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The Neolithic period is the final division of the
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 8,700 BCE and 2,000 BCE, with the ...
, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
appeared in the
Epipalaeolithic Near East In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic during the Stone Age. Mesolithic also falls between these two periods, and the two a ...
, and later in other parts of the world. The Neolithic lasted (in that part of the world) until the transitional period of the
Chalcolithic The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...
from about 6,500 years ago (4500 BCE), marked by the development of
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. Metallurgy encompasses both the science ...
, leading up to the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron s ...
and
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly app ...
. In other places the Neolithic followed the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek: μέσος, ''mesos'' "middle"; λίθος, ''lithos'' "stone") is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymously, especially for ou ...
and then lasted until later. In
Northern Europe Northern Europe is a loosely defined geographical and cultural region in Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54°N, or may be based on other geo ...
, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BCE, while in China it extended until 1200 BCE. Other parts of the world (including Oceania and the northern regions of the Americas) remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact. The Neolithic introduced the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasi ...
or "Neolithic package", comprising a progression of behavioral and
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.Tylor, Edward. (1871). ...
characteristics and changes, above all the introduction of farming and use of
domesticated animals This page gives a list of domestic animals, also including a list of animals which are or may be currently undergoing the process of domestication and animals that have an extensive relationship with humans beyond simple predation. This includes spe ...
. The term ''Neolithic'' is modern, but uses the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
, "new", and , "stone", literally meaning "New Stone Age". The term was coined by
Sir John Lubbock John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, 4th Baronet, (30 April 183428 May 1913), known as Sir John Lubbock, 4th Baronet from 1865 until 1900, was an English banker, Liberal politician, philanthropist, scientist and polymath. Lubbock worked in his famil ...
in 1865 as a refinement of the
three-age system The three-age system is the periodization of human history (generally including pre-history) into three time-periods; for example: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age; although the concept may also refer to other tripartite divisio ...
.


Origin

Following the
ASPRO chronologyThe ASPRO chronology is a nine-period dating system of the ancient Near East used by the Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée for archaeological sites aged between 14,000 and 5,700 BP. First published in 1994, ASPRO stands for the "Atlas des s ...
, the Neolithic started in around 10,200 BC in the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
, arising from the
Natufian culture The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a sedentary or semi-sedentary population even before the introduction ...
, when pioneering use of wild
cereal A cereal is any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis), composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran. The term may also refer to the resulting grain itself (specifically "c ...
s evolved into early
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
. The Natufian period or "proto-Neolithic" lasted from 12,500 to 9,500 BC, and is taken to overlap with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (
PPNA Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating to years ago, that is, 10,000–8,800 BCE. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper ...
) of 10,200–8800 BC. As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, and a
sedentary Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching television are characteristic of a sedentary lifestyle A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle involving little or no physical activity. A person living a sedentary lifestyle is often sitti ...
way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the
Younger Dryas The Younger Dryas (around 12,900 to 11,700 years BP) was a return to glacial conditions after the Late Glacial Interstadial, which temporarily reversed the gradual climatic warming after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) started receding around 20,0 ...
(about 10,000 BC) are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 10,200–8,800 BC farming communities had arisen in the Levant and spread to
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region i ...
, North Africa and North
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ ''Bēṯ Nahrīn'') is a historical region of Western Asia situated withi ...
. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included
einkorn wheat Einkorn wheat (from German ''Einkorn'', literally "single grain") can refer either to the wild species of wheat, ''Triticum boeoticum'', or to the domesticated form, ''Triticum monococcum''. The wild and domesticated forms are either considered s ...
,
millet Millets () are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in India, Ma ...

millet
and
spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat that has been cultivated since approximately 5000 BC. Spelt was an important staple food in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times. Now ...
, and the keeping of
dogs The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the modern grey wolf being the dog's nearest living relative. The dog was the first sp ...
,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species in the genus ''Ov ...

sheep
and
goats The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of ''C. aegagrus'' domesticated from the wild goat of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the animal family Bovidae and the subfamily Caprinae ...

goats
. By about 6900–6400 BC, it included domesticated
cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), 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 clas ...

cattle
and
pigs A pig is any of the animals in the genus ''Sus'', within the even-toed ungulate family Suidae. Pigs include domestic pigs and their ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar (''Sus scrofa''), along with other species. Pigs, like all suids, are nat ...
, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, and the use of
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelai ...
. Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the
Near East The Near East (Arabic: شرق أدنى, Hebrew: המזרח הקרוב, Aramaic: ܡܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, Persian: خاور نزدیک, Turkish: Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region comprising Western A ...
did not use pottery. In other parts of the world, such as
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...
,
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka.;;;;;;;; Top ...
and
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are geographically south of China, east of the Indian subcontinent and north-west of Australia. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north b ...
, independent domestication events led to their own regionally distinctive Neolithic cultures, which arose completely independently of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery ''before'' developing agriculture.


