The Neanderthal culture is generally called the Mousterian, after the cave location (Le Moustier) where the first tools were found in association with Neanderthal remains. It is regarded as Middle Paleolithic because the later tools were of a more advanced (Upper Paleolithic) style. The succeeding cultures are associated with Homo sapiens.and began 40 kya with the entry of these moderns into Europe. The earliest Upper Paleolithic (UP) culture (the Chatelperronian) has been seen as an industry crafted by Neanderthals under influence from Homo sapiens.The Aurignacian and later cultures are purely Homo sapiens,for by those times, there were no Neanderthals: from 30 kya to the present, all cultures and remains are those of fully modern humans.
The ability to make useful and multiple tools developed slowly until the last 30 kya. The Acheulian handaxe served Homo erectusinitially as the tool itself, then later as the core from which other tools were cut. Advances in tool-making by later people consisted not only of increasing the types of tools, but also of increasing the amount of useful surface that a core could produce.
The modern humans of the UP produced functional and beautifully-flaked blades, punches, burins, needles, wooden and bone tools (the first known) and leather goods. Many of these had designs carved on them (also the first known), indicating a level of artistic expression that is not seen with the Neanderthals (though a suspected bone flute has been found in a Neanderthal site.
Designs were also made on the walls of caves and as sculptures in stone. These works seem to be examples of sympathetic magic useful in the hunt rather than art in the sense that we use it: for example, the cave art is not in easily-accessible parts of the caves, but in parts that are very difficult to find and get to yet had good acoustical properties; most types of animals were not painted — only those that were either hunted, or dangerous; only men are shown near the animals; the era of cave paintings coincides with the coldest part of the last glacial period.