Typology and cross dating
It involves the measurement of the stone tools to determine their typology, function and the technology involved.
It includes scientific study of the lithic reduction of the raw materials, examining how the artifacts were made.
The first evidence of human metallurgy dates to between the 5th and 6th millennium BCE in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek, Yarmovac and Pločnik ( a copper axe from 5500 BCE belonging to the Vincha 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 Subsaharan Africa, the Stone Age was followed directly by the Iron Age.
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface.
The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4500 BC and 2000 BC with the advent of metalworking.
They serve as diagnostics of date, rather than characterizing the people or the society.