Neolithic

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Neolithic

Post by DIESEL on Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:44 pm

The Neolithic, New Stone Age, was characterized by the adoption of agriculture, the so-called Neolithic Revolution, the development of pottery and more complex, larger settlements such as Çatal Hüyük and Jericho. The first Neolithic cultures started around 7000 BC in the fertile crescent. Agriculture and the culture it led to spread to the Mediterranean, the Indus valley, China and Southeast Asia.

Due to the increased need to harvest and process plants, ground stone and polished stone artifacts became much more widespread, including tools for grinding, cutting, and chopping. The first large-scale constructions were built, including settlement towers and walls, e.g., Jericho and ceremonial sites, eg: Stonehenge. These show that there was sufficient resources and co-operation to enable large groups to work on these projects. To what extent this was a basis for the development of elites and social hierarchies is a matter of on-going debate. Although some late Neolithic societies formed complex stratified chiefdoms similar to Polynesian societies such as the Ancient Hawaiians, most Neolithic societies were relatively simple and egalitarian though Neolithic cultures were noticeably more hierarchical than the Paleolithic cultures that preceded them and Hunter-gatherer cultures in general. The earliest evidence for established trade exists in the Neolithic with newly settled people importing exotic goods over distances of many hundreds of miles. The Ġgantija temples of Gozo in the Maltese archipelago are the oldest surviving free standing structures in the world, erected c. 3600-2500 BC. Skara Brae located on Orkney island off Scotland is one of Europe's best examples of a Neolithic village. The community contains stone beds, shelves and even an indoor toilet linked to a stream.

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