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Ancient technological and cultural stage (c. 8000–2700 BC) between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods in northwestern Europe. Mesolithic hunters, using a tool kit of chipped and polished stone together with bone, antler, and wooden tools, achieved a greater efficiency than their predecessors and were able to exploit a wider range of animal and vegetable food sources. Immigrant Neolithic farmers probably absorbed many indigenous Mesolithic hunters and fishers. There is no direct counterpart to the Mesolithic outside Europe, and the term is no longer used to reflect a hypothetical worldwide sequence of sociocultural evolution.
Variants of MESOLITHIC PERIOD
Mesolithic Period or Middle Stone Age
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Mesolithic Period, visit Britannica.com.
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