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Neolithic

Neolithic

Overview


The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. The Neolithic followed the terminal Holocene
Holocene
The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

 Epipaleolithic
Epipaleolithic
The Epipaleolithic Age was a period in the development of human technology marked by more advanced stone blades and other tools than the earlier Paleolithic age, although still before the development of agriculture in the Neolithic age...

period, beginning with the rise of farming
History of agriculture
Agriculture was developed at least 10,000 years ago, and it has undergone significant developments since the time of the earliest cultivation. The Fertile Crescent of Western Asia, Egypt, and India were sites of the earliest planned sowing and harvesting of plants that had previously been gathered...

, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution
Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

" and ending when metal tools became widespread in the Copper Age (chalcolithic) or Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 or developing directly into the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, depending on the geographical region.
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The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. The Neolithic followed the terminal Holocene
Holocene
The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

 Epipaleolithic
Epipaleolithic
The Epipaleolithic Age was a period in the development of human technology marked by more advanced stone blades and other tools than the earlier Paleolithic age, although still before the development of agriculture in the Neolithic age...

period, beginning with the rise of farming
History of agriculture
Agriculture was developed at least 10,000 years ago, and it has undergone significant developments since the time of the earliest cultivation. The Fertile Crescent of Western Asia, Egypt, and India were sites of the earliest planned sowing and harvesting of plants that had previously been gathered...

, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution
Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

" and ending when metal tools became widespread in the Copper Age (chalcolithic) or Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 or developing directly into the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, depending on the geographical region. The Neolithic is a measured progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and the use of domesticated animals
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

.

New findings put the beginning of the Neolithic culture back to around 10,700 to 9400 BC in Tell Qaramel
Tell Qaramel
Tell Qaramel is a tell, or archaeological mound, located in the north of present-day Syria, 25 km north of Aleppo and about 65 km south of the Taurus mountains, adjacent to the river Quweiq....

 in northern Syria, 25 km north of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

.
Until those findings are adopted within the archaeological community, the beginning of the Neolithic culture is considered to be in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 (Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

, modern-day West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

) about 9500 BC. It developed directly from the Epipaleolithic Natufian culture in the region, whose people pioneered the use of wild cereal
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s, which then evolved into true farming. The Natufians can thus be called "proto-Neolithic" (12,500–9500 BC or 12,000–9500 BC). As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, and a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas
Younger Dryas
The Younger Dryas stadial, also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a geologically brief period of cold climatic conditions and drought between approximately 12.8 and 11.5 ka BP, or 12,800 and 11,500 years before present...

 are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 9500–9000 BC, farming communities arose in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, North Africa and North Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat
Einkorn wheat
thumbnail|150px|left|Wild einkorn, Karadag, central TurkeyEinkorn wheat can refer either to the wild species of wheat, Triticum boeoticum , or to the domesticated form, Triticum monococcum...

, millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

 and spelt
Spelt
Spelt is a hexaploid species of wheat. Spelt was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times; it now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain and has found a new market as a health food. Spelt is sometimes considered a subspecies of the...

, and the keeping of dogs
Origin of the domestic dog
The origin of the domestic dog began with the domestication of the gray wolf several tens of thousands of years ago. Domesticated dogs provided early humans with a guard animal, a source of food, fur, and a beast of burden...

, sheep and goats. By about 8000 BC, it included domesticated cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

 and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, and the use of pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

.

Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the Near East
Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

 did not use pottery, and, in Britain
Prehistoric Britain
For the purposes of this article, Prehistoric Britain is that period of time between the first arrival of humans on the land mass now known as Great Britain and the start of recorded British history...

, it remains unclear to what extent plants were domesticated in the earliest Neolithic, or even whether permanently settled communities existed. In other parts of the world, such as Africa, South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Southeast Asia, independent domestication events led to their own regionally-distinctive Neolithic cultures that arose completely independent of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese
Jomon period
The is the time in Japanese prehistory from about 14,000 BC to 300 BC.The term jōmon means "cord-patterned" in Japanese. This refers to the pottery style characteristic of the Jōmon culture, and which has markings made using sticks with cords wrapped around them...

 societies used pottery before developing agriculture.

Unlike the Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

, where more than one human species existed, only one human species (Homo sapiens sapiens) reached the Neolithic. Homo floresiensis
Homo floresiensis
Homo floresiensis is a possible species, now extinct, in the genus Homo. The remains were discovered in 2003 on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Partial skeletons of nine individuals have been recovered, including one complete cranium...

 may have survived right up to the very dawn of the Neolithic, about 12,000 years ago.

The term Neolithic derives from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 νεολιθικός, neolithikos, from νέος neos, "new" + λίθος lithos, "stone", literally meaning "New Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

." The term was invented by Sir John Lubbock
John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury
John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury PC , FRS , known as Sir John Lubbock, 4th Baronet from 1865 until 1900, was a polymath and Liberal Member of Parliament....

 in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system
Three-age system
The three-age system in archaeology and physical anthropology is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective tool-making technologies:* The Stone Age* The Bronze Age* The Iron Age-Origin:...

.

Periods by pottery phase


In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 (e.g., Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A denotes the first stage in early Levantine Neolithic culture, dating around 9500 to 8500 BC. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent...

 and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B is a division of the Neolithic developed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region....

) and from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are also attested in southeastern Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 and northern Mesopotamia by c. 8000 BC.

The prehistoric Beifudi site
Prehistoric Beifudi site
The Beifudi prehistoric site, near Yi County in Hebei Province, China, is the excavation of a recently discovered prehistoric Neolithic village that Chinese archaeologists say is one of the most important sites found so far...

 near Yixian
Yi County, Hebei
Yi County is a county in Hebei province of China, administratively under the jurisdiction of the prefecture-level city of Baoding. It has an area of ??? km².-Administrative divisions:Towns:...

 in Hebei Province, China, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan
Cishan culture
The Cishan culture was a Neolithic Yellow River culture in northern China, based primarily around southern Hebei. The Cishan culture was based on millet farming, the cultivation of which on one site has been dated back 10,000 years...

 and Xinglongwa
Xinglongwa culture
The Xinglongwa culture was a Neolithic culture in northeastern China, found mainly around the Inner Mongolia-Liaoning border. Xinglongwa pottery was primarily cylindrical, and baked at low temperatures....

 cultures of about 5000–6000 BC, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains
Taihang Mountains
The Taihang Mountains are a Chinese mountain range running down the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau in Henan, Shanxi and Hebei provinces. The range extends over 400 km from north to south and has an average elevation of 1,500 to 2,000 meters. The principal peak is Xiao Wutaishan...

, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square meters and the collection of neolithic findings at the site consists of two phases.

Neolithic 1 – Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA)


Recent findings made by a Syrian-Polish joint excavation team run by Prof. R.F. Mazurowski, in Tell Qaramel
Tell Qaramel
Tell Qaramel is a tell, or archaeological mound, located in the north of present-day Syria, 25 km north of Aleppo and about 65 km south of the Taurus mountains, adjacent to the river Quweiq....

, 25 km to the north of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 put the beginning of the Neolithic 1 (PPNA) around 10,700 to 9400 BC. Previous excavations at that site brought the discovery of four circular towers dating back to between the eleventh millennium and about 9,650 BC . The dates of Tell Qaramel have been brought into question for appearing systematically old and for not correlating with the stratigraphic sequence.

Until the findings in Tell Qaramel are adopted within the archaeological community, sites in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 (Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 & Jbeil (Byblos
Byblos
Byblos is the Greek name of the Phoenician city Gebal . It is a Mediterranean city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of present-day Lebanon under the current Arabic name of Jubayl and was also referred to as Gibelet during the Crusades...

), Lebanon) that go back to around 9500 to 9000 BC. are still considered the beginning of the Neolithic 1 (PPNA). The actual date is not established with certainty due to different results in carbon dating by scientists in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

 and Philadelphia laboratories.

An early temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe [ɡøbe̞kli te̞pɛ] is a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge in southeastern Turkey, some northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa . It is the oldest human-made religious structure yet discovered...

 dated to 10,000 BC may be regarded as the beginning of the Neolithic 1. This site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity. This temple site may be the oldest known man-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering 25 acres (101,171.5 m²), 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 may have supported roofs.

The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic Natufian cultures, wild cereals were harvested, and perhaps early seed selection and re-seeding occurred. The grain was ground into flour. Emmer wheat was domesticated, and animals were herded and domesticated (animal husbandry
Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock.- History :Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals....

 and selective breeding
Selective breeding
Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Typically, strains that are selectively bred are domesticated, and the breeding is sometimes done by a professional breeder. Bred animals are known as breeds, while bred plants are known as varieties,...

).

In the 21st century, remains of figs
Ficus
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

 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
Mudbrick
A mudbrick is a firefree brick, made of a mixture of clay, mud, sand, and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. They use a stiff mixture and let them dry in the sun for 25 days....

. 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. There are also some enclosures that suggest grain and meat storage.

Neolithic 2 – Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB)


The Neolithic 2 (PPNB) began around 8500 BC in the Levant (Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

, Palestine). As with the PPNA dates there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. But this terminological structure is not convenient for southeast Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin. This era was before the Mesolithic era
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

.

Settlements have rectangular mudbrick houses where the family lived together in single or multiple rooms. Burial findings suggest an ancestor cult where people preserved skulls of the dead, which were plastered with mud to make facial features. The rest of the corpse may 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.

Neolithic 3 – Pottery Neolithic (PN)


The Neolithic 3 (PN) began around 6500 BC in the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

. By then distinctive cultures emerged, with pottery like the Halafian (Turkey, Syria, Northern Mesopotamia) and Ubaid
Ubaid period
The Ubaid period is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The tell of al-`Ubaid west of nearby Ur in southern Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate has given its name to the prehistoric Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic culture, which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of southern...

 (Southern Mesopotamia).

The Chalcolithic period began about 4500 BC, then the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 began about 3500 BC, replacing the Neolithic cultures.

Fertile Crescent


Around 9500 BC, the first fully developed Neolithic cultures belonging to the phase Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A denotes the first stage in early Levantine Neolithic culture, dating around 9500 to 8500 BC. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent...

 (PPNA) appeared in the fertile crescent. Around 10,700 to 9400 BC, a settlement was established in Tell Qaramel, 25 kilometers north of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

. The settlement included 2 temples dating back to 9650. Around 9000 BC during the PPNA, the world's first town, Jericho, appeared in the Levant. It was surrounded by a stone and marble wall and contained a population of 2000–3000 people and a massive stone tower. Around 6000 BC the Halaf culture
Halaf culture
Halaf culture, is a prehistoric culture which developed from Neolithic III at Tell Halaf without any strong break. The Tell Halaf site flourished from about 6100 to 5400 BCE, a period of time that is referred to as the Halaf period. The Halaf culture was succeeded in northern Mesopotamia by the...

 appeared in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Syria, Anatolia, and Northern Mesopotamia and subsisted on dryland agriculture.

In 1981 a team of researchers from the Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée
Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée
The Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée is a research body in Lyon, France that specialises in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and the first steps of humanity...

, including Jacques Cauvin
Jacques Cauvin
Professor Jacques Cauvin was a French archaeologist who specialised in the prehistory of the Levant and Near East.-Biography:...

 and Oliver Aurenche divided Near East neolithic chronology into ten periods (0 to 9) based on social, economic and cultural characteristics. In 2002 Danielle Stordeur
Danielle Stordeur
Danielle Stordeur is a French Archaeologist and Directeur de Recherche at the CNRS. She is also Director of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent mission to El Kowm-Mureybet , replacing Jacques Cauvin in 1993 until 2010, when Frédéric Abbès is due to take over this position.-Positions...

 and Frédéric Abbès
Frédéric Abbès
Frédéric Abbès is a French Archaeologist working on postdoctoral research, specialising in the stone or lithic industry of the Near East and Mediterranean...

 advanced this system with a division into five periods. Natufian (1) between 12000 and 10000 BC, Khiamian
Khiamian
The Khiamian is a period of the Near-Eastern Neolithic, marking the transition between the Natufian and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A...

 (2a) between 10000 and 9500 BC, PPNA: Sultanian (Jericho), Mureybet
Mureybet
Mureybet is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located on the west bank of the Euphrates in Ar-Raqqah Governorate, northern Syria. The site was excavated between 1964 and 1974 and has since disappeared under the rising waters of Lake Assad...

ian (2b) between 9500 and 8700 BC, early PPNB (PPNB ancien) (3a) between 8700 and 8200 BC, middle PPNB (PPNB moyen) (3b) between 8200 and 7500 BC, late PPNB (PPNB récent) (4) between 7500 and 7000 BC and a PPNB (sometimes called PPNC) transitional stage (PPNB final) (5) where Halaf and dark faced burnished ware
Dark faced burnished ware
Dark Faced Burnished Ware or DFBW is the earliest form of pottery developed in the western world.It was produced after the earliest examples from the indepenent phenomenon of the Jomon culture in Japan and is predominantly found at archaeological sites in Lebanon, Israel and southwest Syria...

 begin to emerge between 7500 and 6500 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 and Tell Aswad
Tell Aswad
Tell Aswad , Su-uk-su, Shuksa or Tell Sukas is a large prehistoric, Neolithic Tell, about in size, located around from Damascus in Syria, on a tributary of the Balikh River at the eastern end of the village of Jdeidet el Khass.-Excavation:...

