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The oldest sites containing tools are dated to 2.6–2.55 mya.

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Stone tool manufacture continued even after the Stone Age ended in a given area.

In Europe and North America, millstones were in use until well into the 20th century, and still are in many parts of the world.

The Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use.

The Stone Age is the first period in the three-age system of archaeology, which divides human technological prehistory into three periods: According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System, especially toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands.

The closest relative among the other living primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved.

The rift served as a conduit for movement into southern Africa and also north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia.

The first evidence of human metallurgy dates to between the 5th and 6th millennium BCE in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek, Yarmovac, and Pločnik in modern-day Serbia (a copper axe from 5500 BCE belonging to the Vinca culture), though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or "Copper Age", this provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy. Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from about 3300 BCE carried with him a copper axe and a flint knife.

In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Stone Age was followed directly by the Iron Age.

Prior to the discovery of these "Lomekwian" tools, the oldest known stone tools had been found at several sites at Gona, Ethiopia, on the sediments of the paleo-Awash River, which serve to date them.

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