What was the Stone Age?

The Stone Age is the name given to the time in history which is the earliest period of very early humans using stone tools.

The Stone Age ended when people began smelting metal leading into the Bronze Age.

We also call the Stone Age ‘prehistoric’ which is a time before historical records were made and kept.

Stone Age is the historical period in which man made and used stone tools. It is a period that based on man’s economic activities and type of the tools used.

The Stone Age began about 2.6 million years ago, when researchers found the earliest evidence of humans using stone tools, and lasted until about 3,300 B.C. when the Bronze Age began.

It is typically broken into three distinct periods: the Paleolithic Period, Mesolithic Period and Neolithic Period

Because it is such a long period of time, the Stone Age is split into three smaller eras.

Stone Age is divided into three ages:
  1. Early or Old Stone Age
  2. Middle Stone Age
  3. Late or new Stone Age


The Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age had a number of distinct groups of humans living during this period. Only the Homo sapiens species has survived.

During this time people were hunter gatherers, finding food from their environment and moving from site to site depending on the season.

Tools were made of stone but also of wood, bone, leather and vegetable fibres. Language also developed and its early forms may have been similar to the click languages used by some South and East African peoples today.

Early Stone Age is the first period of Stone Age. It existed between 1,750,000 B.C and 750,000 B.C. Zinjanthropus was the only man existed in this period.

The early stone tools were pebbles and chopping. Man used these tools for killing and skinning animal flesh, digging up roots, cutting tree branches, and for defense.

Man obtained his food by hunting and gathering. In this period, man had low ability to control his environment.


In East Africa Stone Age sites are found at Olorgasaille, Nsongezi and Olduvai Gorge.

1. Man lived primitive life depending on nature.

2. Man made and used crude (poor) tools.

3. Man lived by hunting and gathering.

4. Man ate raw food i.e. meat.

5. Man walked up right.

6. Man lived in caves.

7. Man did not wear clothes.



The Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age saw the development of finer, smaller stone tools such as arrow or spear heads. The first canoes
were made.

This meant that people could fish as well as hunt. The dog was also domesticated during this period, probably by the selection and breeding of the least aggressive wolves.

This stage covered the period between 750,000BC to 50,000 BC. This period man improved his stone tools. Tools were smaller, sharper and easier to handle.

Tools used during this period were spear, Arrows, Needles, Stone picks, Knives etc. These tools were used for; digging up roots, killing and skinning animals, cuttings & chopping.

The major event during this Stone Age was the Discovery of Fire.

Man who was scratching pieces of wood using his hands discovered fire.

The more he continued scratching, the pieces of wood got heat the smoke come out, the scratch caused friction of scratched wood and led to emission of fire.


The following were the effects resulted after the discovery of fire during the Middle Stone Age

1. Man started to eat roasted food i.e. meat

2. Man started to live in cold areas.

3. Man used fire to clean bushes

4. Man used fire to provide light at night.

5. Fire used to kill small animals e.g. rabbit

6. With fireman increased working hours.

7. Man use fire to attract prey.

8. Man used fire for defense from dangerous animals like lion.


The Neolithic or New Stone Age saw the start of farming. Animals such as the cow and sheep were domesticated and provided a ready supply of meat, milk, wool, leather and bone.

Grain was the first food that was grown, harvested and it would then be stored for long periods of time. Stones tools were made to cut down and grind grain.

The need to harvest and store grain meant that it became necessary to stay in one place to harvest the crops and store the grain.

Large scale construction could take place, trade developed and people began to have different roles such as leader, priest, fighter, farmer, hunter or slave.

In East Africa, late Stone Age started from around 50,000 BC to the first millennium AD. In this stage, man used better tools compared to the previous stone ages.

Tools become sharper and smaller. Tools were stone exes, blades, spears, arrows, etc.

The tools were still largely made of stone but they were far better than those of earlier periods.

Man started permanent settlement – this period marked the beginning of settled communities. In areas such as Kondoa Irangi, paintings and drawings in carves proved this fact.

The paintings and drawings show the shape of tools used and animal hunted.


1. Man used better tools compare to the previous ages.

2. Man started to domesticated plant and animal.

3. Man became food producer.

4. Increase of population.

5. It was beginning of settled communities and villages.

6. This period marked to be primarily on division of labor. Example: women become child bearers and cares while man for protecting the families and hunting

7. Informal education started in this period.

Facts About The Stone Age

Do you want to know more about the Stone Age? Well you’ve come to the right place! Check out these 10 facts about the Stone Age

The Stone Age is a period in human history that lasted from around 3.4 million to 12,000 years ago. It is one of the most interesting and important periods of time in human history, as it marks the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherers to the beginnings of agriculture, animal domestication and the use of tools.

It is a period of great technological and social advancement that laid the foundation for the development of civilisation. We’ll explore 10 facts about the Stone Age that you may not have known.

These facts will shed a light on the lives of people during this fascinating period of history.

1. The Stone Age began around 2.5 million years ago

It may have started millions of years ago but it only ended in 2500BC, that was just 4,520 years ago!

2. There were 4 different types of humans in the stone age

Seems strange to think there were different types of human (I thought there was only one right?) but it’s true!

There were:

i. Tool-makers (called homo habilis)

ii. Fire-makers (called homo erectus)

iii. Neanderthals (called homo neanderthalensis)

iv. Modern humans (called homo sapiens). That’s us!

3. In the early stone age, humans lived in caves

Yes, they didn’t have house’s yet – caves were the best they could do.

Later on in the Stone Age they did start to build huts made out of wood and animal skins and then towards the end of the stone age, they started to build permanent places to live – with a roof!

4. The only two things humans had to do was to look for food and protect themselves from wild animals

That’s right, no school to go to or homework to complete or chores around the house to do. The only thing they had to worry about was finding food to survive and not being eaten by wild animals!

5. Humans learnt to farm during the Stone Age

Early on in the stone age, humans hunted animals and gathered fruits and nuts.

By the end of the stone age period, they learnt how to farm. They grew crops including maize, wheat and barley!

6. Humans used animal skins to keep them warm

That’s right! Humans used to take the skin off animals and use that to keep them warm.

Humans hadn’t figured out how to make warm clothes yet so they had to find a way to stay warm when it got cold. Especially as they wouldn’t be able to just turn the radiator on.

7. Some of the animals that lived in the stone age are now extinct

There used to be lots of animals around in the Stone Age that just don’t exist anymore. We either killed them all or they couldn’t adapt to the changing world well enough to survive.

Some animals that are now extinct include the Woolly Rhinoceros, Woolly Mammoth, Cave Bear and Giant Deer.

They also had some animals that we still see today like sheep, wolves, hyena, hippopotamus and wild boars.

8. Stone Age people made their own tools

They weren’t very advanced and mostly made out of stone (which is why we call it the Stone Age), but they made tools like stone or wooden clubs, bone needles, bone flutes, stone axe, stone knife and even a bow and arrow.

9. Modern man appeared around 200,000 years ago!

Modern man is what we are, they are just humans. In history there were a few different types of human but it was around 200,000 years ago that humans like us started to appear. Modern humans are also called Homo Sapiens.

10. Dogs became domesticated in the stone age

Before dogs were domesticated they would not have made good pets, they were wild animals!

It was in the Stone Age when humans started to domesticate them which means that they started living with humans.



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