Stone age or lithic age comprises the historical period with the appearance of man until the discovery and use of metals as tools, weapons of war or personal defense.
It belongs to the historical period known as Prehistory. The stone age, in turn, is subdivided into:
- Paleolithic. This period was also given in calling ancient stone age.
- Mesolithic. Called the average age of the stone.
- Neolithic. Called also, modern age of the stone.
During the stone age, the glaciation period ends. With this period certain animals that represented a threat to the humans of that time are extinguished. From there, all the changes for the human being that range from their intellectual evolution, their customs to the appearance of commerce are presented.
Next, and as a summary, we expose the main characteristics of the stone age (how they lived, food, events, architecture).
Characteristics Of Stone Age
When does the Stone Age begin? It begins at the end of the last ice age. It is considered that this age has its beginnings in Africa 2.5 million years ago.
To this period the age of metals happens, also known as the Chalcolithic period, where the bronze age has its beginnings and then continue with the iron age.
This was a period of great breakthrough and discoveries for the human being and his evolution. Thus arises the discovery of fire and its domain. This helped the man to avoid the presence of predators or wild animals and protect himself from the cold.
On the other hand, this discovery triggers an evolutionary leap that favors the development of weapons for hunting and fishing as well as the manufacture of canoes or boats more elaborate that allowed him (already in the Neolithic period) to move to more distant places.
3. Evolutionary leaps in thought
The main characteristic of the stone age is the evolution in the intellectual capacities of the human being. Thus, the size of the brain of homo habilis turns out to be very small or limited compared to that of homo sapiens sapiens. Said evolution presents 4 fundamental leaps:
- Homo habilis, which means “skillful man”. They had the ability to grab, manipulate stone utensils and were opportunistic carnivores.
- Homo erectus. They present a considerable increase in the volume of the skull with respect to homo habilis. They had no chin, although they did have a very strong jaw. They were robust and could measure up to 1.80 m.
- Neanderthal man. They were sturdy and short-limbed. They possessed a cranial capacity equal to and even superior to that of modern man, although the capacity of language in them has not been confirmed or discarded.
- Homo sapiens. They arise in the Middle Paleolithic. They had a physical appearance similar to that of modern man. As a particular distinction with respect to its predecessor, it is important to mention that these had a concept of emotional intelligence lacking in Neanderthal man.
4. Beginning of sedentary lifestyle
With the end of the glaciation, man no longer has to take refuge in caves to live or migrate from one place to another in search of food and shelter since the climatic conditions no longer appeared so extreme.
For this reason, the elaboration of adobe tents or more elaborate huts begins, thus leaving its nomadic status to become a sedentary inhabitant.
5. Use of other materials
Not only man began to use stone for the manufacture of weapons or cutting elements. He also discovered the possibility of working with wood, bone, leather or horns, among others.
6. Birth of agriculture
With the change of customs to the sedentary type, also the man begins to work the earth realizing the first sown and harvests.
7. Domestication of animals
During the second and last period of the stone age (Mesolithic and Neolithic), the domestication of animals begins for collaboration in agricultural work. The first animals that were domesticated were (after dog) the ass, horses, sheep, goats, among others.
Rock art is presented as the manifestation or need to tell what was happening in the day to day. Thus, the first artistic manifestations painted inside caverns, relate struggles and battles in which the first inhabitants of the earth were involved. Later, art becomes present outdoors.
Hunting Techniques: There is a modification in terms of how to hunt the prey and collection techniques at the beginning of that period that were later modified by the warming of the land and the extinction of certain wild animals.
Food Collection: On the other hand there is also the possibility of accumulating seeds or grains product of the appearance of agriculture. This leads to the manufacture of primitive ceramics for the storage of such foods.
10. Emergence of the exchange / trade
After the collection, accumulation of food, the domestication of animals and the manufacture of more elaborate weapons and canoes, man already had all the resources to start with the first exchanges that gave rise to the first forms of trade.