The Stone Age was an era in humanity’s past when extremely crude lifestyles were greatly improved through the discovery of fire and the creation of rudimentary tools.
Although the Stone Age typically refers to an epoch in human history, it may also depict a culture’s technological state.
Fairly recent discoveries have been made of tribal groups that still use stone, bone or shell as materials for tools. In essence, they are still living in the “Stone Age.”
Chronologically, however, there are three main timelines of the ancient era:
Paleolithic or “Old” Stone Age
Between 2.5 million years and 15,000 years ago, this period had humans using materials from plants and trees for shelter. It was also believed to be a time when ancient man partook of an omnivorous diet—hunting game and gathering berries.
It is widely believed that during the Paleolithic era, fire was first used for cooking meat after the discovery of the “two stones” technique of creating fiery sparks that could ignite a blaze.
Mesolithic or “Middle” Stone Age
Starting around 15,000 BCE, man began streamlining tools with the discovery of flint. This hard stone was easily sharpened and it became an effective material for creating weapons and tools.
At this time, humans also began settling in one area, although they still relied on hunting and gathering to sustain themselves.
Neolithic or “New” Stone Age
About 11,000 years ago, most likely due to the increase in settlements, agriculture was developed. Ancient man, having accumulated a substantial knowledge of edible plants, must have experimented in replanting certain varieties within the vicinity of settlements, the beginnings of farming communities.
Additionally, the domestication of wild animals allowed settlers to have more convenient access to protein. And the use of stone, antlers and wood as materials led to the development of highly productive tools, such as plows and the mortar and pestle. The quality of life greatly improved as a result.
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