The Acheulean was not a neatly defined period, but a tool-making technique which flourished especially well in early prehistory.Acheulean was a basic method for making stone tools which was shared across much of the Old World.The geological period which corresponds to the Palaeolithic is the Pleistocene.
Later forms of early humans also used Acheulean techniques and are described below.
There is considerable time overlap in early prehistoric stone-working industries.
They are found in Europe somewhat later, from about 1 mya (0.7mya for Britain).
The Palaeolithic is by far the longest period of humanity's time, about 99% of human history.
They were made by all previous members of the genus, starting with relatively crude tools made by Homo habilis and Homo erectus.
In Europe, the large-brained Neanderthal Man (Homo neanderthalensis) made tools of high quality, and was in turn outshone by the many tools made by our own species.Oldowan tools were therefore the earliest tools in human history, and mark the beginning of the archaeological record.The term "Oldowan" is taken from the site of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where the first Oldowan tools were discovered by the archaeologist Louis Leakey in the 1930s.In some regions Acheulean tool-using groups were contemporary with other, less sophisticated industries such as the Clactonian.Then, later, Acheulean tools occur at the same time as the more sophisticated Mousterian.In individual regions, this dating can be considerably refined; in Europe for example, Acheulean methods did not reach the continent until around 400 thousand years ago and in smaller study areas, the date ranges can be much shorter.