Farming In The Early Neolithic Essay Research

Farming In The Early Neolithic? Essay, Research Paper

The Neolithic phase of human affairs began in Europe about 10,000 or 12,000 years

ago. But probably men had reached the Neolithic stage elsewhere some thousands

of years earlier. Neolithic men came slowly into Europe from the south or

south-east as the reindeer and the open steppes gave way to forest and modern

European conditions. The Neolithic stage in culture is characterized by:? the presence of polished stone implements,

and in particular the stone axe, which was perforated so as to be the

more effectually fastened to a wooden handle, and which was probably used

rather for working wood than in conflict. There are also abundant arrow-heads.

The fact that some implements are polished does not preclude the presence of

great quantities of implements of unpolished stone. But there are differences

in the make between even the unpolished tools of the Neolithic and of the

Palaeolithic Period. The beginning of a sort of agriculture, and the use of

plants and seeds. But at first there are abundant evidences that hunting was

still of great; importance in the Neolithic Age. Neolithic man did not at first

sit down to his agriculture. He took snatch crops. He settled later. ? Pottery and proper cooking. The horse is no

longer eaten. Domesticated animals. The dog appears very early. The Neolithic

man had domesticated cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. He was a huntsman

turned herdsman of the herds he once hunted.?

Plaiting and weaving. A later

development was the use of pottery, and discoveries of pottery and grains of

cultivated cereals at archaeological sites mark the slow spread of Neolithic

farming across Europe. Geneticists have suggested that this wave of advance

explains the patterns found when they analyse the frequencies of various genes

in European populations. The farming revolution did not reach the British Isles

and Scandinavia until after about 4000 BC. The analysis of pollen in different

levels of lake sediment indicates that land was being cleared for agriculture

in Ireland by about 4000 or 3800 BC.The earliest Neolithic pottery found in

Ulster (Lyles Hill pottery) is similar to pottery found in northern Britain,

suggesting that the earliest Neolithic colonists may have come to Ireland from

northern Britain. The pottery bowls were made by winding coils of clay in a

circle to form the sides of the bowl, smoothing them, and finally firing them

on an open fire. Later Neolithic pottery is decorated with dots or lines in the

surface of the clay.Neolithic axes found in Ulster are often made from

porcellanite, a type of stone found at Tievebulliagh in Co. Antrim or at

Brockley on Rathlin Island. These axes would be flaked into the rough shape of

an axe and then polished with an abrasive stone such as sandstone. Over 1400

porcellanite axes have been found, mostly in Ulster, but also in other parts of

the British Isles. About 160 of these axes have been found in Britain, showing

that axes were an important item of exchange. Flint was also used for

arrowheads, knives and scapers, and was traded to areas which did not have

natural sources of flint. One of the implements most commonly found is the

scaper, which was presumably used to prepare the hides of cattle.These Neolithic people probably "migrated" into

Europe, in the same way that the Reindeer Men had migrated before them; that is

to say, generation by generation and century by century, as the climate

changed, they spread after their accustomed food.


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