The Neolithic revolution was the first agricultural revolution.

It was a gradual change
from nomadic hunting and gathering communities and bands to agriculture and settlement
the adoption of early farming techniques, crop cultivation, and the domestication of animals. The
Neolithic Revolution is important for developments in social organization and technology.
The Neolithic revolution led to living in permanent or semi-permanent settlements. The concept
of land ownership was developed. The natural environment was changed, population
densities grew, and people ate more vegetable and cereal foods in their diet. Hierarchies
developed in society. Grain was stored, and could be traded. Surplus production from
good crop yields helped societies survive bad years.

General process

Excavated remains of a Neolithic dwelling

When humans started to domesticate crops, and certain animals such as dogs, goats, sheep,
and cattle, human society changed.[2][3]Because people now grew crops and raised livestock they
no longer needed to move around. They could build better settlements. Their diet also changed.
It included more oats and vegetables. People also started to keep and manage some foods - it
was not advisable to eat all grain seeds, because then there would be no seeds left to plant the
next year. Also, as there were surpluses in some years, these could be traded for other goods
with other people.
These changes happened in several places of the world, independently. In the Paleolithic there
were many different human species. According to current research, only the modern human
reached the Neolithic phase. By this time, the biological development of man was complete as
evident in the skeletal remains of modem type of man corresponding to the particular period. It is
therefore assumed that the people of this period had grown the capacities for cultural innovation.
Gordon Childe gave the name Neolithic Revolution to this process in the 1920s. He thought that
it was as important as the Industrial Revolution

Theories about the Neolithic revolution

It was proposed it in 1948.  The Hilly Flanks theory.[7]Some animals and plants did that too. It suggests that agriculture began in the hilly flanks of the Taurus and Zagros mountains. Domestication of wild plants started by protecting them. [8] Climate data from the period does not support it though.  The Feasting model suggests that agriculture was driven by displays of power. Later. such as throwing feasts to show dominance. in the desert) to be able to survive. and it got drier. This required assembling large quantities of food which drove agricultural technology. The first humans went to live in or near oases (places where there is more water. and that it developed from intensive focused grain gathering in the region. [10][11]  The evolutionary/intentionality theory proposes that agriculture is an evolutionary adaptation of plants and humans. The portable and lightweight material possessions of many hunter-gatherers were replaced by heavier tool kits and more lasting houses. the location where to grow them was chosen more carefully. More food was needed than could be gathered. It was only a small step to domesticate some of the animals that were there.[9]  The Demographic theories say that the local population grew so much that it was difficult to support it using hunting and gathering alone. . Food production led to changed attitudes towards the environment. Main Features 1. Various social and economic factors helped drive the need for food. implements of tillage and axes with ground and polished edges were essential parts of farming culture. Finally they were domesticated.There are different theories why this transition could have happened:  Oasis theory: The climate changed. Grind stones. More enduring settlements brought other changes. This theory was advocated by Childe himself. Cultivation: It was the Neolithic culture which started the practice of food production.

and materials for leather shields and armour. Later on. and dog were widely distributed. people learned how to harness animal energy for the purpose of transport and afterwards how to breed animals for specialised tasks like ploughing. These houses were of permanent nature. goat. Shifting cultivation’ slash and burn cultivation’ meant felling trees and burning vegetation to clear the ground for planting. Having one’s own herds of domesticated mammals ensured a regular meat supply. To make a useful pot requires knowledge of clay and the techniques of firing. domesticated animals provided by products like milk. 2. Initially. as well as skins. Pottery and Technology: Pottery making is another achievement of man during Neolithic Age. domestication of animals and the new sedentary life style stimulated another technological development house building. Then. than heavy rainfalls denuded the hill of valuable soil and the pastures were never the same again. It gave him. Soft clay rolled with water could be moulded into any shape. Neolithic pottery was handmade and sun baked. and butter. The hunter-gatherer exploited game. however. newer ideas. Domestication of Animals: Animals were first domesticated where potentially tamable species like the wild ox.Cereal crops enabled people to store their food. It implies that. sheep. 3. caves and tree dwellings. Neolithic settlers required more complex and diverse dwellings. tent coverings. Cultivation. egg and milk supply transport and a host of other utilities. . the farmer changed the environment. Thatched huts. Paleolithic hunter gatherers lived in the nature made dwellings rock shelters. elementary the agricultural technology. Voracious animals stripped pastures of their grass cover. houses made of wood with the provision of entry and exit points were Neolithic innovations. creating surpluses for use in ‘winter’. The manufacture of pottery is a difficult art and requires a high degree of technological sophistication. beside satisfaction of creation. cheese. fish and vegetable foods but the farmer altered the environment by the very nature of exploitation.

