#272 The Stone Age

Props to the past.

The Stone Age is the term describing the giant time period from 600,000 years ago to 8000 years ago where our earliest ancestors first made tools from stone. Unless you happen to be an immortal wizard, I’m guessing you weren’t around back then. Yeah, me neither. But we sure owe a lot to our cave brothers and and sisters for the stuff they figured out to help us along our way. Seriously, 98% of our time on Earth has been living in The Stone Age, so it’s time to look back and give two opposable thumbs up to our makers.

Now, the first stone tools ever built are either the core type, formed by chipping stone to form a cutting edge, or the flake type, fashioned from fragments struck off a stone. Hand axes made their first appearance here for our hunter-gatherer grandparents.

After this there was a technology boom. Think of it like the dot-com era of the 1990s, only this was about 50,000 – 100,000 years ago and included the invention of Mousterian tools — instruments such as sturdy points and bone needles and thimbles to help sew furs and skins together for body coverings. Yes, blankets were born. Also, we began painting back here, decorating dead bodies with colors before burying our loved ones. Note that this was the start of the cosmetics industry with beads, necklaces, and ochre, but its peak wasn’t reached until sparkly blue eye shadow much later.

From about 50,000 years ago onwards we really hit our Stone Age stride. We started building pit houses, which are arguably our first homemade shelters. So camping suddenly became more of a nice-to-do instead of a have-to-do. Also, we started group hunting and fishing with new tools such as knives, spears, and harpoons. And in addition to stone, we started using bone and ivory to make artwork such as Venus figures.

Basically, The Stone Age is a really, really long time that happened a really, really long time ago. But without it, almost nothing we see, do, and use in our lives today would be possible. When we’re driving around in fast cars staring at stars, just remember where it all started — carving stones, shaping rocks, and charging our way forward into science and the arts.

Yes, from ochre to Play-Doh, from cave paintings to computer screens, we’ve gone from berries to jam and from running feet to submarines. From pit houses to apartments, from stone spears to pocket knives, our latest inventions keep us moving forward… and keep changing all of our lives.


Pre-order The Book of Even More Awesome and receive free homemade awesome packs in the mail from my mom and sister.

— Email message —

“Here’s what happened to me tonight: I was speeding through the countdown and happened upon #519. Then I flipped on the television and found The Truman Show, which was a favorite of mine. I was watching and realized I never really watched the whole thing through, which I recall was #776. Midway through the movie, I read #464. The Truman Show was filmed in Seaside, Florida, which is our family’s favorite vacationing spot. So how about that? 3 awesome things in one. Truly Awesome.” – Mitch

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

44 thoughts on “#272 The Stone Age

      1. Congratulations and salutaions! I wrote on your poem/ post: the first day of spring.
        I have an “young-old” college “angel-mate” there in the outback- just thought I’d ask…Do you know the Cotton’s?

        1. I’m not in the outbacks, haha, I could see how you’d think I’m from Australia since I replied so fast, but I’m from America. Actually, it was semi-late at night when I replied to this. But thanks for the grats, and thanks for commenting on my poem.

    1. If you were to live in Australia like i do, then you will find it much easier to be the first to comment!

      Over here its only 2pm when the new awesome post comes up & its just in time from when i return to work for lunch.

      its a pretty awesome feeling knowing I’m one of the first few to read the awesome posts since all you americans are mostly fast asleep! :)

      love it!

      1. Yea, it was like 9 or 10 at night when this post came on. Haha, it is pretty awesome to read the post first at all whether you live in the outbacks or America.

  1. It is pretty remarkable, all the stuff that our cave-ancestors did and discovered. Thanks for the awesome history review! :D

    Mitch, I LOVE Seaside, too! There’s a place in Missouri (near St. Louis) called New Town St. Charles that was modeled after Seaside. Obviously, it’s missing some of the best parts … like, ya know … the ocean and some of the really cool and beach-specific shops, but they did a pretty good job.

  2. Really? This is it…? And Sundays? No one likes Sundays because then Monday is next… You must seriously be running out of things to post… Good lord.

      1. Yeah, like seriously some of the snot-related posts just don’t speak to me, (you know, because I’m not a 12-year-old boy) but I don’t complain about them. I’m happy for the 12-year-old boys to enjoy their snot-fest of awesome, and just wait for the next awesome thing that DOES speak to me.

    1. What’s this “no one” business? I happen to love Sundays, even though I do have work on Mondays.

      Like the others said, just wait until something pops up that appeals to you. I’m sure something will.

    2. Wait.. aren’t you the same Justin who was a jerk back at “#277 – The fact that planes exist”? I noticed you never responded to our comment thread over there requesting to hear some of your ideas and constructive feedback.

