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An early period of human history in which humans used primitive stone tools is known as the Stone Age. Humans finally started working with metal and constructing tools and weapons with bronze around 5,000 years ago towards the end of the Stone Age, which lasted roughly 2.5 million years. Humans lived on the planet with now-extinct hominid relatives during the Stone Age, including Neanderthals and Denisovans.
How Long Was the Stone Age?
Researchers found the earliest evidence of humans using stone tools about 2.6 million years ago, and the Stone Age lasted until about 3,300 B.C. this is when the Bronze Age began. In general, it is divided into three distinct periods: the Paleolithic Period, the Mesolithic Period, and the Neolithic Period. It has been suggested that some modern apes, such as bonobos, can use stone tools to acquire food as early as we did.
Facts about Stone Age
- Humans lived in small, nomadic groups during the beginning of the Stone Age.
- The Earth was in an Ice Age during much of this time—a period when global temperatures were colder and glaciers expanded.
- Mammals such as mastodons, sabertoothed cats, giant ground sloths, and many other species roamed the landscape.
- The Stone Age humans hunted large mammals such as wooly mammoths, giant bisons, and deer.
- Using stone tools, they cut, pounded, crushed plants and animals to better extract the nutrients out of them.
The Earth entered a warming period about 14,000 years ago. Large Ice Age creatures became extinct. Warm temperatures caused wild wheat and barley to become abundant in the Fertile Crescent, a boomerang-shaped region bounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east. Humans started building permanent houses in the region. As they began farming, they gave up the nomadic lifestyle of their Ice Age ancestors.
Tools of the Stone Age
Our knowledge of life in the Stone Age and the Stone Age people comes largely from their tools. Hammerstones are among the earliest and simplest stone tools. Hammerstones were used by prehistoric humans to chip other stones into sharp-edged flakes. Hammerstones were also used to break apart nuts, seeds, bones, and grind clay into pigment.
These earliest stone tools are known as the Oldowan toolkit. Archaeologist Louis Leakey discovered Oldowan stone tools in Tanzania in the 1930s, dating back over 2.6 million years. The majority of Oldowan toolmakers were right-handed, suggesting that handedness evolved very early in human history.
STONE AGE SUMMARY
Paleolithic Age (5 Lakh BC — 10000 BC)
- Locations — Soan (Pakistan), Krishna Valley, Chota Nagpur Plateau
- Tools used — hand axes, borers, choppers, cleavers, pebbles, flakes
- Living pattern — People were food gatherers not producers. They at both veg and non-veg food.
- Clothing — Leaves, Animal skins
- Shelter — Caves
- Fire and communication with each other was known but in later Paleolithic age.
Mesolithic Age ( 10000 BC — 4000 BC )
- Locations — Adamgarh (Madhya Pradesh), Bhimbetka (Madhya Pradesh), Bagor (Rajasthan)
- Tools used — Microlithic tools, blades and arrows
- Living pattern — Domestication of Animals had started. Crude form of farming also had begun
Neolithic Age ( 7000 BC — 1000 BC )
- Locations — Burzahom (Kashmir), Chirant (Bihar), Belan (Uttar Pradesh), Mehargarh ( Baluchistan)
- Tools used — Oval shaped tools, polished stone tools, antelope horn
- Living pattern — People became food producers instead of food gatherers. Wheat and Barley was grown. Division of labour between man and woman began.
- Burial Practice — Dead bodies were buried in North South direction along with the personal belongings.
- This showed that the people believed in life after death.
Chalcolithic Age ( 2800 BC — 700 BC)
- Locations — Ahaar (Rajasthan), Malwa (M.P), Jorwe (Maharashtra)
- Tools used — Stone and copper (the first metal to be used) harpoons, copper axes were used
- Living pattern — Village life developed during this age.
- Agriculture and domestication of cattle a
- Houses of mud bricks were built
- People knew the use of cotton
- They also believed in life after death