NEOLITHIC CULTURE begins 10000 bce
NEOLITHIC CULTURE begins 10000 bce
begins ca. 10,000 bp
Also referred to as the New Stone Age
Ground and polished stone tools
Settled villages with domesticated plants and
Development of pottery and weaving
Evidence of mother-earth/goddess religion
The end of the Neolithic period is marked by the use
of writing, metal tools, and the rise of urban
Making stone tools by
pecking, grinding and
polishing is a defining
technology for the
Spread of Neolithic Culture
bce: before Common Era
The earliest known development of Neolithic culture was
in SW Asia between 8000 and 6000 bce.
In the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys, Neolithic
culture developed into the urban civilizations of the
Bronze Age by 3500 bce.
Between 6000 and 2000 bce Neolithic culture spread
through Europe, the Nile valley (Egypt), the Indus valley
(India), and the Huang He valley (N China).
In the New World, the domestication of plants and
animals occurred independently of Old World
developments. By 1500 bce, Neolithic cultures were
present in Mexico and South America
The Agricultural Revolution:
Pastoralism, the herding of domesticated or partially
domesticated animals emerged at the same time as
agriculture did -- 10-12,000 years ago
The wandering, nomadic life of the pastoralists had more in common with
hunter-gatherers than did the life of the farmers
Herders, Tasilli N’Ajjer
Shepherds and Farmers:
Cooperation and Conflict
Pastoralism developed on marginal land in areas unsuitable
Frequently, the two ways of life were compatible with lively
trade between farmers who had grain, metal and crafted
objects to exchange with pastoral nomads, who had hides,
wool, meat, and milk products.
However, nomads frequently found raiding of settled lands
tempting and profitable, and farmers, with growing
populations, tended to encroach on any land that could be
converted to the growing of crops.
With these two specializations, organized warfare emerged.
Shorter muzzles and horns
Less developed teeth and jaws
Less intelligent and less aggressive
Tendency to uniform color
Specialization for human needs (ex. heavy wool)
The discovery of weaving
plant and animal fibers into
cloth represented a
revolutionary improvement in
the quality of human life.
Weaving may have preceded
agriculture, as it grew
naturally out of basketry and
the weaving of reed mats.
Life in sedentary agricultural
villages permitted the
refinement of ancient
techniques and the adoption
of more complex looms.
The Agricultural Revolution:
From wild grass to grain
A small percentage of
wild grass plants has
seed that clings to the
stalk even when ripe.
These crops could not
Size and number of
the kernels, also
changed over time.
The invention of the scratch plow in Mesopotamia about
6,000 years ago was a great labor-saving device for
humans and a revolutionary stage in human development-the exploitation of non-human forms of energy, in this
Dependency on few
Greater vulnerability to
Complete dependency on
Need for hard physical
Expanded “tool kit”
Wealth and property
grain to food
Seeds milled between two stones and boiled in water makes porridge.
When finely ground grain is mixed with water into a paste and baked,
the grain is transformed into bread.
Yeast cultures are natural, but were regarded as magical prior to the
recent discovery of micro-organisms.
Grain spoiled for bread-making can be fermented. The sprouted grain
is baked, ground into a paste (called malt), and then added to water.
With the right yeast and little luck, the result is beer.
Invention of kiln
brought about the
firing of clay pots
Fired pots were
sturdier and allowed
for increased storage
One of the best preserved vases from Sesklo is
dated between 5300-3800 BC. It is decorated
with plain long white lines on the dark red
The most beautiful example of Greek Neolithic pottery
is this two-handled vase from Dimini dated between
5300 and 4800 BC
Sedentism: living in one
Accumulation of food and
Development of new skills
Close quarters: need for
the oldest discovered village
Sometime after the
founding of the town, a
wall was built around it,
enclosing ca. 10 acres.
The wall itself was 6.5
feet thick and is
preserved to a height of
almost 20 feet.
This is the earliest known
fortification in the world.
Following a long abandonment, Jericho was resettled ca.
6800 by a people with a different culture.
More elaborate houses, consisting of multiple
rectangular rooms positioned around courtyards.
Finds of this period suggest a cult of ancestors at Jericho
(and throughout Syria Palestine during this period).
Ten skulls were discovered that had been modelled with
plaster to resemble the faces of the dead.
Judean Stone Mask
Kh. Duma, Hebron Area
Height: 22.3 cm
Plaster statues from
Jericho and Ain
ca. 8,000-7,000 bce
Çatalhöyük means 'forked mound' and is the modern name for the
site of an ancient city in the country of Turkey, ancient Anatolia.
