The Paleolithic Age in Korean history indicates that human inhabitants were present on the Korean peninsula half a million years ago, although they are not thought to be the direct ancestors of Koreans. These ancient people were pushed out of Korea into Japan and Siberia by a migrating group at the start of the Neolithic age. Paleolithic people were a hunting and gathering people. Archaeological evidence shows they hunted rhinoceros, cave bears, brown bears, hyena, and deer. Cave paintings of these animals indicate that written communication and art were capabilities of Paleolithic people.
Between 6,000 and 4,000 BC, tribes of Tungusic people migrated into the Korean peninsula from Central Asia and the Altaic mountain region. These people were of the Neolithic Age and are thought to be the direct ancestors of Korean people. Neolithic people in Korea began as a hunting gathers but by 2,000 BC, they were living in an agrarian society. They lived in pit dwellings, started to weave, began to sew with bone needles, and were capable of very detailed painting on their pottery. They believed in Animism (worship of animals) and thought all natural objects had spirits. Shamanism (spirit worship) was prevalent among these people as it was elsewhere in Asia during this time period. Shamans were believed to have supernatural healing power and the ability to contact spirits to protect family and community from evil spirits.
The Tungusic tribes spoke a Ural-Altaic language. This language group extends from Scandinavia and the Balkans in the West, through Central, North, and Northwest Asia in the East. Though dialects of the Ural-Altaic languages vary greatly, they each share similar characteristics of syntax. This language group set the foundation for the modern Korean language.