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The Neolithic period is the final division of the
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...

Stone Age
, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors suc ...
appeared in the
Epipalaeolithic Near East In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic during the Stone Age. Mesolithic also falls between these two periods, and the two a ...
, and later in other parts of the world. The Neolithic lasted (in that part of the world) until the transitional period of the
Chalcolithic The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...

Chalcolithic
from about 6,500 years ago (4500 BC), marked by the development of
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
, leading up to the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
and
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 million years ago and the ...
. In other places the Neolithic followed the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
and then lasted until later. In
Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other geographic ...
, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world (including Oceania and the northern regions of the Americas) remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact. The Neolithic introduced the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many s during the period from a lifestyle of to one of and , making an increasingly large population possible. These settled communities perm ...
or "Neolithic package", comprising a progression of behavioral and
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...
characteristics and changes, above all the introduction of farming and use of
domesticated animals This page gives a list of domestic animals, also including a list of animals which are or may be currently undergoing the process of domestication and animals that have an extensive relationship with humans beyond simple predation. This includes s ...
. The term ''Neolithic'' is modern, based on
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
'new' and 'stone', literally 'New Stone Age'. The term was coined by
Sir John Lubbock John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, 4th Baronet, (30 April 183428 May 1913), known as Sir John Lubbock, 4th Baronet from 1865 until 1900, was an English banker, Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician, Philanthropy, philanthropist, scientist and pol ...
in 1865 as a refinement of the
three-age system The three-age system is the periodization of human history (generally including pre-history) into three time-periods; for example: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age; although the concept may also refer to other tripartite divisio ...
.


Origin

Following the
ASPRO chronologyThe ASPRO chronology is a nine-period dating system of the ancient Near East The Near East ( Arabic: شرق أدنى, Hebrew: המזרח הקרוב, Aramaic: ܡܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, Persian: خاور نزدیک, Turkish: Yakın Doğu) is a geographi ...
, the Neolithic started in around 10,200 BC in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, arising from the
Natufian culture The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia Western ...
, when pioneering use of wild
cereal A cereal is any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached husk, hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-pro ...

cereal
s evolved into early
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors suc ...

farming
. The Natufian period or "proto-Neolithic" lasted from 12,500 to 9,500 BC, and is taken to overlap with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (
PPNA Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
) of 10,200–8800 BC. As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, and a
sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching television are characteristic of a sedentary lifestyle A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle involving l ...
way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the
Younger Dryas The Younger Dryas (around 12,900 to 11,700 years BP) was a return to glacial conditions after the Late Glacial Interstadial The Late Glacial Interstadial (LGI) c.14,670 to c.12,890 BP represents the first ''pronounced'' warming since the end of ...
(about 10,000 BC) are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 10,200–8,800 BC farming communities had arisen in the Levant and spread to
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while b ...

Asia Minor
, North Africa and North
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included
einkorn wheat Einkorn wheat (from German ''Einkorn'', literally "single grain") can refer either to the wild species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat tog ...
,
millet Millets () are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in Indi ...

millet
and
spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the ...

spelt
, and the keeping of
dogs The dog or domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a descendant of the which is characterized by an upturning tail. The dog from an , and the modern grey wolf is the dog's nearest living relative. The dog was t ...
. By about 8000 BC, it included domesticated
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
and
goats The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of '' C. aegagrus'' domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of infl ...

goats
,
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large s. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily and the most widespread species of the genus '. In , adult females a ...

cattle
and
pigs The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...
. Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
did not use pottery. In other parts of the world, such as
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total surface area and 20% of its land area.Sayre ...
,
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...
and
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are south of China, south-east of the Indian sub ...
, independent domestication events led to their own regionally distinctive Neolithic cultures, which arose completely independently of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery ''before'' developing agriculture.


Periods by region


Southwest Asia

In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
(e.g.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
and
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that a ...
) and from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are also attested in southeastern
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC.


Pre-Pottery Neolithic A

The Neolithic 1 (PPNA) period began roughly around 10,000 BC in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at
Göbekli Tepe Göbekli Tepe (, "Potbelly Hill"; known as ''Girê Mirazan'' or ''Xirabreşkê'' in Kurdish) is a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen inde ...

Göbekli Tepe
, dated to around 9500 BC, may be regarded as the beginning of the period. This site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, as evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity, and may be the oldest known human-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering , contain limestone pillars carved with animals, insects, and birds. Stone tools were used by perhaps as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in
Tell es-Sultan Tell es-Sultan ( ar, تل السلطان, ''lit.'' Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a Royal and noble ranks, position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rul ...

