Stone Age facts for kids

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Kärnyxa av flinta, Nordisk familjebok
A stone that has been sharpened to be used as a hand axe
Canto tallado talando un arbol
A man in the Stone Age using a stone to cut down a tree

The Stone Age was an ancient time when people made tools from stone. Wood, bones, and other materials were also used for tools, but those things don't last as long, so more stone tools are found. Stone (especially a hard kind of stone called flint) was used to cut things.

The period began with the first stone tools, about 2.7 million years ago. Some groups of people were still in the stone age into the 20th century. They also killed animals for food and clothing. They used animal skin for their shelters.

The time after the Stone Age is the Bronze Age, named after the metal bronze. The Stone Age ended when people discovered the art of smelting (making metals). The first metal used was copper, followed by bronze. People probably began using bronze instead of just stone in the Middle East sometime between 3000 and 2000 BC.

The Stone Age is divided by archaeologists (people who study relics) into three sections: Paleolithic ("old stone"), Mesolithic ("middle stone"), and Neolithic ("new stone"). Pottery was invented during the Neolithic Stone Age.

The Palaeolithic is a prehistoric era distinguished by the development of stone tools. It covers the greatest portion of humanity's time (roughly 99% of human history) on Earth, from about 2.7 million years ago to about 20,000 years ago. It was followed by the Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures.


Five Myr Climate Change
Time series plot of temperature over the previous 5 million years

In 1859 Jens Jacob Worsaae first proposed a division of the Stone Age into older and younger parts based on his work with Danish kitchen middens that began in 1851. In the subsequent decades this simple distinction developed into the archaeological periods of today. The major subdivisions of the Three-age Stone Age cross two epoch boundaries on the geologic time scale:

The succession of these phases varies enormously from one region (and culture) to another.

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Stone Age Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.