Neolithic Europe

Neolithic Europe is the period when Neolithic technology was present in Europe, roughly between 7000 BCE (the approximate time of the first farming societies in Greece) and c. 1700 BCE (the beginning of the Bronze Age in Scandinavia). The Neolithic overlaps the Mesolithic and Bronze Age periods in Europe as cultural changes moved from the southeast to northwest at about 1 km/year – this is called the Neolithic Expansion.[1]

The duration of the Neolithic varies from place to place, its end marked by the introduction of bronze implements: in southeast Europe it is approximately 4,000 years (i.e. 7000 BCE–3000 BCE) while in parts of Northwest Europe it is just under 3,000 years (c. 4500 BCE–1700 BCE).

The spread of the Neolithic from the Near East Neolithic to Europe was first studied quantitatively in the 1970s, when a sufficient number of 14C age determinations for early Neolithic sites had become available.[2] Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza discovered a linear relationship between the age of an Early Neolithic site and its distance from the conventional source in the Near East (Jericho), thus demonstrating that, on average, the Neolithic spread at a constant speed of about 1 km/yr.[2] More recent studies confirm these results and yield the speed of 0.6–1.3 km/yr at 95% confidence level.[2]

Chronology of arrival times of the Neolithic transition in Europe
Chronology of arrival times of the Neolithic transition in Europe from 9,000 to 3,500 before present

Basic cultural characteristics

Néolithique 0001
An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools.

Regardless of specific chronology, many European Neolithic groups share basic characteristics, such as living in small-scale, family-based communities, subsisting on domesticated plants and animals supplemented with the collection of wild plant foods and with hunting, and producing hand-made pottery, that is, pottery made without the potter's wheel. Polished stone axes lie at the heart of the neolithic (new stone) culture, enabling forest clearance for agriculture and production of wood for dwellings, as well as fuel.

Ancient Greece Neolithic Pottery - 28421665976
Ancient Greek Early and Middle Neolithic pottery 6500-5300 BC. National Museum of Archaeology, Athens

There are also many differences, with some Neolithic communities in southeastern Europe living in heavily fortified settlements of 3,000-4,000 people (e.g., Sesklo in Greece) whereas Neolithic groups in Britain were small (possibly 50-100 people) and highly mobile cattle-herders.

The details of the origin, chronology, social organization, subsistence practices and ideology of the peoples of Neolithic Europe are obtained from archaeology, and not historical records, since these people left none. Since the 1970s, population genetics has provided independent data on the population history of Neolithic Europe, including migration events and genetic relationships with peoples in South Asia.

A further independent tool, linguistics, has contributed hypothetical reconstructions of early European languages and family trees with estimates of dating of splits, in particular theories on the relationship between speakers of Indo-European languages and Neolithic peoples. Some archaeologists believe that the expansion of Neolithic peoples from southwest Asia into Europe, marking the eclipse of Mesolithic culture, coincided with the introduction of Indo-European speakers,[3][4] whereas other archaeologists and many linguists believe the Indo-European languages were introduced from the Pontic-Caspian steppe during the succeeding Bronze Age.[5]


Expansion néolithique
Neolithic expansion of Cardium pottery and Linear Pottery culture according to archaeology.
Detmeroder Opferstein
A stone used in Neolithic rituals, in Detmerode, Wolfsburg, Germany.

Archeologists trace the emergence of food-producing societies in the Levantine region of southwest Asia at the close of the last glacial period around 12,000 BCE, and developed into a number of regionally distinctive cultures by the eighth millennium BCE. Remains of food-producing societies in the Aegean have been carbon-dated to around 6500 BCE at Knossos, Franchthi Cave, and a number of mainland sites in Thessaly. Neolithic groups appear soon afterwards in the Balkans and south-central Europe. The Neolithic cultures of southeastern Europe (the Balkans and the Aegean) show some continuity with groups in southwest Asia and Anatolia (e.g., Çatalhöyük).

