Essay #1: Explain how the Neolithic Revolution led to the

Essay #1: Explain how the Neolithic Revolution led to the development of new & more
complex economic & social systems when compared to the Paleolithic.
The Paleolithic Period
Green History, Chapter 3
Stearns, pp. 2-12
Paleolithic: Stone Age (SPRITE characteristics)
1. mankind most primitive/isolated state; nomads (had a psychological effect also)
--mankind begins in Africa & moves outward; end of Ice Age ca. 12000 BCE means
movement outward
(40% of the coastline submerged; Bering land bridge becomes a strait, as well as
b/t England & France, Spain & Morocco, & the Philippines/Taiwan to Korea; seas
would rise 400’; ca 5600 BCE the Med. sea flooded into the Euxine Lake becoming
the Black Sea)
2. social—h/g; movement; more leisure time; know migratory habits; communal land; impact of
climate (seasons); min. contact; more egalitarian—women did most of the gathering
(acorns) gradually leading to gender hierarchies; formation of small kinship groups
3. pol—local control; small h/g groups served as “pol” control; male/female; local, small scale
conflicts; no nuclear weapons—only low-tech; small pol. units; no “civilization”
4. rel—very basic ideas; oral transmission; animistic—influence of geog.; polytheistic;
creation/flood stories to understand surroundings; basic rituals
5. intellectual/tech—“Ugh!!! What that? “Ooooooo! See what stone & bone do.” Bang! Bang!”—
little to no metallurgy; stone & bone; independent invention based on resources & location;
primitive cave art; needle/thread (allows movement to cooler areas; ice free corridor in N.
Am); Humans used fire in new ways: to aid hunting & foraging, to protect against
predators, & to adapt to cold environments; development of languages
6. econ—small scale (gathering food foremost human activity); change is slow; local trade until
inventions; needed ten square miles per h/g to survive (while 1 sq. mile of farmed land
could support 50 people); use of bartering; very self-sufficient
7. geog—heavy influence (how?); min contact—isolates; pop. was too small to have lots of
interaction; impact of climate—a warming occurs ca. 9000 BCE after a period of cooling
ca. 11,000 from the draining of Lake Agassiz)