Approximately how long ago did the Neolithic Revolution begin?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Neolithic Revolution, the last phase of the Stone Age, began at different times in different places. It is associated with the rise of agriculture—the human planting and cultivation of crops—particularly wheat or other cereal grains. These crops led to social change because they could be stored and used to support population growth. Agriculture meant a move away from a nomadic hunter-gatherer existence and toward the development of settled towns and cities. The Neolithic Revolution is also associated with the use of polished stone tools and with the production of pottery. 

Current theories place the beginning of Neolithic Revolution in the Near East at about 9000 BCE. It came later to Europe and Asia. It arrived in Europe between 7000 and 4000 BCE and in Asia by 6000 to 2000 BCE. It ended with the Bronze Age, when bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, became the main material used to make tools and weapons. 

A problem with dating is that the start of the Neolithic Age is now believed to have been more gradual than a revolution, which implies a quick upheaval. Some hunter-gather groups could have, for a long time, spent part of the year in nomadic hunting and gathering and another part of the year in a settled location growing crops. Whatever the case, the consensus is that the rise of agriculture marked a radical change in how society was organized. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Neolithic Revolution began something like 12,000 years ago.  We cannot be completely sure, but we believe that it began somewhere around the year 10,000 BCE.

The Neolithic Revolution is the name given to the time when human beings started farming.  Before this time, all humans lived as hunter-gatherers.  In the Neolithic Revolution, they gradually moved to an economic system in which they purposely raised food through agriculture.  This is called the “Neolithic” because people were still using stone tools (“lithic” means having to do with stone) but they were using these tools in a new (“neo”) way.  They were now using tools to plant, raise, and store crops. 

This is seen as a revolution because it allowed civilization to begin.  As people started to farm, they were able to produce more food in a given area of land.  That allowed larger populations to live together in one place, which was a prerequisite for the creation of complex societies and civilization