The prehistory and history of humans are often classified by the tools and technology used at certain periods of time. The three main periods are the stone age, bronze age and iron age (they occurred in that order), but sometimes these are divided further. Chronologically, the paleolithic age (old stone age) came first, then the neolithic age (the new stone age), then the copper age (a brief transition period for most cultures exempting a few such as Egypt), then the bronze age, then the iron age. We are currently in a portion of the iron age in which the most common metal used for tools is steel (an alloy made by mixing iron with small amounts of carbon), though we also use many other metals including aluminum, zinc and tungsten.

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