and the spindle for spinning and the loom for weaving came from the inventive human mind. sickle etc. Blade tools formed the parts of other heavy tools. saw. wedges and chisels. harpoon etc. the war clubs have been differentiated from other kinds of axes. the tools of Neolithic period became much tougher and more durable. . But they used to take a long time for making. clothing was made of woven textiles. Clothing: Clothing was yet another new development. graver. for example. they were fitted into wooden handles to be used as awl. The new stone-working technique of boring and grinding was proved very important to prepare a kit of woodworking tools including planes. population growth was accelerated during Neolithic period. were profuse among the stone tools of Neolithic Age. meant for working on wood. Neolithic brought a marked change in tool types. For the first time in human history.4. especially when a hole had to be bored through the stone for fastening it with a handle. The raw materials and technology necessary for the production of clothing came from flax and cotton from domesticated sheep. Characteristically all Neolithic axes and adzes are hafted with a handle. As a result. Basket weaving was also evolved and different types of baskets were made of bamboo and other natural fibers. Among them. The implements like spear. Tools Thus. People had settled down in villages and tried to invent certain ways to make the life easier. As a consequence of food-production. Wet sandstone was used as abrasive. A polished stone axe-head of Neolithic is commonly known as celt. choppers. The practice of fishing was improved during Neolithic period.

In some Neolithic settlements a stone or brick-built wall is found to encircle the houses. These served as boats to the Neolithic people. However. Manufacture of Boats: Neolithic settlements were generally built close to the shores of lake. most of the Neolithic settlements were small villages consisting of not more than eight hundred inhabitants. But we cannot declare the Neolithic man as the first architect because we have enough evidences of temporary houses in Mesolithic times. They used to tie several logs together to make a raft and that was used as water-transport. . At this time no agricultural or political techniques were developed in order to manage a city economy.Building of Houses: The housing became the major cultural achievement of Neolithic people. For instance. Every Neolithic community had a facility for storing of grains. They also used their axes and fire to hollow out tree trunks. But the selection of materials was largely dependent on the availability of the resources in local settings. scarcity of wood and unsuitability of mud made all houses of northern British Isles with stone. This acted as a protection against the wild animals. Usually stones and bricks were used in the make of the houses. Neolithic people learnt the use of the trunks of trees. One such dugout canoe has been recovered from Perth. Such a settled life was possible only for the practice of agriculture.

forms. Subjects. The form of the Neolithic houses specially resembles with long joint family houses. Of course they could make some kinds of sound to express the situations like getting alarmed or delighted. Man’s love for art has been evident in these paintings. This particular feature suggests that perhaps clan-like lineage had developed among the Neolithic people as a dominant form of social organization. They also have similarity with house types of Indonesian joint family. Development of Culture: Use of language. in the Paleolithic Age men had no language. What we mean by culture today had claimed its beginning in Neolithic Age. In a more primitive stage i. As Neolithic people began to lead a settled life in groups. Ideas and feelings used to be communicated through signs.e. The social life gradually begets the idea of ‘property’. automatically obedience to certain rules and regulation was developed’ in them. . all the members of a group would abide by a decision taken by elderly people.Development of Social Organization: Maintenance of discipline is the primary condition for all social life. techniques of art provide the information about a higher level of culture. Although no law was possible at that Age. the New Stone age paintings are much more developed. This also means a unilateral principle that came into being in early Neolithic period. discovery of art and the beginning of religion are the chief indicators of culture. Although the cave paintings of Upper Paleolithic time have been discovered. The power of speech was developed with time and the vocabulary also increased.