.

Southern Mesopotamia


Alluvial plains (Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

/Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

). Little rainfall makes irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 systems necessary. Ubaid
Ubaid period
The Ubaid period is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The tell of al-`Ubaid west of nearby Ur in southern Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate has given its name to the prehistoric Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic culture, which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of southern...

 culture from 5500 BC.

North Africa


Domestication of sheep and goats reached Egypt from the Near East possibly as early as 6000 BC. Graeme Barker
Graeme Barker
Graeme W. W. Barker is a British archaeologist, notable for his work on the Italian Bronze Age, the Roman occupation of Libya, and landscape archaeology.Barker was educated at St John's College, Cambridge...

 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.

Europe



In southeast Europe
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

 agrarian societies first appeared by c. 7000 BC, and in Central Europe by ca. 5500 BC. Among the earliest cultural complexes of this area are included the Sesklo
Sesklo
Sesklo is a village nearby the city of Volos, in Thessaly , in the prefecture of Magnesia. It is part of the municipality Aisonia...

 culture in Thessaly, which later expanded in the Balkans giving Starčevo-Körös
Starcevo-Körös
The Starčevo culture, also called Starčevo–Kőrös–Criş culture, is an archaeological culture of Southeastern Europe, dating to the Neolithic period between c. 6200 and 5200 BCE....

 (Cris), Linearbandkeramik, and Vinča
Vinca culture
The Vinča culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in Southeastern Europe, dated to the period 5500–4500 BCE. Named for its type site, Vinča-Belo Brdo, a large tell settlement discovered by Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić in 1908, it represents the material remains of a prehistoric society...

. Through a combination of cultural diffusion
Cultural diffusion
In cultural anthropology and cultural geography, cultural diffusion, as first conceptualized by Alfred L. Kroeber in his influential 1940 paper Stimulus Diffusion, or trans-cultural diffusion in later reformulations, is the spread of cultural items—such as ideas, styles, religions, technologies,...

 and migration of peoples
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

, the Neolithic traditions spread west and northwards to reach northwestern Europe by around 4500 BC. The Vinča culture
Vinca culture
The Vinča culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in Southeastern Europe, dated to the period 5500–4500 BCE. Named for its type site, Vinča-Belo Brdo, a large tell settlement discovered by Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić in 1908, it represents the material remains of a prehistoric society...

 may have created the earliest system of writing, the Vinča signs, though it is almost universally accepted amongst archeologists that the Sumerian cuneiform script was the earliest true form of writing and the Vinča signs 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 megalith
Megalith
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.The word 'megalith' comes from the Ancient...

ic temple complexes of Ġgantija
Ggantija
Ġgantija is a Neolithic, megalithic temple complex on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. The Ġgantija temples are the earliest of a series of megalithic temples in Malta. Their makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the Neolithic Age , which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and...

 on the Mediterranean island of Gozo (in the Maltese archipelago) and of Mnajdra
Mnajdra
Mnajdra is a megalithic temple complex found on the southern coast of the Mediterranean island of Malta. Mnajdra is approximately 500 metres from the Ħaġar Qim megalithic complex...

 (Malta) are notable for their gigantic Neolithic structures, the oldest of which date back to c. 3600 BC. The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni, Paola
Paola, Malta
Paola, , is a town in the Grand Harbour area of Malta, with a population of 8,856 people . It is named after its founder, the Grandmaster Antoine de Paule, but is commonly known as Raħal Ġdid, which means new town in Maltese.Paola is renowned for its shopping centres, Good Friday procession, its...

, Malta, is a subterranean structure excavated c. 2500 BC; originally a sanctuary, it became a necropolis
Necropolis
A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

, the only prehistoric underground temple in the world, and showing a degree of artistry in stone sculpture unique in prehistory to the Maltese islands.

South and East Asia


The earliest Neolithic site in South Asia is Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh , one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology, lies on the "Kachi plain" of Balochistan, Pakistan...

, dated to 7500 BC, in the Kachi plain of Baluchistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

, Pakistan; the site has evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats).

In South India, the Neolithic began by 3000 BC and lasted until around 1400 BC when the Megalithic transition period began. South Indian Neolithic is characterized by Ashmounds since 2500 BC in Karnataka region, expanded later to Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

.

In East Asia, the earliest sites include Pengtoushan culture
Pengtoushan culture
The Pengtoushan culture , dating 7500–6100 BCE, was a Neolithic culture centered primarily around the central Yangtze River region in northwestern Hunan, China. It was roughly contemporaneous with its northern neighbor, the Peiligang culture...

 around 7500 BC to 6100 BC, Peiligang culture
Peiligang culture
The Peiligang culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities in the Yi-Luo river basin in Henan Province, China. The culture existed from 7000 BC to 5000 BC. Over 70 sites have been identified with the Peiligang culture. The culture is named after the site discovered...

 around 7000 BC to 5000 BC.

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 (Indonesian New Guinea). Polished stone adze and axes are used in the present day ( CE) 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.

America


In Mesoamerica
Mesoamerican chronology
Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian , the Archaic , the Preclassic , the Classic , and the Postclassic...

, 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, although here the term "Pre-Classic" (or Formative) is used instead of mid-late Neolithic, the term Archaic Era for the Early Neolithic, and Paleo-Indian for the preceding period, though these cultures are usually not referred to as belonging to the Neolithic.

