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Stone Age

Fishing hook made of bone, from Swedish Stone Age, found in Skåne, Sweden

The Stone Age is that ancient time period during which, humans created tools from stone (for lack of better technology). Wood, bones and other materials would also be used, but stone (in particular flint) was shaped for use as cutting tools and weapons. The date range of this period is ambiguous, disputed, and variable according to the region in question. While it is possible to speak of a general 'stone age' period for the whole of humanity, some groups never developed metal-smelting technology, so remained in a 'stone age' until they encountered technologically developed cultures. However, in general, it is believed that this period began somewhere between 2 and 5 million years ago and began with the first human (or pre-human) tool-making. The period was followed by the Bronze Age, during which bronze tools became common; this transition occurred between 6000 and 2500 BC.

The term is from the three-age system. The Stone Age is now subdivided into Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, which in turn are often further subdivided.

End of the Stone Age

It is generally believed that the Middle East and southeastern Asiann regions progressed past stone age technology around 6000 BC. Europe, and the rest of Asia and Africa became post-Stone Age societies by about 4000 BC. The civilizations of the Americas continued at a Stone Age level until 2500 BC.

Pop Culture

Proponents of military bombing (particularly those associated with US popular culture) sometimes threaten to "bomb [a region] back into the Stone Age".

See also: Megalith