What was the Stone Age?

            The Stone Age probably began more than three million years ago. It faded away some 5000 years ago and was followed by the Bronze Age. This period has been described as the landmark in the human history when man learned to make and use stone tools. This was followed by the metal age when man learnt the use of metals. Use of metals marks the end of Stone Age.

Stone Age Man and Woman

            The stone age has bee divided into three periods- the Paleolithic or old stone age, the Mesolithic or middle stone age and the Neolithic or new stone age.

            The Paleolithic or the Old Stone Age began with the appearances of the first hominids or man-like forms such as the australopithecines. The Paleolithic men were all hunters. Their tools were crude and made by flaking stones. The oldest Paleolithic tools are about 2,500,000 years old. It is likely, that apart form the stone tools, and the earliest hominids also used tools fabricated form wood and bones. The Pleistocene epoch began about 2,500,000 years ago and lasted until about 10,000 years ago during the latter part of the Old Stone Age; people learned the art of making paintings on cave walls. They had also learned the art of sculpture.

            The Mesolithic period or the middle Stone Age usually refers to that period when certain advancement started in about 8000 B.C in north-western Europe. It lasted until about 2700 B.C. during this period, better stone tools were made. The hunters used tiny flakes of flint in arrows and harpoons.

            During the Neolithic or new Stone Age, farming and the manufacture of pottery were widespread in Europe. The new Stone Age began in the Middle East about 9000 years ago. The people in the new Stone Age manufactured smooth axe heads of ground stone as they learned to grind ad polish stones. The domestication of animals was an important factor in Neolithic life as was agriculture.

            This was the period when mining also came to be practiced. By this time, agriculture had started and the people started making villages. The Stone Age ended when people learned the use of metals.

            When the Europeans discovered America, most of Native Americans red Indians were living in a Neolithic age. Some Australian aborigines and tribes in New Guinea and on some of the Andaman Islands still lead a Stone Age life.