Neolithic Age

  • Neolithic age started around 10,000 years ago.
  • Around this time, there was a major change in the climate of the world, with a shift to relatively warm conditions.
  • Domestication of animals: Warming led to the development of grasslands and in turn led to an increase in the number of deer, antelope, goat, sheep and cattle i.e., animals that survived on grass. There was shift from hunting towards herding and rearing of animals. Fishing also became important.
  • Beginning of farming (Agriculture): Several grain bearing grasses including wheat, barley and rice growing naturally in different parts were domesticated and people became farmers.
  • Grains like rice, wheat, barley and lentils became an important part of diet.
  • Plants and animals chosen for domestication became different from wild plants and animals. The earliest plants to be domesticated were wheat and barley. The earliest domesticated animals include sheep and goat.
  • Settled life:
  • Practice of cultivation meant people had to stay at same place for a long time, looking after plants, watering, weeding etc. The grain had to be stored for both food and seed. Thus, people began making clay pots, baskets or dug pits into the ground.
  • Sites of the Neolithic era provide evidence of plants, animals bones, and burnt grain remains, which reveals the number of crops cultivated by these people.
  • Sites reveal evidence of huts or houses at some sites. Burzahom reveals that people lived in pit-houses dug into the ground with steps leading into them. They would have provided shelter in the cold.
  • Cooking hearths have been found both inside and outside, suggesting people could cook food indoors or outdoors.
  • Material Culture: Tools found in the neolithic period were different from those found in earlier times. Neolithic tools were polished to give them a fine cutting edge, mortars and pesticles were used for grinding grain and other plant produce. Many kinds of earthen pots for storing things, for cooking food.


  • It is a neolithic site dated 7000-2000 BC situated on the Kacchi plains in Baluchistan, Pakistan near the Bolan Pass, one of the most important routes into Iran. 
  • One of the earliest sites to show evidence of farming and herding in South Asia. Mehrgarh was one of places where people learnt to grow barley and wheat and rear sheep and goats for the first time in the subcontinent. 
  • At this site, animal bones were found. Bones of wild animals such as deer and pig and bones of sheep and goat were found.
  • It is one of the earliest villages that we know about.
  • Houses: Square or rectangular houses are found here. Each house had four or more compartments, some of which may have been used for storage.
  • Burial: Several burial sites have been found at Mehrgarh. In one instance, dead person was buried with goats, which were probably meant to serve as food in next world (belief in afterlife). 

Important Sites of the Neolithic Period

  • Mehrgarh, Baluchistan, Pakistan
  • Burzahom, Jammu & Kashmir
  • Chirand, Bihar
  • Koldihwa, Uttar Pradesh
  • Mahagara, Uttar Pradesh
  • Hallur, Karnataka
  • Paiyampalli, Tamil Nadu
neolithic cultures
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