From the dawn of our species to the present day, stone-made artifacts are the dominant form of material remains that have survived to today concerning human technology. The term “Stone Age” was coined in the late 19th century CE by the Danish scholar Christian J. Thomsen, who came up with a framework for the study of the human past, known as the “Three Age System”. The basis of this framework is technological: it revolves around the notion of three successive periods or ages: Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age, each age being technologically more complex than the one before it. Thomsen came up with this idea after noticing that the artefacts found in archaeological sites displayed regularity in terms of the material that they were made with: stone-made tools were always found in the deepest layers, bronze artifacts in layers on top of the deepest layers, and finally iron-made artifacts were found closest to the surface. This suggested that metal technology developed later than stone-made tools. This “Three Age System” has received some criticism. There are scholars who believe that this approach is too technologically oriented. Others say that this stone-bronze-iron pattern has hardly any meaning when applied outside Europe. Despite the critics, this system is still largely used today and, although it has limitations, it can be helpful as long as we remember that it is a simplified framework.
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