Stone Age

When was the Stone Age? The Stone Age was the time before people began to use metals.

A Stone Age hand-axe.

The Stone Age is divided into two ages. These are the Old Stone Age and the New Stone Age. The Old Stone Age is the longer period of time. It began about two million years ago when humans first used stone tools. At this time humans lived in small family groups and wandered through the countryside searching for animals to hunt, and collecting fruits and roots to eat. These people were called hunter-gatherers because they hunted animals and gathered food from plants. They used stone to make axes, to chop down trees and to break up bones. They made bone scrapers to clean the flesh of animal skins, so the skins could be worn as clothes.

The New Stone Age (in the Middle East, South and East Asia) began about twelve thousand years ago when people began to settle down and farm the land for food instead of wandering. Stone was used to make the blade of a hoe. This is a tool for breaking up the ground before crops are planted. Stone was also used to make the blades for sickles. These tools were used to cut down the crops that people grew on their farms. In the New Stone Age people also learnt how to make pottery and to weave cloth. The Stone Age ended about six thousand years ago when people began to use Bronze instead of stone to make tools.

The Stone Age does not mean people were primitive. The Aztec and Maya both belonged to the Stone Age, but built amazing cities and could write. But they had not learned to make use of metals. The word Stone Age was meant to describe events in Europe and parts of Asia. It was not meant to refer to places in the Americas, where different time lines apply.

Video: Stonehenge from above.
Video: Avebury, the world's largest henge.
Video: The first white horse artwork.
Video: Long barrow burials.
Video: Skara Brae.

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