Paleolithic and Neolithic Peoples

Coming to Be,
Coming to Farm
Big Geography, the Peopling of the Earth,
Neolithic Revolution and Early Agriculture
Mr. Prindiville
recent, but
slow to grow.
• Within last 14,000
years, developed
greatly into the
modern human:
More erect stature
Tamed fire
Increase in average size
Tool use (small stones)
The Great Migration:
from Africa to the Ends of the Earth
Social & Economic Organization
of the Roaming Paleolithic
• Economic structures were focused on small
kinship groups of hunting foraging bands
• could make what they needed to survive
• Not all groups were self-sufficient; they
exchanged people, ideas, and goods.
• Remember the arrow
The Great Innovation:
Agriculture (Neolithic Rev.)
Developed in
Seven General Areas
1. Fertile Crescent
2. several areas in Sub-Saharan Africa
3. China
4. New Guinea
5. Mesoamerica
6. The Andes
7. Eastern North America
When, and why?
• In all of these cases it
happened around the
same time: 12,000-4,000
years ago
• Scholars struggle with
the question:
• Why did ag. develop so
late in human history?
Diprotodon ~6k lbs
coincides with
early human
Mammoth tusk spear
Frozen cub with food in stomach
The Great Innovation:
Agriculture (Neolithic Rev.)
Agriculture Impacts Society
• Women were probably the agricultural
• Pastoralism developed at various sites in the
grasslands of Afro-Eurasia.
• Different crops in different regions depending on
local flora and fauna
• Disease
Human-Environment Interaction
• Agricultural
communities had to
work cooperatively to
clear land and create
water control systems.
• These agricultural
practices drastically
– Pastoralists affected the
grasslands by
Kora-Khokhoi preparing to move - 1805
Improvements in Ag. production
• Pottery
• Plows
• Woven textiles
• Metallurgy
• Wheels and wheeled
vehicles. a
Nefertiti in sheer linen
Political Life of Pastoral and
Agricultural Societies
• Elite groups accumulated wealth
and power.
• Creating hierarchal social
• Promoted patriarchy
• Harder work
• Disease (animal interaction)
• Epidemics (large communities)
• Vulnerable to famine
• Constraints on movement
• Explosion of innovation
• Textiles, metallurgy
• Alteration of natural ecosystem - deliberate
Develop use of fire and
more elaborate tools as
they move into colder
Interacted with each
other as they roamed;
language developed
and knowledge
With more reliable
food, population
Agriculture impacts
environmental diversity
End of Ice Age sparks
agricultural development;
independently in different
places; pastoralism
develops in grasslands
More food allows
people to do art, be full
time warriors, and also
be leaders.
These people make
technical breakthroughs
that make agriculture
and transportation
more efficient
Hierarchical societies
Following animals,
Paleolithic peoples
leave Africa