Current evidence suggests that Neolithic material culture was introduced to Europe via western Anatolia, and that similarities in cultures of North Africa and the Pontic steppes are due to diffusion out of Europe. All Neolithic sites in Europe contain ceramics, and contain the plants and animals domesticated in Southwest Asia: einkorn, emmer, barley, lentils, pigs, goats, sheep, and cattle. Genetic data suggest that no independent domestication of animals took place in Neolithic Europe, and that all domesticated animals were originally domesticated in Southwest Asia.[6] The only domesticate not from Southwest Asia was broomcorn millet, domesticated in East Asia.[7] The earliest evidence of cheese-making dates to 5500 BCE in Kujawy, Poland.[8]

Archaeologists seem to agree that the culture of the early Neolithic is relatively homogeneous, compared both to the late Mesolithic and the later Neolithic. The diffusion across Europe, from the Aegean to Britain, took about 2,500 years (6500 BCE - 4000 BCE). The Baltic region was penetrated a bit later, around 3500 BCE, and there was also a delay in settling the Pannonian plain. In general, colonization shows a "saltatory" pattern, as the Neolithic advanced from one patch of fertile alluvial soil to another, bypassing mountainous areas. Analysis of radiocarbon dates show clearly that Mesolithic and Neolithic populations lived side by side for as much as a millennium in many parts of Europe, especially in the Iberian peninsula and along the Atlantic coast.[9]

With some exceptions, population levels rose rapidly at the beginning of the Neolithic until they reached the carrying capacity.[10] This was followed by a population crash of "enormous magnitude" after 5000 BCE, with levels remaining low during the next 1,500 years.[10] Populations began to rise after 3500 BCE, with further dips and rises occurring between 3000 and 2500 BCE but varying in date between regions.[10] A study of twelve European regions found most experienced boom and bust patterns and suggested an "endogenous, not climatic cause."[11]

In 2018, an 8,000-year-old ceramic figurine portraying the head of the "Mother Goddess", was found near Uzunovo, Vidin Province in Bulgaria, which pushes back the Neolithic revolution to 7th millennium BC.[12]

Female figurine marble Thessaly 5300-3300 BC, NAMA 8772 080802x

Female figurine, marble, Thessaly, 5300–3300 BC. Neolithic Greece

Ancient Greece Neolithic Stone Tools & Weapons

Ancient Neolithic Greece stone tools and weapons.

Ancient Greece Neolithic Stone Grinder

Ancient Neolithic Greece stone grinder.

Clay vase with polychrome decoration, Dimini, Magnesia, Late or Final Neolithic (5300-3300 BC)

Clay vase with polychrome decoration, Dimini, Magnesia, Late or Final Neolithic Greece (5300-3300 BC). National Archaeological Museum (Athens).


Genetic matrilineal distances between European Neolithic Linear Pottery Culture populations (5,500–4,900 calibrated BC) and modern Western Eurasian populations
Ancient European Neolithic farmers were genetically closest to modern Neast-Eastern/ Anatolian populations: genetic matrilineal distances between European Neolithic Linear Pottery Culture populations (5,500–4,900 calibrated BC) and modern Western Eurasian populations.[13]

Genetic studies since the 2010s have identified the genetic contribution of Neolithic farmers to modern European populations, providing quantitative results relevant to the long-standing "replacement model" vs. "demic diffusion" dispute in archaeology. The component due to Mesolithic European hunter-gatherers and Neolithic farmers expanding from the Near East were called "Western Hunter-Gatherers" (WHG) and "Early European Farmers" (EEF, also "First European Farmers" FEF), respectively, in the seminal 2014 study which first identified the contribution of three main components to modern European lineages (the third being "Ancient North Eurasians", associated with the later Indo-European expansion). The EEF component was identified based on the genome of a woman buried c. 7,000 years ago in a Linear Pottery culture grave in Stuttgart, Germany.[14]

The 2014 study found evidence for miscegenation between WHG and EEF throughout Europe, with the largest contribution of EEF in Mediterranean Europe (especially in Sardinia, Sicily, Malta and among Ashkenazi Jews), and the largest contribution of WHG in Northern Europe and among Basque people.[15]

