Stone age is the first phase in the Three Age System including stone, bronze age, and iron age. With the name “stone age” we can easily imagine what was the main primary material of that time. It marked the phase where people used stone to make their tools. The lifespan of this prehistoric period was around 3 million years. The advent of metalworking during 8700 BCE and 2000 BCE ended the glory of Stone.
Men during that time didn’t have anything sharp to kill animals. They couldn’t beat the big animals. They couldn’t run as fast as the deer or tiger. To survive, they had to get up and invent something to protect themselves and their family. With the newly invented weapons, they could trap and hunt down the animals they wanted for food. Stone axe and spears must have saved the life of the prehistoric people many times. Because what saved their life came from stone, this was the Stone Age which can divided into three periods:
Paleolithic: Old Stone Age
The Paleolithic is also the Old Stone Age. This period began since the production of the first stone artifact around 2.4 million years ago to the last Ice Age, about 9000 BCE. This is the longest period of the Age of Stone.
The evidence of this period was primarily the fossilized human remains and stone tools. Such artifacts showed there was an increase in the complexity. The earliest is the Oldowan which was the chopper and flakes. Around 1.7 millions years ago, we found another product from the stone industry – the Acheulean. This later product showed more symmetrical shapes with sharp edges. Towards the end of the Paleolithic, there were many more artifacts we found. As time flies by, we see a revolution in the stone industry. Around the end of Paleolithic there appeared the life of adornments and arts like personal jewelry, cave paintings, etc.
Mesolithic: Middle Stone Age
Mesolithic is the Middle Stone Age. This period began when the Ice Age came to an end. The Mesolithic age finally ended when agriculture came into being.
Due to the different starting time of agriculture in different regions, there was no specific starting time for Mesolithic. For example, agriculture was first to develop in Southeast Europe in 7000 BCE, in the centre of Europe in 5500 BCE, and in Northern Europe in 4000 BCE. This somehow prevents us from identifying the starting time of the Mesolithic period. There were places without this Mesolithic period. Near East, for instance, was where developed the agriculture around 9000 BCE just after the Ice Age.
This Mesolithic period witnessed one of the most significant changes of the world. The weather was getting warmer again. Ice sheets were melting and some areas were uncovered from the ice. Due to the melting ice, the sea levels rose drowning many low lying places resulting many geographic areas in this day and age. Japanese islands were away from the Asian mainland, Tasmania from Australia, or East Asia and North America became divided.
Neolithic: New Stone Age
This is the Neolithic or the New Stone Age. The period began with the invention of farming. During this time, cereal cultivation and the animal domestication were introduced into the daily life. This period also marked important developments such as cultivation skills (plowing, irrigation). More food was provided to the people. More villages and movements were recorded. By this way, cities and towns came into being. Toward the end of Neolithic, people discovered and used copper in their life which heralded the new Age. Then came the Bronze Age.