Stone Age Tools and Weapons

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Before the discovery of tools made from stones, men used point hardened sticks as spears. As humanity evolved and families got more prominent, devices made from rocks or stones were used. Firstly a stone held in hand had many uses, from crushing grain to clubbing small animals and reptiles for food. Bones could be smashed so that the marrow, which was fatty and full of protein, could be reached to supplement their diet.

These stones were of the harder variety that did not crumble when used. These hard rocks were also used in knapping, the art of chipping stone into knives, spears, arrowheads, axes, etc. As skills improved, smaller blades were made from the rock fragments to process hides to make clothes, blankets and shelters. Later, when arrowheads were invented, which were far more effective than hardened points.

  • Spears – Spears was most probably the first hunting and fighting weapons ever used. It is believed that spears were used 3 to 400 000 years ago. They were used to through and as stabbing in warfare. As man evolved and they learned to fashion string or rope from sinews and fibres of individual plants, nets were woven and used to catch fish and even in fighting to restrict the foe.
  • Bows and Arrows – Sixty thousand years ago, the first bows and arrows were developed. These revolutionized hunting and fighting. Animals and enemies could be shot at from a distance. The bow was made from durable, flexible branches, and the strings were of animal sinews. The arrow was a straight stick with a stone tip. Even later feathers were attached to the end of the shaft to guide the flight.
  • Axes Shaped like the palm of a hand or a leaf, axe heads were glued and bound to a short stick to give the wielder more power and leverage. Evidence of weapons dating back a million years proves that our distant ancestors used them to kill animals and foes. They were also used to cut trees for shelter and firewood.
  • Cleavers – Cleavers were just about the same as axes, but possibly preceding them, they had one sharp edge, while the other side fitted into the wielders palm. They were used to chop meat and bones but were much more substantial than the smaller ones used as knives, and also used for digging out roots and tubers, and possibly even as weapons
  • Neolithic Age – Also known as the New Stone Age, this period was the end of the Stone Age. This is the time humankind started farming about 10 000 years ago, and it continued for about 7 000 years until copper was discovered and stone implements were made redundant.