Since 2014, further studies have refined the picture of interbreeding between EEF and WHG. In a 2017 analysis of 180 ancient DNA datasets of the Chalcolithic and Neolithic periods from Hungary, Germany and Spain, evidence was found of a prolonged period of interbreeding. Admixture took place regionally, from local hunter-gatherer populations, so that populations from the three regions (Germany, Iberia and Hungary) were genetically distinguishable at all stages of the Neolithic period, with a gradually increasing ratio of WHG ancestry of farming populations over time. This suggests that after the initial expansion of early farmers, there were no further long-range migrations substantial enough to homogenize the farming population, and that farming and hunter-gatherer populations existed side by side for many centuries, with ongoing gradual admixture throughout the 5th to 4th millennia BC (rather than a single admixture event on initial contact).[16] Admixture rates varied geographically; in the late Neolithic, WHG ancestry in farmers in Hungary was at around 10%, in Germany around 25% and in Iberia as high as 50%.[17]


Neolithic cultures in Europe in ca. 4000-3500 BCE.

There is no direct evidence of the languages spoken in the Neolithic. Some proponents of paleolinguistics attempt to extend the methods of historical linguistics to the Stone Age, but this has little academic support. Criticising scenarios which envision for the Neolithic only a small number of language families spread over huge areas of Europe (as in modern times), Donald Ringe has argued on general principles of language geography (as concerns "tribal", pre-state societies), and the scant remains of (apparently indigenous) non-Indo-European languages attested in ancient inscriptions, that Neolithic Europe must have been a place of great linguistic diversity, with many language families with no recoverable linguistic links to each other, much like western North America prior to European colonisation.[18]

Discussion of hypothetical languages spoken in the European Neolithic is divided into two topics, Indo-European languages and "Pre-Indo-European" languages.

Early Indo-European languages are usually assumed to have reached Danubian (and maybe Central) Europe in the Chalcolithic or early Bronze Age, e.g. with the Corded Ware or Beaker cultures (see also Kurgan hypothesis for related discussions). The Anatolian hypothesis postulates arrival of Indo-European languages with the early Neolithic. Old European hydronymy is taken by Hans Krahe to be the oldest reflection of the early presence of Indo-European in Europe.

Theories of "Pre-Indo-European" languages in Europe are built on scant evidence. The Basque language is the best candidate for a descendant of such a language, but since Basque is a language isolate, there is no comparative evidence to build upon. Theo Vennemann nevertheless postulates a "Vasconic" family, which he supposes had co-existed with an "Atlantic" or "Semitidic" (i. e., para-Semitic) group. Another candidate is a Tyrrhenian family which would have given rise to Etruscan and Raetic in the Iron Age, and possibly also Aegean languages such as Minoan or Pelasgian in the Bronze Age.

In the north, a similar scenario to Indo-European is thought to have occurred with Uralic languages expanding in from the east. In particular, while the Sami languages of the indigenous Sami people belong in the Uralic family, they show considerable substrate influence, thought to represent one or more extinct original languages. The Sami are estimated to have adopted a Uralic language less than 2,500 years ago.[19] Some traces of indigenous languages of the Baltic area have been suspected in the Finnic languages as well, but these are much more modest. There are early loanwords from unidentified non-IE languages in other Uralic languages of Europe as well.[20]

List of cultures and sites

Skara Brae house 1 5
Excavated dwellings at Skara Brae (Orkney, Scotland), Europe's most complete Neolithic village.


Some Neolithic cultures listed above are known for constructing megaliths. These occur primarily on the Atlantic coast of Europe, but there are also megaliths on western Mediterranean islands.

