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Neolithic Period: First Trace of Civilization in Stone Age

Neolithic Period: First Trace of Civilization in Stone Age

Stone Age was the first period of the Three Age System. And Neolithic was the last period of the Stone Age which was divided into three periods: Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic. That is to say, Neolithic period was both the end of a period that heralded a new era.

An archaeologist John Lubbuck coined the name for this period. Like Paleolithic and Mesolithic, Sir John Lubbuck created the name with two Greek words: “neos” meaning recent or new while “lithio” meaning stone. So overall, the word “Neolithic” meant New Stone Age. But what made the Neolithic period different from other periods were not only the sophistication of weapons but also the way that people of this time organized their society.

Social Organization in Neolithic period

There was no clear evidence that Neolithic people built their hierarchies. Families of this time were finally economically independent. Some excavations in Europe that Neolithic cultures were trying to build circular ditches and channels. These structures and later their burial mounds required a lot of time and effort. So it might have been someone with great influence demanded the human labor.

Farming

Of all the great inventions of this time, creation of agriculture was the greatest. With the help of farming, life of Neolithic people experienced significant shift. With the appearance of farming, people didn’t need to keep the nomadic lifestyle to find food. Rather, they wanted to settle down because their life was finally assured. In other words, agricultural development gave the trend of settlement a rise. Gradually, homes became permanent and homes became villages. Villages became cities. This trend still survived into the Bronze Age.

Image of Neolithic farming
Depiction of Neolithic farming

One cool thing about the farming and agricultural technology was the ability to produce a surplus of food from the yield. With this surplus, they could either preserve for the future or trade with other communities.

Another great change from this new invention of agriculture was the lack of nutrition. When we compare the Paleolithic and the Neolithic, we can see the difference in their diet. The old hunter-gatherer communities once had diet with various types of meat with great source of protein. Meanwhile, the farmers who no longer felt interested to hunt depended only on their crops. This meant they had their diet derived of a certain source of nutrition.

Technology

Maybe because of their life demand, the Neolithic people had to keep themselves creative. They were the skilled farmers who could produce not only crops but also a wide range of tools. They could even produce jewelry and other types of ornaments like beads or statues.

Neolithic people were also the skilled builders. They used mudbrick to construct their houses. In Çatalhöyük, Turkey, there were houses with elaborate paintings and scenes of humans and animals. As mentioned above, tombs for the dead were erected in this time. The Neolithic people in British Isles built chamber tombs, mines, and monuments. The tombs were found the most in Ireland where many of them still existed. People of this time even figured out the way to build house to preserve their food for months.

Image of Neolithic period house painting
Painting from a house in Çatalhöyük a large red bull being teased by small humans

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