Paleolith (early Stone Age) is the earliest and longest period in the history of mankind. It is so called because people used stone in those days for making major instruments of labour.
The room spans the period from the very outset of human history to the early settling of primitives on the territory of our country.
Presented in the bay to the right from the entrance are sculptural images – ancient people’s portrayals reconstructed from genuine skulls discovered at the cave-sites of Africa, Asia and Europe by means of the skull-based facial restoration method developed by anthropologist and archaeologist M.M.Gerasimov. In the upper row to the left is a sculptural portrait of the Australopithecus who lived in Africa some 6–2 million years ago; the world’s most ancient stone implements were found beside his bones.
Right of him is the Pithecanthropus who lived some 1.8–0.2 million years ago. Having left the confines of Africa, people of this physical type settled over Asia and European south. About 200 thousand years ago they entered the Caucasus and the near-Kuban region.
In the lower row, left, is the Neanderthal man who lived in Europe 200–35 thousand years ago. The sites of Neanderthal men were also found in the European part of our country. About 35 thousand years ago the continent was populated by Cro-Magnon men – people of contemporary physical build pertaining to “homo sapiens”. You can see the portrait of a Cro-Magnon man in the lower row, right.
cases 1 and 2
Instruments of labour from the sites of the Pithecanthropus and Neanderthal men in Caucasus, Crimea and the south of the Russian plain are exhibited in cases 1 and 2. The age of the most ancient samples of stone implements from near-Kuban caves and grottos and Caucasian sites exceeds 200 thousand years. These are «hand-axes» made from massive stone plates. By crude hitting they were pointed on one end or along the edge, being transformed into implements. Presented on the central plane-table is the «core» used to make billets for implements – flakes and blades.
Left of the entrance (case 3) is a pictorial reconstruction of the flora and fauna prevalent in the Ice Age, when first people of contemporary physical stature began settling in Eurasia -some 35 thousand years ago.