Ancient History 101, pt. 2 : Neolithic Era.

Neolithic Era

8000 BCE to 4000ish BCE

Again, it’s simpler to refer to this as “The New Stone Age.” But you’ll sound much smarter if you say “Neolithic.” Your call.

This is where technology really takes a mastodon leap forward. Not like, silicon and faxes and stuff, but more along the lines of precious metals. By the time this Era ends, metal tools are a totally normal thing. Way cool.

Copper Age

Bronze Age (started 3000 BC)

Iron Age (started 1500 BC)

Humans transition from being nomadic to being more sedentary as they find warm, fertile places to grow food and settle down. We don’t have records of their body mass index, but we can conjecture with absolute certainty that they probably got fatter. Gathering and hunting can really burn the calories. But farming is pretty awesome too.

Agriculture

They discovered that grinding grains makes flour, which can be used to make bread. If I had been around then, I would have been so excited that I would have borrowed some paint to paint a portrait of the bread inventor. Yum.

They also made a huge discovery! Plants grow better in fertile soil! I feel that it took them too long to discover this, but good for them for finally figuring it out.

Pay attention:

Long springs and summers are ideal for growing food. They figured this out, and they also taught themselves irrigation systems, which helps to create surplus food, which means more is produced than is consumed. Meaning…

...that communities could expand and not need to move around. And people start to have free time as they can start to specialize in different areas (division of labor). A totally awesome concept.

Meaning...
...some began to become artisans, who are workers skilled in a single craft, like breadmaking.

Animals

Humans tame wild animals, such as goats, pigs, and sheep for milk, meat, and wool. I would love to have filmed the first human to successfully domesticate a goat. Good for her.

Inventions : The Wheel

So now people can move around. Oh, yeah, along with the wheel, the Sumerians figured out sails, which meant people could start bartering and trading with other communities.

Government

Primitive types of government are developed to help regulate trade and other human activities. Villages grow into towns, towns into cities, and leaders are appointed or...take power.

Many monarchs (kings and queens) claim a divine right to rule.

Social classes (most important to least important). This is called a hierarchy. Sad.

Kings/Queens
Priests
Government/Military
Merchants/Traders
Farmers
Slaves

Civilizations develop around 4500 BCE

As life becomes more sedentary, people are able to spend more time thinking and developing ideas on astronomy, mathematics, engineering, teaching, writing, and lawmaking.

Writing is very important. It allows for the keeping of records for food harvests and goods to be traded, laws, prayers, family trees, shopping lists, etc.

Instead of just having to rely on oral tradition, stories are able to be recorded in writing. Painters and sculptors illustrate stories about religion and nature and by decorating buildings and temples. Perhaps the first graffiti artists are born in this era. Perhaps an ancestor of Banksy. If you haven’t watched Exit Through the Gift Shop, then you definitely should, unless you’re under 17. In that case you shouldn’t. Because it’s rated R. Sorry. Really sad.

In summary, the first civilizations are formed around Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, China, and Central America.

And what is a civilization? Seriously, you don’t remember? Sad. I will write it here so you will never forget.

Civilization is basically workers + writing + art + government

Footnote

Introduction to Ancient History, from the Paleolithic Era to the fall of Rome, and how the lives, cultures, decisions, and actions of these periods affects our modern lives.

Education for most ages and for all curious people.
Written by Joseph Ivan Long with curiosity, humbleness, and a big grin.