      Hmmm.. I guess you’re content to just keep popping back in every 5 posts to tell Neil how crappy you think his site is. How nice of you.

      Can’t wait to see you join us again for post #267 so you can chime in with something helpful like: “This site is terrible. Bad ideas all around. Why can’t you be better at doing a blog? I hate Sundays because I’m an uphappy individual. Your site is LAME!”

      Just be sure not to offer any helpful suggestions of your own, because offering up independent ideas and creativity opens you up to the snide comments and snark of the “Justins” in the world!

        1. You’re right, you’re right.. I know you’re right.. (movie quote contest.. anyone? anyone?)

          I got caught up in trying to reform Justin to become a positive member of the Awesome Community, and I should’ve realized this was an impossible task. I’ll let the trolls live in silence under their bridges of despair & loneliness. Poor trolls.

          1. “When Harry Met Sally”

            And yes, poor trolls…UNLESS…they are real life treasure trolls! Then I’d wanna know how they came to have a bedazzled belly button. But I imagine treasure trolls would be happy shiny positive little creatures…

            1. GAHHH! I was gonna say pretty much the same thing about Treasure Trolls! In my world, there’s a major difference between a bridge-dwelling troll and a jewel-bellied Treasure Troll. :)

          2. Wow, I’ve REALLY gotta watch “When Harry Met Sally” … I don’t know if you recall, but you assigned it to me as homework long, long ago … and if this was a class, I’d receive a major late grade for my timeliness in completing the task. :( In my defense … I was grad-schooling it up at the time. But you’re right, you’re right.. I know you’re right — that’s no excuse. ;)

              1. Messing with Freddo is never an awesome thing!! :)

                Laura – I forgot about that homework assignment. Thanks for coming clean.. but you’re right.. if you don’t complete this assignment soon, we’re going to have to hold you back, and you’ll have to repeat another year at Awesome University.

                I can’t wait until you see WHMS and we can start including all the quotes in our comment threads.. :)

            1. Don’t worry, Laura, I haven’t completed my assignment of watching “Remember the Titans”, either!

  3. Ha ha ha ha ha “camping suddenly became more of a nice-to-do instead of a have-to-do”. Aah….. whew! That was a good laugh, man! Thanks!

    Also, changes how I feel about the statment, “That apartment is a real PIT.”

  4. I tried to make a rock into something– anything!- pointy once, using only other rocks, and I couldn’t do it. That’s when I realized that those “cavemen” had more skillz than me.

    1. Yeah I tried to do that too when I was a kid. Good way to get a rock shard in your eye. Arrowhead fail.

  5. I’m confused. That picture you’ve included of a computer is representative of the “Stone Age”, right?

    My god, did we ever really use computers that look like that? :)

    (I can’t wait until 2021 version of Freddo looks back at this current MacBook Pro laptop from 2011 and makes some “stone age” crack about it, because it isn’t a floating hologram computer that is controlled wirelessly by a chip I’ve had implanted into my brain)

    1. Not only did I have that computer back in the day (and hey, it actually meant I was cool!), but I remember visiting my big bro at work (computer programmer in the sixties!) when I was much younger and seeing the mainframes: they were bigger than regrigerators! Back then, he was regularly called into work at all hours of the night to troubleshoot. Amazing what a few decades usher in,eh? Isn’t it awesome to think of all of the cool stuff since our cave ancestors painted on caves and now we paint on screens? I’m just now having one of those my-god-life-is-amazing and it is just AWESOME! It’sw 11:15 EST, for the record.

  6. thats awesome that that guy mitch compiled a list of things deemed awesome haha

    and i am a caveman. i just speak better english than one. there are so many times when i feel like that as i’m trying to figure something out, or getting hungry and looking for food. basic instincts come through and we realize we never really evolved, we just put clothes on.

    1. some put clothes on, BUTT you can still see MANY PARTS “Revolting” them through out “Beautiful British Columbia!”
      And that’s the naked truth!

  7. There’s a little place the locals call Old Town, not far from where we live, where everything listed in this post still is!
    Tourists; students of many studies, and school field trips are taken there regularly. This is not a museum either.
    AND, Whooly Mammoth Crap, that’s exactly like our computer- UGH! (TRUE!)

  8. Yup it’s pretty awesome how far we’ve come in some ways… and not so far in other ways LOL
    I’ll take living in this time line for the moment

    1. You and I were posting at the exact same moment…AWESOME! so cool that we were here at the same time! Nice to meetcha!

  9. As a history teacher, I totally appreciate any history-related inclusions! Just one tiny little thing: the Stone Age (when human ancestors made the first stone tools) started about 2.5 million years ago… small difference :)

Comments are closed.