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The Old Stone Age (The Paleolithic Era). and. and. The New Stone Age (The Neolithic Era). Prehistory. Divided into eras based on technological capabilities: Stone Age 2.5million-5,000years ago Paleolithic means OLD Mesolithic means MIDDLE Neolithic means NEW.

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The Old Stone Age (The Paleolithic Era)



The New Stone Age (The Neolithic Era)

  • Divided into eras based on technological capabilities:
    • Stone Age 2.5million-5,000years ago
      • Paleolithic means OLD
      • Mesolithic means MIDDLE
      • Neolithic means NEW
introduction to human history
Introduction to human history
  • Ice Age ended about 17,000 years ago
    • Left warmer temperatures
    • Higher ocean levels
    • Grasslands and forests
  • Human population doubled by 5000 BCE
    • World population up to 100 million by 1000 BCE
  • Food was key to the population increase
    • Food was sustained and stored
    • Domestication of plants and animals
  • Agricultural Revolution (8000 BCE): Event over time leading to great change in how life was lived or perceived
    • Scientists do not know exactly why the agricultural revolution occurred during this period
    • A rich supply of grain helped support a small population boom
    • As populations slowly rose, hunter-gatherers felt pressure to find new food sources
    • In this case, Agricultural Revolution drastically influenced growth of population, and subsequently, civilizations

Cro-Magnon Man

Cro-Magnon man -early Homo sapiens (the species to which modern humans belong) that lived about 40,000 years ago.

The Old Stone Age or the Paleolithic Era, was a period of time that lasted until about 12,000 to 70,000 years ago.

How did man survive?

  • Man survived by hunting animals and gathering roots, berries, leaves, and seeds.


  • Old Stone Age (Paleolithic Era) people eventually began to hunt in groups.
  • Cave Art showing men hunting in groups
  • These antlers may have been used
  • as a disguise during the hunt.

Hunted Animals


Wild Boar




Roots, Berries, and Other Plant Life

Scurvy Grass


Shabby Inkcaps

Wild Cabbage




Old Stone Age (Paleolithic Era) Tools

  • Man used stone, wood, and bone tools to survive during the Old Stone Age.

Bow found in Denmark

Hand Axe

Flint Blades used to sharpentools

Bone Harpoon


Old Stone Age (Paleolithic Era)


  • There was another important development – the discovery of fire
  • There was another important development – the discovery of fire.


Many Stone Age people were Nomads, or people who had no settled home.


The New Stone Age

(The Neolithic Era)

  • The New Stone Age or TheNeolithic Era lasted until about 6,000 to 12,000 years ago.

The New Stone Age (The Neolithic Era)

  • During the Neolithic Era, people began to settle in one place.
Man began to change his diet and eat grains and small animals and manipulate the environment around him.

The Development of Agriculture

  • Agriculture is the raising of crops and animals.
  • The development of agriculture began over a long period of time and in more than one place.
  • People no longer needed to travel great distances to gather food.
People learned how to domesticateplants and animals.
  • To domesticate means to train something to be useful to people.
  • Early people learned to care for plants such as wheat, barley, peas, and lentils.
  • The first farmers also domesticated wild goats, cattle, and sheep (pastoralism)


  • Ancient charred wheat grains are shown in the picture above.
  • Man domesticated wild wheat.



  • Thousands of years ago, an ear of corn did not make much of a meal. (top)
  • It took thousands of years of careful breeding for ears of corn to reach their present size. (bottom)

New Stone Age (Neolithic Era) Tools

  • People still used stone, bone, and wooden tools, but some new tools were added by using copper and bronze.

Advanced Tools

  • These early farming tools date back to around 8,000 years ago. The axe, bottom, was used for clearing; flint sickles, left, were used for harvesting cereal crops; a flat rock and rounded stone, center, were used for grinding flour; and perforated clay slabs, upper right, were probably used to ventilate bread ovens.
independent innovation cultural diffusion
Independent Innovation & Cultural Diffusion
  • Independent innovation and cultural diffusion led to adoption of agriculture around the world
  • As societies increased the domestication of animals and plants, techniques were borrowed and handed on
  • Seeds and crops were also exchanged, increasing what was grown and traded
  • Agricultural Advantages:
    • Surplus of food meant more dependable supply
    • More dependable supply meant greater population growth
    • Population growth led to social stratification as societies became more sedentary
    • Specialization of labor and private property are natural results of settled lifestyles
    • Specialization of labor led to more complex and hierarchical social structures
  • Agriculture required greater effort and organization so long-lasting settlements formed
  • Early societies grew into civilizations
    • Civilizations were result of # of factors:
      • Permanence of population
      • Agricultural stability
      • Innovation
  • Cities grew out of cultural sophistication and social complexity
    • A city is more than a large group of people living together.
      • The size of the population alone does not distinguish a village from a city
        • Cities have specialized workers/artisans
        • Cities have complex institutions
        • Some people became responsible for record keeping
        • Technological innovations
    • Cities offered:
      • Protection and defense
      • Points of trade and economic activity
      • Centers of political leadership
      • Enabled exchange of ideas, information, values and religious beliefs