Tell es-Sultan
(ancient Jericho),
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
(notably
Ain Mallaha 'Ain Mallaha, also known as Eynan, was a Natufian The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the East ...
,
Nahal Oren Nahal Oren is an archaeological site on the northern bank of the wadi Wadi ( ar, وَادِي, wādī), alternatively ''wād'' ( ar, وَاد), North African Arabic Oued, is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley A vall ...
, and
Kfar HaHoresh Kfar HaHoresh ( he, כְּפַר הַחֹרֶשׁ, כפר החורש, ''lit.'' village of the thicket) is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located near Nazareth, it falls under the jurisdiction of Jezreel Valley Regional Council. In it had a populati ...
),
Gilgal Gilgal ( he, גִּלְגָּל ''Gilgāl''; grc-koi, Γαλγαλατοκαι Δωδεκαλίθων "Galgalatokai of the Twelve Stones") is the name of one or more places in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the ...
in the
Jordan Valley The Jordan Valley ( ar, غور الأردن, ''Ghor al-Urdun''; he, עֵמֶק הַיַרְדֵּן, ''Emek HaYarden'') forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. Unlike most other river valleys, the term "Jordan Valley" often applies just to ...
, and
Byblos Byblos ( ar, جبيل ''Jubayl'', locally ''Jbeil''; gr, Βύβλος; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋 (GBL) , (probably ''Gubal'') is a city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of Lebanon Lebanon (), officially known as the Lebanese Republic,''Republic ...

Byblos
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue Line ...

Lebanon
. The start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the Tahunian and
Heavy Neolithic Heavy Neolithic (alternatively, Gigantolithic) is a style of large stone and flint tools (or industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closel ...
periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic
Natufian The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic (Levant), Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a Sedentism, sedentary or semi-sedentary popu ...
cultures, wild cereals were harvested, and perhaps early seed selection and re-seeding occurred. The grain was ground into flour.
Emmer wheat Emmer wheat or hulled wheat is a type of awned wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown ...
was domesticated, and animals were herded and domesticated (
animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long ...
and
selective breeding Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding Animal breeding is a branch of animal science Animal science (also bioscience) is described as "studying the biology Biology i ...
). In 2006, remains of
figs The fig is the edible fruit of ''Ficus carica'', a species of small tree in the flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Gre ...

figs
were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, and therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings. This evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent, with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of
mudbrick A mudbrick or mud-brick is an air-dried brick A brick is a type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Properly, the term ''brick'' denotes a block composed of dried clay, but is now also use ...
. The settlement had a surrounding stone wall and perhaps a stone tower (as in Jericho). The wall served as protection from nearby groups, as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned. Some of the enclosures also suggest grain and meat storage.


Pre-Pottery Neolithic B

The Neolithic 2 (PPNB) began around 8800 BC according to the
ASPRO chronologyThe ASPRO chronology is a nine-period dating system of the ancient Near East The Near East ( Arabic: شرق أدنى, Hebrew: המזרח הקרוב, Aramaic: ܡܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, Persian: خاور نزدیک, Turkish: Yakın Doğu) is a geographi ...
in the Levant (
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
, West Bank). As with the PPNA dates, there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. This system of terminology, however, is not convenient for southeast
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin. A settlement of 3,000 inhabitants was found in the outskirts of
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the in the region and the in the . The earliest evidence of settlemen ...

Amman
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It in ...

Jordan
. Considered to be one of the largest prehistoric settlements in the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
, called 'Ain Ghazal, it was continuously inhabited from approximately 7250 BC to approximately 5000 BC. Settlements have rectangular mud-brick houses where the family lived together in single or multiple rooms. Burial findings suggest an
ancestor cult The veneration of the dead, including one's ancestors An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, o ...
where people preserved skulls of the dead, which were plastered with mud to make facial features. The rest of the corpse could have been left outside the settlement to decay until only the bones were left, then the bones were buried inside the settlement underneath the floor or between houses.


Pre-Pottery Neolithic C

Work at the site of 'Ain Ghazal in
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It in ...