Periods by pottery phase

In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred in the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
(e.g.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating to years ago, that is, 10,000–8,800 BCE. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper ...
and
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, a Neolithic culture centered in upper Mesopotamia and the Levant, dating to years ago, that is, 8,800–6,500 BC. It was typed by Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excav ...
) and from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are also attested in southeastern
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region i ...
and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC. The
prehistoric Beifudi site Beifudi () is an archaeological site and Neolithic village in Yi County, Hebei, China. The site, an area of 3 ha on the northern bank of the Yishui River, contains artifacts of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of a ...
near Yixian in Hebei Province, China, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 6000–5000 BC, Neolithic cultures east of the
Taihang Mountains 200px The Taihang Mountains () are a Chinese mountain range running down the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau in Shanxi, Henan and Hebei provinces. The range extends over from north to south and has an average elevation of . The principal peak ...
, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than , and the collection of Neolithic findings at the site encompasses two phases.


Neolithic 1 – Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA)

The Neolithic 1 (PPNA) period began roughly around 10,000 BC in the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at
Göbekli Tepe Göbekli Tepe (, "Potbelly Hill"; known as ''Girê Mirazan'' or ''Xirabreşkê'' in Kurdish) is a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. The tell or artificial mound has a height of and is a ...

Göbekli Tepe
, dated to around 9500 BC, may be regarded as the beginning of the period. This site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, as evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity, and may be the oldest known human-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering , contain limestone pillars carved with animals, insects, and birds. Stone tools were used by perhaps as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in
Tell es-Sultan Tell es-Sultan ( ar, تل السلطان, ''lit.'' Sultan's Hill), also known as Tel Jericho ( he, תל יריחו) or Ancient Jericho, is a UNESCO-nominated archaeological site in the West Bank, located adjacent to the Ein as-Sultan refugee camp t ...
(ancient Jericho),
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
(notably
Ain Mallaha 'Ain Mallaha, also known as Eynan, was a Natufian settlement built and settled circa 10,000–8,000 BCE. The settlement is an example of hunter-gatherer sedentism, a crucial step in the transition from foraging to farming. 'Ain Mallaha has one of ...
,
Nahal Oren Nahal Oren is an archaeological site on the northern bank of the wadi of Nahal Oren (Hebrew)/Wadi Fallah (Arabic) on Mount Carmel, south of Haifa, Israel. The site comprises a cave and the small terrace in front of it, which steeply descends towar ...
, and
Kfar HaHoresh Kfar HaHoresh ( he, כְּפַר הַחֹרֶשׁ, כפר החורש, ''lit.'' village of the thicket) is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located near Nazareth, it falls under the jurisdiction of Jezreel Valley Regional Council. In it had a populatio ...
),
Gilgal Gilgal ( he, גִּלְגָּל ''Gilgāl''; grc-koi, Γαλγαλατοκαι Δωδεκαλίθων "Galgalatokai of the Twelve Stones") is the name of one or more places in the Hebrew Bible. Gilgal is mentioned 39 times, in particular in the Book ...
in the
Jordan Valley The Jordan Valley ( ar, غور الأردن, ''Ghor al-Urdun''; he, עֵמֶק הַיַרְדֵּן, ''Emek HaYarden'') forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. Unlike most other river valleys, the term "Jordan Valley" often applies just to t ...
, and
Byblos Byblos ( ar, جبيل ''Jubayl'', locally ''Jbeil''; gr, Βύβλος; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋 (GBL) , (probably ''Gubal'') is a city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of Lebanon. It is believed to have been first occupied between 8800 and 7000BC and cont ...
,
Lebanon Lebanon (), officially known as the Lebanese Republic,''Republic of Lebanon'' is the most common phrase used by Lebanese government agencies. The phrase ''Lebanese Republic'' is a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names, n ...
. The start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the
Tahunian The Tahunian is variously referred to as an archaeological culture, flint industry and period of the Palestinian Stone Age around Wadi Tahuna near Bethlehem. It was discovered and termed by Denis Buzy during excavations in 1928.Buzy, Denis., Une ...
and
Heavy Neolithic Heavy Neolithic (alternatively, Gigantolithic) is a style of large stone and flint tools (or industry) associated primarily with the Qaraoun culture in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon, dating to the Epipaleolithic or early Pre-Pottery Neolithic at the ...
periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic
Natufian The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a sedentary or semi-sedentary population even before the introduction ...
cultures, wild cereals were harvested, and perhaps early seed selection and re-seeding occurred. The grain was ground into flour.
Emmer wheat Emmer wheat or hulled wheat is a type of awned wheat. Emmer is a tetraploid (2''n'' = 4''x'' = 28 chromosomes). The domesticated types are ''Triticum turgidum'' subsp. ''dicoccum'' and ''Triticum turgidum ''conv.'' durum''. The wild plant is ca ...
was domesticated, and animals were herded and domesticated (
animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long history, start ...
and
selective breeding This Chihuahua mix and Great Dane shows the wide range of dog breed sizes created using selective breeding. Selective breeding (also called artificial selection) is the process by which humans use animal breeding and plant breeding to selectiv ...
). In 2006, remains of
figs ''Ficus'' ( or ) is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes and hemiepiphytes in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into ...
were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, and therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings. This evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent, with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of
mudbrick A mudbrick or mud-brick is an air-dried brick, made of a mixture of loam, mud, sand and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. Mudbricks are known from 9000 BCE, though since 4000 BC, bricks have also been fired, ...
. The settlement had a surrounding stone wall and perhaps a stone tower (as in Jericho). The wall served as protection from nearby groups, as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned. Some of the enclosures also suggest grain and meat storage.