Social organization


During most of the Neolithic age, people lived in small tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s composed of multiple bands or lineages. There is little scientific evidence
Scientific evidence
Scientific evidence has no universally accepted definition but generally refers to evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis. Such evidence is generally expected to be empirical and properly documented in accordance with scientific method such as is...

 of developed social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

 in most Neolithic societies; social stratification is more associated with the later Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. Although some late Neolithic societies formed complex stratified chiefdoms similar to Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n societies such as the Ancient Hawaii
Ancient Hawaii
Ancient Hawaii refers to the period of Hawaiian human history preceding the unification of the Kingdom of Hawaii by Kamehameha the Great in 1810. After being first settled by Polynesian long-distance navigators sometime between AD 300–800, a unique culture developed. Diversified agroforestry and...

ans, most Neolithic societies were relatively simple and egalitarian. However, Neolithic societies were noticeably more hierarchical than the Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 cultures that preceded them and hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 cultures in general The domestication of animals (c.
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 8000 BC) resulted in a dramatic increase in social inequality. 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. 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
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 have revealed that early Neolithic Linear Ceramic cultures ("Linearbandkeramik") were building large arrangements of circular ditches
Circular ditches
About 150 arrangements of prehistoric circular ditches are known to archaeologists spread over Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Their diameters range from ca. 20 to ca. 130 m, and they date to the 5th millennium BC. Tools, bones, and some artefacts were found in their context....

 between 4800 BC and 4600 BC. These structures (and their later counterparts such as causewayed enclosure
Causewayed enclosure
A causewayed enclosure is a type of large prehistoric earthwork common to the early Neolithic in Europe. More than 100 examples are recorded in France and 70 in England, while further sites are known in Scandinavia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia.The term "causewayed enclosure" is...

s, burial mounds, and 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 strong 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
Palisade
A palisade is a steel or wooden fence or wall of variable height, usually used as a defensive structure.- Typical construction :Typical construction consisted of small or mid sized tree trunks aligned vertically, with no spacing in between. The trunks were sharpened or pointed at the top, and were...

 and an outer ditch. Settlements with palisades and weapon-traumatized bones have been discovered, such as at Herxheim
Herxheim
Herxheim is a municipality in the Südliche Weinstraße district, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated approx. 10 km south-east of Landau. Herxheim is the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde Herxheim....

, which, whether the site of a massacre or of a martial ritual, demonstrates "...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 corporate-level or 'tribal' groups, headed by a charismatic individual; whether a 'big man
Big man (anthropology)
A Big Man refers to a highly influential individual in a tribe, especially in Melanesia and Polynesia. Such person has no formal authority , but maintains recognition through skilled persuasion and wisdom.-Big Man "system":The American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins has been a proponent of the Big...

' or a proto-chief
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...

, 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 Early Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. Theories to explain the apparent implied egalitarianism of Neolithic (and Paleolithic) societies have arisen, notably the Marxist concept of primitive communism
Primitive communism
Primitive communism is a term used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to describe what they interpreted as early forms of communism: As a model, primitive communism is usually used to describe early hunter-gatherer societies, that had no hierarchical social class structures or capital accumulation...

.

Shelter



The shelter of the early people changed dramatically from the paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 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. 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.

Farming


A significant and far-reaching shift in human subsistence and lifestyle was to be brought about in areas where crop farm
Farm
A farm is an area of land, or, for aquaculture, lake, river or sea, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food , fibres and, increasingly, fuel. It is the basic production facility in food production. Farms may be owned and operated by a single...

ing and cultivation were first developed: the previous reliance on an essentially nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 subsistence technique or pastoral transhumance
Transhumance
Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and to lower valleys in winter. Herders have a permanent home, typically in valleys. Only the herds travel, with...

 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 town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

s, and later cities
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 and state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 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
Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

, a term coined in the 1920s by the Australian archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe
Vere Gordon Childe
Vere Gordon Childe , better known as V. Gordon Childe, was an Australian archaeologist and philologist who specialised in the study of European prehistory. A vocal socialist, Childe accepted the socio-economic theory of Marxism and was an early proponent of Marxist archaeology...

.

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 pastoral life could not, and sedentary farming populations grew faster than nomadic.

However, early farmers were also adversely affected in times of famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

, such as may be caused by drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 or pests
Pest control
Pest control refers to the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is perceived to be detrimental to a person's health, the ecology or the economy.-History:...

. 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
Diet (nutrition)
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. With the word diet, it is often implied the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management...

. 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 is 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
Sanitation
Sanitation is the hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes. Hazards can be either physical, microbiological, biological or chemical agents of disease. Wastes that can cause health problems are human and animal feces, solid wastes, domestic...

 needs and patterns of disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

.

Technology


Neolithic peoples were skilled farmers, manufacturing a range of tools necessary for the tending, harvesting and processing of crops (such as sickle
Sickle
A sickle is a hand-held agricultural tool with a variously curved blade typically used for harvesting grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock . Sickles have also been used as weapons, either in their original form or in various derivations.The diversity of sickles that...

 blades and grinding stone
Grinding Stone
Grinding Stone is a 1973 debut album by Gary Moore, released under the "The Gary Moore Band" moniker.-Track listing:All songs by Gary Moore.# "Grinding Stone" – 9:38# "Time to Heal" - 6:19# "Sail Across the Mountain" - 6:58...

s) and food production (e.g. pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, bone implements). They were also skilled manufacturers of a range of other types of stone tools and ornaments, including projectile point
Projectile point
In archaeological terms, a projectile point is an object that was hafted to a projectile, such as a spear, dart, or arrow, or perhaps used as a knife....

s, bead
Bead
A bead is a small, decorative object that is usually pierced for threading or stringing. Beads range in size from under to over in diameter. A pair of beads made from Nassarius sea snail shells, approximately 100,000 years old, are thought to be the earliest known examples of jewellery. Beadwork...

s, and statuettes. But what allowed forest clearance on a large scale was the polished stone axe above all other tools. Together with the adze
Adze
An adze is a tool used for smoothing or carving rough-cut wood in hand woodworking. Generally, the user stands astride a board or log and swings the adze downwards towards his feet, chipping off pieces of wood, moving backwards as they go and leaving a relatively smooth surface behind...

, fashioning wood for shelter, structures and canoe
Canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

s for example, this enabled them to exploit their newly-won farmland.

Neolithic peoples in the Levant, Anatolia, Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 were also accomplished builders, utilizing mud-brick to construct houses and villages. At Çatal höyük
Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BCE to 5700 BCE...

, houses were plaster
Plaster
Plaster is a building material used for coating walls and ceilings. Plaster starts as a dry powder similar to mortar or cement and like those materials it is mixed with water to form a paste which liberates heat and then hardens. Unlike mortar and cement, plaster remains quite soft after setting,...

ed and painted with elaborate scenes of humans and animals. In Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, long houses
Neolithic long house
The Neolithic long house was a long, narrow timber dwelling built by the first farmers in Europe beginning at least as early as the period 5000 to 6000 BC. This type of architecture represents the largest free-standing structure in the world in its era...

 built from wattle and daub
Wattle and daub
Wattle and daub is a composite building material used for making walls, in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw...

 were constructed. Elaborate tomb
Tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

s were built for the dead. These tombs are particularly numerous in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, where there are many thousand still in existence. Neolithic people in the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 built long barrow
Long barrow
A long barrow is a prehistoric monument dating to the early Neolithic period. They are rectangular or trapezoidal tumuli or earth mounds traditionally interpreted as collective tombs...

s and chamber tomb
Chamber tomb
A chamber tomb is a tomb for burial used in many different cultures. In the case of individual burials, the chamber is thought to signify a higher status for the interree than a simple grave. Built from rock or sometimes wood, the chambers could also serve as places for storage of the dead from one...

s for their dead and causewayed camps, henges, flint mines and cursus
Cursus
thumb|right|250px|[[Stonehenge Cursus]], Wiltshirethumb|right|250px|[[Dorset Cursus]] terminal on Thickthorn Down, DorsetCursus was a name given by early British archaeologists such as William Stukeley to the large parallel lengths of banks with external ditches which they thought were early Roman...