Jordan
has indicated a later
Pre-Pottery Neolithic C The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It i ...
period.
Juris Zarins Juris Zarins (Zariņš) (born 1945, in Germany) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University Missouri State University (MSU or MO State), formerly Southwest Missouri State University, is a public university in ...
has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BC, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon domesticated animals, and a fusion with
Harifian Harifian is a specialized regional cultural development of the Epipalaeolithic of the Negev Desert. It corresponds to the latest stages of the Natufian culture. History Like the Natufian, Harifian is characterized by semi-subterranean house ...
hunter gatherers in the Southern Levant, with affiliate connections with the cultures of
Fayyum Faiyum ( ar, الفيوم ' , borrowed from cop,  ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ or Ⲫⲓⲱⲙ ' from egy, pꜣ ym "the Sea, Lake") is a city in . Located southwest of , in the , it is the capital of the modern . Originally called Shedet in Egypti ...
and the
Eastern Desert The Eastern Desert is the part of the Sahara desert that is located east of the Nile The Nile ( ar, النيل, an-Nīl, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin: Áman Dawū) is a major north-flowing river A river is a natural flowing water ...
of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
shoreline and moved east from
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
into southern
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
.


Late Neolithic

The Late Neolithic began around 6,400 BC in the
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental orga ...

Fertile Crescent
. By then distinctive cultures emerged, with pottery like the
Halafian The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Neolithic#Neolithic 3 .E2.80.93 Pottery Neolithic .28PN.29, Pottery Neolithic and is located prima ...
(Turkey, Syria, Northern Mesopotamia) and Ubaid (Southern Mesopotamia). This period has been further divided into PNA (Pottery Neolithic A) and PNB (Pottery Neolithic B) at some sites. The Chalcolithic (Stone-Bronze) period began about 4500 BC, then the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
began about 3500 BC, replacing the Neolithic cultures.


Fertile Crescent

Around 10,000 BC the first fully developed Neolithic cultures belonging to the phase
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
(PPNA) appeared in the Fertile Crescent. Around 10,700–9400 BC a settlement was established in Tell Qaramel, north of
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
. The settlement included two temples dating to 9650 BC.Yet another sensational discovery by polish archaeologists in Syria
. eduskrypt.pl. 21 June 2006
Around 9000 BC during the PPNA, one of the world's first towns,
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
, appeared in the Levant. It was surrounded by a stone wall, may have contained a population of up to 2,000–3,000 people, and contained a massive stone tower. Around 6400 BC the
Halaf culture The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Neolithic#Neolithic 3 .E2.80.93 Pottery Neolithic .28PN.29, Pottery Neolithic and is located prim ...
appeared in Syria and Northern Mesopotamia. In 1981, a team of researchers from the
Maison de l'Orient et de la MéditerranéeThe Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée (or MOM) is a research body in Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ; it, Lione, ) is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and second-largest urban area ...
, including
Jacques Cauvin Professor Jacques Cauvin (1930 – 26 December 2001) was a France, French Archaeology, archaeologist who specialised in the prehistory of the Levant and Near East. Biography Cauvin started his work in France at Oullins Caves and Chazelles Caves (n ...
and Oliver Aurenche, divided Near East Neolithic chronology into ten periods (0 to 9) based on social, economic and cultural characteristics.Haïdar Boustani, M
"The Neolithic of Lebanon in the context of the Near East: State of knowledge"
(in French), ''Annales d'Histoire et d'Archaeologie'', Universite Saint-Joseph, Beyrouth, Vol. 12–13, 2001–2002. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
In 2002,
Danielle Stordeur Danielle Stordeur is a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily locat ...
and Frédéric Abbès advanced this system with a division into five periods. #
Natufian The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic (Levant), Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a Sedentism, sedentary or semi-sedentary popu ...
between 12,000 and 10,200 BC, #
Khiamian The Khiamian (also referred to as El Khiam or El-Khiam) is a period of the Near-Eastern Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in ...
between 10,200 and 8800 BC,
PPNA Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
:
Sultanian Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of develo ...
(Jericho),
Mureybet Mureybet ( ar, مريبط, muribit, lit=covered) is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located on the west bank of the Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia Western Asi ...
ian, # Early PPNB (''PPNB ancien'') between 8800 and 7600 BC, middle PPNB (''PPNB moyen'') between 7600 and 6900 BC, # Late PPNB (''PPNB récent'') between 7500 and 7000 BC, # A PPNB (sometimes called PPNC) transitional stage (''PPNB final'') in which Halaf and dark faced burnished ware begin to emerge between 6900 and 6400 BC. They also advanced the idea of a transitional stage between the PPNA and PPNB between 8800 and 8600 BC at sites like
Jerf el Ahmar The Tishrin Dam ( ar, سد تشرين, Sadd Tišrīn, lit=October Dam, ku, Bendava Tişrîn, syc, ܣܟܪܐ ܕܬܫܪܝܢ, Sekro d'Teshrin) is a dam on the Euphrates, located east of Aleppo in Aleppo Governorate, Syria. The dam is high and has 6 ...
and
Tell Aswad Tell Aswad ( ar, تل أسود, "Black hill"), Su-uk-su or Shuksa, is a large prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of ...
.PPND – the Platform for Neolithic Radiocarbon Dates – Summary
exoriente. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.