Neolithic 2 – Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB)

The Neolithic 2 (PPNB) began around 8800 BC according to the
ASPRO chronologyThe ASPRO chronology is a nine-period dating system of the ancient Near East used by the Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée for archaeological sites aged between 14,000 and 5,700 BP. First published in 1994, ASPRO stands for the "Atlas des s ...
in the Levant (
Jericho Jericho (; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governor ...
, West Bank). As with the PPNA dates, there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. This system of terminology, however, is not convenient for southeast
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region i ...
and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin. A settlement of 3,000 inhabitants was found in the outskirts of
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the sixth-largest city in t ...

Amman
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( ar, المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية; tr. '), is an Arab country in the Levant region of Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan ...
. Considered to be one of the largest prehistoric settlements in the
Near East The Near East (Arabic: شرق أدنى, Hebrew: המזרח הקרוב, Aramaic: ܡܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, Persian: خاور نزدیک, Turkish: Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region comprising Western A ...
, called
'Ain Ghazal El Ain ( ar, العين), Al Ain, or Ain is a village at an elevation of on a foothill of the Anti-Lebanon mountains in Baalbek District of Baalbek-Hermel Governorate, Lebanon. Special place for comfort and eco-tourism and is famous with its agricul ...
, it was continuously inhabited from approximately 7250 BC to approximately 5000 BC. Settlements have rectangular mud-brick houses where the family lived together in single or multiple rooms. Burial findings suggest an
ancestor cult The veneration of the dead, including one's ancestors, is based on love and respect for the deceased. In some cultures, it is related to beliefs that the dead have a continued existence, and may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the ...
where people preserved skulls of the dead, which were plastered with mud to make facial features. The rest of the corpse could have been left outside the settlement to decay until only the bones were left, then the bones were buried inside the settlement underneath the floor or between houses.


Neolithic 2 – Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC)

