The Neolithic Age

Era Information
Time:(1.7 million years - the 21st century BC)
Location of Capital:
Emperors: Shun, Yao, Yu
Replaced by:Xia Dynasty

Neolithic Age in China's historyThe Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BCE in the Middle East that is traditionally considered the last part of the Stone Age. The Neolithic followed the terminal Holocene Epipalaeolithic period, beginning with the rise of farming, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution" and ending when metal tools became widespread in the Copper Age (chalcolithic) or Bronze Age or developing directly into the Iron Age, depending on geographical region. The Neolithic is not a specific chronological period, but rather a suite of behavioral and cultural characteristics, including the use of wild and domestic crops and the use of domesticated animals.

New findings put the beginning of the Neolithic culture back to around 10700 to 9400 BCE in Tell Qaramel in northern Syria, 25km north of Aleppo.Until those findings are adopted within archaeological community, the beginning of the Neolithic culture is considered to be in the Levant (Jericho, modern-day West Bank) about 9500 BCE. It developed directly from the Epipaleolithic Natufian culture in the region, whose people pioneered the use of wild cereals, which then evolved into true farming. The Natufians can thus be called "proto-Neolithic" (12,500–9500 BCE or 12,000-9500 BCE.

As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, and a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 9500–9000 BCE, farming communities arose in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor, North Africa and North Mesopotamia. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat, millet and spelt, and the keeping of dogs, sheep and goats. By about 8000 BCE, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, and the use of pottery.

Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the Near East did not use pottery, and, in Britain, it remains unclear to what extent plants were domesticated in the earliest Neolithic, or even whether permanently settled communities existed. In other parts of the world, such as Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, independent domestication events led to their own regionally-distinctive Neolithic cultures that arose completely independent of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies used pottery before developing agriculture.

Unlike the Paleolithic, where more than one human species existed, only one human species (Homo sapiens) reached the Neolithic. Homo floresiensis may have survived right up to the very dawn of the Neolithic, about 12,000 years ago. The term Neolithic derives from the Greek νεολιθικός, neolithikos, from νέος neos, "new" + λίθος lithos, "stone", literally meaning "New Stone Age." The term was invented by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system.