Southern Mesopotamia

Alluvial plains (
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
/
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronz ...

Elam
). Low rainfall makes
irrigation Irrigation is the agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in seden ...

irrigation
systems necessary. Ubaid culture from 6,900 BC.


North Africa

Domestication of
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
and
goats The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of '' C. aegagrus'' domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of infl ...

goats
reached
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
from the Near East possibly as early as 6000 BC.
Graeme Barker Graeme William Walter Barker, (born 23 October 1946) is a United Kingdom, British Archaeology, archaeologist, notable for his work on the Italian Bronze Age, the Ancient Rome, Roman occupation of Libya, and landscape archaeology. Early life and e ...
states "The first indisputable evidence for domestic plants and animals in the Nile valley is not until the early fifth millennium BC in northern Egypt and a thousand years later further south, in both cases as part of strategies that still relied heavily on fishing, hunting, and the gathering of wild plants" and suggests that these subsistence changes were not due to farmers migrating from the Near East but was an indigenous development, with cereals either indigenous or obtained through exchange. Other scholars argue that the primary stimulus for agriculture and domesticated animals (as well as mud-brick architecture and other Neolithic cultural features) in Egypt was from the Middle East.


Sub-Saharan Africa

The Pastoral Neolithic refers to a period in Africa's
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...
marking the beginning of food production on the continent following the
Later Stone Age The Later Stone Age (LSA) is a period in African prehistory that follows the Middle Stone Age. The Later Stone Age is associated with the advent of modern human behavior in Africa, although definitions of this concept and means of studying it ar ...
. In contrast to the Neolithic in other parts of the world, which saw the development of
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors suc ...

farming
societies, the first form of African food production was mobile
pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals known as livestock are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The species invol ...
, or ways of life centered on the herding and management of livestock. The term "Pastoral Neolithic" is used most often by
archaeologists Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique h ...
to describe early pastoralist periods in the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landma ...

Sahara
, as well as in
eastern Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
. The Savanna Pastoral Neolithic or SPN (formerly known as the Stone Bowl Culture) is a collection of ancient societies that appeared in the
Rift Valley A rift valley is a linear shaped lowland between several Highland, highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift. Rifts are formed as a result of the pulling apart of the lithosphere due to extensional tectonics. The ...
of
East Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
and surrounding areas during a time period known as the
Pastoral Neolithic The Pastoral Neolithic ( approximately 5000 BP - 1200 BP) refers to a period in Africa's prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 millio ...
. They were
South Cushitic The South Cushitic or Rift languages of Tanzania Tanzania (;This approximates the Kiswahili pronunciation. However, is also heard in English. ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country ...
speaking pastoralists, who tended to bury their dead in cairns whilst their toolkit was characterized by stone bowls, pestles, grindstones and earthenware pots. Through archaeology, historical linguistics and archaeogenetics, they conventionally have been identified with the area's first
Afroasiatic Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...

Afroasiatic
-speaking settlers. Archaeological dating of livestock bones and burial cairns has also established the cultural complex as the earliest center of
pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals known as livestock are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The species invol ...
and stone construction in the region.


