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What was the Stone Age?
The Stone Age was a time thousands of years ago, when humans lived in caves and jungles. Life was simple, and there were only two main things to do – to protect themselves from the wild animals and to gather food. It started almost with the evolution of mankind.
For both purposes, people made tools from stone. The oldest stone tool that we have as an evidence is almost 3.4 million years old . It was found in Lower Awash Valley in Ethiopia. Stones were also used to make fire. Since in those times, humans used stone for almost everything they did, hence the name Stone Age. To look at a timeline of this period click here.
The Stone Age went on for a long time. Obviously in the beginning of the Stone Age rock shelters were the way to go. Any signs of trouble and the humans would go hiding in the caves. In India, the Bhimbetka rock shelters show the earliest signs of human life in the region. They are almost 30,000 years old. Some researchers have discovered Stone Age art in European caves. The inside walls of the cave are adorned with paintings of animals like horses, deer, and mammoths. Click the picture below to watch a short video about a day in the life of a Stone Age child!
When was the Stone Age?
The Stone Age lasted roughly 3.4 million years. The Palaeolithic age, the oldest and longest of the stone ages, began roughly 2.6 million years ago, 2 million BC to 12,000BC. The Mesolithic Age (middles) began and lasted between 12,000 BC and 10,000 BC and the Neolithic (new)began during 10,000 BC and ended in 5,000BC. These dates are not fully accurate and are rough estimates as nobody actually knows the dates for a fact.
The Ages of the Stone Age
The stone age can be split into three phases, the Palaeolithic (old stone age), Mesolithic (middle stone age) and Neolithic (new stone age). As time passed, tools, homes and ways of hunting evolved. Read on and click on the links to find out more!
One of the most important advancements in human history was the development and use of tools. Tools allowed hominids to become the masters of their environments, to hunt, to build, and to perform important tasks that made life easier for them. The first tools were made out of stone. Thus, historians refer to the period of time before written history as the Stone Age. Click the picture below to visit the museum of the Stone Age or click here to find out more.
Click here to explore the evolution of tools during each age of the Stone Age
Be a time traveller and play a game by clicking here.
Human ancestors during this age lived in caves, and many groups used fire. Needles made out of bone from that time have also been found, evidence that they may have sewn animal skins for clothing and other protection. Shelters made by Neanderthals showed that they also lived in huts made of wood and had hearths for fire. Another hut made of animal hides over wooden poles was found inside of a cave in Grotte du Lazaret in France. Other huts, sometimes with divided living spaces and hearths and braced with mammoth bones have been found in France, the Ukraine, Siberia and Russia – See more at: http://www.thefreeresource.com/people-of-the-stone-age. Click here to find out about how the huts and shelters evolved throughout the three ages.
Stone Age Cave paintings
Hunter gatherers often painted and engraved the inside of caves and huts. The Palaeolithic people decorated their cave walls either by carving or engraving them with sharp stones, or by painting them with pigment made from minerals. Red (rust) colours were obtained from the stones and black came from charcoal. The colours were mixed with water to make paint. They were applied to the walls with either their fingers, fur or brushes made from twigs. The paintings often represented daily life such as men hunting, animals, women gathering crops. Click here to find out more about Stone Age paintings and how to make your own clay painting.
The last stage of Stone Age was when people discovered farming and life became more systematic. Pots and pans were made out of clay. Large scale buildings were built. Stone walls and straw roof were common. Stonehenge is a wonderful example of that time. Click the picture to find out more, or click here to find out more about farming and agriculture during the Neolithic Age.
The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae lies near the dramatic white beach of Skaill on the West Coast of Mainland Orkney, Scotland. Skara Brae is the best preserved groups of prehistoric houses in Western Europe. Uncovered by a storm in 1850, the attraction presents a remarkable picture of life around 5,000 years ago.
Visitors can experience a vivid impression of the realities of a prehistoric village and see ancient homes with stone beds, dressers and seats.
To find out more about Skara Brae and to try some stone age games and activities click here
Would you like to look inside a Neolithic stone age house? Click here to look at the gallery.
Or why not click here to see if you can complete a Stone Age quiz!