 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
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

 as preservatives.

The peoples of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 and the Pacific mostly retained the Neolithic level of tool technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 until the time of European contact. Exceptions include few copper hatchet
Hatchet
A hatchet is a single-handed striking tool with a sharp blade used to cut and split wood...

s and spear
Spear
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head.The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or...

heads in the 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 which are ideal for fastening leather, but not cloth. However, wool
Woolen
Woolen or woollen is a type of yarn made from carded wool. Woolen yarn is soft, light, stretchy, and full of air. It is thus a good insulator, and makes a good knitting yarn...

 cloth and linen
Linen
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather....

 might have become available during the British Neolithic, as suggested by finds of perforated stones which (depending on size) may have served as spindle whorls
Spindle (textiles)
A spindle is a wooden spike used for spinning wool, flax, hemp, cotton, and other fibres into thread. It is commonly weighted at either the bottom middle or top, most commonly by a circular or spherical object called a whorl, and may also have a hook, groove or notch, though spindles without...

 or loom
Loom
A loom is a device used to weave cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads...

 weights. The clothing worn in the Neolithic Age might be similar to that worn by Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman , Similaun Man, and Man from Hauslabjoch are modern names for a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived about 5,300 years ago. The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from the...

, although he was not British and not Neolithic (since he belonged to the later Copper age
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

).

Early settlements


Neolithic human settlements include:
  • Göbekli Tepe
    Göbekli Tepe
    Göbekli Tepe [ɡøbe̞kli te̞pɛ] is a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge in southeastern Turkey, some northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa . It is the oldest human-made religious structure yet discovered...

     in Turkey, c. 11,000-9000 BC
  • Tell Qaramel
    Tell Qaramel
    Tell Qaramel is a tell, or archaeological mound, located in the north of present-day Syria, 25 km north of Aleppo and about 65 km south of the Taurus mountains, adjacent to the river Quweiq....

     in Syria
    Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

    , 10,700–9400 BC
  • Franchthi Cave
    Franchthi Cave
    Franchthi cave in the Peloponnese, in the southeastern Argolid, is a cave overlooking the Argolic Gulf opposite the Greek village of Koilada....

     in Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    , epipalaeolithic (c. 10,000 BC) settlement, reoccupied between 7500–6000 BC
  • Lahuradewa in India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    , 7000 BC
  • Jericho
    Jericho
    Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

     in West bank
    West Bank
    The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

    , Neolithic from around 8350 BC, arising from the earlier Epipaleolithic
    Epipaleolithic
    The Epipaleolithic Age was a period in the development of human technology marked by more advanced stone blades and other tools than the earlier Paleolithic age, although still before the development of agriculture in the Neolithic age...

     Natufian culture
    Natufian culture
    The Natufian culture was a Mesolithic culture that existed from 12,500 to 9,500 BC in the Levant, a region in the Eastern Mediterranean. It was unusual in that it was sedentary, or semi-sedentary, before the introduction of agriculture...

  • Nevali Cori
    Nevali Cori
    Nevalı Çori was an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates, in the province of Şanlıurfa , eastern Turkey. The site is famous for having revealed some of the world's most ancient known temples and monumental sculpture...

     in Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , c. 8000 BC
  • Ganj Dareh
    Ganj Dareh
    Ganj Dareh is a Neolithic settlement in the Iranian Kurdistan portion of Iran...

     in Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    , c. 7000 BC

  • Çatalhöyük
    Çatalhöyük
    Çatalhöyük was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BCE to 5700 BCE...

     in Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , 7500 BC
  • Pengtoushan culture
    Pengtoushan culture
    The Pengtoushan culture , dating 7500–6100 BCE, was a Neolithic culture centered primarily around the central Yangtze River region in northwestern Hunan, China. It was roughly contemporaneous with its northern neighbor, the Peiligang culture...

     in China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , 7500 – 6100 BC
  • 'Ain Ghazal
    'Ain Ghazal
    Ain Ghazal is a Neolithic site located in North-Western Jordan, on the outskirts of Amman. It dates as far back as 7250 BC, and was inhabited until 5000 BC...

     in Jordan
    Jordan
    Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

    , 7250–5000 BC
  • Chogha Bonut
    Chogha Bonut
    Chogha Bonut is an archaeological site in southwestern Iran, located in the Khuzistan Province ....

     in Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    , 7200 BC
  • Jhusi
    Jhusi
    Jhusi is a town and a nagar panchayat in Allahabad district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It was formerly called Andhernagri and Pratishthan Pur or Puri.-Geography:...

     in India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    , 7100 BC
  • Karanovo in Bulgaria, 6200 BC
  • Petnica
    Petnica
    Petnica is a small village near Valjevo, Serbia. According to the census of 2002, there were 614 inhabitants .-History:Petnica was founded at the beginning of the 15th century...

     in Serbia
    Serbia
    Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

    , 6000 BC
  • Sesklo
    Sesklo
    Sesklo is a village nearby the city of Volos, in Thessaly , in the prefecture of Magnesia. It is part of the municipality Aisonia...

     in Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    , 6850 BC (with a ±660 year margin of error)
  • Dispilio
    Dispilio Tablet
    The Dispilio Tablet is a wooden tablet bearing inscribed markings , unearthed during George Hourmouziadis's excavations of Dispilio in Greece and carbon 14-dated to about 7300 BP...

     in Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    , c. 5500 BC
  • Padah-Lin Caves
    Padah-Lin Caves
    Padah-Lin Caves are limestone caves located in Western Shan State, Taunggyi District, Burma near a path from Nyaunggyatt to Yebock, on a spur of the Nwalabo mountains within the Panlaung Reserved Forest...

     in Myanmar
    Myanmar
    Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

    , c. 6000 BC
  • Jiahu
    Jiahu
    Jiahu was the site of a Neolithic Yellow River settlement based in the central plains of ancient China, modern Wuyang, Henan Province. Archaeologists consider the site to be one of the earliest examples of the Peiligang culture. Settled from 7000 to 5800 BC, the site was later flooded and abandoned...

