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What is the Palaeolithic? - All the Important Bits for Key Stage 2

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

The Stone Age is split into three eras; the Palaeolithic, the Mesolithic and the Neolithic.

The Palaeolithic Era (also spelled "Paleolithic") was the first and oldest of these eras. It is also known as the ‘Old’ or ‘Early’ Stone Age.

The Palaeolithic Era began when early human beings first started using stones as tools and weapons.

Historians aren't sure on the exact date that this happened because there aren't any written records from the time (because early humans hadn't worked out how to write yet!) to tell us about it - but we know it was about 2.5 million years ago.

The Palaeolithic Era lasted for a crazy long time, from around 2.5 million years ago to 20,000 or 10,000 years ago. In fact, the Old Stone Age accounts for 99% of human history.

Here's some of the important things that happened in the Palaeolithic:

  • The Palaeolithic was the first time humans used stone tools to hunt.

  • It marked the first appearance of cave paintings.

  • Our ancestors – Homo Sapiens turned up around 300,000 BC.

  • People were hunter gatherers at this time and would move from place to place to follow the animal herds.


Want to learn more about the eras of the Stone Age? Then you'll definitely want Imagining History to bring their 'A Handy Guide to Survive the Stone Age' Interactive workshop to your school.

Our Award-Winning sessions combine role-play, storytelling, demonstrations, and drama and performance to bring history to life for your students.


Further reading:

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