A Middle Paleolithic tool making industry, which persisted in Europe, the Near East and Africa from about 200,000 to 40,000 years ago. Primarily associated with Homo neanderthalensis in Europe, the tools were also made by early Homo sapiens in Africa. As opposed to the previous industries which consisted of a few types of similarly fashioned tools, this industry produced over forty types of tools, as well as introduced the idea of the "tool kit".
Mousterian tool kits consisted of items such as hand axes, choppers (for crushing), scrapers (most likely used in preparing animal hides), backed knives, denticulates (serrated blades), and points (which may have been used on spears). These devices were created using the Levallois Technique, where a larger flakes are chipped off of a carefully prepared core, and then these flakes and finished into a variety of specialized tools. This tool industry produced highly refined cutting edges was the first to produce tools with handles.
The basic tool production in this industry revolved around very specific steps. Variations in the tools were created with changes during the process of basic core stone , rough blank and refined final tool. New emphasis on the refined cutting blade meant that while the tool-making process was more labor intensive, the sharp edges could be reshaped or sharpened after usage. This industry’s tools required a high level of planning skills to produce, due to the step-by-step nature of their manufacture. This points to a higher level intellect than was necessary for the preceding industries.
It is noteworthy that this industry may also have acted as a starting point for the refinement of other interrelated activities. As certain everyday activities became more efficient through tool usage, the tools could be perfected, and both the activity and tool could evolve together.
This information was chipped from the core of: