Neolithic Period Facts for Kids

  • The Neolithic Revolution marked the transition in human history from people who hunted and gathered to farming.
  • This happened around 10,000 B.C.
  • In the Fertile Crescent, a boomerang-shaped region of the Middle East where humans first took up farming.
  • Stone Age humans in other parts of the world also began to practice agriculture, which led to civilizations and cities that grew out of those innovations.

A long time ago, about 12,000 years ago, people started to grow food. It happened at the same time that the last ice age ended. This was the Neolithic Revolution.

Some scientists think that climate changes led to the Agricultural Revolution. The Earth has been in a warming trend for 14,000 years.

Intelligence may also have caused people to settle. Scientists found evidence of this by looking at religious artifacts and art made by humans.

It changed how humans lived and ate because people could have more food. But it also changed how people interacted with each other because they had less need for hunting or gathering food in nature.

The hunter-gatherers used to roam the world, hunting for food. The Neolithic period was when people got better at farming. Hunter-gatherers became farmers. 

The term Neolithic or New Stone Age is used to describe the time when people started farming. This was when they grew cereal plants and domesticated animals.

The Fertile Crescent

The Fertile Crescent is a region in the Middle East that looks like a quarter-moon shape. This area was the birthplace of several innovations, including writing, agriculture, and irrigation.

Known as the Cradle of Civilization, the Fertile Crescent is regarded as the birthplace of agriculture, urbanization, writing, trade, science, and organized religion. It includes countries like Iraq and other countries like Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Turkey, and Iran in the Middle East.

Thousands of years ago, people in this region found fertile soil for growing food. Freshwater was also found here. People began to plant seeds like wheat and barley here because these plants grew very well in this area.

The Fertile Crescent was the place that people believe was the Garden of Eden. It had lots of important places in the Bible and Quran.

The climate was not dry. There was some humidity, and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were nearby. This made it easy for people to grow crops. And when they did that, these communities changed too. They used new agricultural technology, like irrigation systems and farming tools.

Agriculture was developed separately in different parts. Since it started, its growth has been seen in different areas. Hunting is only done in places where farming is impossible, like cold parts of the Arctic or forests that are too dense to farm.

Settling Down

You would likely have spent your entire life as a nomad before the Neolithic revolution. You would never stay in one place for longer than a few months. You would always search for food and never possess anything. The change to the new way of life was huge, and it led us to have lots of food and comfortable homes.

People started to live in settlements during the first Neolithic age. These settlements were at the junction between different environments so people could get food from many different habitats without moving. Animals and plants that had been uncontrolled slowly became domesticated.

It is thought that people gathered plants and their seeds about 23,000 years ago. People started farming cereal grains like barley around 11,000 years ago.

The early farmers moved on to eating protein-rich foods like peas and lentils. They were better at growing food, so they may have had a surplus of seeds and crops to store.

Now they needed storage. This led to more people because there was more food available and a need for a settled life with storing things like seeds so they could grow crops.

In the Neolithic, all people had more tooth wear than in earlier periods. This implies that ground cereal was a significant part of their diet. After pottery was discovered, tooth wear decreased. However, the proportion of defective teeth increased, indicating that baked food derived from flour was replaced by porridge and gruel.

Humans first started farming, and for this, they needed animals. Evidence shows that people were keeping sheep and goats as long as 12,000 years ago in Iraq.

Domesticated animals help make farming more effective. They provided food, like milk and meat. These were good and nutritious for the early settlers. Animals were also carriers of viral infections in the Neolithic era, including smallpox, influenza, and measles.

By the period’s conclusion, pastoral societies had begun to form, with some people moving their cattle into the desert and returning only for part of the year to permanent villages.

Draft animals such as oxen, donkeys, and camels were not used until humans had more trade routes for transporting goods.

Neolithic Architecture and Art

Neolithic is when people lived in houses made of mud bricks with one or many rooms. They also used more animals for food. This is different from the stone age because people were living in permanent places instead of moving around all the time.

The people who make mud-brick houses want to stay in a single place for a long time. But they are not always able to because the bricks turn into dust again.

The way people lived changed, and so did the kind of art that they made. Sculptures became bigger because people didn’t have to carry them around. People also started using pottery more often when farming became popular.

In a settlement of Jordan, people made some of the first human-made statues. They had eyes and were shaped like humans. The statues looked like men, women, and children. People put a lot of work into making their heads look real.

People used pots and other things to store the food they grew or raised and water from their area. They also needed plates, cups, and other things to eat with.

Neolithic pottery was sometimes painted with one or two colors. Sometimes it has geometric and animal motifs.

The people from the New Stone Age lived in cities. These cities were very large and had many people living together. In these cities, people had to cooperate because they all lived close together. This led to civilization, which means “living in a city.”

Neolithic Monuments

People who settled down constructed big buildings called megaliths (meaning  “large stone”), requiring a lot of time and effort. That was not available for nomads.

Megalithic monuments are found all over Europe. They are mostly in the countries of Malta, Portugal, France, Germany, England, and Wales.

One of the best-known megalithic henges is Stonehenge. Archaeologists think it was constructed from 3000 BCE to 2000 BCE.

Building Stonehenge was difficult. It is about 324 feet in circumference, and the stones are as heavy as 50 tons. The small stones, weighing about 6 tons, were quarried from 450 miles away.

Although human remains have been found at the site, archaeologists are not sure whether the site served as a burial ground or was used for rituals. It is possible that the site served as an astronomical calendar to help early agrarian societies.

Even the bluestones that are smaller weigh many tons. They were quarried from southwest Wales, and it took a long time to bring them here. The stones look blue when they’re wet, and they need ropes and things to carry them. The large stones that form the posts and lintels were quarried from at least 25 miles away.

Here was a society that could bring hundreds of people together to accomplish difficult tasks for lengthy periods. Another characteristic of the Neolithic age is this.

Religious Practice

The Neolithic period is significant since it is when religion first appears in the archaeological record.

In the Neolithic time, people were often buried under the floor of a house. Their skulls were taken out and covered with plaster to make them look alive. Then they put shells for eyes and paint for hair and a mustache.

Weapons and Commerce

People became more aware of their territory when they stopped being nomadic. Around the time of 9600-6900 BC, people in the Near East were making arrowheads.

Arrowheads were found in the skeletons of humans. Jericho had a wall and ditch around it. It’s possible that these things happened at the same time and announced a society that began to understand the meaning of war.

There were other types of stone tools that became popular and were adopted by many groups. This is evidence that there were essential networks of exchange and interaction.

The End of the Neolithic Era

The Bronze Age follows the end of the Neolithic era. It is a period when people start using copper for metalwork instead of stone.

Bronze is made up of copper and tin. It has a hardness that is better than copper so that it can be used for weapons. Making weapons was not possible with copper because it was not hard enough to endure combat conditions.

Bronze tools were the new invention in the Stone Age. They replaced stone tools. This happened around 10,000 years ago.

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