Definition of Mesolithic in English:


Pronunciation /ˌmezəˈliTHik/ /ˌmɛzəˈlɪθɪk/ /ˌmesəˈliTHik/ /ˌmɛsəˈlɪθɪk/


  • Relating to or denoting the middle part of the Stone Age, between the Paleolithic and Neolithic.

    ‘the collection had several possible Mesolithic artifacts’
    • ‘The Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age, can seem a very remote and ‘mysterious’ time.’
    • ‘This was extensively occupied in late Upper Palaeolithic and early Mesolithic times.’
    • ‘But historians oppose the plan because they have evidence that the site contains important Mesolithic - or Middle Stone Age - remains.’
    • ‘They found a grave pit containing fragments of bones which may be human, as well as Mesolithic and late Neolithic flint tools and pottery.’
    • ‘The way to find microliths (small Mesolithic flint barbs), he said, was to search springtime molehills.’
    • ‘In origin, the Lialovo Culture results from local later Mesolithic groups adopting the use of pottery and characteristically Neolithic stone artefacts from groups further to the south.’
    • ‘The log boat tradition, once established in the Mesolithic period, continued well into the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘According to a prehistorian at Cambridge University, the numerous Mesolithic shell middens found around the Irish coastline represent the remains of communal banquets.’
    • ‘After that I worked on a Roman villa, a Mesolithic settlement, a Medieval settlement and within a Saxon Abbey precinct - all by the age of 17!’
    • ‘Limpets are not much used in Britain today, but their persistence on Mesolithic midden sites, as well as on more recent middens, suggests that their role must once have been much wider than a food of last resort.’
    • ‘A hilltop Mesolithic hunting camp has been excavated in an unpopulated area of Perthshire west of Aberfeldy.’
    • ‘The other newly-discovered building, on the coast near Dunbar, is possibly the earliest, and certainly the most substantial, Mesolithic house in Scotland.’
    • ‘Large areas of forestry had been cleared from the Mesolithic onward and mixed farming formed an established agriculture system across the whole of Britain.’
    • ‘She discovered that the proportion of skulls with fractures and dents was greater for the Mesolithic than for any subsequent period.’
    • ‘Well-preserved Mesolithic sites have been discovered recently off Tynemouth and in the Solent.’
    • ‘These are the last remnants of the forest which stood in late Mesolithic times in this area.’
    • ‘Projects have been on shipwrecks and on Mesolithic sunken forests.’
    • ‘On the southern edge of Salisbury Plain is the final version of a henge and stone circle which has undergone many alterations since it was built during the later Mesolithic era 5,000 years ago.’
    • ‘During the Mesolithic, sophisticated hunting tools, including the spear thrower and the bow and arrow, were invented, the latter about 12,000 years ago.’
    • ‘Orkney College's new archaeological geophysics unit are out at Minehowe this week, surveying the area of what could be Orkney's earliest Mesolithic settlement.’


  • the MesolithicThe middle part of the Stone Age, between the Paleolithic and Neolithic.

    Also called Middle Stone Age

    In Europe the Mesolithic falls between the end of the last glacial period (c.8500 BC) and the beginnings of agriculture. Mesolithic people lived by hunting, gathering, and fishing, and the period is characterized by the use of microliths and the first domestication of an animal (the dog)

    • ‘evidence points to a mass extinction of large herd animals such as mammoths in the Mesolithic’


Mid 19th century from meso- ‘middle’ + Greek lithos ‘stone’+ -ic.