Stone age is a term that is used in reference to the pre-historic times basically between 600,000 to 700,000 years and ending at around 6,0000 B.C, the time that human beings began to make their own weapons and tools from stones (Ignacio, 2011, p. 770). Therefore, the term is associated with the tools and the equipments that the ancient people made from the stones.
The Stone Age period was then followed by the bronze and iron ages respectively. Stone age period is clarified into three groups namely, Paleolithic period, Mesolithic period and Neolithic period. Every period of Stone Age is characterized by its own kind of tools and weapons that were used by these humans. The tools that were used by these humans were in tandem with the sophistication they inhabited.
Even though information about stone age is not available due to lack of records in those times, scanty information has been gathered by the archeologists through study of the items they made such as tools, weapons, their shelter, stone inscription and other objects that were discovered . Most stones and bones which have been used in the study had inscriptions of designs. Furthermore, caves and drawings on walls of caves also helped in stressing the human species during that time.
This category of human is classified as Homo sapiens. The Paleolithic period of the three periods is the oldest time stretching for approximate 2.5milion years BCE to around 10,000 years B.C and the human species during this time was Homo sapiens. The oldest tools which are estimated to be in existence from 2.6-2.5 million years ago was discovered in Africa at Gona near Ethiopia -a place that many stone artifacts were found.
Between 100,000 to 150,000 years ago, an early species of human, Homo erectus was found in Asian Africa, china, and Europe. From their study, these species used stone tools and even axes which were manufactured through chipping of the stones in order to form an edge cutting. Other countries that these flint tools were found is North Africa, Siberia and in the Middle East. During this Stone Age period, human lived in caves and cliff overhangs. They also created there shelters from the bones, animal skins.
For instance, the shelters that were inhabited by the Neanderthals were mainly huts, which were made of wood and had hearths for their fire. Other huts were made from animal hides which were interwoven over the wooden poles in their caves. A good example of this kind of huts was found in France at the place called Grotte du Lazaret. Furthermore, other caves that were interwoven with bones and hearths were found in France, Siberia, Ukraine and Russia (Herr, & Clark, 2009, p. 70).
Rock painting was also a common venture in the Stone Age period especially the Paleolithic times. During this period, animals were painted on rocks and caves.
Animals that were hunted and eaten and those that were deemed to be courageous represented strength. Such animals that were curved included rhinoceros/large cuts, lion, wild beast among many others There were also rare drawings of human handprints and half-human pictures/figures.
An example of a cave which has important cave paintings is the Chauvet cave in France which is dated back to 31,000 BCE. Other paintings include the Altamira caves in Spain painted in 14,000-12,000 BCE. Even though many paintings have been identified, some of the paintings meaning remains unknown.
The people in Stone Age, because of the nature of the environmental and high level of illiteracy, these human obtained their foods through hunting and gathering. The people were typical hunter-gatherers and this was the primary source of their livelihood. They also depended on items which were near to them and closely available. Animals and plants which grew around their place of residence were their source of food. Therefore, this enabled them to interact with their environment.
Due to low ability to engage in agriculture and cultivation of plant, and rearing of animals for food, they were forced to live and depend on what the surrounding was providing. Due to this nature of existence, the people in this age could not stay at one place for a long period since they exhausted their foods in their proximity.
Therefore, to ensure that they survive, they were obliged to search or relocate in areas where they could obtain edible plants and animals to feed on. Other factors which contributed to their relocation from place to place was competition for the available resources, stronger tribes competition for a specific area, inadequate water for drinking, and in the wake or discovery of fire due to unavailable materials to burn or light fire.
Fire was used or invented, over 500,000 years ago. The fire was light through rubbing of two sticks. The date of this happening is known as Peking man, the versions of the human species were Homo erectus. The traces of fire were found in North China which showed evidence of use of fire.
Furthermore, more fragments of burnt animals bones have been found in swartkrans caves in South Africa. This invention or claim on use of fire has received dispute from scholars claiming that it was not so but the consensus for locations of Asia and Europe affirms that probably the Homo erectus might have used fire in 400,000 years ago.
Due to the existence of nomadic life, the Stone Age humans had no permanent place or settlement that they could claim. This explains why their shelters were constructed in a primitive manner through materials available in their surroundings. During their exodus, they moved in groups with their possessions they pressured. Therefore, this halted the possibility of development of a more advanced community.
These humans could not develop as most of the day they were fully occupied in search of food and shelter. Therefore, this hampered any sort of thinking among them as they were obsessed with where they could find food and shelter. Their preoccupation hampered the opportunity to develop creativity hence they remained at their state of mind.
Mesolithic period began more than 10,000 years ago, and at this period humans were able to domestic their animals and plants. They also established and settled /in communities in most cases along the shorelines. This demonstrated that the Stone Age period at the Mesolithic stage, the humans had begun to develop a sense of unity and a sense of belonging. Their mental capability also advanced. Stones at this period was refined and shaped into smaller size at the same time, pottery and bow appeared.
In the Neolithic age, there was development of weaving, pottery and metal weapons and tools began to appear. These tools helped in their hunting. The rate of development began ushering in disparities in different regions demonstrating the development and evolving of humans to modernity.
In conclusion, the Stone Age period, although not clearly recorded, archeologists have tried to study how man evolved from primitiveness to a modern man. This evolution took very long period of time but it is worth appreciation because the early man has evolved to become the current complex current man. This history is interesting and should be appreciated.
Herr, L.G., & Clark, D.R. (2009). From the Stone Age to the Middle Ages in Jordan: Digging up Tall al-‘Umayri. Near Eastern Archaeology, 72(2): 68-97.
Ignacio, D. (2011). The Early Stone Age lithic assemblages of Gadeb (Ethiopia) and the Developed Oldowan/early Acheulean in East Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, 60(6):768-812.