The Stone Age lasted for thousands of years. When archaeologists refer to the Stone Age, they usually suffix words with ‘lithic’ which means ‘relating to stone’. Since Stone Age spans over so many years, the Stone Age is divided by archaeologists into three stages:
•Palaeolithic period(Paleo means ancient)
•Mesolithic period( Meso means middle)
•Neolithic period (Neo means new)
When the stone age just began, the only thing man had to do was to hunt and gather food. But since necessity is the mother of all inventions, they invented things that made living better. Their lifestyle evolved over a period of time. Here are some of the things that have changed over a period.
Home – Early humans were nomads. They moved from place to place to hunt for food. So they lived in caves. After they had discovered farming, there was a constant supply of food. They no longer had to move from one place to the other. This brought stability in their life. Their homes were very basic probably made out of the mud. In Neolithic period, after they learnt pottery, they lived in well-formed rectangular mud-brick houses in single or multiple rooms.
Life – Imagine how early humans must have lived their lives. How did children live in the Stone Age? Well, life wasn’t as fun as its now. There were no computers, vehicles, toys, schools or even proper homes. Life must have been just about survival.
Tools – Early man used stone in its basic form to hunt. Discovering fire accidentally was their greatest achievement. Over a period, they realized that stone was hard and could produce razor sharp edges when chipped. They used this shape knife like flint stones to kill the hunt. They also used it to scrape and clean animal skin. In Mesolithic period, they discovered farming. It allowed them to settle in one permanent location and base their lives on other things rather than just survival. They created tools like axe by hafting the stone in a wooden handle which helped them in farming. Recently, a rare fully hafted axe was discovered at a construction site in Demark.
Animals – In the beginning, the humans hunted animals. Later on, they learned to take care of animals as pets. The first animal they ever domesticated was a dog. Dog also helped them look after their farm.
Art & Crafts – Craft means ‘an activity involving skill in making things by hand’. Initially, it was only limited to making stone tools that were a necessity. As they entered the last stage of their existence – the Neolithic period, they learnt pottery. This period is when they must have got introduced to craft in the real sense. Cave paintings tell us that they did do some bit of art too!
Can you find out what led to the end of Stone Age?