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Humans started to arrive on Earth just after it warmed around 12,000 years ago after the ice age.
In the early Stone Age, people were hunters and gatherers. Soon they realized the importance of farming, which marked the end of the Old Stone Age.
The introduction of farming changed the lives of early humans across the world. Once homo sapiens started farming, their health and nutrition improved, and longevity increased. Till the Mesolithic age, the Stone Age people relied on hunting and gathering their resources. The Neolithic revolution characterized by farming and civilization was a huge transformation of the culture of humans. Religion has also been related to farming based on fertility and seasons. Catalhoyuk is one of the best-preserved sites in southern Turkey, allowing the transition from nomadic to agricultural life. The craze for farming started in the Mediterranean population at first and then went up the Atlantic coast.
The agricultural revolution in the Neolithic era changed the course of history. Around 6,000 years ago, the concept of farming arrived in Britain for the first time, and it marked the beginning of the New Stone Age or the Neolithic Age.
It is believed that agriculture was introduced by the British for the first time, but whether it was a native adaptation or the result of the arrival of some neighboring European tribes is unknown. The first farmers chopped down trees and wild plants to carry on their agricultural practices. Humans began to settle in permanent houses and built large tombs. The neolithic farming cultures drastically changed humanity, and this change was clearly a visible phase of human history. Some of the monuments of the Stone Age can even be seen today.
By 4000 BC, many farms were already set up in Britain. The early farmers cleared the forests to grow crops and built houses in fields. As the population grew, people could not depend on hunting and gathering food. They started planting seeds for a constant supply of food. This idea became very popular, and as more humans learned about this technique of growing food, the hunter-gatherers replaced their nomadic lifestyle with permanent homes. Actual farms were created in many parts of Europe. Not only cultivation but following the Neolithic revolution, the farmers also began to keep domesticated animals for thousands of years. These two formed the main components of early agriculture. Cattle animals like sheep, goats, and cows were commonly reared for milk, cheese, and meat. They reared all kinds of beneficial animals in their farms. However, some animals became the source of infectious diseases such as measles, smallpox, and influenza. In the Stone Age, people still went hunting to gather food like berries and nuts but spent most of their day on their farms.
The basic farming process in the Stone Age was similar in most places, but the kinds of crops and animals were different. Grains like wheat and barley were common in the East, and archeologists have proven the facts with discovered artifacts. The grinding stones discovered from such sites prove that the grains were crushed into flour to produce food. Land near the ancient Near East called Fertile Crescent was responsible for growing a variety of domestic animals.
In the rest parts of the world, the types of crops that were cultivated carried. Grains such as Einkorn wheat and barley were some of the first crops domesticated by the Stone Age people. They also grew peas, lentils, flax, and chickpeas in the southwest. The Neolithic people selected only those types of crops that could be harvested easily. For example, wild wheat shatters easily when it falls on the ground after becoming ripe. So they aimed to harvest it while it was on the stem still. Rice and millet have been grown in China since the Stone Age. They learned to grow rice from the early forms of paddy. Across the world, people were growing very different kinds of crops in America. In Mexico, people were growing food specific to the North and South American continent, such as beans, corn, and squash, around the same time.
The Neolithic period lasted from 10,000-3,000 years ago. Adapting the Neolithic cultures by the Stone Age, people marked the beginning of the end of the Stone Age. A revolutionary characteristic of the Neolithic culture was the widespread dominance of agriculture. The previously known hunter-gatherers started growing crops on farms by clearing wild trees and rearing cattle in those lands. They used tools made up of stone for agriculture at first, but the tools became more sophisticated with time. These tools helped the Neolithic farmers and made lives more manageable.
Hand axes were used before the new age started. They were used for all purposes by humans, but they required a lot of strength. By the time of the Neolithic age, hand axes fell out of favor because of their difficulty to handle.
The scrapers are the original stone tools that existed before the Neolithic period started. A scraper was a sharp tool with a flat stone placed in front. It was sharpened by banging with another rock and was used to butcher animals. Later, the invention of the arrow and spearheads replaced the scrapers. They were finer than the scrapers, and the more delicate edge helped the Neolithic farmers to continue agriculture with precision and care.
A sharp ax was one of the most remarkable developments of neolithic humans, and they are used at present too. Axes were shaped by flaking, and with the help of another stone, it was ground smooth. They make terrific weapons that could be used while hunting and used in land work. They made clearing lands much more manageable, facilitating the uninterrupted growth of crops. However, axes were used more to attack an animal than on land.
A stone tool that helps in farming more than hunting is the blade. Even though a sharp blade can cut deeper into the carcass, it works better for cutting fruits and vegetables in agricultural work. A blade requires a lot of precision, and they are challenging to make.
Adzes is a typical woodwork stone tool that also played a significant role in planting and farming. This tool somewhat represents an ax, except the blade is horizontal. On striking something, it gouges out a chip. It is still one of the most efficient tools to dig hollows in logs. This stone tool helped in digging land for planting effectively in the Stone Age. Hammers and chisels were commonly used in woodworking after Neolithic people invented them.
Modern methods for optimizing every resource have replaced early farming techniques. However, ongoing global warming has raised concern among farmers to go back to the early farming methods discovered thousands of years ago in the Stone Age.
Slash and burn to the farm of shift farming is a traditional method used to tend domesticated plants. It involves rotating plots of land in a planting cycle. When this technique is used at perfect timing, it can be a sustainable method to regenerate the soil. The Stone Age people also cut trees widely to create pastures where they could cultivate. They dug peats and drained bogs to irrigate lands. The farmers of different regions cultivated in particular places, and in this way, they developed adaptations in crops. The three-sister cropping system was an early multi-cropping system bean, maize, and squash were grown together. The seeds were planted together, and the maize plant was used to support the beans, and both of them provided shade for the squash.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Stone Age Farming: Neolithic Farming Culture Facts Explained!, then why not take a look at Why Do Dogs Bark At Other Dogs? Cool Facts On Dog Behaviors Revealed!, or Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? Paw-fect Facts On Tail Chasing Revealed!
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