“Tools must have been invented by someone too. The earliest ones were probably just sticks and stones. But soon stones were being shaped and sharpened. We have found lots of these shaped stones in the ground. And because of these stone tools we call this time the Stone Age. But people didn’t yet know how to build houses. Not a pleasant thought, since at that time it was often intensely cold—at certain periods fare colder than today. Winters were longer and summers shorter. Snow lay deep throughout the year, not only on mountain tops, but down in the valleys as well, and glaciers, which were immense in those days, spread far out into the plains. This is why we say the Stone Age began before the last ice age had ended. Prehistoric people must have suffered dreadfully from the cold and if they came across a cave where they could shelter from the freezing winds, how happy they must have been! For this reason they are also known as “cavemen,” although they may not actually have lived in caves.”
Excerpted from: Gombrich, E.H. Trans. Caroline Mustill. A Little History of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.