12,000 Years Ago

Around 12,000 years ago, which period of ancient history began with farming, and ended with the Bronze Age?

And the answer: Neolithic period.

Considered the last part of the Stone Age, the Neolithic period was a significant development in human history. It began with farming and included the use of crops, domesticated animals, and stone tools. It ended about 6,000 years later, when metal tools became widespread in the Bronze Age.

This age, also known as the Agricultural Revolution, fell between the Paleolithic Period and the Bronze Age. A more specific timeline (though one that is debated by many scholars) states that the Neolithic Age began around 10,000 BCE. The primary difference between the Neolithic Age and earlier Paleolithic period is characterized by the method used to create the stone tools. Earlier tools were shaped using chipping methods, whereas in the Neolithic Age, tools were polished and ground into the proper shape.

Some scholars debate that the Neolithic Age marks the beginning of the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to more sedentary societies. This is largely due to the beginning phases of cereal grain cultivation. The grain required prolonged care and attention, a practice which made it suitable to remain in one location. This transition from hunting and gathering to plant cultivation began in an area called the Fertile Crescent. Historically, the Fertile Crescent is characterized by many rivers that create soil fertile enough for the cultivation of such cereal grains.

While the Neolithic Age is more commonly known for the use of stone tools and grain cultivation, this period marks a time when archaeologists began to see "specialized crafts." Largely due to the excess of wet clay due to the fertile land surrounded by rivers, pottery became a specialized tool used to store the cereal grains cultivated.

For more information, check out this article from National Geographic.

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