traded with other communities (giving rise to a . With the discovery of agriculture people began to worship the land as ‘mother’ and they also believed that if the mother could be pleased. The profound differences in human interactions and subsistence methods associated with the early onset of agricultural practices in the Neolithic have been called the Neolithic Revolution. they could be preserved and sequestered for later use during times of seasonal shortfalls. etc. different natural forces like sun. storm. priests and kings. This trend would continue into the Bronze Age. she would increase the production of crops. a term first coined by the Australian archaeologist and philologist. Apart from the mother earth. Thus. Neolithic made possible the rise of literate civilizations in the world. officials and soldiers in an urban setting. since it may be supposed that the increased need to spend more time and labor in tending crop fields required more localized dwellings. Farming A significant and far-reaching shift in human subsistence and lifestyle was to be brought about in those areas where crop farming and cultivation were first developed. then gradually improved. Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957). eventually giving rise to towns. One potential benefit of the increasing sophistication and development of farming technology was an ability (if conditions allowed) to produce a crop yield which would be surplus to the immediate needs of the community.A considerable number of clay figurines of women have been found from the deposits of New Stone Age. These developments are also believed to have greatly encouraged the growth of settlements. By producing surplus foodstuffs they made a section of their community free from the responsibility of food production. Probably they are the images of mother god. So some people got the opportunity to become artisans and traders. were also worshipped aiming at the success in Agriculture. Neolithic Age thus showed a beautiful ad-mixture of art with religion. and later cities and states whose larger populations could be sustained by the increased productivity from cultivated lands. rain. When such surpluses were produced.

livestock animals could also be used for barter and trade. Another significant change undergone by many of these newly-agrarian communities was one of diet. it should be noted that early farmers were also adversely affected in times of crop failures. and their growth and the expansion of territory under cultivation continued. Whereas hunter-gatherer communities typically have diets with a larger proportion of animal protein. and in general allowed larger populations to be sustained. those farmers whose opportunities and motivation for hunting had lessened might have their food intake derived in large part just from the proceeds of their plant cultivation. a parasite on nature turned into a controller of food? In farming economy by domestication of animals and plants. Transition: How? Now the question is how man from being a predator. as the animals were herded or migrated to seasonal pastures (a practice known as transhumance). was another innovation which altered the societal characteristics of those Neolithic communities which adopted it. and their overall impact on early societal development is still the subject of some debate. The relative nutritionalbenefits and disadvantages of these dietary changes. The food-production armed the people to fight against the scarcities of daily life especially in the areas where local .nascent non-subsistence economy). In instances where agriculture had become the predominant way of life the sensitivity to these shortages could be particularly acute. For those communities where the herding of grazing animals was developed. The animal byproduct of dung could be used as a fertilizer. However. either as working animal or as a food source (livestock). despite what must have been periodic setbacks in general agrarian communities proved successful. such as may be caused by drought or pestilence. man became confident about his subsistence. Nevertheless. affecting agrarian populations to a sometimes dramatic extent which otherwise may not have been routinely experienced by former huntergatherer communities. Apart from providing a ready source of protein and dairy-based products. as fuel or even as a building material. this often implied a more nomadic existence than is the case for purely crop-based farming. The domestication of animals.

woolly rhinoceros. Possibly it was the women who started the art of cultivation. mastodon. disappeared very quickly. Many cold-loving animals like mammoth. inlets and bays and moved the sea toward inland.resources were fully consumed. but still it was not a slow and gradual change rather it can be said a drastic change which brought a radical difference in the way of life of the people. They for the first time noted that the’ seeds falling on the bare ground grew up into plants from which again seeds could be available. the hunting people faced tremendous difficulty in chasing the new animals in thick forest. It also saved the people from starvation following epidemic or disaster in animal kingdom. When man used to go out for hunting. they become self-sufficient and selfdeterminant. Accumulation of food and mechanism of storing made the people relatively carefree and this stimulated the habits of forethought and planning. Neolithic culture advanced very quickly within a period of a few thousand years. The melting glaciers also created islands. Neolithic revolution did not occur overnight. . Waterways became abound with fish and other aquatic creatures. the women would gather wild plants and fruits from the forest. Within a short period. Neolithic way of life was vastly superior to the Paleolithic. sloth etc. As the growing forest engulfed the tundra and grasslands. stability in life was established. Density of animals per square mile also decreased at this time. Therefore it was a compulsion for them to work out a series of specialized adaptation based on new local resources. The increased availability of food facilitated quick growth of population who settled down peacefully in permanent habitations.