See also


  1. ^ Ammerman & Cavalli-Sforza 1971.
  2. ^ a b c Original text published under Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0: Shukurov, Anvar; Sarson, Graeme R.; Gangal, Kavita (2014). "The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia". PLOS ONE. 9 (5): e95714. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095714. PMC 4012948. PMID 24806472. CC-BY icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
  3. ^ Renfrew 1987.
  4. ^ Bellwood 2004.
  5. ^ Anthony 2007.
  6. ^ Bellwood 2004, pp. 68–9.
  7. ^ Bellwood 2004, pp. 74, 118.
  8. ^ Subbaraman 2012.
  9. ^ Bellwood 2004, pp. 68–72.
  10. ^ a b c Shennan & Edinborough 2007.
  11. ^ Timpson, Adrian; Colledge, Sue (September 2014). "Reconstructing regional population fluctuations in the European Neolithic using radiocarbon dates: a new case-study using an improved method". Journal of Archaeological Science. 52: 549–557. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2014.08.011.
  12. ^ "Discovery of 8,000-year-old veiled Mother Goddess near Bulgaria's Vidin 'pushes back' Neolithic revolution in Europe". Archaeology in Bulgaria. 27 October 2018.
  13. ^ Consortium, the Genographic; Cooper, Alan (9 November 2010). "Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities". PLOS Biology. 8 (11): e1000536. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000536. ISSN 1545-7885. PMC 2976717. PMID 21085689.
  14. ^ Lazaridis et al., "Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans", Nature, 513(7518), 18 September 2014, 409–413, doi: 10.1038/nature13673.
  15. ^ Lazaridis et al. (2014), Supplementary Information, p. 113.
  16. ^ Lipson et al., "Parallel palaeogenomic transects reveal complex genetic history of early European farmers", Nature 551, 368–372 (16 November 2017) doi:10.1038/nature24476.
  17. ^ Lipson et al. (2017), Fig 2.
  18. ^ Ringe 2009.
  19. ^ Aikio 2004.
  20. ^ Häkkinen 2012.


Further reading

  • Bellwood, Peter (2001). "Early Agriculturalist Population Diasporas? Farming, Languages, and Genes". Annual Review of Anthropology. 30: 181–207. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.30.1.181. JSTOR 3069214.
  • Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi Luca; Menozzi, Paolo; Piazza, Alberto (1994). The History and Geography of Human Genes. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-08750-4.
  • Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi Luca (2001). Genes, Peoples, and Languages. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22873-3.
  • Gimbutas, Marija (1989). The Language of the Goddess. Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0-06-250356-5.
  • Fu, Qiaomei et al. "The genetic history of Ice Age Europe". Nature 534, 200–205 (9 June 2016) doi:10.1038/nature17993

External links

  1. ^ Liverani, Mario (2013). The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. Routledge. p. 13, Table 1.1 "Chronology of the Ancient Near East". ISBN 9781134750917.
  2. ^ a b Shukurov, Anvar; Sarson, Graeme R.; Gangal, Kavita (7 May 2014). "The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia". PLOS ONE. 9 (5): 1-20 and Appendix S1. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095714. ISSN 1932-6203.
  3. ^ Bar-Yosef, Ofer; Arpin, Trina; Pan, Yan; Cohen, David; Goldberg, Paul; Zhang, Chi; Wu, Xiaohong (29 June 2012). "Early Pottery at 20,000 Years Ago in Xianrendong Cave, China". Science. 336 (6089): 1696–1700. doi:10.1126/science.1218643. ISSN 0036-8075.
  4. ^ Thorpe, I. J. (2003). The Origins of Agriculture in Europe. Routledge. p. 14. ISBN 9781134620104.
  5. ^ Price, T. Douglas (2000). Europe's First Farmers. Cambridge University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780521665728.
  6. ^ Jr, William H. Stiebing; Helft, Susan N. (2017). Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 9781134880836.
Ancient Europe

The expression Ancient Europe may be used in a variety of senses:

the ancient concept of Europa in Greek geography, in origin "the landmass adjacent to Thrace"

Europa (ancient geography)

Europa (Roman province), in the Diocese of Thrace

the territory of Europe (the continent according to its modern definition) in "ancient times":

Prehistoric Europe, human presence in Europe before recorded history

Neolithic Europe, 7000 BCE to 1700 BCE

Bronze Age Europe

Iron Age Europe

Roman imperial period (chronology)

Roman Iron Age

the territories of Europe participating in Classical antiquity

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Hellenistic period, emergence of the Roman Empire

Roman Empire, the post-Roman Republic period

Late antiquity, from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages

Demic diffusion

Demic diffusion, as opposed to trans-cultural diffusion, is a demographic term referring to a migratory model, developed by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, of population diffusion into and across an area that had been previously uninhabited by that group, possibly, but not necessarily, displacing, replacing, or intermixing with a pre-existing population (such as has been suggested for the spread of agriculture across Neolithic Europe and several other Landnahme events).

