart from protection and warmth, which would have helped even the earliest, basic fire users to survive, a major advantage that came when the deliberate use of fire began to become more widespread is the ability to cook. Until around 500,000 years ago, cooking seems to have been a rare sight within hunter-gatherers societies. What happened when humans did convert to sizzling their bison steaks and the likes is as follows. Firstly, cooking softens the food, making it easier to chew and digest, which meant people could develop smaller teeth and less long digestive systems, and spend less of their time digesting their food. The traditional hunter-gatherer diet is moreover so hard to ingest and digest in its raw form that cooking, in addition to the calorific benefits, really represented a big change. It also left these early humans’ brains free to grow to a larger size than previously possible; large brains are more complex but also more expensive and require high-quality foods. Of course, having larger and more complex brains meant that humans could come up with better ways to maintain and use fire, develop better hunting strategies, and so forth. Thus, the cycle continued.
    Fire in general also had an impact on the social side of these hunter-gatherer groups. Fire, with the light it provided, enabled hunter-gatherers to stay active even after sundown, extending their days and leaving more time for social bonding, which is very important especially in larger groups. Modern humans are awake for nearly twice as long as many of their primate cousins.
    The Social Side



    This prehistoric lifestyle, with groups sharing and organising a living space, and working towards keeping everyone alive, clearly had some sort of social side to it. Research suggests that a kind of social network structure could well have appeared quite early on in human history, with connections stretching not just to family members but also to non-kin, and that this social aspect may have helped spark (increasingly intensive) cooperation. The hunters at Schöningen, for instance, that are discussed above and belong to a group of Homo heidelbergensis, or at comparable sites such as Boxgrove and Arago, were seemingly so successful they may have been able to get their hands on large amounts of meat. If this was indeed the case, they may have shared or exchanged food with other groups in their neighbourhood, maybe even at established meeting places.

    Another huge benchmark is the use of language, the origin of which is much discussed and very hard to place on a timeline. From some sort of communication to primitive language-like systems somewhere among the earlier forms of humans, to a full-fledged language the way we use it today, it all developed somewhere in these hunter-gatherer societies. Besides the organisation of life within a group, being able to discuss your hunting strategies in detail, pinpoint the location of a nearby predator, or give a poetic description of a newly found nearby blueberry bush made a bit of a difference.

    The sheer amount of different Homo species that passes the revue in the space above should already be an indicator of just how diverse hunter-gatherers were: each species had different strengths and weaknesses, and differently structured societies, although with time almost all of these humans walked the road that eventually led to agriculture. The exceptions? Some hunter-gatherer societies persist to this day.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-05-2018, 02:01 PM.

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  • wyrdhamster
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    Double post, see below, sorry.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-05-2018, 11:50 AM.

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  • wyrdhamster
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    For those not understanding that Far Cry Primal is much closer to 200 000 BCE than Conan works - here is explanation what Stone Ages really mean.

    CHRONOLOGY OF THE STONE AGE

    The Stone Age begins with the first production of stone implements and ends with the first use of bronze. Since the chronological limits of the Stone Age are based on technological development rather than actual date ranges, its length varies in different areas of the world. The earliest global date for the beginning of the Stone Age is 2.5 million years ago in Africa, and the earliest end date is about 3300 BCE, which is the beginning of Bronze Age in the Near East. ( Some sources points more like 2000 BCE, to Minoan civilisation. )

    There is evidence suggesting that the 2.5 million year limit for stone tool manufacture might be pushed further back. The reason is that the capacity of tool use and even its manufacture is not exclusive of our species: there are studies indicating that bonobos are capable of flaking and using stone tools in order to gain access to food in an experimental setting. Nevertheless, there are differences between the tools produced by modern apes and those produced by the early toolmakers, who had better biomechanical and cognitive skills and produced more efficient tools. The difference, however, is of degree, not of nature. In fact, the earliest tools pre-date the emergence of the Homo genus, and it is believed that some of the Australopithecines were the first tool makers.

    In addition, some researchers have claimed that the earliest stone tools might even have an earlier origin: 3.4 million years ago. Although no stone tools that old have been found, some bones showing signs of striations and gouges have been found in Ethiopia, which might represent cut marks made with stone tools. This view, however, is not widely accepted: the marks have also been interpreted to be the result of crocodile predation or animal trampling.