Europe

In southeast Neolithic Europe, Europe agrarian societies first appeared in the 7th millennium BC, attested by one of the earliest farming sites of Europe, discovered in Vashtëmi, southeastern Albania and dating back to 6500 BC. In most of Western Europe in followed over the next two thousand years, but in some parts of Northwest Europe it is much later, lasting just under 3,000 years from c. 4500 BC–1700 BC. Anthropomorphic figurines have been found in the Balkans from 6000 BC, and in Central Europe by around 5800 BC (La Hoguette#Archeology, La Hoguette). Among the earliest cultural complexes of this area are the Sesklo culture in Thessaly, which later expanded in the Balkans giving rise to Kőrös culture, Starčevo-Körös (Cris), Linearbandkeramik, and Vinča culture, Vinča. Through a combination of cultural diffusion and human migration, migration of peoples, the Neolithic traditions spread west and northwards to reach northwestern Europe by around 4500 BC. The Vinča culture may have created the earliest system of writing, the Vinča signs, though archaeologist Shan Winn believes they most likely represented pictograms and ideograms rather than a truly developed form of writing. The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture built enormous settlements in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine from 5300 to 2300 BC. The megalithic temple complexes of Ġgantija on the Mediterranean island of Gozo Island, Gozo (in the Maltese archipelago) and of Mnajdra (Malta) are notable for their gigantic Neolithic structures, the oldest of which date back to around 3600 BC. The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni, Paola, Malta, Paola, Malta, is a subterranean structure excavated around 2500 BC; originally a sanctuary, it became a necropolis, the only prehistoric underground temple in the world, and shows a degree of artistry in stone sculpture unique in prehistory to the Maltese islands. After 2500 BC, these islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
immigrants, a culture that cremation, cremated its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens to Malta. In most cases there are small chambers here, with the cover made of a large slab placed on upright stones. They are claimed to belong to a population different from that which built the previous megalithic temples. It is presumed the population arrived from Sicily because of the similarity of Maltese dolmens to some small constructions found there.


South and East Asia

Settled life, encompassing the transition from foraging to farming and pastoralism, began in South Asia in the region of Balochistan, Pakistan, around 7,000 BC. Quote: ""Mehrgarh remains one of the key sites in South Asia because it has provided the earliest known undisputed evidence for farming and pastoral communities in the region, and its plant and animal material provide clear evidence for the ongoing manipulation, and domestication, of certain species. Perhaps most importantly in a South Asian context, the role played by zebu makes this a distinctive, localised development, with a character completely different to other parts of the world. Finally, the longevity of the site, and its articulation with the neighbouring site of Nausharo (c. 2800–2000 BC), provides a very clear continuity from South Asia's first farming villages to the emergence of its first cities (Jarrige, 1984)." Quote: "page 33: "The earliest discovered instance in India of well-established, settled agricultural society is at Mehrgarh in the hills between the Bolan Pass and the Indus plain (today in Pakistan) (see Map 3.1). From as early as 7000 BC, communities there started investing increased labor in preparing the land and selecting, planting, tending, and harvesting particular grain-producing plants. They also domesticated animals, including sheep, goats, pigs, and oxen (both humped zebu [Bos indicus] and unhumped [Bos taurus]). Castrating oxen, for instance, turned them from mainly meat sources into domesticated draft-animals as well.", Quote: "(p 29) "The subcontinent's people were hunter-gatherers for many millennia. There were very few of them. Indeed, 10,000 years ago there may only have been a couple of hundred thousand people, living in small, often isolated groups, the descendants of various 'modern' human incomers. Then, perhaps linked to events in Mesopotamia, about 8,500 years ago agriculture emerged in Baluchistan." At the site of Mehrgarh, Balochistan, presence can be documented of the domestication of wheat and barley, rapidly followed by that of goats, sheep, and cattle. In April 2006, it was announced in the scientific journal ''Nature (journal), Nature'' that the oldest (and first ''early Neolithic'') evidence for the drilling of teeth ''in vivo'' (using bow drills and flint tips) was found in Mehrgarh. In South India, the Neolithic began by 6500 BC and lasted until around 1400 BC when the Megalithic transition period began. South Indian Neolithic is characterized by Ash mounds from 2500 BC in Karnataka region, expanded later to Tamil Nadu. In East Asia, the earliest sites include the Nanzhuangtou culture around 9500–9000 BC, Pengtoushan culture around 7500–6100 BC, and Peiligang culture around 7000–5000 BC. The prehistoric Beifudi site near Yi County, Hebei, Yixian in Hebei Province, China, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan culture, Cishan and Xinglongwa culture, Xinglongwa cultures of about 6000–5000 BC, Neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than , and the collection of Neolithic findings at the site encompasses two phases. The 'Neolithic' (defined in this paragraph as using polished stone implements) remains a living tradition in small and extremely remote and inaccessible pockets of West Papua (region), West Papua (Indonesian New Guinea). Polished stone adzes, adze and axes are used in the present day () in areas where the availability of metal implements is limited. This is likely to cease altogether in the next few years as the older generation die off and steel blades and chainsaws prevail. In 2012, news was released about a new farming site discovered in Munam-ri, Goseong, Gangwon, Goseong, Gangwon Province (South Korea), Gangwon Province, South Korea, which may be the earliest farmland known to date in east Asia. "No remains of an agricultural field from the Neolithic period have been found in any East Asian country before, the institute said, adding that the discovery reveals that the history of agricultural cultivation at least began during the period on the Korean Peninsula". The farm was dated between 3600 and 3000 BC. Pottery, stone projectile points, and possible houses were also found. "In 2002, researchers discovered prehistoric earthenware, jade earrings, among other items in the area". The research team will perform accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating to retrieve a more precise date for the site.


