Food around 30,000 BC

The Globe

The multiple ways in which Homo sapiens diverged physically and behaviorally from pre-sapiens forms of Homo in the period between about 300,000 years ago to 30,000 years ago are collectively referred to as the "Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition." This "transition" is visible in many radical changes, such as a shift from generalized hunting patterns to concentrations in some areas on gregarious herd mammals like deer, reindeer, and horses. (Patterns in Prehistory)

But now, with respect to the earliest employment of fire, a curious problem arises when it is realized that although the heavy­browed family of Sinanthropus crouched around its hearth as early as c. 400,000 BC and that of Neanderthal Man c. 200,000, those lusty brutes gobbled their meals of fresh meat and brains ­ whether human or animal - absolutely raw. For it was not until the period of the far more highly developed races of the temple caves, c. 30,000-10,000 BC, that the art of roasting was invented. (Primitive Mythology)



Southwest Asia




Indus Valley





Mammoths, horses, and many other animals were hunted by these upper Paleolithic peoples, but the reindeer was the staff of life: at many sites 99% of all animal bones found belonged to reindeer. (Patterns in Prehistory)

"...they're making cordage," said David Hyland, an archaeologist at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. Cordage, essentially plant fibers twisted together, includes string and rope. The model of the Paleolithic men going off with spears to hunt while the women stayed home and gathered plants around the camp may be too simple, he said. "Maybe they killed one mammoth every ten years and never stopped talking about it," Dr. Soffer said. At the Pavlov and nearby Dolni Vestonice sites, for example, Dr. Klima unearthed far more bones of smaller animals than of mammoths. While the former may have been hunted with spears, it is more likely that nets were used to capture small animals like rabbits, the archaeologists said. "This tool," noted Dr. Hyland, of cloth, "represents a much greater level of success where used for hunting than lithic tools." (83)

Farther south at Kostenki on the Don River about 400 km south of Moscow, where a series of more than 20 sites have been excavated, there is evidence of occupation by modern humans back to around 40 kya. Recent excavations have yielded bone and ivory needles with eyelets, dating from 30 kya. In addition, the research team uncovered neatly articulated bones of both arctic foxes and hares at the site. These discoveries suggest that residents of Kostenki had developed trapping techniques to obtain furs, which they sewed together to produce more effective clothing that would help keep them warmer in the winters. Animal remains found at Kostenki included horses, mammoth, bison, moose and reindeer. There also is evidence that they killed other small mammals and possibly birds using darts. In addition, analyses of bone chemistry from human remains provide evidence for high consumption of fish, representing another advance in human technology. The fishing requires control of the local environment with weirs or traps. (Climate Change in Prehistory)

South America




North America