The Stone Age

    1. Prehistory

   Prehistory is an extended period of time, which encompasses the time of the first apparition of humans on Earth 2.5 million years ago, as well as the first written documents around 3,000 A.C.

    How can we study this historical period if we do not have written documents? We can study this period by studying the remains found in caves or in settlements where the first humans lived, also known as deposits.

    Archeology is the study of human bones, instruments made out of stone or metal, weapons, pottery, drawings and paintings, and jewelry.

    Prehistory is composed of the following Ages:

    1. The Stone Age, which made use of stone. In the prehistoric drawing, there is a carved ax (above), another one polished (below) and an iron Iberian weapon.

       a. The Paleolithic period made use of carved stone.

       b. The Neolithic period made use of polished stone.

    2. The Metal Age with:

       a. The Bronze Age, which mixed copper and tin.

       b. The Iron Age, which made use of iron.

   A) Indicate to which period the following statements refer to (Paleolithic, Neolithic, the Bronze Age, or the Iron Age):

Mixture of copper and tin

They used carved stone

They made weapons with iron

They used polish stone

    2. The Paleolithic Period

   This period is the longest prehistoric period, which ranges from the appearance of the first humans 2.5 million years ago until 10,000 years A.C. It is further divided into three periods:

    1. The Lower Paleolithic, which goes from the appearance of the first humans, about 2.5 million years ago until 125,000 A.C. The Homo habilis and the Homo erectus were the first human beings that developed activities. They made hand axes and carved stone. They lived by hunting, outdoor camps and made fire.

    2. The Middle Paleolithic period comprises from about 125,000 A.C. until 40,000 A.C. and it was the Neanderthal human that live in the region that is known today as Europe. They used hand axes of a triangular shape.

    3. The Upper Paleolithic starts from about 40,000 A.C. until 10,000. A.C. This period encompasses the cultures created by the Cro-Magnon and Homo sapiens sapiens. This latter one invented the bow and arrow and was a great cave painting artist.

   B) Indicate whether the following statements refer to the Lower Paleolithic, the Middle Paleolithic or the Upper Paleolithic period:

It began about 2.5 million years ago

It began on 125,000 A.C.

It began on 40,000 A.C.

When the bow and arrow was invented

When hand axes of a triangular shape were used

When the Homo erectus lived

When the Homo sapiens sapiens lived

When the Neanderthal lived

    3. Life and Culture during the Paleolithic Period

   The biggest concern of humans during this period was finding food to survive. They gathered fruits, would fish and hunt reindeer, deer, wild boar and horses. They had to migrate from place to place, and that is why they were called nomads.

    Our ancestors would bury the dead and worship them. They also worshipped their gods, such as the Sun, the Moon, and the stars.

    During the Upper Paleolithic period, they would paint buffalos, elephants, horses, reindeer, etc., on the walls of the caves. These types of paintings have been found in the zone of Altamira (Spain) and Lascaux (Southern France). They are known as cave paintings.

   C) Indicate whether the following statements are true or false:

They looked for food to survive

They drank orange juice

They always stayed in the same place

They were nomads

They would abandon their dead

They worshipped their gods

They painted during the Lower Paleolithic period

There are cave paintings in Altamira

    4. The Neolithic Period

   Between the years 8,000 and 6,000 A.C. there was a favorable climate change that raised temperatures. This encouraged a change in nutrition: humans of this period discovered agriculture, livestock, and pottery. This type of cultural revolution is known as Neolithic.

    It was then when part of humanity became sedentary, grouped themselves in villages and cities. The artisan occupations of this period developed hoes to dig the ground, stone sickles to reap wheat, and mills to grind the grain.

    Once they invented the wheel, they were able to make types of carts and the potter’s wheel. Another important invention was the plow, which was pulled by oxen or donkeys in order to plow the ground.

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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