    The Stone Age thus is also divided into three different periods.
    1. Paleolithic or Old Stone Age: from the first production of stone artifacts, about 2.5 million years ago, to the end of the last Ice Age, about 9,600 BCE. This is the longest Stone Age period. The main types of evidence are fossilized human remains and stone tools, which show a gradual increase in their complexity. On the basis of the techniques employed and the quality of the tools, there are several stone industries (sometimes referred to as “lithic” industries). The earliest of these (2.5 million years ago) is called Oldowan, which are very simple choppers and flakes. About 1.7 million years ago, we find another type of lithic industry called Acheulean, producing more complex and symmetrical shapes with sharp edges. There are several other types of lithic industries until finally towards the end of the Paleolithic, about 40,000 years ago, we see a “revolution” of lithic industries where many different types coexisted and developed rapidly. Around this same time, we also have the first recorded expressions of the artistic life: personal ornaments, cave paintings, and mobilary art.
    2. Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age: In purely scientific terms, the Mesolithic begins at the end of a period known in geology as the Younger Dryas stadial, the last cold snap, which marks the end of Ice Age, about 9,600 BCE. The Mesolithic period ends when agriculture starts. This is the time of the late hunter-gatherers.
      Because agriculture developed at different times in different regions of the world, there is no single date for the end of the Mesolithic period. Even within a specific region, agriculture developed during different times. For example, agriculture first developed in Southeast Europe about 7,000 BCE, in Central Europe about 5,500 BCE, and Northern Europe about 4,000 BCE. All these factors make the chronological limits of the Mesolithic somehow fuzzy. Moreover, some regions do not have a Mesolithic period. An example is the Near East, where agriculture was developed around 9,000 BCE, right after the end of the Ice Age.
      During the Mesolithic period, important large-scale changes took place on our planet. As the climate was getting warmer and the ice sheets were melting, some areas in the northern latitudes rose as they were being freed from the weight of the ice. At the same time, the sea levels rose, drowning low-lying areas, resulting in major changes in the land worldwide: the Japanese islands were separated from the Asian mainland, Tasmania from Australia, the British Isles from continental Europe, East Asia and North America became divided by the flooding of the Bering Strait, and Sumatra separated from Malaysia with the correspondent formation of the Strait of Malacca. Around 5,000 BCE, the shape of the continents and islands was very much those of the present day.
    3. Neolithic or New Stone Age: begins with the introduction of farming, dating variously from c. 9,000 BCE in the Near East, c. 7,000 BCE in Southeast Europe, c. 6,000 BCE in East Asia, and even later in other regions. This is the time when cereal cultivation and animal domestication was introduced.In order to reflect the deep impact that agriculture had over the human population, an Australian archaeologist named Gordon Childe popularized the term “Neolithic Revolution” in the 1940s CE. Today it is believed that the impact of agricultural innovation was exaggerated in the past: the development of Neolithic culture appears to have been more gradual rather than a sudden change.
    Agriculture brought major changes in the way human society is organized and how it uses the earth, including forest clearance, root crops, and cereal cultivation that can be stored for long periods of time, along with the development of new technologies for farming and herding such as plows, irrigation systems, etc. More intensive agriculture implies more food available for more people, more villages, and a movement towards a more complex social and political organization. As the population density of the villages increase, they gradually evolve into towns and finally into cities.Towards the end of the Neolithic era, copper metallurgy is introduced, which marks a transition period to the Bronze Age, sometimes referred to as Chalcolithic or Eneolithic era.
    Neolithic Structure - Stonehenge

    Archeological Record

    Tools and weapons during the Stone Age were not made exclusively of stone: organic materials such as antler, bone, fibre, leather and wood were also employed. The archaeological record, however, is biased in favour of items made of stone because these are far more durable than the organic materials, which are easily obliterated by the many processes of decay that they are subject to and can only survive under rare circumstances such as cold temperatures or very dry climate. Other durable materials such as copper and glass-made items have also survived. Under rare circumstances, plant, animal, and human remains have also managed to survive, sometimes merely fossilized, but other times they still present part of the soft tissue such as the several frozen specimens of the extinct woolly rhino and woolly mammoth that have survived in Siberia virtually intact.
    Clay is another material which is abundant in the bulk of Stone Age material remains. Clay can be fashioned into a desire shape and baked to fix its form. This is the birth of pottery. Usable clay is widely available, which explains why pottery was independently invented in many parts of the world at different times. The oldest evidence of pottery manufacture has been found in an archaeological site known as Odai Yamamoto, in Japan, where fragments from a specific vessel have been dated to 16,500-14,920 BP ("before present", meaning 16,500-14,920 years ago, usually associated with radiocarbon dating). Non-agricultural Jomon peoples of Japan were producing clay pots that were elaborately decorated by about 13,000 BP, which were used for food preparation.
    During the Early Neolithic era, around 8,000 BCE, special ovens used to parch cereal grains and to bake bread were being built in the Near East, which allowed people to control fire and produce high temperatures in enclosed facilities. Initially, pottery was made in open fires, but the use of ovens added new possibilities to the development of pottery. Around the same time, some areas of South America were also developing pottery technology.
    With the introduction of Bronze metallurgy, the Stone Age came to an end. Bronze is a mixture of copper and tin, which has greater hardness than copper, better casting properties, and a lower melting point. Bronze could be used for making weapons, something that was not possible with copper, which is not hard enough to endure combat conditions. In time, bronze became the primary material for tools and weapons, and a good part of the stone technology became obsolete, signaling the end of the Stone Age.

    Note: So the Far Cry Primal placed at the end of Paleolithic period technology is the same period as Old, Old World Dark Era devised here - where Conan stories in Bronze Age society are totally not Stone Age histories in the first place.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-05-2018, 01:32 AM.

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