First discovered and excavated by James Mellaart in 1950s and
Archaeologists believe the ancient city covered an area the size of 50
The oldest pottery known
from Anatolia (modernday Turkey)
The earliest pottery was
fired, unpainted and
unglazed and had a very
simple bag shaped form.
Çatalhöyük bone work
Most of the bone tools
are bone points used as
awls and needles.
Scraping tools were used
in making pottery, and
some antler tools were
used for making stone
Bone ornaments like
rings and pendants
green stone pendant/belt fastener
Ground stone tools include
axe heads, mace heads, querns
for grinding grain, ornaments
such as pendants, and mirrors
Çatalhöyük obsidian: trade
Anatolian obsidian, "purchased" in Catal Huyuk
would wind its way a thousand miles southward to
Obsidian, a volcanic rock, may have been
considered a sacred material charged with "mana,"
Jericho craftsmen worked the obsidian into a
variety of stone tools that were sharper and harder
Çatalhöyük Murals: Figurative
Çatalhöyük Murals: Figurative
A stylized portrayal of the terraced houses of the city itself,
with a geologically perceptive rendition of an erupting,
The painting clearly represents an actual eruption of Hasan
Dag, a twin-peaked, then-active volcano, eight miles to the
east of the city, which dominated the skyline on a clear day.
Human burials were placed underneath
sleeping platforms inside houses.
Burial pits in platforms were used
again and again.
Most adults were buried without
any grave goods.
Babies and children were often
buried with long strands of small
polished beads made of stone,
shell or coral.
Enthroned Çatalhöyük Goddess
ca. 50001500 bce
Some 7000 years ago in Brittany people started
to move stones of up to 180 tons in weight and
to place them in the landscape.
For what reason we don't know, despite many
theories. Common archaeological opinion says:
dolmens - artificial caves built of stones and
stone plates - were made for burial purposes.
menhirs - the standing stones - there isn't
any reasonable explanation.
Menhir: single standing stone
Alignment: row of three or more stones
Proleeck Dolmen, Ireland
Trilithon: three-stones two tall
uprights stones supporting a
lintel (lintel = a piece of stone
over a door or window, forming
part of the frame)
Alée couverte: rectangular
megalithic chamber, usually in
artificial mound of
earth or stones.
Silbury Hill, England,
is the largest
over 40 m high
Cairn: burial mound,
constructed mostly of
Menga near Antequera (Malaga, Spain)
passage leading into a
round central chamber,
usually covered by
mound- more a shrine
than a grave
Welsh "crom" ("in
a curve") and
Giant’s Ring, County Down, Ireland
made of the
earth ditch and
with one or
The age of certain megaliths is dated to about 4600
A discrepancy is evident between the highly developed
understanding of astronomy, geometry and
trigonometry which these megalith builders possessed,
and the relatively "primitive" nature of the
archeological finds from cultures of the equivalent time
Certain stone circles are complex geometric
constructions, taking into account a measurement we
call today the ‘megalithic yard’: 0.829 meters
Studies have shown a mathematical correspondence to
two other ancient measurements: the Egyptian Remen,
used in the construction of the pyramids, and the royal
Elle, a measurement often found in the construction of
The Megalithic Temples of Malta
The MEGALITHIC TEMPLES OF MALTA,
dating from 5500 years ago, are the oldest freestanding stone structures in the world
Holy Shrine of the
Seven megalithic temples on
the islands of Malta and
Gozo: bear witness to the
development of the
Malta: Hagar Qim Temple
Malta: “Fat Ladies” from
Hagar Qim Temple
The original 'cupboard' altar
In the face of the altar, a
cap-stone closed a hollow
space inside the altar,filled
with animal bones and a
small flint knife.
aerial view of Tarxien
Malta: Temple Statues
Thanks to these two
by Charles de
Brochdorff in 1824,
the Xaghra Stone
Circle was relocated
Hypothetical reconstruction of the Xaghra Stone Circle
Malta: Xaghra Stone Circle
Stonehenge was built in several phases on a sacred site on the
Salisbury Plain in a series of concentric rings of standing stones
around an altar stone at the center.
The first ring has a horseshoe plan of originally 5 trilithons
Beyond this a circle of small, movable
"marker stones" were set in pits
An outer, enclosing circle
of sandstone monoliths
13.5 feet high, supported
what was once a
Beyond these was first a circle of smaller
uprights, sacred "blue" stones, transported from
A landscaped trench separated the site from the surrounding land.
A long avenue marked by uprights sets up an
axis, identified by the Heel Stone, a large
stone with a pointed top.
during solar eclipse
Stonehenge at a distance