Work at the site of
'Ain Ghazal El Ain ( ar, العين), Al Ain, or Ain is a village at an elevation of on a foothill of the Anti-Lebanon mountains in Baalbek District of Baalbek-Hermel Governorate, Lebanon. Special place for comfort and eco-tourism and is famous with its agricul ...
in
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( ar, المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية; tr. '), is an Arab country in the Levant region of Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan ...
has indicated a later
Pre-Pottery Neolithic C The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent, dating to  years ago, that is 10,000-6,500 BCE.Richard, Suzanne ''Near Eastern archaeology'' Eisenbrauns; ...
period.
Juris Zarins Juris Zarins (Zariņš) (born 1945, in Germany) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University, who specializes in the Middle East. Zarins is ethnically Latvian, but was born in Germany at the end of the Second Wor ...
has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BC, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon domesticated animals, and a fusion with
Harifian Harifian is a specialized regional cultural development of the Epipalaeolithic of the Negev Desert. It corresponds to the latest stages of the Natufian culture. History Like the Natufian, Harifian is characterized by semi-subterranean houses. ...
hunter gatherers in the Southern Levant, with affiliate connections with the cultures of
Fayyum Faiyum ( ar, الفيوم ' , borrowed from cop,  ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ or Ⲫⲓⲱⲙ ' from egy, pꜣ ym "the Sea, Lake") is a city in Middle Egypt. Located southwest of Cairo, in the Faiyum Oasis, it is the capital of the modern Faiyum Gove ...
and the
Eastern Desert The Eastern Desert is the part of the Sahara desert that is located east of the Nile river, between the river and the Red Sea. It extends from Egypt in the north to Eritrea in the south, and also comprises parts of Sudan and Ethiopia. The Eastern ...
of
Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean count ...
. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر ''Al Baḥr al aḥmar''; Hebrew: ''Yam Soof'' ים סוף or ''Hayam Haadom'' הים האדום; Coptic: ⲫⲓⲟⲙ `ⲛϩⲁϩ ''Phiom Enhah'' or ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ̀ⲛϣⲁⲣⲓ ''Phiom ̀nšari''; Tigr ...
shoreline and moved east from
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in West ...
into southern
Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to th ...
.


Neolithic 3 – Pottery Neolithic (PN)

The Neolithic 3 (PN) began around 6,400 BC in the
Fertile Crescent#REDIRECT Fertile Crescent#REDIRECT Fertile Crescent {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
. By then distinctive cultures emerged, with pottery like the
Halafian The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in the fertile valley of the Khabur River (Nahr al-Khab ...
(Turkey, Syria, Northern Mesopotamia) and Ubaid (Southern Mesopotamia). This period has been further divided into PNA (Pottery Neolithic A) and PNB (Pottery Neolithic B) at some sites. The Chalcolithic (Stone-Bronze) period began about 4500 BC, then the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron s ...
began about 3500 BC, replacing the Neolithic cultures.


Periods by region


Western Asia


Fertile Crescent

Around 10,000 BC the first fully developed Neolithic cultures belonging to the phase
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating to years ago, that is, 10,000–8,800 BCE. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper ...
(PPNA) appeared in the Fertile Crescent. Around 10,700–9400 BC a settlement was established in
Tell Qaramel Tell Qaramel (also ''Tel Qaramel'' or ''Tel al-Qaramel'', ar, تل القرامل) 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, ...
, north of
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...
. The settlement included two temples dating to 9650 BC.Yet another sensational discovery by polish archaeologists in Syria
. eduskrypt.pl. 21 June 2006
Around 9000 BC during the PPNA, one of the world's first towns,
Jericho Jericho (; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governor ...
, appeared in the Levant. It was surrounded by a stone wall, may have contained a population of up to 2,000–3,000 people, and contained a massive stone tower. Around 6400 BC the
Halaf culture The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in the fertile valley of the Khabur River (Nahr al-Khab ...
appeared in Syria and Northern Mesopotamia. In 1981 a team of researchers from the
Maison de l'Orient et de la MéditerranéeThe Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée (or MOM) is a research body in Lyon, France that specialises in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and the first steps of humanity. It is dedicated to its founder, historian Jean Pouilloux. Staff An ...
, including
Jacques Cauvin Professor Jacques Cauvin (1930 – 26 December 2001) was a French archaeologist who specialised in the prehistory of the Levant and Near East. Biography Cauvin started his work in France at Oullins Caves and Chazelles Caves (near Saint-André-de-Cr ...
and Oliver Aurenche divided Near East Neolithic chronology into ten periods (0 to 9) based on social, economic and cultural characteristics.Haïdar Boustani, M.
The Neolithic of Lebanon in the context of the Near East: State of knowledge
(in French), Annales d'Histoire et d'Archaeologie, Universite Saint-Joseph, Beyrouth, Vol. 12–13, 2001–2002. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
In 2002
Danielle StordeurDanielle 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 (Syria), replacing Jacques Cauvin in 1993 until 2010, when Fréd ...
and
Frédéric AbbèsFrédéric Abbès is a French archaeologist working on postdoctoral research, specialising in the stone or lithic industry of the Near East and Mediterranean. He has worked on important archaeological sites such as Tell Aswad and El Kowm. Positions ...
advanced this system with a division into five periods. #
Natufian The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a sedentary or semi-sedentary population even before the introduction ...
between 12,000 and 10,200 BC, #
Khiamian The Khiamian (also referred to as El Khiam or El-Khiam) is a period of the Near-Eastern Neolithic, marking the transition between the Natufian and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic. Some sources date it from about 10,000 to 9,500 BCE (12,000–11,500 BP) ...
between 10,200 and 8800 BC,
PPNA Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic culture, dating to years ago, that is, 10,000–8,800 BCE. Archaeological remains are located in the Levantine and Upper ...
: Sultanian (Jericho),
Mureybet Mureybet ( ar, مريبط, muribit, lit=covered) is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located on the west bank of the Euphrates in Raqqa Governorate, northern Syria. The site was excavated between 1964 and 1974 and has since disappeared under the ...
ian, # Early PPNB (''PPNB ancien'') between 8800 and 7600 BC, middle PPNB (''PPNB moyen'') between 7600 and 6900 BC, # Late PPNB (''PPNB récent'') between 7500 and 7000 BC, # A PPNB (sometimes called PPNC) transitional stage (''PPNB final'') in which Halaf and dark faced burnished ware begin to emerge between 6900 and 6400 BC. They also advanced the idea of a transitional stage between the PPNA and PPNB between 8800 and 8600 BC at sites like
Jerf el Ahmar The Tishrin Dam ( ar, سد تشرين, Sadd Tišrīn, lit=October Dam, ku, Bendava Tişrîn, syc, ܣܟܪܐ ܕܬܫܪܝܢ, Sekro d'Teshrin) is a dam on the Euphrates, located east of Aleppo in Aleppo Governorate, Syria. The dam is high and has 6 water ...
and
Tell Aswad Tell Aswad ( ar, تل أسود, "Black hill"), Su-uk-su or Shuksa, is a large prehistoric, neolithic tell, about in size, located around from Damascus in Syria, on a tributary of the Barada River at the eastern end of the village of Jdeidet el Kh ...
.PPND – the Platform for Neolithic Radiocarbon Dates – Summary
exoriente. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.


