Chisels were among the earliest tools. They have been employed (in their most basic form) since Stone Age man learned to break stones into a roughly flat shape with a sharp edge.
Stones such as flint were used by Neolithic man and there are many archaeological discoveries that prove this. Flint was favoured as it is dense, hard and easily flaked, and when flaked produces razor sharp edges.
As people learned to smelt ore (extract metal from rock by heating it), flint tools were succeeded by those made from copper and, later, bronze (an alloy of copper and tin). Bronze tools were much easier to work with and could be reshaped and resharpened with greater precision.
Ancient Egyptian carpenters and masons were known to use bronze chisels in the construction of the pyramids.
With the invention of hotter furnaces and the ability to smelt iron ore, the softer bronze chisels were, in turn, replaced by ones made from iron.
As technology advanced in the modern age, and people learned how to mix carbon with iron to create steel, the iron chisel was succeeded by harder, steel versions.