The stone age did not end because the cavemen ran out of stones, as demonstrated by the fact that the masonry business is still in existence. What happened is that over time humanity evolves and advances beyond even its own preconceived notions. Although related to technology, this concept is important when accurately accessing the events of history and how those events should be viewed. Are major historical events collective efforts that sprung seemingly out of nowhere, or did some charismatic individual create the spark that led to major changes?
This brings the question of the chicken or the egg to the forefront of which is more important to focus on; individuals or a cohesive mass that rises up? American culture, with its individual ethos, favors major changes being made by individuals. This is a shallow view because this notion prevents people from seeing a deeper, richer, version of history that acknowledges the contributions of nameless foot soldiers. Another factor that influences major historical change is a change in cultural zeitgeist.
Keeping in mind the zeitgeist is important because they form the charismatic figures that are often studied in the history books. In all likelihood, the charismatic figures in the history books were aware of the changing mood of their environment, and seized it to create immediate change. People like sensational stories, this accounts for the popular viewpoint which ignores the possibility that other people could be doing similar things at the same time, but for some reason they are forgotten to history.
Those who are in power tend to define the popular narrative that history remembers. Once this narrative is set in the minds of people, any alterations attempted is extremely difficult to enact. When the stone age ended something better replaced it, which is a constant goal of human beings. This is the hope that we should have for humanity, that the next era will be better than the one that preceded it.