Paleolithic comes from the Greek words “paleos” which means “old” and “lithos” which means “stone”.The first settlers lived by hunting and gathering, used fire, and made their homes either in inland caves and rock shelters.DNA scientists now think that the paleolithic ancestors of the Jomon people came from the northeast part of the Asian mainland continent.This period was called the Paleolithic era (some archaeologists also call it the Pleistocene era).From examining the stone materials left behind by the Paleolithic people, experts know they traded extensively stone materials and stone tools.Most sites were occupied for short periods of time — a few days to a few weeks or months — and then not used again for thousands of years.These stone tools are like the “signature” or “footprints” left behind by the Paleolithic people, and the various tools that were produced include trapezoids, edge-ground stone axes, backed-blades, leaf-shaped bifacial point-tools, pebble tools, grinding and pounding tools, and microblades (tools with blades smaller than 1 centimeter).Wherever Paleolithic people made their base campsites, they left behind traces of many small flakes and chips from the manufacture and maintenance of stone tools.
Hamakita man’s fossils were radiocarbon dated back to 17,900 years ago.
Others disagree and say he looked most like the Sinanthropus of China and Wajak man of Indonesia, or a cross between the Sinanthropus and West European Neantherthal (Hisao Baba, Banri Endo).
But you might want to know this piece of trivia…the Minatogawa Man is thought to have landed in the dump where he was, with a heap of other bones, because he had been attacked by cannibals.
For a long time, archaeologists and historians called this period in the history of the Japanese archipelago, the pre-Ceramic era, because for the most part, pottery had not been invented yet.
However, bits of pottery (called sherds) have been turning up with earlier and earlier dates, and the earliest pieces discovered are dated to 16,500 years ago, towards the end of the Paleolithic Period, though such finds have not been many.