Stone Age

Definition

by Wikipedia
published on 28 April 2011
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric time period during which humans widely used stone for toolmaking. Stone tools were made from a variety of different kinds of stone. For example, flint and chert were shaped (or chipped) for use as cutting tools and weapons, while basalt and sandstone were used for ground stone tools, such as quern-stones. Wood, bone, shell, antler and other materials were widely used, as well. During the most recent part of the period, sediments (like clay) were used to make pottery. A series of metal technology innovations characterize the later Chalcolithic (Copper Age), Bronze Age and Iron Age. The period encompasses the first widespread use of tools in human evolution and the spread of humanity from East Africa to the rest of the world. It ends with the development of agriculture, the domestication of certain animals, and the smelting of copper ore to produce metal. It is termed prehistoric since humanity had not yet started writing — the traditional start of recorded history. The date range of this period is ambiguous, disputed, and variable according to the region in question. While it is possible to speak of a general 'stone age' period for the whole of humanity, some groups never developed metal-smelting technology, so remained in a 'stone age' until they encountered technologically developed cultures. However, it is believed that this period began somewhere around 2.5 million years ago with the first hominid tool makers in Africa. The transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BC and 2500 BC for much of humanity living in North Africa, Asia and Europe.

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Timeline

Visual Timeline
  • 9000 BCE
    Wild sheep flocks are managed in the Zagros mountains.
  • 9000 BCE
    Cultivation of wild cereals in the Fertile Crescent.
  • 8000 BCE
    End of the last Ice Age.
  • 7500 BCE
    Long-distance trade in obsidian begins.
  • 7000 BCE
    Domestication of goats.
  • 6700 BCE
    Domestication of sheep.
  • 6500 BCE
    Textiles of flax.
  • 6500 BCE
    Domestication of pigs.
  • 6500 BCE
    First pottery in the Near East.
  • 6200 BCE
    First copper smelting in Anatolia.
  • c. 6000 BCE
    First irrigation.
  • 6000 BCE
    Domestication of cattle.
  • 5000 BCE
    Irrigation and agriculture begin in earnest in Mesopotamia.
  • 5000 BCE
    Hierarchical societies emerge in southeast Europe.
  • 4500 BCE
    Invention of the plow.
  • 4300 BCE
    First megalithic tombs in Europe.
  • 4000 BCE
    Use of wool for textiles.
  • 3650 BCE
    Invention of the wheel.
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