Southern Mesopotamia

Alluvial plains (
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Li ...
/
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Elamite: ''haltamti''; Sumerian: ''elam''; Akkadian: ''elamtu''; he, עֵילָם ''ʿēlām''; peo, 𐎢𐎺𐎩 ''hūja'') was an ancient civilization centered in the far west and southwest ...

Elam
). Low rainfall makes
irrigation Irrigation is the artificial process of applying controlled amounts of water to land to assist in production of crops. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during per ...
systems necessary. Ubaid culture from 6,900 BC.


North Africa

Domestication of
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species in the genus ''Ov ...

sheep
and
goats The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of ''C. aegagrus'' domesticated from the wild goat of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the animal family Bovidae and the subfamily Caprinae ...
reached
Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean count ...
from the Near East possibly as early as 6000 BC.
Graeme Barker Graeme William Walter Barker, (born 23 October 1946) is a British archaeologist, notable for his work on the Italian Bronze Age, the Roman occupation of Libya, and landscape archaeology. Early life and education Barker was born on 23 October 1946 ...
states "The first indisputable evidence for domestic plants and animals in the Nile valley is not until the early fifth millennium BC in northern Egypt and a thousand years later further south, in both cases as part of strategies that still relied heavily on fishing, hunting, and the gathering of wild plants" and suggests that these subsistence changes were not due to farmers migrating from the Near East but was an indigenous development, with cereals either indigenous or obtained through exchange. Other scholars argue that the primary stimulus for agriculture and domesticated animals (as well as mud-brick architecture and other Neolithic cultural features) in Egypt was from the Middle East.


