Life in the Ice Age was harsh and often short. This period’s inhabitants had to contend with sub-zero temperatures, ferocious predators, and the daily risk of injury and disease. Cooperation and care were vital for survival. Hunting in groups made it easier to bring down large prey such as mammoths and reindeer. The remains of these creatures were useful both for their meat and as resources for clothing and construction. Across Eastern Europe, the remains of mammoth bone huts have been found, which may have been used for housing, and possibly as larders for storing food.

Injury or disease often afflicted people. They suffered from skull fractures, fungal infections, and fused vertebrae. The fact that they survived these injuries suggests that they were cared for by the rest of their community. Our capacity to look after each other helped our species survive and eventually thrive, making it a keystone of humanity’s story.

Artist: Laetitia Munduteguy

People hunting a mammoth - one has fallen and hurt their leg
Inside a hut with a family taking care of someone with a borken leg
Six scenes of converting raw materials like leather and wood into a leg splint
Broken and healed femur bone

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Credit: Laetitia Munduteguy and Open Past

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