Many important ideas and techniques originated in Mesopotamia and Egypt. They were among the earliest societies to domesticate plants and animals and to develop systems of irrigation. The earliest forms of domestication of plants and animals occurred after the end of the Pleistocene glacial period, which led to favorable climactic conditions. Among the first plants domesticated were wheat, rye, lentils, vetch, and barley; stone tools such as sickles and grinding stones were used to harvest and prepare these. Goats and sheep were also kept for milk and meat.
Pottery developed around 6500 BC. Due to agriculture developments, the civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Levant were pioneers of urbanization and development of large scale architecture. Between 3500 and 3000, Mesopotamian civilization developed several important innovations, including writing, the wheel, and the potter's wheel.
These were diffused by two routes, a land route that moved through the Anatolian plateau and northwest along the valleys of the Rhine and Danube rivers, and a coastal route that followed the shores of the Mediterranean.