The Stone Age was the long epoch in human history that ended around the fifth millennium B.C. with the smelting of metals in the Fertile Crescent, and elsewhere somewhat later. We can date the start of the Stone Age to around 3.3 million years ago, the date of the oldest known stone tools found in Kenya. Oddly, these particular tools appear to predate any evidence of humans. This suggests either that humans weren’t the first to use stone tools or that humans existed before the oldest evidence of their existence that has been found to date. The oldest stone tools that were clearly used by humans date to 2.6 million years ago, and were found in Ethiopia. Stone tools were made from a variety of materials including a number of silica-based rocks and minerals such as the sedimentary rocks chert or flint and radiolarite; the mineral chalcedony; basalt; and metamorphic quartzite.
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