What Was The Stone Age?

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Archaeologists (scientists who study the remains of prehistoric and ancient cultures) have given the name Stone Age to the era when humans used tools made of stone. The Stone Age has been divided into two different periods: The Old Stone Age (c. 2,000,000 years–c. 10,000 B.C.) and the New Stone Age (c. 10,000–c. 3500 B.C.). The Old Stone Age is also called the Paleolithic Period. At this time man was evolving from apelike ancestors into modern-looking humans who hunted animals and gathered food. About 10,000 B.C., when the climate of the Earth became warmer, the hunter-gatherers settled in specific locations so they could better control their food supply. By the advent of the New Stone Age, also called the Neolithic Period, humans were actively farming and gaining even greater control over food production. Neolithic humans built homes and fortified villages, domesticated (tamed) animals, made pottery, and wove cloth from fiber and fur. They also made weapons by hammering, grinding, and polishing granite, jasper, and other hard stone. By the end of the Neolithic Period, humans had learned to make tools and weapons from other metals, particularly copper.

Further Information: Institute of Human Origins. [Online] Available http://www.asu.edu/clas/iho, October 20, 2000; MacDonald, Fiona. The Stone Age News. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 1998; Netzley, Patricia D. The Stone Age. San Diego: Lucent, 1997.