The Americas

In Mesoamerican chronology, Mesoamerica, a similar set of events (i.e., crop domestication and sedentary lifestyles) occurred by around 4500 BC, but possibly as early as 11,000–10,000 BC. These cultures are usually not referred to as belonging to the Neolithic; in America List of archaeological periods (North America), different terms are used such as Formative stage instead of mid-late Neolithic, Archaic period in the Americas, Archaic Era instead of Early Neolithic, and Paleo-Indians, Paleo-Indian for the preceding period. The Formative stage is equivalent to the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many s during the period from a lifestyle of to one of and , making an increasingly large population possible. These settled communities perm ...
period in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the southwestern United States it occurred from 500 to 1200 AD when there was a dramatic increase in population and development of large villages supported by agriculture based on dryland farming of maize, and later, beans, squash, and domesticated turkeys. During this period the bow and arrow and ceramic pottery were also introduced. In later periods cities of considerable size developed, and some metallurgy by 700 BC.


Australia

Australia, in contrast to New Guinea, has generally been held not to have had a Neolithic period, with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle continuing until the arrival of Europeans. This view can be challenged in terms of the definition of agriculture, but "Neolithic" remains a rarely used and not very useful concept in discussing Australian prehistory.


Cultural characteristics


Social organization

During most of the Neolithic age of Eurasia, people lived in small tribes composed of multiple bands or lineages. There is little scientific evidence of developed social stratification in most Neolithic societies; social stratification is more associated with the later
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
. Although some late Eurasian Neolithic societies formed complex stratified chiefdoms or even State (polity), states, generally states evolved in Eurasia only with the rise of metallurgy, and most Neolithic societies on the whole were relatively simple and egalitarian. Beyond Eurasia, however, states were formed during the local Neolithic in three areas, namely in the Cultural periods of Peru, Preceramic Andes with the Norte Chico civilization, Norte Chico Civilization, Mesoamerican chronology, Formative Mesoamerica and Ancient Hawaii, Ancient Hawaiʻi. However, most Neolithic societies were noticeably more hierarchical than the Upper Paleolithic cultures that preceded them and hunter-gatherer cultures in general. The Domestication of animals, domestication of Megafauna, large animals (c. 8000 BC) resulted in a dramatic increase in social inequality in most of the areas where it occurred; Agriculture in Papua New Guinea, New Guinea being a notable exception. Possession of livestock allowed competition between households and resulted in inherited inequalities of wealth. Neolithic pastoralists who controlled large herds gradually acquired more livestock, and this made economic inequalities more pronounced.Bahn, Paul (1996) "The atlas of world archeology" Copyright 2000 The brown Reference Group plc However, evidence of social inequality is still disputed, as settlements such as Catal Huyuk reveal a striking lack of difference in the size of homes and burial sites, suggesting a more egalitarian society with no evidence of the concept of capital, although some homes do appear slightly larger or more elaborately decorated than others. Families and households were still largely independent economically, and the household was probably the center of life. However, excavations in Central Europe have revealed that early Neolithic Linear Ceramic cultures ("''Linearbandkeramik''") were building large arrangements of circular ditches between 4800 and 4600 BC. These structures (and their later counterparts such as causewayed enclosures, burial mounds, and henges, henge) required considerable time and labour to construct, which suggests that some influential individuals were able to organise and direct human labour – though non-hierarchical and voluntary work remain possibilities. There is a large body of evidence for fortified settlements at ''Linearbandkeramik'' sites along the Rhine, as at least some villages were fortified for some time with a palisade and an outer ditch. Settlements with palisades and weapon-traumatized bones, such as those found at the Talheim Death Pit, have been discovered and demonstrate that "...systematic violence between groups" and warfare was probably much more common during the Neolithic than in the preceding Paleolithic period. This supplanted an earlier view of the Linear Pottery Culture as living a "peaceful, unfortified lifestyle". Control of labour and inter-group conflict is characteristic of tribal groups with social rank that are headed by a charismatic individual – either a 'Big man (anthropology), big man' or a proto-Tribal chief, chief – functioning as a lineage-group head. Whether a non-hierarchical system of organization existed is debatable, and there is no evidence that explicitly suggests that Neolithic societies functioned under any dominating class or individual, as was the case in the chiefdoms of the European Bronze Age, Early Bronze Age. Theories to explain the apparent implied egalitarianism of Neolithic (and Paleolithic) societies have arisen, notably the Marxist concept of primitive communism.


