Neolithic Revolution (Agricultural Revolution)

Neolithic Revolution
(Agricultural Revolution)
Basic Ideas From the Neolithic
• Geographic factors allowed for advances in
agriculture that lead to stable food supplies,
rising populations, and the development of
Create a Chart Comparing Life Before
and After Agriculture
Life Before
Food Supply
Social Structure
(government & religion
Art & Innovation
Life After
• “Great Apes”
• Refers to humans and their
• Australopithecines – 4-1
million years ago
• Lucy is the most famous
discovery of an
Australopithecine. She was
found in 1974. A complete,
female skeleton dated to 3.5
million years ago
Paleolithic Era
• Paleolithic means “Old Stone Age”
• 2.5 million years ago – 8,000 years ago
• People of the Paleolithic Era:
– Homo-Habilis (2.5 million – 1.5 million years ago) used
simple stone tools “man of skill”
– Homo-Erectus (1.6 mil. – 30,000 BC) predecessor to
Homo-Sapiens “upright man”
• First to use fire, good hunters, and more advanced tools
•Neanderthal (200,000BC-30,000 BC)
Powerfully built, heavy brows, big muscles
Developed some form of religion
DNA shows not an ancestor of humans
• 40,000BC-8,000 BC
• These are the earliest Homo-Sapiens “wise
• Planned hunts, stalked, their population grew
at a faster rate as their lives became easier
• Probably looked similar to me and you (brain
size and capacity were smaller)
Life Before Steady Agriculture
• People were Hunters and Gatherers
• They were Nomadic – travel from place to
place in search of food
– Once the food in an area was consumed, man
moved to a new area
– Also followed the migration patterns of animals
Shelters Before the Neolithic
• Many nomadic people lived in shelters
provided by nature (such as caves)
• Many people built very simple shelters made
of wood and hides
Social Structure
• The typical social structure was built around
the family
• There may have been groups of families
together, known as a Clan
Art and Innovation
• Some drawings and artwork from the
Paleolithic Age have been found
– Lascaux Cave paintings in France
• They used very primitive weapons and tools
– Some evidence of sewing needles
– The use of fire
– Simple stone tools
Specialized Labor
• The main priority for everyone at this time
was finding food
• We call this Subsistence
• Only verbal communication was used (and it
was probably fairly limited/basic)
• Symbols were used to mark places of
• Neolithic means “New Stone Age”
– 8,000 BC – 3000 BC
• Something very important in the history of the
world happens to start the “New Stone Age.”
What is it? It changes everything.
• Why is this such a big change? How do you think
it will change history?
Neolithic Revolution
• Went from food gatherers to food producers
• Now had a steady source of food (what do you
think this will lead to?)
• Domestication of animals for work and food
• The revolution happened independently all
around the world at different times
Life After Steady Agriculture is
• The Food Supply is the
most important factor that
• People began to plant,
tend, and harvest crops
• Animals were
domesticated for food, and
for use as beasts of burden
• Hunting was still used, but
only to supplement the
food supply
Sometimes used slash and
burn agriculture
Shelter After the Neolithic Revolution
• Mud bricks are used as a building material
• Eventually stones would be quarried, and used
as a building material
• Villages were located near fields, and other
reliable food sources (rivers/seas)
Social Structure
• Social Structures became
more complex, with many
clans living in close
– What do you think this
development will lead to?
• Gender separation became
more apparent
– Men: Farmed, herded, and
– Women: Raised the children,
cooked, and did jobs near
the newly established homes
Social Structure (continued)
• Governments are developed during this time
to organize activity
• Religion is developed to help explain nature
Art and Innovation
• Carving and statuary,
complex tools such as
advances in weapons,
plows pulled by
animals, building
techniques, cloth
making and weaving
• Architecture and
building for religious or
common use
Specialization of Labor
• Advances in Agriculture lead to more bountiful
crops, so some people had to turn to other work
(what do you think some of these advances
– Some became artisans who made pottery, wove cloth,
or made metal tools and weapons
• Regional resources were gathered and traded
– Trading involved these new products, as well as food
– 2 inventions helped expand trade (wheel and sail)
• Development of pictographic
languages (Egyptian
Hieroglyphic) or written
• Developed to keep records
concerning food storage &
• Cuneiform was developed by
Sumerian scribes around 3000
BC (this is where written history
Villages Grow into Cities…Civilization
• Civilization- Complex culture with 5
1) Advanced cities, (2) specialized workers, (3) complex
institutions, (4) record keeping, (5) advanced
Characteristics of Civilization
• Advanced Cities
– Having a larger population, but also being the center
of trade and industry
• Specialized Labor
– Food surpluses freed up time for people to do other
• Complex Institutions
– Religion and Government are examples of these
(irrigation, ceremonies, and trade all needed some
– Social Classes started to be defined according to jobs
– Religion was based on things that affected crop rather
simply nature or animals
Characteristics of Civilization (cont.)
• Record Keeping
– Taxes, grain collection/storage, yearly rituals, and
merchants tracking debts/payments/transactions
• Advanced Technology
– The Bronze Age (mixing copper and tin to create
tools, weapons, and art from bronze)
– Irrigation, farming techniques, etc.
First Civilizations
• Sumer is the first
region to show
signs of
civilization; Ur is
the first major city
to appear in Sumer
(on the Euphrates)
• Hit their peak
around 3000 BC
• Economy was
based on bartering
• Wide range of
• Ziggurats were
their temples
Possible Negatives Associated with
• Natural disasters could destroy villages or
• Disease could spread more easily
• Fighting over good land would begin

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