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New Research Proposes Renaming the Stone Age to the ‘Wood Age’


Recently, research has challenged the conventional understanding of the Stone Age, suggesting it might be better described as the ‘Wood Age’. This new perspective is based on the discovery and analysis of wooden artifacts dating back 300,000 to 400,000 years in Schöningen, Germany.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Prehistoric Woodworking Skills
  2. Stone Age Overview

Prehistoric Woodworking Skills

Challenges to Traditional Perceptions:

Diverse Techniques:

  • Artifacts show a variety of woodworking methods beyond basic sharpened sticks.

Strategic Hunting and Planning:

  • Ancient hunting tools suggest prehistoric humans had strategic hunting, planning skills, and technological adaptability through tool repair and reuse.

Bias in Archaeology:

  • Archaeological research tends to favor stone preservation over organic materials, potentially distorting the understanding of wood’s significance in prehistoric times. Despite this, well-preserved wooden artifacts underscore its crucial role.

Stone Age Overview

Definition and Duration:

  • Began around 3.4 million years ago (mya) with the first use of stone tools by hominids in modern-day Ethiopia.
  • Spanned until about 6,000-4,000 BP (Before Present), encompassing 99% of human history.

Stone Age in India:

  • India’s varied landscape enabled widespread habitation during the Stone Age, except in the Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic plains.
Indian Palaeolithic is categorized into three stages:

Lower Palaeolithic (600,000 BP to 150,000 BP):

  • Use of large pebbles or flakes for tools like choppers, hand axes, and cleavers.

Cultural Traditions:

  • Soanian pebble-tool tradition.
  • Peninsular Indian handaxe-cleaver tradition.

Middle Palaeolithic (165,000 BP to 31,000 BP):

  • Creation of various flakes struck from cores to prepare scrapers, points, borers, and other tools.

Upper Palaeolithic (40,000 BP to 12,000 BP):

  • Development of tools such as blunted blades, penknife blades, and arrow points from long, parallel-sided blades using a punch technique.

Mesolithic Culture:

  • Semi-permanent and temporary settlements.
  • Utilized caves and open areas.
  • Practiced burial rituals.
  • Demonstrated artistic abilities and maintained cultural continuity.
  • Used microlithic tools for hunting smaller prey.

Neolithic Period:

  • Marked the beginning of agriculture and animal domestication.
  • Early Neolithic culture evidence found in regions like the Fertile Crescent (Egypt and Mesopotamia), the Indus region, the Ganges Valley of India, and China.

-Source: Indian Express

June 2024