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Mesolithic Period c.10,000 - 4,000 BCE: Northern and Western Europe c.10,000 - 7,000 BCE: Southeast Europe c.10,000 - 8,000 BCE: Middle East & Rest of World See: Mesolithic Art, for details.
Mesolithic was a short intervening period between the hunter-gatherer culture of the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) and the farming culture of the Neolithic (New Stone Age), during which the ice retreated to the poles and melted.
Thus much of the finest African art and primitive "tribal art" as well as aboriginal "Oceanic art" from the Paleolithic world, are already lost to us.
It features all the major types of Paleolithic art yet discovered, including: petroglyphs (the oldest type of cultural expression), parietal art (like cave painting, as well as hand stencils and other abstract signs) and also mobiliary art (like ivory carving and other portable forms of sculpture).Please note that any compilation of Stone Age art is bound to be both selective and subject to revision as new archeological discoveries are made.Furthermore, despite the widening range of archeological dating techniques - such as radiometric carbon dating, Uranium/Thorium and thermo-luminescence dating - not every work of art can be dated with great accuracy if the geological environment lacks important measurable elements.Only recently (2012), we have seen the chronology of Paleolithic art and culture changed completely by Uranium/Thorium dating tests on the cave art of El Castillo and Altamira.In addition, it seems likely that Aboriginal rock art in Australia will also - in the not too distant future - be discovered to be much older than presently thought.
Preliminary investigation by paleontologists of the age of a particular stone artifact or rock begins with a thorough examination of the location-site together with a study of the geological record.