The Stone Age in what is now Poland lasted about 500,000 years and involved three different human species: Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. Stone Age cultures ranged from early human groups with primitive tools to advanced agricultural societies, which used sophisticated stone tools, built fortified settlements and developed copper metallurgy. As elsewhere in Europe, the Stone Age human cultures went through the stages known as the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, each bringing new refinements of the stone tool making techniques. The Paleolithic human activities were intermittent because of the recurring periods of glaciation. A general climate warming and the resulting increase in ecologic diversity was characteristic of the Mesolithic (9,000-8,000 BCE). The Neolithic brought the first settled agricultural communities whose founders migrated from the Danube River area starting ca. 5,500 BCE. Later the native post-Mesolithic populations also adopted and further developed the agricultural way of life (4,400–2,000 BCE).
Białystok is the largest city in north-eastern Poland, located close to the Belarusian border. Originally part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, it was annexed by Prussia in the Third Partition of Poland in 1795 only to pass into Russian hands with the Treaty of Tilsit of 1807. Under Russian rule, it enjoyed an economic boom fueled by development of textile industry. The city was predominantly Jewish, but most of Białystok's Jewish population was exterminated by the Nazis during the city's German occupation in 1941–1944, despite its resistance in the Białystok Ghetto Uprising. In addition to textiles, Białystok is a large producer of alcoholic beverages and home of the Żubrówka vodka.