     in China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , 7000 to 5800 BC
  • Mehrgarh
    Mehrgarh
    Mehrgarh , one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology, lies on the "Kachi plain" of Balochistan, Pakistan...

     in Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    , 7000 BC
  • Knossus on Crete
    Crete
    Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

    , c. 7000 BC
  • Porodin
    Porodin
    Porodin is a village in the municipality of Žabari, Serbia. According to the 2002 census, the village has a population of 2036 people.-References:...

     in Republic of Macedonia
    Republic of Macedonia
    Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

    , 6500 BC
  • Vrshnik (Anzabegovo) in Republic of Macedonia
    Republic of Macedonia
    Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

    , 6500 BC
  • Pizzo di Bodi (Varese), Lombardy
    Lombardy
    Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

     in Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    , c. 6320 ±80 BC
  • Sammardenchia in Friuli, Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    , c. 6050 ±90 BC,
  • Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, 5500–2750 BC, in Ukraine
    Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

    , Moldova
    Moldova
    Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

     and Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     first salt works
  • Tabon Cave Complex
    Tabon Cave
    The Tabon Caves are a set of caves north of Quezon municipality, in the south western part of the province of Palawan on Palawan Island, in the Philippines. The caves are named after the Tabon Scrubfowl. Tabon Caves is bordered on the south by the town proper of Quezon, Bgy. Panitian on the west,...

     in Quezon, Palawan
    Quezon, Palawan
    Quezon, Palawan is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Palawan, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 41,669 people in 8,453 households...

    , Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     5000 – 2000 BC
  • Hemudu culture
    Hemudu culture
    The Hemudu culture was a Neolithic culture that flourished just south of the Hangzhou Bay in Jiangnan in modern Yuyao, Zhejiang, China. The site at Hemudu, 22 km north-west of Ningbo, was discovered in 1973...

     in China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , 5000 – 4500 BC, large scale rice plantation
  • around 2000 settlements of Trypillian culture, 5400 – 2800 BC
  • Tell Zeidan
    Tell Zeidan
    Tell Zeidan is an archaeological site of the Ubaid culture in northern Syria, from about 5500 to 4000 BC. The dig consists of three large mounds on the east bank of the Balikh River, slightly north of its confluence with the Euphrates River, and is located about east of the modern Syrian city of...

     in northern Syria, from about 5500 to 4000 BC.
  • The Megalithic Temples
    Megalithic Temples of Malta
    The Megalithic Temples of Malta are a series of prehistoric monuments in Malta of which seven are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Archaeologists believe that these megalithic complexes are the result of local innovations in a process of cultural evolution...

     of Malta
    Malta
    Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

    , 3600 BC
  • Knap of Howar
    Knap of Howar
    At Knap of Howar on the island of Papa Westray in Orkney, Scotland, a Neolithic farmstead may be the oldest preserved stone house in northern Europe...

     and Skara Brae
    Skara Brae
    Skara Brae is a large stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It consists of ten clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE–2500 BCE...

    , Orkney, Scotland
    Prehistoric Scotland
    Archaeology and geology continue to reveal the secrets of prehistoric Scotland, uncovering a complex and dramatic past before the Romans brought Scotland into the scope of recorded history...

    , from 3500 BC and 3100 BC respectively
  • Brú na Bóinne
    Brú na Bóinne
    is a World Heritage Site in County Meath, Ireland and is the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe.-The site:...

     in Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    , c. 3500 BC
  • Lough Gur
    Lough Gur
    Lough Gur is a lake in County Limerick, Ireland between the towns of Herbertstown and Bruff. The lake forms a horseshoe shape at the base of Knockadoon Hill and some rugged elevated countryside. It is one of Ireland's most important archaeological sites...

     in Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

     from around 3000 BC
  • Lajia
    Lajia
    Lajia is an archaeological site located in Minhe County, Haidong Prefecture in Northwest China's Qinghai province. Lajia is associated with the Qijia culture and was discovered by archaeologists in 2000. The site covers an area of around 200,000 square meters...

     in China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , 2000 BC


The world's oldest known engineered roadway, the Sweet Track
Sweet Track
The Sweet Track is an ancient causeway in the Somerset Levels, England. It was built in 3807 or 3806 BC and has been claimed to be the oldest road in the world. It was the oldest timber trackway discovered in Northern Europe until the 2009 discovery of a 6,000 year-old trackway in Belmarsh Prison...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, dates from 3800 BC and the world's oldest free-standing structure is the neolithic temple of Ggantija
Ggantija
Ġgantija is a Neolithic, megalithic temple complex on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. The Ġgantija temples are the earliest of a series of megalithic temples in Malta. Their makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the Neolithic Age , which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and...

 in Gozo
Gozo
Gozo is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago...

, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

.

List of cultures and sites



Note: Dates are very approximate, and are only given for a rough estimate; consult each culture for specific pie time periods.

Early Neolithic

Periodization: The Levant: 10,000 to 8500 BC; Europe: 5000 to 4000 BC; Elsewhere: varies greatly, depending on region.
  • Beixin culture
    Beixin culture
    The Beixin culture was a Neolithic culture in Shandong, China. 50 sites from the culture have been discovered. The culture showed evidence of millet cultivation and water buffalo domestication....

  • Cishan culture
    Cishan culture
    The Cishan culture was a Neolithic Yellow River culture in northern China, based primarily around southern Hebei. The Cishan culture was based on millet farming, the cultivation of which on one site has been dated back 10,000 years...

  • Dudeşti culture
    Dudesti culture
    The Dudeşti culture is a farming/herding culture that occupied part of Romania in the 6th millennium BC, typified by semi-subterranean habitations on the edges of low plateaus. This culture contributed to the origin of both the subsequent Hamangia culture and the Boian culture. It was named after...

  • Franchthi Cave people
    Franchthi Cave
    Franchthi cave in the Peloponnese, in the southeastern Argolid, is a cave overlooking the Argolic Gulf opposite the Greek village of Koilada....

    • Earliest European Neolithic site: 20th to 3rd millennium BC
  • Sesclo village culture
  • Starcevo-Criş culture
    Starcevo-Körös
    The Starčevo culture, also called Starčevo–Kőrös–Criş culture, is an archaeological culture of Southeastern Europe, dating to the Neolithic period between c. 6200 and 5200 BCE....

    • (also known as the Starčevo-Körös-Criş culture)


Middle Neolithic

Periodization: The Levant: 8500 to 6500 BC; Europe
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

: 4000 to 3500 BC; Elsewhere: varies greatly, depending on region.
  • Baodun culture
    Baodun culture
    The Baodun culture was a Neolithic culture centered on the Chengdu Plain in Sichuan, China. Recently discovered, six settlements from the culture have been found: the type site at Baodun in Xinjin County, the site at Mangcheng in Dujiangyan City, the site at Yufu in Wenjiang County, the site at...

