Stone Age Facts, Definition and Stone Age Timeline

Stone Age Facts, Definition and Stone Age Timeline

Stone Age Facts, Definition and Stone Age Timeline

Stone Age

The Stone Age is the earliest part of the Age of Man. Many scientists believe that man first appeared at the end of this period. It began with the first use of stone tools and ended with bronze and iron tools. This was a time when man was learning to live in groups and to farm. He was also learning to use fire.

Some experts believe that the Stone Age lasted for a very long time—about 3 million years. The Paleolithic Age, sometimes called the Old Stone Age, lasted from 4 million B.C. to 10,000 B.C.. The Mesolithic Age, or Middle Stone Age, began at 10,000 B.C. Its end is not known because men did not begin using bronze and iron until about 3300 B.C. or in the beginning of the Bronze Age.

At first there were only hunters and gatherers who hunted fowl and fish and gathered plants and nuts for food. Later people learned to grow grain crops and raise animals for food.

During the Stone Age men learned to make tools of stone, wood, and bone. They learned to fashion weapons for hunting. The first weapons were probably sharp stones and arrows tipped with flint or bone. Men also used clubs and spears. Later they made bows and arrows of stronger materials such as wood or horn. These were more powerful weapons than the older ones made of less hard materials.

There was little pottery in the Stone Age because pottery was not an easy craft to learn. But people made spearheads, arrowheads, axes, knives, fish gutting tools, awls for sewing leather together, and other tools out of stone that they chipped into shape with sharp pieces of flint or obsidian.

The Stone Age began around 2.5 million years ago

The Stone Age began around 2.5 million years ago when prehistoric humans started to use and make tools, weapons, and other implements out of stone. This tool-making paved the way for the development of more “advanced” tools such as those made out of copper, bronze, and iron.

The Stone Age was followed by the Bronze Age around 3,000 B.C. when metalworkers learned how to extract copper and tin from raw rocks. The Bronze Age featured more sophisticated tools — such as plows, saws, shovels, and weapons — that made tasks like farming much easier for ancient civilizations. By 1,000 B.C.

Stone Age divided into three separate periods

1. The Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), characterized by flake stone tools, from 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.

2. The Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age), characterized by microliths, small stone tools used as arrowheads and found in the Middle East and Europe from 10,000 to 8,000 years ago.

3. The Neolithic (New Stone Age), characterized by the use of pottery and polished stone tools from 8,000 to 4,500 years ago.

From this period onward people began living in villages instead of roaming around nomadically as they formerly did.

The Paleolithic (Old Stone Age)

The Paleolithic era is the first stage in human evolution it is also known as “Old Stone Age”. It originated about two million years ago, following our common ancestor with the Great Ape family tree growing teeth first then losing them. This era ended around 12 000 years ago following the Neolithic Revolution but for purposes of this course it will end about 12 000 years before present day (BCE). The Paleolithic era is divided into several periods which are discussed below.

The Lower Paleolithic or Early Stone Age: Begins about 2 million years ago and ends about 250 000 years ago. It is marked by the development of the earliest stone tool industries known as Oldowan technology. During this period, early hominids were hunter-gatherers that ate mostly plants, seeds, and nuts. The climate was generally warmer than today and the average temperatures were at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit hotter on the equator but they cooled steadily as one moved away from it to an average global temperature difference of only three degrees Fahrenheit from equator to pole.

The Middle Paleolithic: Begins about 250 000 years ago and ended about 35 000 years ago. It is marked by the appearance of several new types of very simple stone tools known as Acheulean technology. Humans during this period were hunter-gatherers. They lived in small, nomadic groups that hunted large game and gathered fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds. During this period, the Earth was much colder than it is today with the average global temperature being about 12 degrees Fahrenheit cooler that it is today. During this period, the Earth’s entire water supply was locked up in the form of great ice sheets that covered the northern parts of North America and Eurasia.

The Upper Paleolithic: Begins about 35 000 years ago and ends about 12 000 years ago. It is marked by the appearance of a new type of very simple stone knife known as a blade and by the emergence of several more complicated types of tools known as Mousterian technology. During this period, humans were becoming more adept at hunting big game such as bison, deer, and horses with tools such as spears but they still relied heavily upon gathering nuts, vegetables, fruits, seeds and other foods to survive. They began to live in small bands and harvested wild grains. During this period, the Earth’s average global temperature was about four degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is today with the hottest part being about ten degrees Fahrenheit warmer on the equator. As a result of these changes, vast grasslands replaced the dense forests of Eurasia.

The Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age)

The Mesolithic Age was a transitional phase between the Paleolithic Age and the Neolithic Age, which was marked by the first developments of human civilization.

The end of the Paleolithic period and the beginning of the Mesolithic period is marked by the beginning of cultivation and domestication of plants and animals, (i.e. civilization) which is considered to be 11,000 years ago with the adoption of agriculture in Southwest Asia. At that time, humans began to settle in permanent agricultural communities and organized hunting became a less frequent means for feeding themselves.
The term ‘mesolithic’ means middle stone age because it falls between Paleolithic (‘old stone age’) and Neolithic (‘new stone age’).