Shelter and sedentism

The shelter of the early people changed dramatically from the Upper Paleolithic to the Neolithic era. In the Paleolithic, people did not normally live in permanent constructions. In the Neolithic, mud brick houses started appearing that were coated with plaster.Shane, Orrin C. III, and Mine Küçuk. "The World's First City."
Archaeology 51.2 (1998): 43–47.
The growth of agriculture made permanent houses possible. Doorways were made on the roof, with ladders positioned both on the inside and outside of the houses. The roof was supported by beams from the inside. The rough ground was covered by platforms, mats, and skins on which residents slept. Stilt-houses settlements were common in the Alps, Alpine and Pianura Padana (Terramare) region. Remains have been found at the Ljubljana Marshes in Slovenia and at the Mondsee (lake), Mondsee and Attersee (lake), Attersee lakes in Upper Austria, for example.


Agriculture

A significant and far-reaching shift in human subsistence and lifestyle was to be brought about in areas where crop farming and cultivation were first developed: the previous reliance on an essentially nomadic hunter-gatherer list of subsistence techniques, subsistence technique or Transhumance, pastoral transhumance was at first supplemented, and then increasingly replaced by, a reliance upon the foods produced from cultivated lands. These developments are also believed to have greatly encouraged the growth of settlements, since it may be supposed that the increased need to spend more time and labor in tending crop fields required more localized dwellings. This trend would continue into the Bronze Age, eventually giving rise to permanently settled farming towns, and later city, cities and State (polity), states whose larger populations could be sustained by the increased productivity from cultivated lands. The profound differences in human interactions and subsistence methods associated with the onset of early agricultural practices in the Neolithic have been called the ''
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many s during the period from a lifestyle of to one of and , making an increasingly large population possible. These settled communities perm ...
'', a term neologism, coined in the 1920s by the Australian archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe. One potential benefit of the development and increasing sophistication of farming technology was the possibility of producing surplus crop yields, in other words, food supplies in excess of the immediate needs of the community. Surpluses could be stored for later use, or possibly traded for other necessities or luxuries. Agricultural life afforded securities that nomadic life could not, and sedentary farming populations grew faster than nomadic. However, early farmers were also adversely affected in times of famine, such as may be caused by drought or pest control, pests. In instances where agriculture had become the predominant way of life, the sensitivity to these shortages could be particularly acute, affecting agrarian populations to an extent that otherwise may not have been routinely experienced by prior hunter-gatherer communities. Nevertheless, agrarian communities generally proved successful, and their growth and the expansion of territory under cultivation continued. Another significant change undergone by many of these newly agrarian communities was one of diet (nutrition), diet. Pre-agrarian diets varied by region, season, available local plant and animal resources and degree of pastoralism and hunting. Post-agrarian diet was restricted to a limited package of successfully cultivated cereal grains, plants and to a variable extent domesticated animals and animal products. Supplementation of diet by hunting and gathering was to variable degrees precluded by the increase in population above the carrying capacity of the land and a high sedentary local population concentration. In some cultures, there would have been a significant shift toward increased starch and plant protein. The relative nutritional benefits and drawbacks of these dietary changes and their overall impact on early societal development are still debated. In addition, increased population density, decreased population mobility, increased continuous proximity to domesticated animals, and continuous occupation of comparatively population-dense sites would have altered sanitation needs and patterns of disease.


Lithic technology

The identifying characteristic of Neolithic technology is the use of polished or ground stone tools, in contrast to the flaked stone tools used during the Paleolithic era. Neolithic people were skilled farmers, manufacturing a range of tools necessary for the tending, harvesting and processing of crops (such as sickle blades and grinding stones) and food production (e.g. pottery, bone implements). They were also skilled manufacturers of a range of other types of stone tools and ornaments, including projectile points, beads, and statuettes. But what allowed forest clearance on a large scale was the polished stone axe above all other tools. Together with the adze, fashioning wood for shelter, structures and canoes for example, this enabled them to exploit their newly won farmland. Neolithic peoples in the Levant, Anatolia, Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Central Asia were also accomplished builders, utilizing mud-brick to construct houses and villages. At Çatalhöyük, houses were plastered and painted with elaborate scenes of humans and animals. In Europe, Neolithic long house, long houses built from wattle and daub were constructed. Elaborate tombs were built for the dead. These tombs are particularly numerous in Ireland, where there are many thousand still in existence. Neolithic people in the British Isles built long barrows and chamber tombs for their dead and causewayed camps, henges, flint mines and cursus monuments. It was also important to figure out ways of preserving food for future months, such as fashioning relatively airtight containers, and using substances like salt as preservatives. The peoples of the Americas and the Pacific mostly retained the Neolithic level of tool technology until the time of European contact. Exceptions include copper hatchets and spearheads in the Great Lakes (North America), Great Lakes region.