    • Jinsha settlement and Sanxingdui
      Sanxingdui
      Sanxingdui is the name of an archaeological site and its deduced culture in China, now believed to be the site of an ancient Chinese city. The previously unknown Bronze Age culture was re-discovered in 1987 when archaeologists excavated remarkable artifacts, that radiocarbon dating dated as being...

       mound.
  • Cardium Pottery culture
    Cardium Pottery
    Cardium Pottery or Cardial Ware is a Neolithic decorative style that gets its name from the imprinting of the clay with the shell of the Cardium edulis, a marine mollusk...

  • Comb Ceramic culture
  • Corded Ware culture
  • Cortaillod culture
    Cortaillod culture
    The Cortaillod culture is one of several archaeologically defined cultures belonging to the Neolithic period of Switzerland. The Cortaillod Culture in the west of the region is contemporary with the Pfyn Culture...

  • Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
  • Dadiwan culture
    Dadiwan culture
    The Dadiwan culture was a Neolithic culture found primarily in Gansu and western Shaanxi, China. The culture takes its name from the earliest layer found at the type site at Dadiwan. The remains of millet and pigs were found in sites associated with the culture...

  • Dawenkou culture
    Dawenkou culture
    The Dawenkou culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities who lived primarily in Shandong, but also appeared in Anhui, Henan and Jiangsu, China. The culture existed from 4100 BC to 2600 BC, co-existing with the Yangshao culture. Turquoise, jade and ivory artefacts...

  • Daxi culture
    Daxi culture
    The Daxi culture was a Neolithic culture centered in the Three Gorges region, around the middle Yangtze River, China. The culture ranged from western Hubei to eastern Sichuan and the Pearl River Delta. The site at Daxi, located in the Qutang Gorge around Wushan, Chongqing, was discovered by Nels...

    • Chengtoushan settlement
      Chengtoushan
      Chengtoushan was a Neolithic settlement located on the northwestern edge of Dongting Lake in Lixian County, Changde, Hunan, China.The site contains the earliest dated rice field in China . The settlement spanned three separate cultures: the Daxi culture, the Qujialing culture and the Shijiahe...

  • Grooved ware people
    Grooved ware people
    Most Neolithic cultures in Britain are best identified by the pottery remains which they left. A large number of apparently unrelated cultures seem to have produced urns which have characteristic grooves near the top rim, hence the name grooved ware people....

    • Skara Brae
      Skara Brae
      Skara Brae is a large stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It consists of ten clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE–2500 BCE...

      , et al.
  • Erlitou culture
    Erlitou culture
    The Erlitou culture is a name given by archaeologists to an Early Bronze Age urban society that existed in China from 2000 BCE to 1500 BCE. The culture was named after the site discovered at Erlitou in Yanshi, Henan Province...

    • Xia Dynasty
      Xia Dynasty
      The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

  • Ertebølle culture
    Ertebølle culture
    The Ertebølle culture is the name of a hunter-gatherer and fisher, pottery-making culture dating to the end of the Mesolithic period. The culture was concentrated in Southern Scandinavia, but genetically linked to strongly related cultures in Northern Germany and the Northern Netherlands...

  • Hembury culture
    Hembury
    Hembury is a Neolithic causewayed enclosure near Honiton in Devon. It dates from the late fifth and early fourth millennia BC onwards to the Roman Invasion. The fort is situated on a promontory to the North of and overlooking the River Otter Valley at approx 178 Metres above Sea Level.It has given...

  • Hemudu culture
    Hemudu culture
    The Hemudu culture was a Neolithic culture that flourished just south of the Hangzhou Bay in Jiangnan in modern Yuyao, Zhejiang, China. The site at Hemudu, 22 km north-west of Ningbo, was discovered in 1973...

  • Hongshan culture
    Hongshan culture
    The Hongshan culture was a Neolithic culture in northeastern China. Hongshan sites have been found in an area stretching from Inner Mongolia to Liaoning, and dated from about 4700 BC to 2900 BC....

  • Houli culture
    Houli culture
    The Houli culture was a Neolithic culture in Shandong, China. The people of the culture lived in square, semi-subterranean houses. Archaeological evidence shows that domesticated dogs and pigs were used. The type site at Houli was discovered in the Linzi District of Shandong and was excavated from...

  • Horgen culture
    Horgen
    Horgen is a village in the district of Horgen in the canton of Zürich in Switzerland.It is one of the larger towns along the south bank of the Lake of Zurich.- History :Horgen is also the type-site of Switzerland's middle Neolithic archaeological culture...

  • Liangzhu culture
    Liangzhu culture
    The Liangzhu culture was the last Neolithic jade culture in the Yangtze River Delta of China. Its area of influence extended from around Lake Tai north to Nanjing and the Chang Jiang, east to Shanghai and the sea, and south to Hangzhou...

  • Linear Pottery culture
    Linear Pottery culture
    The Linear Pottery culture is a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic, flourishing ca. 5500–4500 BC.It is abbreviated as LBK , is also known as the Linear Band Ware, Linear Ware, Linear Ceramics or Incised Ware culture, and falls within the Danubian I culture of V...

    • Goseck circle
      Goseck circle
      The Goseck circle is a Neolithic structure in Goseck in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in defined places. It is considered the earliest sun observatory currently known in...

      , et al.
      Circular ditches
      About 150 arrangements of prehistoric circular ditches are known to archaeologists spread over Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Their diameters range from ca. 20 to ca. 130 m, and they date to the 5th millennium BC. Tools, bones, and some artefacts were found in their context....

  • Longshan culture
    Longshan culture
    The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic culture in China, centered on the central and lower Yellow River and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC...

  • Majiabang culture
    Majiabang culture
    The Majiabang culture was a Neolithic culture that existed at the mouth of the Yangtze River, primarily around the Taihu area and north of Hangzhou Bay in China. The culture was spread throughout southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC...

  • Majiayao culture
    Majiayao culture
    The Majiayao culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities who lived primarily in the upper Yellow River region in eastern Gansu, eastern Qinghai and northern Sichuan, China. The culture existed from 3100 BC to 2700 BC...

  • Peiligang culture
    Peiligang culture
    The Peiligang culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities in the Yi-Luo river basin in Henan Province, China. The culture existed from 7000 BC to 5000 BC. Over 70 sites have been identified with the Peiligang culture. The culture is named after the site discovered...

