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Final stage of technological development or cultural evolution among prehistoric humans. It is characterized by the use of stone tools shaped by polishing or grinding, the domestication of plants or animals, the establishment of permanent villages, and the practice of such crafts as pottery and weaving. The Neolithic followed the Paleolithic Period (and in northwestern Europe the Mesolithic) and preceded the Bronze Age. Its beginning is associated with the villages that emerged in South Asia c. 9000 BC and flourished in the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys from c. 7000 BC. Farming spread northward throughout Eurasia, reaching Britain and Scandinavia only after 3000 BC. Neolithic technologies also spread to the Indus River valley of India by 5000 BC and to the Huang Ho valley of China by c. 3500 BC. The term is not applied to the New World, though Neolithic modes of life were achieved independently there by c. 2500 BC.
Variants of NEOLITHIC PERIOD
Neolithic Period or New Stone Age
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Neolithic Period, visit Britannica.com.
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