In its original formulation, the demic diffusion model includes three phases: (1) population growth, prompted by new available resources as in the case of early farmers, and/or other technological developments; (2) a dispersal into regions with lower population density; (3) a limited initial admixture with the people encountered in the process.


Grønsalen or Grønjægers Høj is located near Fanefjord Church on the Danish island of Møn. Some 100 metres long and 10 metres wide, it is Denmark's largest long barrow and is widely recognised as one of Europe's outstanding ancient monuments.

Kelif el Boroud

Kelif el Boroud, also known as Kehf el Baroud, is an archaeological site in Morocco. It is located to the south of Rabat, near Dar es Soltan.Human fossils excavated in the area have been radiocarbon-dated to the Late Neolithic, around 3,000 BCE. Ancient DNA analysis of these specimens indicates that they carried the broadly-distributed paternal haplogroup T-M184 as well as the maternal haplogroups K1, T2 and X2, the latter of which were common mtDNA lineages in Neolithic Europe and Anatolia.

Neolithic British Isles

The Neolithic British Isles refers to the period of British, Irish and Manx history that spanned from circa 4000 to circa 2,500 BCE. The final part of the Stone Age in the British Isles, it was a part of the greater Neolithic, or "New Stone Age", across Europe.

During the preceding Mesolithic period, the inhabitants of the British Isles had been Mesolithic European hunter-gatherers. Around 4000 BCE migrants began arriving from central Europe. Although the earliest indisputably acknowledged languages spoken in the British Isles belonged to the Celtic branch of the Indo-European family it is not known what language these early farming people spoke. These migrants brought new ideas, leading to a radical transformation of society and landscape that has been called the Neolithic Revolution. The Neolithic period in the British Isles was characterised by the adoption of agriculture and sedentary living. To make room for the new farmland, these early agricultural communities undertook mass deforestation across the islands, dramatically and permanently transforming the landscape. At the same time, new types of stone tools requiring more skill began to be produced; new technologies included polishing.

The Neolithic also saw the construction of a wide variety of monuments in the landscape, many of which were megalithic in nature. The earliest of these are the chambered tombs of the Early Neolithic, although in the Late Neolithic this form of monumentalization was replaced by the construction of stone circles, a trend that would continue into the following Bronze Age. These constructions are taken to reflect ideological changes, with new ideas about religion, ritual and social hierarchy.

The pre-Indo-European people in Europe were not literate, so left behind no written record that modern historians can study; all that is known about this time period in Europe comes from archaeological investigations. This investigation began amongst the antiquarians of the 18th century, intensified in the 19th when John Lubbock coined the term "Neolithic". In the 20th and 21st centuries, further excavation and synthesis went ahead, dominated by figures like V. Gordon Childe, Stuart Piggott, Julian Thomas and Richard Bradley.

Neolithic circular enclosures in Central Europe

Approximately 120–150 Neolithic earthworks enclosures are known in Central Europe.

They are called Kreisgrabenanlagen ("circular ditched enclosures") in German, or alternatively as roundels (or "rondels"; German Rondelle; sometimes also "rondeloid", since many are not even approximately circular). They are mostly confined to the Elbe and Danube basins, in modern-day Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, as well as the adjacent parts of Hungary and Poland, in a stretch of Central European land some 800 km (500 mi) across.

They date to the first half of the 5th millennium BC; they are associated with the late Linear Pottery culture and its local successors, the Stroke-ornamented ware (Middle Danubian) and Lengyel (Moravian Painted Ware) cultures. The best known and oldest of these Circular Enclosures is the Goseck circle, constructed c. 4900 BC.

Only a few examples approximate a circular form; the majority are only very approximately circular or elliptic. One example at Meisternthal is an exact ellipse with identifiable focal points.

The distribution of these structures seems to suggest a spread from the middle Danube (southern Slovakia and western Hungary) towards the west (Lower Austria, Lower Bavaria) along the Danube and to the northwest (Moravia, Bohemia, Saxony-Anhalt) following the Elbe.

They precede the comparable circular earthwork or timber enclosures known from Great Britain and Ireland, constructed much later during c. 3000 to 1000 BC (late Neolithic to Bronze Age).

