The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution is what we call the transition from nomadic life to settled farm life. It had a big impact on early people and their way of life and led to the rise of cities, which in turn lead to the development of civilization. Before the Neolithic Period was the Paleolithic Period. During the Paleolithic Period, people were nomads. They hunted and gathered food from the area they were currently living in. Therefore, once the food supply came to an end, they moved to another area.
People during those times traveled in small groups so they wouldn’t have too many people to feed and be responsible for. They also had simple tools and believed in animism. The Neolithic Period, or New Stone Age, began at about 10,000BC. The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution was a turning point in history. People developed agriculture, or farming. To farm, they settled down in one area and became farmers instead of hunters and gatherers. With the development of agriculture, people started to throughly change the way they lived.
The calender and other technologies were created along with new skills and tool. People also domesticated animals such as dogs, chicken, cattle, pigs, and sheep, depending on where they lived. Early civilizations developed near major rivers. The rivers provided water and transportation. Rivers also provided farming lands with tiny bits of rock and dirt from river bottoms called silt. Silt would renew the soil and keep it fertile every time a flood occurred. Because of such fertile soil, farmers produced surpluses of food.
The large quantities of food fed more people, causing a population increase. As the population increased, farming villages grew into cities. People from one village or city would mingle with another and ideas, culture or technology would spread resulting in cultural diffision. Civilization was just beginning. In cities, almost everything became more complex. Civilization was taking it’s form. Councils of elders and chief were no longer in charge. An elaborate government was now in control. Governments and rulers would sometime order public works to be built.
The public works projects were often big and costly. For example, irrigation systems, roads, bridges and walls. These projects were meant to be beneficial to the city by protecting it, guaranteeing food, or enhancing the power of the government. Art and architecture reflected the talents, beliefs, and values of the builder or city. However, like the public works, some rulers may have temples and palaces built to remind people of the government and religion. People no longer believed in animism. Many were now polytheistic, which means they believed in many gods.
To gain favor of the god, they held ceremonies, prayed, and danced. They also built temples and sacrificed animals, crops, and even fellow humans for the gods. The writing system was first used in temples where priests needed to record the amount of grain collected, information about the seasons and precise rituals. Pictographs was the first step to the development of writing. AS writing grew more complex, only specially trained people called scribes could only read and write. Many new skills began to advance too. One person could not master them all. So, people began to specialize in one job.
Some people became artisan, bricklayers, soldiers, and merchants; while others became entertainers such as singers, dancers or story tellers. In society, people were ranked according to their jobs. The rankings later on grew into social classes. At the top were priests and nobles, followed by wealthy merchants. Next came artisans and then peasants. Slaves or prisoners were at the bottom. The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution greatly affected the lives of early people and how they lived. Simple nomads who learned to farm rose to live in villages. Those villages then grew into thriving cities which developed civilization.