Chapter One: The Stone Age

The Stone Age is the earliest known period of man that has been discovered through archeology. It began roughly 3.4 million years ago, lasting until about 6,000 BC. This was a slow developmental time for humanity, where small innovations change the entire course of history. People were largely nomadic, going to wherever the food was. They hunted and gathered so they could eat, then they moved on. This was the “Paleolithic” (Old Stone) era of the Stone Age. It wasn’t until the “Mesolithic” (Middle Stone) era where things began to transition from nomadic life to domestic life. In the “Neolithic” (New Stone) era, farming crops became a major way to produce food. As crops must stay in one place, people set up communities near the crops.

Wild dogs, who hunted together, found it easier to hunt with man, and they soon became domesticated. Dog hunted for man, and man cared for dog. This is how pets came to be.

The Stone Age is a slow lifestyle to lead, so the impatient time traveler may want to avoid it. But for those who enjoy the simple life, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. The time traveler should be aware that there was no grooming during this time. Length and amount of hair (on the head, face, and body) was a way of seeing how old and experienced one was. Should you travel to the Stone Age well-groomed, you may be mistaken for a large child. This will prove odd for them, and you’ll most likely be killed. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do not groom or bathe for at least two weeks before traveling to the Stone Age.

[Note: As there has yet to be a communal language amongst early mankind, the below is either communicated with tonal grunts, gestures, or shouldn’t be said at all.]

Neutral grunt.

My name is…
Low grunt, raising in pitch. Then state your name with your hand over your chest.

Where can I get something to eat?
Point at what the others are cooking or eating, then put your hand over your belly with raised eyebrows. Point at your mouth and pretend to chew. You’ll look like an idiot, but it works.

Where can I find a restroom?
Asking this is a sign of weakness, which will get you banished or killed. Just follow your nose to where the hole in the ground is. Digging your own may be dangerous, as it could be suspected that a rival tribe is near.

I’m lost.
So is everyone during this age. As such, there is no translation.

I’m sorry.
Apologizing will get you killed. The Stone Age is no time for manners.

Don’t shoot
Putting up your hands will just make you an easy target. Play dead on the ground. As primitive man approaches, you can pretend you’ve been sleeping. The key is to show you are not a threat of any kind.

No saying “please.”

Thank you
High grunt, with a smile. Nodding is optional, but appreciated.

Neutral grunt.

There is little by way of idioms at this time, as society is yet in its infancy. As such, turns of phrase to communicate a more complex meaning are all but non existent.

Most of your communication will come from gestures, as no verbal language has been developed. Be cautious of making any gestures that are too big or sudden. As you will slowly ingratiate yourself into the tribe, you can allow a more comfortable comportment, but until then, act small and meek. But not so small and meek as to suggest you could be easily banished or killed.

The feature of this period of time is unique in that almost everywhere is untouched by the development of man. There has yet to be a car, a factory, a skyscraper. There isn’t any plastic in the oceans or smog in the air. At night, there is nothing between your eyes and the stars. Everything you see will be in its most pure form, and this is the main attraction for traveling to the Stone Age. If fresh air and solitude is what you crave, then this is the ideal period of time for you.

Keep in mind that each of the five senses was used for survival and not for enjoyment. As such, eating was not a pleasurable pursuit, but a life or death pursuit. Be mindful of anything you pick up to eat. Taste it first, and your taste buds will let you know if it’s safe. Do not try to season any meat to add taste to a meal. Doing so could accelerate food technologies faster than it should, resulting in fast food restaurants all throughout ancient Rome. Centurions would mostly be overweight as a result, then Rome would fall earlier than it is supposed to as a result, and the dark times of the Middle Ages would begin far sooner than they should as a result, and there would probably never be any books, such as this one, and everything would revert back to the Stone Age. So, eat the bland meat and know that, by dong so, you’re preventing the future collapse of government and religion and society, and ensuring the possible publication of this book.

While sleeping under the stars is an alluring prospect, one should seek shelter from creatures who hunt at night. A cave with some moderate fortification, or a makeshift nest in a tree should do fine. Having no shelter available, one should make sure not to fall asleep at all, as doing so will get you eaten.

It is of paramount importance that you do not use any actual words while interacting with the Primitive Man. They still depend mostly on grunts and raw sounds and intonations to communicate. The introduction of fully formed words, let alone fully formed sentences, will spook them. A spooked Primitive Man is a dangerous Primitive Man, and he will kill you. The Stone Age is no place for vocabulary.

While playing dead with Primitive Man, especially upon encountering hunting parties, is an effective way to not die, one should never do so with cave bears; they’ll eat you.

Never bare your teeth unless provoked.

No matter how tempting it may be, or how much Primitive Man may invite you to, do not draw or paint on any cave wall. Introducing such time killing activities as Tic-Tac-Toe would cause Primitive Man to spend all his time figuring out how to win, then the Paleolithic Era would never transition to the Mesolithic and Neolithic Eras. And future archeologists would discover caves full of stalemated Tic-Tac-Toe games drawn on the walls, and the skeletons of the ancient Primitive Men who drew them until they starved.

Reveal nothing of wheels or fire or any such invention you feel may benefit the Primitive Man. Leave that to those who worked hard to develop those inventions. It is essential for Primitive Man to experience the mental exercise of making these creations. The invention isn’t the true prize of this hard work, the hard work is the reward, and that mental exercise has exponential effects through history.