people also began the slow domestication and development of both crops and animals. Food output increased. .C. They tried every kinds of available food including acorns i. Gradually they gained the skill of stockbreeding and realized the importance of naturally grown crops.The people penetrated into every part of the habitable world. This initiated them in searching out the places where the crops grew well and ultimately they learnt purposeful growing of plant seeds near their settlement. The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution Between 10. During this time.e. This resulted in greatly improved production and increased the availability of food. They even roamed the plain between Britain and Denmark. But it will be totally a wrong interpretation if we project either the congenial environment or the enlargement of habitable territory in favour of subsistence revolution.. people in several areas around the earth developed new agricultural methods and machines.000 and 3000 B. which is now under the North Sea. except the outer islands of the Pacific and the poor places like Greenland and Baffin Land. The results of these changes made agricultural production much more productive. This is the time when they found many migratory animals within close proximity. the things that required special treatment for getting them as edible. such as the plow pulled by horses or oxen.E. More land could be farmed by fewer people or in fewer hours. rather it is the increased exploitative efficiency and adaptability of man that facilitated the great change over from food collection to food-production.

4. But whatever the reasons for its independent origins. and nutrition per person returned to its original level. for example. With more food and temporarily better nutrition. Some people continued to work in agriculture. Producing more food freed people’s time from agricultural work. Elsewhere. Plant Domestication The wild progenitors of crops including wheat. 3. The amount of non-agricultural goods produced increased. followed by humans since their evolution. to more than seven billion today. increased pressure on natural food resources may have forced people to find home grown solutions.300 years ago. In the Near East. People could specialize in work other than agriculture. prehistoric seedless fruits discovered in the Jordan Valley suggest fig trees were being planted some 11. Though the transition from wild harvesting was gradual. farming sowed the seeds for the modern age. were swept aside in favor of permanent settlements and a reliable food supply. population increased. the switch from a nomadic to a settled .000 years ago. food production could increase even more. As families and the number of potential workers grew. a population increased at a faster rate than an area’s resources were capable of sustaining it. that led people to take up farming in different parts of the world. while figs were cultivated even earlier. Out of agriculture.” Traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles. it’s thought that climatic changes age brought seasonal conditions that favoured annual plants like wild cereals. There was no single factor. Agricultural innovation greatly increased food production output and created a surplus beyond what was needed for survival. 2. Cereals were grown in Syria as long as 9. Often. the global population rocketed—from some five million people 10. and because crops and animals could now be farmed to meet demand. and peas are traced to the Near East region. or combination of factors. cities and civilizations grew. agriculture triggered such a change in society and the way in which people lived that its development has been dubbed the “Neolithic Revolution. such as in East Asia.000 years ago. The Farming Revolution Taking root around 12.RESULTS: 1. barley. while others did other forms of work.000 years ago. 5.

