At the end of the last ice age, the human population may have been as few as 100,000. In only around 8,000 years, our ancestors colonised the world and numbered as many as 5 million or more by the end of the Mesolithic period (one estimate is 20 million.) This highly successful development was mainly due to their invention of a new lithic technology that made them masters of the earth – the microlith.
These tiny but precisely made chips of flint, some only a few millimetres long, were the key to arrows, spears, knives, saws, scythes and other implements that made Mesolithic people the most successful hunters and gatherers the world had seen.
Microlith technology is just one of the many new subjects explained and illustrated in the pages of The Museum of The Stone Age at www.stoneagetools.co.uk, which has been relaunched in extended form. Entrance is free of charge, there is a free ebook to accompany your visit, and there is something for everyone to enjoy; teachers, students, and those interested in archaeology and human prehistory.
The Museum of The Stone Age is a website that is devoted to discovering how our ancestors endured against all odds because of their highly developed survival skills – and because they learned how to use one of the most remarkable natural substances – flint, also known as chert.
By exploring the pages of this Museum, visitors learn what flint is, how humans learned to use flint to make tools and weapons and how the development of lithic technology over a million years was instrumental in enabling humans to adapt, survive and colonise the entire planet. There’s a page on Microliths and why they were important to our Mesolithic ancestors and a page on how to identify flint implements you find.
For teachers of history and archaeology there’s a page of useful background material for projects. And there’s a What on earth is this? page to help visitors identify mystery objects.
Above all, there are the hundreds of detailed photographs in the Palaeolithic Gallery, the Mesolithic Gallery and the Neolithic Gallery showing the kind of flint implements from the Museum’s collection, that are commonly found the world over. The galleries have been extended and their collections reorganised and made more comprehensive.
Visit the new Museum of the Stone Age today at http://www.stoneagetools.co.uk