The Neolithic Era and the Transition to Agriculture


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The Neolithic era featured a major shirt in human techniques of getting food and resources. The most major of these changes can be seen in stationary farming, which was a major development of the Neolithic era. Through this change in human technique however, there was also a major shirt in societal roles, which were exemplified during this time. This included the use of women for farming while men would begin to domesticate animals rather than hunting for them in the areas surrounding where their group of people lived. In areas where farming was more efficient, societies and hierarchical roles began to develop. This could be seen in the Fertile Crescent of Iraq and Syria where major city-states began to develop out of the vibrant farmland, which created a surplus and allowed for new jobs to be created other than ones for farming. This new major use of farming in this way quickly spread throughout the world, allowing for the first time in human history, major societies could develop without the fear of immediate agricultural collapse.

In certain areas, towns could begin to be built, such as Çatalhöyük, which was easy to defend with the homes of its inhabitants only being accessible from the roof. These towns would quickly spread as an advent of the use of efficient agriculture. In these towns, pottery was a very early development. It was one of the earliest jobs other than farming, to be able to create the vessels to hold necessary things inside. This would quickly expand to other jobs though that would be deemed necessary as the size and demands of these towns grew larger. Another major improvement that would be discovered and adapted was metalworking. The use of metalworking allowed for more durable and powerful tools to be used rather than ones made out of sticks, stone, or bone. This would also lead to the creation of specialized farm tools, allowing for the specialization of even more labor away from farming. Other developments that would follow this include textile production and the expansion of land for greater potential for these societies.

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Out of this situation hover, leadership and hierarchical systems were created to manage these fledgling societies. This would other be accomplished through the use of a religious-based absolute monarchy, but other systems of government would be developed as well, albeit, much less commonly. This would put the roles of people’s jobs in place, in order to have these societies run efficiently and well with specialized labor, overseen by the ruler. This would also effectively spell the end of Paleolithic communalism on these towns, allowing now for the holding of vast personal possessions and for the individualization of careers.

Due to this, there was a major cultural boom created during this time due to the specialization of labor and the influence of religion on rule. This can be seen in the major development of legends and culture around these areas to greater back up and enforce the current systems in the Neolithic era. For example, religion became often much more standardized, with the gods being described and set out in their roles and positions in these towns, representing various aspects of life.

Another byproduct of this was the creation of urban life, which can first be seen in Çatalhöyük, but would later expand to other areas as a mean of defending the populous who lived inside of these cities. These would often be the centers of culture and rule, taking precedence over villages and towns which were further away from these cities.

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