Stone age art includes art forms created during the first known period of human culture in Europe. Characterized by the use of stone implements, the period is divided roughly into three segments: Paleolithic (c. 35,000 - 8,000 BC); Mesolithic (c. 8,000 - 3,500 BC); Neolithic (c. 5,000 - 1,500 BC). During the Paleolithic period, the art forms are directly associated with the stone and bone industries (such as perforated bone or tooth pendants). Cave paintings with animals and the so-called Venuses--statuettes of women, often pregnant--have been found suggesting the practice of hunting and fertility rituals. As the Ice Age of the late Paleolithic gave way to a transition period the Mesolithic, Europe became climatically, geographically and biologically much as it is today. In the Mesolithic Period, the art-forms shift to more stylized human figures in wall paintings and on engraved bone and antler. By the Neolithic or New Stone age, the advances in technology such as farming, weaving, the advent of pottery and the construction of monumental structures such as Stonehenge, indicate that humankind--once strictly nomadic--began to settle and develop their land.
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