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Stone Age

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**1. Stone Age Archaeology and Discoveries:**
– Oldest indirect evidence of stone tool use found in fossilized animal bones in Ethiopia
– Discovery of early tool use by Kenyanthropus platyops in Kenya
– Oldest stone tools found at Lomekwi 3 in Kenya dating back 3.3 million years
– Discovery of oldest stone tools outside Africa in China dated 2.12 million years old
– Transition from absence of stone tools to their presence in the Late Pliocene
– Skilled flintknappers produced the earliest stone tools
– Fragments of Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus, and Homo found near Gona tools

**2. Stone Age Evolution and Periods:**
Stone Age represents nearly 99.3% of human history
Stone Age divided into Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods
– Neolithic era marked transition to settled lifestyle and agriculture
Stone Age artifacts include tools used by Homo species and predecessors
Stone Age ended with the advent of metalworking, leading to Bronze Age and Iron Age

**3. Stone Age Transition to Metalworking:**
– Innovation in smelting ore marked the end of the Stone Age
– Bronze Age began with the manufacturing of bronze
– Transition from Stone Age to Bronze Age included a Copper Age phase
– First evidence of human metallurgy dates back to 6th-5th millennia BC
Stone Age transitioned to Iron Age in various regions between 6000-2500 BC

**4. Stone Age Societies and Cultural Significance:**
Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age not solely based on tool materials, but also social, cultural, and technological advancements
– Stone tool manufacture continued even after the Stone Age ended in certain regions
– Stone tools serve as diagnostic tools for dating and understanding human evolution
Stone Age societies varied globally in terms of technological advancements and cultural practices

**5. Stone Age Tools and Archaeological Analysis:**
– Neological investigation involves studying stone tools to determine their typology and function
– Experimental archaeology helps in creating replica tools to understand their creation process
– Various specialists work in laboratories to analyze stone tools
– Field prehistorians use techniques from multiple fields to analyze stone tools
– Stone tools and archaeology provide important evidence about prehistoric societies

Stone Age (Wikipedia)

The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make stone tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years and ended between 4,000 BC and 2,000 BC, with the advent of metalworking. It therefore represents nearly 99.3% of human history. Though some simple metalworking of malleable metals, particularly the use of gold and copper for purposes of ornamentation, was known in the Stone Age, it is the melting and smelting of copper that marks the end of the Stone Age. In Western Asia, this occurred by about 3,000 BC, when bronze became widespread. The term Bronze Age is used to describe the period that followed the Stone Age, as well as to describe cultures that had developed techniques and technologies for working copper alloys (bronze: originally copper and arsenic, later copper and tin) into tools, supplanting stone in many uses.

Ġgantija temples in Gozo, Malta, c. 3600–2500 BC, some of the world's oldest free-standing structures

Stone Age artifacts that have been discovered include tools used by modern humans, by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, and possibly by the earlier partly contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools have been discovered that were used during this period as well but these are rarely preserved in the archaeological record. The Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use.

The Stone Age is the first period in the three-age system frequently used in archaeology to divide the timeline of human technological prehistory into functional periods, with the next two being the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, respectively. The Stone Age is also commonly divided into three distinct periods: the earliest and most primitive being the Paleolithic era; a transitional period with finer tools known as the Mesolithic era; and the final stage known as the Neolithic era. Neolithic peoples were the first to transition away from hunter-gatherer societies into the settled lifestyle of inhabiting towns and villages as agriculture became widespread. In the chronology of prehistory, the Neolithic era usually overlaps with the Chalcolithic ("Copper") era preceding the Bronze Age.

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