Prehistory pp 111-149 | Cite as

The New Stone Age

  • Derek Roe


The Neolithic Period laid the first essential foundations for the complicated human groups which go by the name of ‘civilisations’. Civilisation implies such things as highly organised society, settlements on the scale of cities, government, class-structure, extensive organised trade, and usually the achievement of literacy, which by definition takes most developed civilisations out of the province of prehistory.1 It is easy enough to see that the very basis of civilisation is a settled existence, and this was something the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic hunting bands could not have, since their means of livelihood, the game herds, forced them to be nomadic. The development of the Neolithic arts of crop-growing and animal husbandry changed this, and made possible the life of permanent villages. Much more was needed before the villages could become cities. The Neolithic Period did not itself achieve civilisation, but it certainly established the firm economic basis upon which the early civilisations could quite rapidly grow up.


Neolithic Period Mural Painting Neolithic Culture Neolithic Settlement Neolithic Revolution 
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© Derek Roe 1970

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  • Derek Roe

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