MAKE A SCENE FROM THE OLD STONE AGE
THE OLD STONE AGE
When I was a kid, the Old Stone Age conjured up images of grunting, ape-like humans with wooden clubs. They lived alongside dinosaurs. Most of them were male. When they spotted a female, they felt inclined to drag her around by her hair. Thanks to Saturday morning cartoons this is how I thought our prehistoric ancestors lived. Even the “Flintstones” included some of those goofy themes, but the women (Wilma and Betty) definitely had their own ideas and their husbands never saw hair-pulling as a way to transport their wives.
As a young adult, I was introduced to a series of books by Jean Auel. The first title in the series was “Clan of the Cave Bear.” The story was about a young Cro-Magnon girl named Ayla. She had been separated from her people and was taken in and raised by a Neanderthal clan. Eventually she is reunited with the Cro-Magnon people. As a reader of the series, I felt a very strong connection to my prehistoric ancestors. Jean Auel managed to make me understand that Stone Age people were…people. The author didn’t just use her imagination to tell this story, a great deal of research went into her books. She even participated in classes to learn how to survive in the Ice Age.
The Old Stone Age is the beginning of our human story. We don’t know everything about it. What we’ve learned comes from fossils and clues that were left behind and later analyzed by paleontologists, archeologists, and anthropologists. Our prehistoric ancestors (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) roamed our primitive planet for about 30,000 years before settling into farming communities. It’s an enormous span of time and an important story to tell.
Here are the top ten things to know about the OLD STONE AGE:
- #10 PALEOLITHIC ERA – It means Old Stone Age; the early part of the Stone Age. It lasted for about 2.5 million years
- #9 ICE AGE – The Earth was extremely cold. There were about 10 glacial periods with warmer weather in between. It happened 110,000 to 12,000 years ago.
- #8 PREHISTORIC MAMMALS, BIRDS, and INSECTS – During the Ice Age, many large and unusual mammals, birds, and insects (like dragonflies with 6’ wing spans) roamed the earth along-side early man. There were lots of small and medium-sized animals, too, but no dinosaurs.
- #7 NEANDERTHAL – A group of early humans that lived before and, for awhile, with modern man. They were stocky and strong.
- #6 CRO-MAGNON – The name used to describe to early modern man in France. Scientists prefer the term European early modern humans (EEMH).
- # 5 NOMADS – People who have no permanent home. Early humans lived in small groups and wandered from place to place in search of food and supplies.
- #4 CAVE ARTISTS – The people of the Old Stone Age painted pictures of animals and hands on the walls of caves.
- #3 STONE TOOLS – Early humans used rocks to chip and shape other rocks to make useful tools and hunting equipment.
- #2 FIRE – Humans learned to control and make fire. Fire gave them heat and light and kept wild animals at bay.
- #1 HUNTERS AND GATHERERS – To survive, people hunted animals for meat and fur. They gathered wild fruits and nuts.
Some Fun Facts about the OLD STONE AGE
- An article in National Geographic, October 9, 2013, suggests that women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings. The hand prints found on cave walls are female hands.
- Neanderthal were a shorter, but stronger human. They usually lived in caves. They cared for their sick. They buried their dead.
- The oldest stone tool was found in Ethiopia. It is 2.4 million years old!
- Flint and obsidian were used to make stone tools.
- Flint is used in fire making.
SOME PALEOLITHIC ACTIVITIES:
Use COFFEE CLAY to make rocks, stones, and artifacts for your Stone Age display.
COFFEE CLAY RECIPE: Mix 1/2 cup used coffee grounds, 1/4 cup cold coffee, 1/4 cup salt, 3/4 cup flour. Mix all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add more flour if the clay is too sticky. (Makes about 15—2” rocks.)
Give each student a ball of coffee clay and a piece of aluminum foil. Place the finished clay projects on a baking sheet (Leave them on the foil.) Bake at 250° for 1 hour. Let them cool.
Use the clay to make Stone Age fossil rocks. Roll a ball of clay and press to flatten. You can press fossils into the rocks before baking them. (We looked at images of fossils online. We used a toothpick to “draw” the fossils on the clay.)
Create rock beads for Stone Age jewelry. Roll and shape small balls of clay. Make a hole in each ball. (We used the point of a watercolor paintbrush handle to make holes in the rock beads before we baked them.)
Make a Stone Age rock “canvas” to paint. Flatten a large ball of coffee clay to create a rocky surface to paint on. You don’t want it to be too smooth; make it have texture like a cave wall. When it cools, use acrylic or tempera paint and make an animal painting.
Make some STONE AGE TRAIL MIX— Make a trail mix using dried fruits (and nuts—if you aren’t allergic).
Make the OLD STONE AGE DIORAMA CRAFT. Click the link to view or print the PDF.
Click the link to go to the OLD STONE AGE page on my website. You will be able to view or print the entire Stone Age unit for FREE. You’ll also find FREE Stone Age games and activities to print for your students.