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The possible reasons behind this seeming abrupt transition from the absence of stone tools to the presence thereof include ...gaps in the geological record." Innovation of the technique of smelting ore ended the Stone Age and began the Bronze Age.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 proto-Inca cultures of South America continued at a Stone Age level until around 2000 BCE, when gold, copper and silver made their entrance.Study of the Stone Age has never been mainly about stone tools and archaeology, which are only one form of evidence.The chief focus has always been on the society and the physical people who belonged to it.Stone Age artifacts include tools used by modern humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, and possibly by the earlier partly contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus.Bone tools were used during this period as well but are rarely preserved in the archaeological record.