Prehistoric Period - Neolithic Essay Example
During the Paleolithic, humans grouped together in small societies such as bands, and subsisted by gathering plants and hunting or scavenging wild animals - Prehistoric Period introduction. The Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools, although at the time humans also used wood and bone tools. Other organic commodities were adapted for use as tools, including leather and vegetable fibers; however, due to their nature, these have not been preserved to any great degree.
Surviving artifacts of the Paleolithic era are known as Paleoliths. Humankind gradually evolved from early members of the genus Homo such as Homo habilis — who used simple stone tools — into fully behaviorally and anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) during the Paleolithic era. The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 B. C. E. in the Middle East that is traditionally considered the last part of the Stone Age.
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More Neolithic Essay Topics.
The Neolithic followed the terminal Holocene Epipalaeolithic period, beginning with the rise of farming, which produced the “Neolithic Revolution” and ending when metal tools became widespread in the Copper Age or Bronze Age or developing directly into the Iron Age, depending on geographical region. The Neolithic is not a specific chronological period, but rather a suite of behavioral and cultural characteristics, including the use of wild and domestic crops and the use of domesticated animals. Finally, around 3500 B. C. man ventured into the Age of Metal. The first metal which he learned to work was copper.
This metal is extremely soft, melts easily in a simple campfire and can be worked into tools with relative ease. Copper was used to make jewelry, copper beads could easily be strung together to make a necklace. Copper was probable first discovered as beads which leaked out of rocks used to surround campfires. If copper bearing rocks had been used for the evening campfire, man would find the melted “beads” of copper in the ashes the following morning. Copper was superior to most stone tools, but still not dependable. About 2500 B. C. man moved to the second Age of Metal, the Bronze Age.
Bronze is not an element but rather an alloy being made of both copper and tin. Both metals are relatively soft is used alone, but when blended together they form a compound which is far more durable than either alone. Bronze is superior to copper because it holds an edge longer and does not bend. The drawback to bronze is that it is extremely brittle and breaks or cracks easily. Thus a bronze spear head will kill an animal if you strike it cleanly and not hit large bones. If you should strike bone, or hit a tree or rock, the spear head will crack or shatter and thus have to be remade.
Finally about 1200 B. C. man entered the final Age of Metal, the Iron Age. Of all the metals iron is vastly superior to any other. Iron does not bend like copper, nor crack like bronze. It will hold an edge for an indefinite period of time. The only draw backs to iron are that it rusts and that it is extremely difficult to work with. Any of you can work copper and bronze in a simple fire you can build at home. This is because both metals have a low melting point. A simple wood fire will provide all the heat needed to melt either metal. No wood fire burns hot enough to melt iron.