Neolithic Period: beginning, characteristics, summary

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O neolithic period comprises one of the phases of Prehistory, between the years of 7 thousand a. Ç. to 2500 BC C., and was characterized by numerous transformations that occurred among hominids, such as sedentarization and agricultural production. Some historians recognize the importance of these changes and called this period as neolithic revolution. Artistic production was intense, and the economy developed through agriculture, trade and crafts.

Read too: Age of Metals - the last phase of Prehistory

Main features of the Neolithic period

The discovery and control of fire marked the transition from Paleolithic to the Neolithic. Right after the period in which the first human groups adapted to the environment in search of survival, the use of fire improved the actions of these groups. That way they could hunt at night, warm themselves from the cold and cook food. These changes caused by the use of fire allowed hominids to exploit the environment to their advantage.

In the Neolithic, human groups are no longer nomadic

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, that is, constantly changing places in search of better conditions for survival, and they became sedentary. The hominids have fixed themselves in a certain place. That enabled the development of agriculture. The planting and harvesting of seeds made these groups explore the land where they lived. Agricultural production was stored in ceramic objects for later consumption or for exchange with other groups.

If in the Paleolithic the first humans used the chipped stone, in the Neolithic the polished stone was introduced into the lives of hominids. The use of this stone contributed to the making of more efficient weapons, as it gave more precision to the cut. This improved hunting and fishing activities and the attack on wild animals or enemy groups.

How was the Neolithic Revolution?

By becoming sedentary, that is, living in one place, hominids began to build their first homes.
By becoming sedentary, that is, living in one place, hominids began to build their first homes.

The Neolithic Revolution was the countless changes that took place in Prehistory and that gave basis for the formation of the first civilizations of humanity in the East. The way of life of hominids was transformed by becoming sedentary and living in one place. Thus, the first companies with more complex social division, that is, men and women had their roles defined.

The relationships between hominids and the lived environment also changed. Instead of simply adapting to the environment, human groups began to explore what nature offered them and interfere with it. The actions of hominids became more effective with the use of polished stone in the production of weapons and tools of work.

See too: Prehistory american: neolithic period

Main changes of the Neolithic Revolution

In the Neolithic period, hominids used polished stone to make everyday tools, whose cut was more efficient, favoring hunting and fishing.
In the Neolithic period, hominids used polished stone to make everyday tools, whose cut was more efficient, favoring hunting and fishing.

The main changes in the Neolithic were:

  • Agricultural production

  • use of polished stone

  • sedentary

  • population increase

  • formation of the first cities

When hominids abandoned the practice of moving from place to place in search of better living conditions, they became sedentary. By settling in a single place to live, human groups began to explore the land where they were. beginning the agrarian practice. Planting and harvesting became parts from the reality of the first humans. From the moment that natural phenomena were recognized as well as the best ways to use the land, production increased, with the main consequence of increasing population.

The small groups have grown in size and expanded the use of land and Agricultural production. New instruments were created so that the harvest could meet demand. The surplus production was stored in ceramic objects so that it would not be lost and could be consumed in the following days or exchanged for other products with neighboring groups. This increase in population led to the emergence of the first cities located in the Fertile Crescent and that would give rise to the empires of eastern antiquity.

Polished stone was used to make more efficient weapons, which facilitated hunting, fishing and fighting enemy groups. The use of this instrument contributed to better land use, increasing agricultural production.

In addition to the land, hominids also start using river waters not only to quench thirst but also to irrigate the planting, transport, and manufacture of objects such as pottery and clay. During the Paleolithic, hominids sought to satisfy the basic needs for survival, how to feed, drink water, protect against wild animals and weather of nature. Already in the Neolithic, hominids began to explore nature to your advantage.

art in the neolithic period

You ceramic objects they were used to store surplus agricultural produce and also became works of art during the Neolithic. Hominids made drawings on these objects, representing daily life as well as their beliefs. At polished stones they were used in religious ceremonies and in the construction of the first houses.

See more: Relevant Aspects of Art in Prehistory

Neolithic period economics

In the Neolithic, the main economic activity was agriculture. The sedentary lifestyle of hominids, with their permanence in a single place, enabled them to use the land to plant and harvest seeds from it. Another economic activity was the business, as surplus products were exchanged with neighboring groups. Also, the craftsmanship it was another important activity when making ceramic and clay objects as well as weapons using polished stone.

Summary about the Neolithic period

  • The Neolithic comprises the phase of greatest transformation in the life of hominids during Prehistory.

  • The main characteristics of the Neolithic are: sedentarization, agricultural production, use of polished stone and the appearance of the first cities.

  • Agriculture enabled the increase in food production, which caused an increase in population.

  • Neolithic art was based on drawings made on ceramic and clay objects as well as stones used in the construction of the first houses and in religious ceremonies.

  • Main Neolithic economic activities: agriculture, trade and crafts.

solved exercises

Question 1 - The Neolithic was one of the phases of Prehistory characterized by great transformations in the lives of hominids. Read the items and mark what correctly indicates one of these transformations:

A) Sedentarization and agricultural practice.

B) Industrialization, hunting and fishing.

C) Consumption of natural products.

D) Maintenance of nomadic life.


Alternative A. By becoming sedentary, that is, inhabiting a single place, hominids were able to use the land by planting and harvesting seeds, starting agricultural production. These changes caused the population increase and the emergence of the first cities.

Question 2 - One of the main characteristics of Neolithic art was:

A) painting on cave walls.

B) painting on ceramic and clay objects.

C) painting on the bodies of animals killed in hunting.

D) paint on the spears for good luck.


Alternative B. The transformations that took place in the Neolithic influenced the artistic production of Prehistory. Ceramic and clay objects (produced to store surplus agricultural production) were used by hominids as a means to express, through drawings, their daily lives and their beliefs religious.

By Carlos César Higa
History teacher

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