Neolithic Revolution

From Academic Kids

The Neolithic Revolution was a term first suggested in the 1920s by the Australian archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe as a description of the switch made by ancient peoples from nomadic, hunter-gatherer behaviour to a settled, agrarian way of life, during the neolithic period. It was the first of a series of agricultural revolutions that have punctuated human history.

Agriculture gave humans more control over their food supply, but required settled occupation of territory and encouraged larger social groups. A key factor in this change, Childe considered, was that global climates at the end of the last ice age were warmer and drier, making plants more efficient at producing crops but encouraging settlement near water sources. Paleoclimatology and the study of sub-fossil pollen demonstrated that climates had actually turned wetter, and the forces governing Childe's "Neolithic Revolution" were revised.

Believed to have occurred somewhere in southwest Asia around 8000 BC 7000 BC, the Neolithic Revolution has been called the single most important change in the history of humanity. Living in one spot would have more easily permitted the accrual of personal possessions and an attachment to certain areas of land. From such a position, it is argued, prehistoric people were able to stockpile food to survive lean times and trade unwanted surpluses with others. Once trade and a secure food supply were established, populations could grow, and society would have diversified into food producers and artisans. Such relative complexity would have required some form of social organisation to work efficiently and so it is likely that populations which had such organisation, perhaps such as that provided by religion were better prepared and more successful. Also, during this time property ownership became increasingly important to all people.

Ultimately, Childe argued that this growing social complexity, all rooted in the original decision to settle, led to a second Urban Revolution in which the first cities were built. Recently, Ian Hodder, who is directing the excavations at atalhyk has suggested that the earliest settled communities, and the Neolithic revolution they represent, actually preceded the development of agriculture, He has been developing the ideas first expressed by Jacques Cauvin, the excavator of the Natufian settlement at Mureybet in northern Syria, that the Neolithic revolution was the result of a revolutionary change in the human psychology, a "revolution of symbols" which led to new beliefs about the world and shared community rituals embodied in corpulent female figurines and the methodical assembly of aurochs horns.

Further reading

  • Balter, Michael (2005). The Goddess and the Bull: Catalhoyuk, An Archaeological Journey to the Dawn of Civilization. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0743243609.

See also

Template:Archaeology-stubde:Neolithische Revolution hu:Neolitikus forradalom nl:Neolithische revolutie pl:Rewolucja neolityczna ru:Неолитическая революция


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