  • Pengtoushan culture
    Pengtoushan culture
    The Pengtoushan culture , dating 7500–6100 BCE, was a Neolithic culture centered primarily around the central Yangtze River region in northwestern Hunan, China. It was roughly contemporaneous with its northern neighbor, the Peiligang culture...

  • Pfyn culture
    Pfyn culture
    The Pfyn Culture is one of several archaeological cultures of the Neolithic period in Switzerland. It dates from c. 3900 BC to c. 3500 BC.-Discovery:...

  • Precucuteni culture
  • Qujialing culture
    Qujialing culture
    The Qujialing culture was a Neolithic civilisation centered primarily around the middle Yangtze River region in Hubei and Hunan, China. The culture succeeded the Daxi culture and reached southern Shaanxi, northern Jiangxi and southwest Henan...

  • Shijiahe culture
    Shijiahe culture
    The Shijiahe culture was a late Neolithic culture centered around the middle Yangtze River region in Hubei, China. It succeeded the Qujialing culture in the same region and inherited its unique artefact of painted spindle whorls. Pottery figurines and distinct jade worked with advanced techniques...

  • Trypillian culture
  • Vinča culture
    Vinca culture
    The Vinča culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in Southeastern Europe, dated to the period 5500–4500 BCE. Named for its type site, Vinča-Belo Brdo, a large tell settlement discovered by Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić in 1908, it represents the material remains of a prehistoric society...

  • Windmill Hill culture
    Windmill Hill culture
    The Windmill Hill culture was a name given to a people inhabiting southern Britain, in particular in the Salisbury Plain area close to Stonehenge, around approximately 3000BC. They were an agrarian Neolithic people; their name comes from Windmill Hill, a causewayed camp...

    • Stonehenge
      Stonehenge
      Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

  • Xinglongwa culture
    Xinglongwa culture
    The Xinglongwa culture was a Neolithic culture in northeastern China, found mainly around the Inner Mongolia-Liaoning border. Xinglongwa pottery was primarily cylindrical, and baked at low temperatures....

    • Beifudi site
  • Xinle culture
    Xinle culture
    The Xinle Civilization was a Neolithic culture in northeast China, found primarily around the lower Liao River on the Liaodong Peninsula in Liaoning. The culture showed evidence of millet cultivation and pig domestication...

  • Yangshao culture
    Yangshao culture
    The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China. The Yangshao culture is dated from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. The culture is named after Yangshao, the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921...

    • Banpo
      Banpo
      Banpo is an archaeological remain discovered in 1953 and located in the Yellow River Valley just east of Xi'an, China. It contains the remains of several well organized Neolithic settlements dating from 5600 - 6700 BP according to radiocarbon dating. It is a large area of 5-6 hectares and...

       and Xishuipo
      Xishuipo
      Xishuipo is a Neolithic site in Puyang, Henan, China, associated with the Yangshao culture. The site was excavated from 1987 to 1988; 186 burials were discovered at the site....

       settlements.
  • Zhaobaogou culture
    Zhaobaogou culture
    The Zhaobaogou culture was a Neolithic culture in northeast China, found primarily in the Luan River valley in Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei. The culture produced sand-tempered, incised pottery vessels with geometric and zoomorphic designs...



Later Neolithic

Periodization: 6500 to 4500 BC; Europe
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

: 3500 to 3000 BC; Elsewhere: varies greatly, depending on region.


Eneolithic

Periodization: Middle East
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

: 4500 to 3300 BC; Europe
Chalcolithic Europe
Chalcolithic Europe, the Chalcolithic period of Prehistoric Europe lasts roughly 3500 to 1700 BC.It is the period of Megalithic culture, the appearance of the first significant economic stratification, and probably the earliest presence of Indo-European speakers.The economy of the Chalcolithic,...

: 3000 to 1700 BC; Elsewhere
Metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
The emergence of metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica occurred relatively late in the region's history, with distinctive works of metal apparent in West Mexico by roughly AD 800, and perhaps as early as AD 600...

: varies greatly, depending on region. In the Americas, the Eneolithic ended as late as the 1800s for some people.
  • Beaker culture
    Beaker culture
    The Bell-Beaker culture , ca. 2400 – 1800 BC, is the term for a widely scattered cultural phenomenon of prehistoric western Europe starting in the late Neolithic or Chalcolithic running into the early Bronze Age...

  • Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
  • Funnelbeaker culture
    Funnelbeaker culture
    The Funnelbeaker culture, short TRB from Trichterbecherkultur is the principal north central European megalithic culture of late Neolithic Europe.- Predecessor and successor cultures :...

  • Gaudo Culture
    Gaudo Culture
    The Gaudo Culture is a neolithic culture from Southern Italy, primarily in the region of Campania, active at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, whose typesite necropolis is located near Paestum, not far from the mouth of the river Sele...

  • Lengyel culture
    Lengyel culture
    The Lengyel culture, is an archaeological culture of the European Neolithic, centered on the Middle Danube in Central Europe. It flourished during ca...

  • Varna culture
    Varna culture
    The Varna culture belongs to the late Eneolithic of northern Bulgaria. It is conventionally dated between 4400-4100 BC cal, that is, contemporary with Karanovo in the South...


See also



  • Megalith
    Megalith
    A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.The word 'megalith' comes from the Ancient...

  • Neolithic Europe
    Neolithic Europe
    Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

  • Neolithic Revolution
    Neolithic Revolution
    The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution. It was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved independently in 6 separate locations worldwide circa...

  • Neolithic religion
    Neolithic religion
    Prehistoric religion is a general term for the religious beliefs and practices of prehistoric peoples. More specifically it encompasses Paleolithic religion, Mesolithic religion, Neolithic religion and Bronze Age religion.-Burial:...

  • Neolithic tomb
    Neolithic tomb
    The Neolithic tombs of Northwestern Europe, particularly Ireland, were built by the Neolithic people in the period 4000 - 2000 BC. There are four main types:* Passage graves* Portal dolmens* Court cairns* Wedge-shaped gallery graves...


  • Ötzi the Iceman
    Ötzi the Iceman
    Ötzi the Iceman , Similaun Man, and Man from Hauslabjoch are modern names for a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived about 5,300 years ago. The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from the...

  • Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
    Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
    The synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures gives a rough picture of the relationships between the various principal cultures of prehistory outside the Americas, Antarctica, Australia and Oceania...

  • Paleolithic
    Paleolithic
    The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

  • Rock art of the Djelfa region
    Rock art of the Djelfa region
    The rock art of the Djelfa region consists of prehistoric engravings of Neolithic age which have been recognized since 1914. Following the Saharan Atlas Mountains they follow on from those, to the west, of south Oran , to which they are related...



External links