The term "Stone Age" was given at the end of the 19th century by the Danish scholar Christian J. Thomsen, who devised a framework for the study of the human past, known as the "Three Ages System". The basis of this framework is technological because it revolves around the notion of three successive periods or ages: Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, each age being technologically more complex than the previous one. Thomsen thought about this idea after noticing that artifacts found in different archaeological sites showed some kind of regularity in terms of the material with which they were made because in these, there were always tools made of stone, bronze artifacts in layers over the deeper layers and, finally, artifacts made of iron were found closer to the surface. This suggests that metal technology developed later than tools made of stone.
It is the prehistoric period in which human beings developed tools made of stone, and in which human evolution, the discovery of fire and the use of caves as houses took place. It was the stage in which man's dispersion throughout the world began.
The Stone Age was divided into three different stages that are:
Among the most outstanding characteristics of the Stone Age we mention:
Thanks to fire discovery, man increased his survival chances because fire was a source of heat for cold climates. They were gatherers, scavengers and hunters, although they are not considered to be very good at this. With time, they were improving their capacities and adapting to the environment. Some scientists consider that they were dedicated to gather fruits, roots and seeds to feed themselves. Homo erectus introduced the first hunting techniques to catch large animals. Most men lived in small nomadic groups in caves. All members had the same functions and their main purpose was to survive. It is not known exactly if they had any religion, but it is believed because of funerary rituals.
The main tool used and manufactured was made of stone. This stone was known as flint and was easy to polish and carve. Axes, punches, hammers were made, all of them quite rudimentary elements carved by hand. Bifaces, burins, hand axes, spear tips, Clovis tips, knives and scrapers were some of the most used tools.
The main type of art during Stone Age was rock art, which represented the need to tell what happened every day. The first paintings found inside the caves showed a story of the battles in which they were involved. Sometime later, the paintings were also made outside the caves.
The economy of the Stone Age was based on the exchanges that began with the collection, the accumulation of different foods, animals domestication and the manufacture of weapons and canoes used for hunting.
It consisted of a set of constructions made of stone. They built caverns or caves, huts or cabins and palafittes that were constructions made of wood. Among the production materials, they used animal bones, skins and branches for roofs. According to historians, there were funeral pantheons, which were large stones placed in front of a tomb.