Neolithic is considered the last stage or period of the stone age , also known as the final stage of cultural evolution. It begins after the Mesolithic period and before the Bronze Age. It ranges from 6,000,000 BC to 3,000 BC and together with the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, they constitute the Stone Age.
The Neolithic is distinguished by the use of molded and polished stone . In addition, emphasis was placed on the development of agriculture and livestock, the arts, pottery, the domestication of certain animals and the beginning of sedentary life.
The Neolithic period is a subject of debate today. It is estimated that it began around 10,000 BC , when humans learned to farm, raise domestic livestock, and collect plants and fruits. The rice, corn and wheat cultivation system allowed the formalization of a sedentary lifestyle.
The tests archaeological indicate that the transition from the collecting cultures producing food, was generated gradually. Such is the case in the Middle East around 9,000 BC, specifically in Southeast Europe around 7,000 BC and in East Asia around 6,000 BC.
The Neolithic period implied a gradual and not sudden cultural transformation, which is why it is classified into three stages according to the level of sophistication achieved in agriculture, architecture and semantics.
- Early Neolithic : estimated between 6,000 BC to 3,000 BC and 2,800 BC
- Middle Neolithic : it is the most fruitful and developed between 3,000 BC and 2,800 BC
- Final Neolithic : it is the shortest, from 2,800 BC to 2,300 BC with the beginning of the age of metals.
In Neolithic paintings, images of the human body are highlighted without details on the face, with a somewhat primitive appearance and monochrome tones. The settlement that is in ‘Ain Ghazal (located in the current region of Jordan) is considered an important archaeological site that has a wide variety of these figures.
On the pottery side, evidence of an extensive range of fertility-related objects and figures has been found on the Persian Gulf coast, at Tell-Halaf, at Tell-al-Ubaid and in northern Syria. The ceramic objects were decorated with geometric designs that are made with colored or black paint.
The Neolithic period stood out for its great advances in architecture. This is the case of the Gobekli Tepe temple, located in southeastern Turkey. It is considered to be the oldest man-made place of worship. It was characterized by its pillars specially decorated with reliefs of animals, such as snakes, javelins and big cats that were considered protectors of the temple.
The use of polished stone
The periods before the Neolithic era were characterized by the use of stone as part of the weapons of war. Although, during the Neolithic period, new techniques were acquired to work with the stone, such as polishing, instead of just carving it or breaking it in blows.
Mastering the work of stone helped perfection with tools and weapons , such as the tip of the arrow or the spear to hunt. The techniques that were carried out in the stone, served as an influence to perfect ceramics, pottery and the manufacture of fabrics.
End of the neolithic
In terms of the Neolithic period, work arises on some metals, such as copper. This was what highlighted the transition to the Bronze Age (mixture of copper and tin that results in hardness and better casting properties).
The use of bronze was destined for the manufacture of weapons, something that was not possible in copper. The knowledge that was expanded in metallurgy is what made the Neolithic period and the stone age obsolete.
Artistic examples of the Neolithic
- The Venus Willendorf: Neolithic Art is not only related to northern Spain and southern France, art in prehistory is a global art.
- Ceramics: The fact that the Neolithic is the main dish of La Araña, means that we often do not take care to show remains of other prehistoric cultures.
- Cromlech: The word Neolithic is applied to the period in which man works the stone with a new technique: polishing instead of percussion carving.
- Painting: In his passage through the world, man has left shaped in caves, stones and rocky walls, innumerable representations of animals, plants or objects; scenes of everyday life, geometric figures and signs, etc.
- Various forms of work: Around the year 12000 a. C. there was a general increase in the temperature of the Earth. The ice retreated to the poles and with it went many of the great herds of bison and reindeer, whose meat made up a good part of the human diet.
- Utensils: Most of the first instruments used in agricultural tasks will be made of stone.