Sub-Saharan Africa

The Pastoral Neolithic refers to a period in Africa's
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 million years ago and the invention of writing systems. The use of symbols, marks, and images appears very e ...
marking the beginning of food production on the continent following the
Later Stone Age The Later Stone Age (LSA) is a period in African prehistory that follows the Middle Stone Age. The Later Stone Age is associated with the advent of modern human behavior in Africa, although definitions of this concept and means of studying it are ...
. In contrast to the Neolithic in other parts of the world, which saw the development of
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
societies, the first form of African food production was mobile
pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals known as livestock are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The species involve ...
, or ways of life centered on the herding and management of livestock. The term "Pastoral Neolithic" is used most often by
archaeologists Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biological, geological, ...
to describe early pastoralist periods in the
Sahara The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the African continent. With an area of , it is the largest hot desert in the world and the third largest desert overall, smaller only than the deserts o ...
, as well as in
eastern Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the African continent, defined by geography. In the United Nations Statistics Division scheme of geographic regions, 19* territories make up Eastern Africa: *Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwand ...
. The Savanna Pastoral Neolithic or SPN (formerly known as the Stone Bowl Culture) is a collection of ancient societies that appeared in the
Rift Valley A rift valley is a linear shaped lowland between several highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift or fault. A rift valley is formed on a divergent plate boundary, a crustal extension or spreading apart of the surf ...
of
East Africa East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern subregion of the African continent, defined by geography. In the United Nations Statistics Division scheme of geographic regions, 19* territories make up Eastern Africa: *Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwand ...
and surrounding areas during a time period known as the
Pastoral Neolithic The Pastoral Neolithic ( approximately 5000 BP - 1200 BP) refers to a period in Africa's prehistory, specifically Tanzania and Kenya, marking the beginning of food production on the continent following the Later Stone Age. The exact dates of this ti ...
. They were
South Cushitic The South Cushitic or Rift languages of Tanzania belong to the Afro-Asiatic family. The most numerous is Iraqw, with half a million speakers. These languages are believed to have been originally spoken by Southern Cushitic agro-pastoralists from Et ...
speaking pastoralists, who tended to bury their dead in cairns whilst their toolkit was characterized by stone bowls, pestles, grindstones and earthenware pots. Through archaeology, historical linguistics and archaeogenetics, they conventionally have been identified with the area's first
Afroasiatic Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family of about 300 languages that are spoken predominantly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel. W ...
-speaking settlers. Archaeological dating of livestock bones and burial cairns has also established the cultural complex as the earliest center of
pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals known as livestock are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The species involve ...
and stone construction in the region.


Europe

In southeast
Europe Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia, and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlant ...
agrarian societies first appeared in the
7th millennium BC The 7th millennium BC spanned the years 7000 BC to 6001 BC (c. 9 ka to c. 8 ka). It is impossible to precisely date events that happened around the time of this millennium and all dates mentioned here are estimates mostly based on geological and ...
, attested by one of the earliest farming sites of Europe, discovered in Vashtëmi, southeastern
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea, and shares land border ...
and dating back to 6500 BC. In most of Western Europe in followed over the next two thousand years, but in some parts of Northwest Europe it is much later, lasting just under 3,000 years from c. 4500 BC–1700 BC. Anthropomorphic figurines have been found in the Balkans from 6000 BC, and in Central Europe by around 5800 BC (
La Hoguette La Hoguette is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France. Archeology La Hoguette is also the type site of the early Neolithic La Hoguette culture that is found mainly in association with Linearbandkeramic ...
). Among the earliest cultural complexes of this area are the