the first directly dated corn cob dates only to around 5. Corn later reached North America. The world’s oldest known rice paddy fields. the dramatic impact of dairy farming on Europeans is clearly stamped in their DNA. This is also when potato growing in the Andes region of South America began. helping to revolutionize Stone Age society. goats. Dates for the domestication of these animals range from between 13. But at some point during the spread of farming into south eastern Europe.000 years ago. While the extent to which farmers themselves migrated west remains a subject of debate. While maize-like plants derived from teosinte appear to have been cultivated at least 9. prehistoric populations weren’t able to stomach raw cow milk. The origins of rice and millet farming date to the same Neolithic period in China.way of life is marked by the appearance of early Neolithic villages with homes equipped with grinding stones for processing grain. people sometimes gathered the seeds of wild .500 years ago.000 years ago. a mutation occurred for lactose tolerance that increased in frequency through natural selection thanks to the nourishing benefits of milk. reveal evidence of ancient cultivation techniques such as flood and fire control. and pigs all have their origins as farmed animals in the socalled Fertile Crescent. squash cultivation began around 10.000 years ago. Prior to the arrival of domestic cattle in Europe. a region covering eastern Turkey. This region kick-started the Neolithic Revolution. discovered in eastern China in 2007. In Mexico. but corn (maize) had to wait for natural genetic mutations to be selected for in its wild ancestor. and south western Iran. teosinte. where cultivated sunflowers also started to bloom some 5. Genetic studies show that goats and other livestock accompanied the westward spread of agriculture into Europe.000 to 10. Farmed Animals Cattle. sheep. Who Invented Agriculture? Who first selected wild grains and domesticated them? We know that before the Neolithic era. Judging from the prevalence of the milk-drinking gene in Europeans today—as high as 90 percent in populations of northern countries such as Sweden—the vast majority are descended from cow herders. Iraq.000 years ago.

cultural evolution. But there was another dimension to the process. It worked. which was a time-consuming method. see above) started saving seeds from the relatively rare stalks that did all pop at once. This is how biological evolution works.grains and used them for food. The problem with wild varieties is that their seeds ripen at different times so that they don’t all get broadcast at once. Necessity is the Mother of Invention . agriculture was a major turning point. and of course that happened and explains the rapid expansion of the Neolithic way of life throughout Eurasia and even into the New World. Some genius (probably a woman. to grow and prosper as well. A fertile region could support a much larger population by farming than by hunting and gathering. when the young folk wandered off in search of new land. and replanted them. but in a few generations the population would multiply and something would have to give. And it did with people when agriculture provided a reliable new source of food. When the Neolithic world was still young the most obvious answer when there wasn’t enough land any more was to move on into fresh territory. and agriculture was born. And it enabled the people who stayed behind. Remove that limit and population can increase in a geometric progression. A Major Turning Point If you think of evolution in terms of increasing complexity and the concentration of power. So people (usually women) had to go through fields and shake the ripest pods. In natural selection. the food supply normally operates as the most important single limit on population growth. The uniquely human capacity for intentional thinking enabled our forebears to adapt much more rapidly to new environments and new circumstances. But that was only the start.

It seems to me that if there is a force or principle that operates to make an important evolutionary change happen. then it provides a kind of laboratory for testing theories of how major evolutionary breakthroughs emerge. If we want to know how we got on to that treadmill during the Neolithic era.. Say the problem at hand was cycles of flood and drought that kept interrupting the food supply. one thing leading to a couple of other things. making it not only viable but eminently desirable. It’s as though the planet had a big computer. That convergence of factors. you need a convergence of factors that create a potential market for something that doesn’t yet exist. for example. It wasn’t really cultural selection. nor was it a product of group selection. For starters. capable of finding a very small needle in a very big haystack. an accelerating process seemingly without end. You don’t need divine intervention. can this kind of event help us understand how the human intentional mind got started? Could its principle also help explain the emergence of the first life out of our planet’s primordial soup? If agriculture did start independently in three different places. if strong enough. One solution was granaries to store enough food to carry people through droughts. it was intentional. we need to look beyond the immediate causes and into what happened to the basic nature of the evolutionary process itself. Can that convergence of factors increase the odds that the lucky variant will be found? If so.Both the pioneers and the stay-at-homes faced many challenges as they went about colonizing the planet.. But any such adaptive changes would spawn new challenges requiring further adaptations. We could look. at least in any visible form. and a convergence of existing entities that have the potential of getting together and meeting that emerging need. how does one characterize the ‘invention’ of agriculture? It wasn’t natural selection. we have an example of it here. for similarities and differences that might shed light on the relative importance of . scanning for some as yet unknown thing. And then that lucky variant may get discovered. can vastly improve the prospects for a particular kind of variant in the system.

or conflict resolution. Is it too much to hope that such studies might prove useful for cancer research.environmental factors. to take examples at opposite ends of our history of evolution .