Clothing

Most clothing appears to have been made of animal skins, as indicated by finds of large numbers of bone and antler pins that are ideal for fastening leather. woolen, Wool cloth and linen might have become available during the later Neolithic, as suggested by finds of perforated stones that (depending on size) may have served as Spindle (textiles), spindle whorls or loom weights.


List of early settlements

Neolithic List of archaeological sites, human settlements include: The world's oldest known engineered roadway, the Post Track in England, dates from 3838 BC and the world's oldest freestanding structure is the Neolithic temple of Ġgantija in Gozo, Malta.


List of cultures and sites

''Note: Dates are very approximate, and are only given for a rough estimate; consult each culture for specific time periods.'' Early Neolithic
''Periodization: Neolithic#Neolithic 1 – Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), The Levant: 9500–8000 BC; Mesolithic Europe, Europe: 5000–4000 BC; Elsewhere: varies greatly, depending on region.'' *
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
(Levant, 9500–8000 BC) * Nanzhuangtou (China, 8500 BC) * Franchthi Cave (Greece, 7000 BC) * Cishan culture (China, 6500–5000 BC) * Sesclo village (Greece, c. 6300 BC) * Starčevo–Kőrös–Criş culture, Starcevo-Criş culture (Starčevo-Körös-Criş culture) (Balkans, 5800–4500 BC) * Katundas Cavern (Albania, 6th millennium BC) * Dudeşti culture (Romania, 6th millennium BC) * Beixin culture (China, 5300–4100 BC) * Tamilnadu culture, Tamil Nadu culture (India, 3000–2800 BC) * Mentesh Tepe and Kamiltepe (Azerbaijan, 7000–3000 BC) Middle Neolithic
''Periodization: Neolithic#Neolithic 2 – Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), The Levant: 8000–6000 BC; Neolithic Europe, Europe: 4000–3500 BC; Elsewhere: varies greatly, depending on region.'' Later Neolithic
''Neolithic#Neolithic 3 – Pottery Neolithic (PN), Periodization: 6500–4500 BC; Neolithic Europe, Europe: 3500–3000 BC; Elsewhere: varies greatly, depending on region.'' * Pottery Neolithic (Fertile Crescent, 6400 – 4500 BC) **
Halaf culture The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Neolithic#Neolithic 3 .E2.80.93 Pottery Neolithic .28PN.29, Pottery Neolithic and is located prim ...
(Mesopotamia, 6100 BC and 5100 BC) ** Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (Mesopotamia, 5500–5000 BC) ** Ubaid period, Ubaid 1/2 (5400–4500 BC) * Funnelbeaker culture (North/Eastern Europe, 4300–2800 BC) ; Eneolithic ''Periodization: Copper Age, Near East: 4500–3300 BC; Chalcolithic Europe, Europe: 3000–1700 BC; Metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, Elsewhere: varies greatly, depending on region. In the Americas, the Eneolithic ended as late as the 19th century AD for some peoples.'' * Ubaid period, Ubaid 3/4 (Mesopotamia, 4500–4000 BC) * Uruk period, early Uruk period (Mesopotamia, 4000–3800 BC) * Uruk period, middle Uruk period (Mesopotamia, 3800–3400 BC) * Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, late Trypillian (Eastern Europe, 3000–2750 BC) * Gaudo Culture (Italy, 3150–2950 BC) * Corded Ware culture (North/Eastern Europe, 2900–2350) * Beaker culture (Central/Western Europe, 2900–1800 BC)


Comparative chronology


See also


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* *


External links

* Romeo, Nick (Feb. 2015)
Embracing Stone Age Couple Found in Greek Cave
"Rare double burials discovered at one of the largest Neolithic burial sites in Europe." ''National Geographic Society'' * * *
Current Directions in West African Prehistory – McIntosh & McIntosh (1983)
* {{Authority control Neolithic, 1860s neologisms Holocene Historical eras