Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Isabelle Vella Gregory
The term Neolithic is frequently used to refer to that stage in humanity's history when people became sedentary and started farming. The Neolithic is normally conceptualized as a package that includes farming, sedentism, the making and use of stone tools, and crafts such as pottery and weaving. It is thus viewed as a new food-producing economy that, following Andrew Sherratt, eventually led to the Secondary Products Revolution, when people intensified production and labor and made use of secondary products, such as milk, traction, and wool. The Neolithic is also viewed in terms of what Service termed tribes and chiefdoms. Although this general view sometimes captures the spirit of the Neolithic, it presents a homogenized picture of a time frame that is as varied geographically as it is materially. The concepts of Neolithic and Secondary Products revolutions imply a definite break with the preceding period, the Mesolithic, and a universal, homogeneous ...