The Neolithic (New Stone Age)

The Neolithic Age was a period of human development characterized by the existence of permanent communities. It began about 12,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent and from there spread to other areas of the world, ending with the beginning of recorded history around 4,500 B.C.

The Neolithic period is marked by a revolutionary change that included the adoption of agriculture, domestication of animals for food and for labor, new techniques for making pottery and tools, more sophisticated crafts for decorating pottery and weapons as well as more advanced religious practices.

Why is it called the Stone Age?

The Stone Age began about 2 million years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago. It is called this because people used stone tools to hunt for food and to create simple items. Examples of these tools are hand axes, sharpened rocks, scrapers, chisels and knives. The lack of metal limited what people could do in the Stone Age; they could not make their own weapons or tools. Everyday needs were solved with primitive tools such as wooden hoes for planting crops. They lived in small groups or communities who gathered together for shelter or support against enemies. These stone tools are the earliest examples of human-made tools.

Life in the Stone Age

The Stone Age was a time when people used nothing but stone tools and weapons. They hunted, fished, and gathered animals for food. As a result, they had only the simplest of tools.

“People of the Stone Age lived in caves and huts made with mud bricks or animal bones. Both men and women usually wore some kind of clothing. Clothing was often made of skins and tops were often decorated with animal fur or shells. Females usually had more body decoration than males did. Jewelry, combs, necklaces, earrings, tassels, bows for hair were found in the graves of women without any corresponding items for men.

“People of the Stone Age had a fairly simple way of life. They hunted and gathered their food. The men usually went hunting for animals while women went fishing for food. Gathering nuts and berries were done by both men and women alike.

“They also made their own tools out of stone; there were no other material available to them at the time, so they had to do that in order to survive”.

The dog was the first animal to be domesticated

The dog was the first domesticated animal, and the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in human history. The relationship between the dog and the human goes back thousands of years. The domestic dog has been a part of civilization for longer than any other type of domesticated animal. One theory suggests that dogs were domesticated from wolves between sixteen thousand and eleven thousand years ago. However, it is believed that earlier evidence shows that dogs may have been domesticated even as much as one hundred to two hundred thousand years ago. There is evidence of early use of dogs as far back as twelve thousand years ago, again in Asia.

Stone Age Timeline

300,000-150,000 years ago: The earliest Homo sapiens begin to migrate out of Africa to other parts of the world.

40,000 years ago: Humans begin to make complex tools, such as hand axes, that mark the beginning of the Stone Age.

35,000 years ago: Homo sapiens becomes the only remaining human species. All others go extinct.

30,000 years ago: The primitive humans who had migrated to Australia stop moving and begin developing a new society and culture in Australia’s interior. Their cultural development begins with physical and social development because they are isolated from other people for centuries.

25,000 years ago: Humans use fire to help them survive in colder environments. They also develop clothing out of animal hides so they can live in colder regions such as Europe and North America.

20,000-10,000 years ago: Humans begin domesticating plants and animals. The result is the creation of farming and herding cultures.

14,000 years ago: Humans in the Americas begin to domesticate plants, animals, and eventually themselves to create an agricultural society. The earliest American farming and herding societies are in Mexico and Central America. Within another 1,000 years or so they have spread eastward to Peru (the areas where the earliest civilizations on this side of the Atlantic develop). In South America, however, early farmers do not appear until around 8,500 years ago. This may be because this part of the world remains drier than Central America for another few thousand years.

13,000 years ago: The first civilizations appeared in the Middle East. The first is in the region of modern-day Iraq. This civilization and a second, older one located in present-day Syria are called the Ubaid civilizations because they arise after the Ubaid period, a prehistoric era when pastoral culture spreads across this area.

12,000 years ago: Farming begins independently in Africa and Eurasia at about the same time (circa 8000 BC). It is clear that knowledge of agriculture diffused quickly once it appeared anywhere on Earth. This is most likely due to human movement across Europe and Asia before farming began in these places.

11,000 years ago: The earliest agricultural society in the Americas to leave permanent traces is located at Monte Verde in Chile. It is a simple society based on fishing and hunting as well as some small-scale cultivation of plants.

10,000 years ago: Agriculture becomes more complex in the Middle East as people living there realize that they can make better tools out of metals. They begin making copper weapons and eventually bronze weapons, which are harder and sharper than weapons made with stone or copper alone. They also start using bronze for household goods such as bowls, spoons, knives, axes, and eventually mirrors and jewelry. They develop skills to create beautiful decoration on these objects made out of bronze.

8,000 years ago: Farming societies become common in Europe and the Middle East. People living in these areas become dependent on farming or herding to provide the majority of their food and begin focusing on making better tools and weapons out of bronze or iron.

5,000 years ago: People start using what is known as the Iron Age, which is distinct from the Bronze Age because it uses iron instead of bronze for its manufactured goods. This usually happens during a period known as the Bronze-to-Iron Transition. The Iron Age soon arrives in places as far-flung as Africa, China, Europe, India, Israel, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and parts of Southeast Asia.


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