- Final stage of technological development or cultural evolution among prehistoric humans.It is characterized by the use of stone tools shaped by polishing or grinding, the domestication of plants or animals, the establishment of permanent villages, and the practice of such crafts as pottery and weaving. The Neolithic followed the Paleolithic Period (and in northwestern Europe the Mesolithic) and preceded the Bronze Age. Its beginning is associated with the villages that emerged in South Asia с 9000 BC and flourished in the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys from с 7000 BC. Farming spread northward throughout Eurasia, reaching Britain and Scandinavia only after 3000 BC. Neolithic technologies also spread to the Indus River valley of India by 5000 BC and to the Huang Ho valley of China by с 3500 BC. The term is not applied to the New World, though Neolithic modes of life were achieved independently there by с 2500 BC.
* * *also called New Stone Agefinal stage of cultural evolution or technological development among prehistoric humans. It was characterized by stone tools shaped by polishing or grinding, dependence on domesticated plants or animals, settlement in permanent villages, and the appearance of such crafts as pottery and weaving. The Neolithic followed the Paleolithic Period, or age of chipped-stone tools, and preceded the Bronze Age, or early period of metal tools.A brief treatment of the Neolithic Period follows. For full treatment, see Stone Age: Neolithic (Stone Age) and technology: The Neolithic Revolution (technology, history of).The Neolithic stage of development was attained during the Holocene Epoch (the last 10,000 years of Earth history). During this time, humans learned to raise crops and keep domestic livestock, and were thus no longer dependent on hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants. Neolithic cultures made more useful stone tools by grinding and polishing relatively hard rocks, rather than merely chipping softer ones down to the desired shape. The cultivation of cereal grains enabled Neolithic peoples to build permanent dwellings and congregate in villages, and the release from nomadism and a hunting-gathering economy gave them the time to pursue specialized crafts.Archaeological evidence indicates that the transition from food-collecting cultures to food-producing ones gradually occurred across Asia and Europe from a starting point in the Fertile Crescent. Cultivation and animal domestication first appeared in southwestern Asia by about 9000 BC, and a way of life based on farming and settled villages had been firmly achieved by 7000 BC in the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys (now in Iraq and Iran) and in what are now Syria, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan. These earliest farmers raised barley and wheat and kept sheep and goats, later supplemented by cattle and pigs. Their innovations spread from the Middle East northward into Europe by two routes: across Turkey and Greece into central Europe, and across Egypt and North Africa and thence to Spain. Farming communities appeared in Greece as early as 7000 BC, and farming spread northward throughout the continent over the next four millennia. This long and gradual transition was not completed in Britain and Scandinavia until after 3000 BC and is known as the Mesolithic Period (q.v.).Neolithic technologies also spread eastward to the Indus River valley of India by 5000 BC. Farming communities based on millet and rice appeared in the Huang Ho (Yellow River) valley of China and in Southeast Asia by about 3500 BC. Neolithic modes of life were achieved independently in the New World. Corn (maize), beans, and squash were gradually domesticated in Mexico and Central America from 6500 BC on, though sedentary village life did not commence there until much later, at about 2000 BC.In the Old World the Neolithic Period was succeeded by the Bronze Age (q.v.) when human societies learned to combine copper and tin to make bronze, which replaced stone for use as tools and weapons.
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NEOLITHIC PERIOD — (C. 9000–5000 B.C.) Literally this term means “new stone age.” The most prevalent tools were still made of stone, such as flint and other hard rocks. However, in many other respects the Neolithic period in the Near East has justly been… … Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia
Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes — Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons) * UNESCO World Heritage Site Section of mines at Spiennes Country … Wikipedia
Neolithic — [nē΄ō lith′ik, nē΄əlith′ik] adj. [ NEO + LITHIC] [sometimes n ] designating or of an Old World cultural period (8000? 3500? B.C.) characterized by polished stone tools, pottery, weaving, stock rearing, agriculture, and sometimes megaliths the… … English World dictionary
Neolithic British Isles — The Neolithic site of Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, southern England, is one example of the large ceremonial monuments constructed across the British Isles in this period. The Neolithic British Isles refers to the period of British, Irish and Manx… … Wikipedia
Neolithic — An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. Neolithic stone implements are by definition polished and except for specialty items not chipped. The Neolithic … Wikipedia
Neolithic Europe — Map showing the Neolithic expansions from the 7th to the 5th millennium BC, including the Cardium Culture in blue … Wikipedia
Neolithic Revolution — The Neolithic This box: view · talk · edit ↑ Mesolithic … Wikipedia
Neolithic architecture — Excavated dwellings at Skara Brae Neolithic architecture is the architecture of the Neolithic period. In Southwest Asia, Neolithic cultures appear soon after 10000 BC, initially in the Levant (Pre Pottery Neolithic A and Pre Pottery Neolithic B)… … Wikipedia
Neolithic founder crops — Ancient Near East portal The Neolithic founder crops (or primary domesticates) are the eight plant species that were domesticated by early Holocene (Pre Pottery Neolithic A and Pre Pottery Neolithic B) farming communities in the … Wikipedia
Neolithic — /niəˈlɪθɪk / (say neeuh lithik) noun Also, Neolithic Period. 1. the later Stone Age or New Stone Age, characterised by well finished polished implements of flint and other stone; it includes the Holocene (or Recent) Epoch of the post glacial… … Australian English dictionary