Sesklo Sesklo ( el, Σέσκλο) is a village in Greece that is located near Volos, a city located within the municipality of Aisonia. The municipality is located within the regional unit of Magnesia that is located within the administrative region of T ...
culture in Thessaly, which later expanded in the Balkans giving rise to Starčevo-Körös (Cris), Linearbandkeramik, and
Vinča Vinča ( sr-cyr, Винча, ) is a suburban settlement of Belgrade, Serbia. It is part of the municipality of Grocka. Vinča-Belo Brdo, an important archaeological site that gives its name to the Neolithic Vinča culture, is located in the village. ...
. Through a combination of
cultural diffusion In cultural anthropology and cultural geography, cultural diffusion, as conceptualized by Leo Frobenius in his 1897/98 publication ''Der westafrikanische Kulturkreis'', is the spread of cultural items—such as ideas, styles, religions, technologie ...
and migration of peoples, the Neolithic traditions spread west and northwards to reach northwestern Europe by around 4500 BC. The
Vinča culture The Vinča culture, îːntʃaalso known as Turdaș culture or Turdaș–Vinča culture, was a Neolithic archaeological culture in southeastern Europe, in present-day Serbia, and smaller parts of Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia and Romania (particul ...
may have created the earliest system of writing, the Vinča signs, though archaeologist Shan Winn believes they most likely represented
pictograms A pictogram, also called a pictogramme, pictograph, or simply picto, and in computer usage an icon, is a graphic symbol that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Pictographs are often used in writing and gra ...
and
ideograms An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek "idea" and "to write") is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases. Some ideograms are comprehensible only by familiarity w ...
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 A megalith is a large pre-historic stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, located widely from Sweden to the Mediterranean sea. The word ...
ic temple complexes of
Ġgantija Ġgantija (, "Giantess") is a megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. The Ġgantija temples are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta and are older than the pyramids of Egypt. Their makers erect ...
on the Mediterranean island of
Gozo Gozo (, also ), known locally as Għawdex () and in antiquity as Gaulos ( xpu, 𐤂‬𐤅‬𐤋, ; grc, Γαῦλος, Gaúlos), is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Republic of Malta. After ...
(in the Maltese archipelago) and of
Mnajdra Mnajdra ( mt, L-Imnajdra) 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. Mnajdra was built around the fourth millennium B ...
(Malta) are notable for their gigantic Neolithic structures, the oldest of which date back to around 3600 BC. The
Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni A hypogeum or hypogaeum (plural hypogea or hypogaea, pronounced ; literally meaning "underground", from Greek ''hypo'' (under) and ''ghê'' (earth) is an underground temple or tomb. Hypogea will often contain niches for cremated human remain ...
,
Paola Paola is a female given name, the Italian form of the name Paula. Notable people with the name include: People In arts and entertainment *Paola Del Medico (born 1950), Swiss singer *Paola e Chiara, pop music duo consisting of two sisters born in ...
, Malta, is a subterranean structure excavated around 2500 BC; originally a sanctuary, it became a
necropolis A necropolis (plural necropolises, necropoles, necropoleis, necropoli) is a large, designed cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments. The name stems from the Ancient Greek ''nekropolis'', literally meaning "city of the dead". The term usually imp ...
, the only prehistoric underground temple in the world, and shows a degree of artistry in stone sculpture unique in prehistory to the Maltese islands. After 2500 BC, these islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron s ...
immigrants, a culture that
cremated Cremation is a method of final disposition of a dead body through burning. Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite and as an alternative to burial. In some countries, including India and Nepal, cremation on an open-air pyre is an an ...
its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called
dolmens A dolmen () is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more vertical megaliths supporting a large flat horizontal capstone or "table". Most date from the early Neolithic (40003000 BC) and were sometimes covered wit ...
to Malta. In most cases there are small chambers here, with the cover made of a large slab placed on upright stones. They are claimed to belong to a population different from that which built the previous megalithic temples. It is presumed the population arrived from
Sicily (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demograph ...
because of the similarity of Maltese dolmens to some small constructions found there.


South and East Asia

Settled life, encompassing the transition from foraging to farming and pastoralism, began in South Asia in the region of
Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid desert and mountainous region in South and Western Asia. It comprises the Pakistani province of Balochistan, the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan, and the ...
, Pakistan, around 7,000 BC. Quote: ""Mehrgarh remains one of the key sites in South Asia because it has provided the earliest known undisputed evidence for farming and pastoral communities in the region, and its plant and animal material provide clear evidence for the ongoing manipulation, and domestication, of certain species. Perhaps most importantly in a South Asian context, the role played by zebu makes this a distinctive, localised development, with a character completely different to other parts of the world. Finally, the longevity of the site, and its articulation with the neighbouring site of Nausharo (c. 2800–2000 BC), provides a very clear continuity from South Asia's first farming villages to the emergence of its first cities (Jarrige, 1984)." Quote: "page 33: "The earliest discovered instance in India of well-established, settled agricultural society is at Mehrgarh in the hills between the Bolan Pass and the Indus plain (today in Pakistan) (see Map 3.1). From as early as 7000 BC, communities there started investing increased labor in preparing the land and selecting, planting, tending, and harvesting particular grain-producing plants. They also domesticated animals, including sheep, goats, pigs, and oxen (both humped zebu os indicusand unhumped os taurus. Castrating oxen, for instance, turned them from mainly meat sources into domesticated draft-animals as well.", Quote: "(p 29) "The subcontinent's people were hunter-gatherers for many millennia. There were very few of them. Indeed, 10,000 years ago there may only have been a couple of hundred thousand people, living in small, often isolated groups, the descendants of various 'modern' human incomers. Then, perhaps linked to events in Mesopotamia, about 8,500 years ago agriculture emerged in Baluchistan." At the site of
Mehrgarh , coordinates=, native_name_lang=ur, alternate_name=Mehrgahr, Merhgarh, Merhgahr, location=Dhadar, Balochistan, Pakistan, height=, region=South Asia, part_of=, length=, width=, area=, notes=Succeeded by: Indus Valley Civilization, image=Mehrgarh ruins.jpg, map_ ...
, Balochistan, presence can be documented of the domestication of wheat and barley, rapidly followed by that of goats, sheep, and cattle. In April 2006, it was announced in the scientific journal ''
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Al ...
'' that the oldest (and first ''early Neolithic'') evidence for the drilling of teeth ''
in vivo#REDIRECT In vivo#REDIRECT In vivo {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
'' (using
bow drill A bow drill is a simple hand-operated type of tool, consisting of a rod (the ''spindle'' or ''drill shaft'') that is set in rapid rotary motion by means of a cord wrapped around it, kept taut by a bow which is pushed back and forth with one hand. ...
s and
flint Flint is a sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as the variety of chert that occurs in chalk or marly limestone. Flint was widely used historically to make stone tools and start fires. It occurs chiefly as nodul ...
tips) was found in Mehrgarh. In South India, the Neolithic began by 6500 BC and lasted until around 1400 BC when the Megalithic transition period began. South Indian Neolithic is characterized by Ash mounds from 2500 BC in
Karnataka Karnataka (ISO: , ) is a state in the south western region of India. It is the largest state in South India and sixth largest in India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act. Originally known as the ...
region, expanded later to
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a state in southern India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala, K ...
. In East Asia, the earliest sites include the
Nanzhuangtou Nanzhuangtou (, ''Nánzhuāngtóu''), dated to 12,600–11,300 cal BPKuzmin, Yaroslav V"Chronology of the earliest pottery in East Asia: progress and pitfalls" ANTIQUITY-OXFORD- 80, no. 308 (2006): 362. or 11,500–11,000 cal BP,Xiaoyan Yang, Zhiwei ...
culture around 9500–9000 BC,
Pengtoushan culture The Pengtoushan culture was a Neolithic culture located around the central Yangtze River region in northwestern Hunan province, China. It dates to around 7500–6100 BC, and was roughly contemporaneous with the Peiligang culture to the north. It is ...
around 7500–6100 BC, and
Peiligang culture The Peiligang culture was a Neolithic culture in the Yi-Luo river basin (in modern Henan Province, China) that existed from 7000 to 5000 BC. Over 100 sites have been identified with the Peiligang culture, nearly all of them in a fairly compact area ...
around 7000–5000 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 An adze (; alternative spelling: adz) is an ancient and versatile cutting tool similar to an axe but with the cutting edge perpendicular to the handle rather than parallel. They have been used since the Stone Age. Adzes are used for smoothing or ...
and axes are used in the present day () in areas where the availability of metal implements is limited. This is likely to cease altogether in the next few years as the older generation die off and steel blades and chainsaws prevail. In 2012, news was released about a new farming site discovered in Munam-ri, Goseong, Gangwon Province,
South Korea South Korea (Korean: /, RR: ''Hanguk''; literally /, RR: ''Namhan'', or /, MR: ''Namchosŏn'' in North Korean usage), officially the Republic of Korea (ROK; Korean: /, RR: ''Daehan Minguk''), is a country in East Asia, constituting the ...
, which may be the earliest farmland known to date in east Asia. "No remains of an agricultural field from the Neolithic period have been found in any East Asian country before, the institute said, adding that the discovery reveals that the history of agricultural cultivation at least began during the period on the
Korean Peninsula Korea (officially the "Korean Peninsula") is a region in East Asia. Since 1945 it has been divided into the two parts which soon became the two sovereign states: North Korea (officially the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea") and South Ko ...

Korean Peninsula
". The farm was dated between 3600 and 3000 BC. Pottery, stone projectile points, and possible houses were also found. "In 2002, researchers discovered prehistoric
earthenware Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that has normally been fired below . Basic earthenware, often called terracotta, absorbs liquids such as water. However, earthenware can be made impervious to liquids by coating it with a cer ...
,
jade Jade is an ornamental mineral, mostly known for its green varieties, though it appears naturally in other colors as well, notably yellow and white. Jade can refer to either of two different silicate minerals: nephrite (a silicate of calcium and ...
earrings, among other items in the area". The research team will perform
accelerator mass spectrometry Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is a form of mass spectrometry that accelerates ions to extraordinarily high kinetic energies before mass analysis. The special strength of AMS among the mass spectrometric methods is its power to separate a rare ...
(AMS) dating to retrieve a more precise date for the site.


The Americas

In
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. Within this region pre-Columbian societies f ...
, a similar set of events (i.e., crop domestication and sedentary lifestyles) occurred by around 4500 BC, but possibly as early as 11,000–10,000 BC. These cultures are usually not referred to as belonging to the Neolithic; in America different terms are used such as
Formative stage {{Short pages monitor


Sources

* *


External links

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