But, by contrast to the long lifetime of the "Megalithic" culture, the time window during which the

neolithic Roundels were in use is surprisingly narrow, lasting only for about 200–300 years (roughly 49th to 47th centuries BC).The earliest roundel to be described was the one at Krpy (Kropáčova Vrutice), Bohemia, by Woldřich 1886, but it was only with systematic aerial survey in the 1980s and the 1990s that their ubiquity in the region became apparent.

Three types have been distinguished:

two semicircular ditches forming a circle and separated by causeways at opposing entrances.

multiple circuits of ditches interrupted with entrances at cardinal or astronomically-oriented points and also having an internal single or double timber palisade.

a single ring ditch.The structures are mostly interpreted as having served a cultic purpose.

Most of them are aligned and seem to have served the function of a calendar (Kalenderbau), in the context of archaeoastronomy sometimes dubbed "observatory", with openings aligned with the points sunrise and/or sunset at the solstices. This is the case with the "gates" or openings of the roundels of Quenstedt, Goseck and Quedlinburg.

The observational determination of the time of solstice would not have served a practical (agricultural) purpose, but could have been used to maintain a lunisolar calendar (i.e. knowledge of the date of solstice allows an accurate handling of intercalary months).Known Circular Enclosures:

in Slovakia (Ivan Kuzma 2004): about 50 candidate sites from aerial surveys, not all of which are expected to date to the Neolithic. There are 15 known neolithic (Lengyel) sites. The largest of these are (with outer diameters of more than 100 m): Svodín 2 (140 m), Demandice (120 m), Bajtava (175 m), Horné Otrokovce (150 m), Podhorany-Mechenice (120 m), Cífer 127 m, Golianovo (210 m), Žitavce (145 m), Hosťovce (250–300 m), Prašník (175 m). others: Borovce, Bučany, Golianovo, Kľačany, Milanovce, Nitrianský Hrádok, Ružindol-Borová

in Hungary: Aszód, Polgár-Csőszhalom, Sé, Vokány, Szemely-Hegyes

in the Czech Republic (Jaroslav Ridky 2004): 15 known sites, all dated to the late Stroked pottery (Stk IVA). Běhařovice, Borkovany, Bulhary, Krpy, Křepice, Mašovice, Němčičky, Rašovice, Těšetice, Vedrovice

in Austria (Doneus et al. 2004): 47 known sites with diameters between 40 and 180 m. Lower Austria: Asparn an der Zaya, Altruppersdorf, Altruppersdorf, Au am Leithagebirge, Friebritz (2 sites), Gauderndorf, Glaubendorf (2 sites), Gnadendorf, Göllersdorf, Herzogbirbaum, Hornsburg, Immendorf, Kamegg, Karnabrunn, Kleedorf, Kleinrötz, Michelstetten, Moosbierbaum, Mühlbach am Manhartsberg, Oberthern, Perchtoldsdorf, Plank am Kamp, Porrau, Pottenbrunn, Pranhartsberg, Puch, Rosenburg, Schletz, Simonsfeld, Statzendorf, Steinabrunn, Stiefern, Straß im Straßertale, Strögen, Velm, Wetzleinsdorf, Wilhelmsdorf, Winden, Würnitz. Upper Austria: Ölkam.

in Poland:

Biskupin (Wielkopolska)

Bodzów, Rąpice [2][3]

Pietrowice Wielkie (Śląsk)

Nowe Objezierze (Pomorze)

Drzemlikowice (Dolny Śląsk)

in Germany

Saxony Anhalt (Ralf Schwarz 2004): Quenstedt, Goseck, Kötschlitz, Quedlinburg, outer diameters between 72 and 110 m.

Saxony: Dresden-Nickern (3 sites), Eythra (2 sites), Neukyhna (3 sites)

Bavaria: Lower Bavaria: Eching-Viecht, Künzing-Unternberg, Meisternthal, Moosburg an der Isar-Kirchamper, Oberpöring-Gneiding, Osterhofen-Schmiedorf (2 sites), Stephansposching Wallerfing-Ramsdorf, Zeholfing-Kothingeichendorf; Upper Bavaria: Penzberg

Nordrhein-Westfalen: Borchum-Harpen, Warburg-Daseburg

Niedersachsen: Müsleringen

Franconia: Hopferstadt, Ippesheim

Brandenburg: Bochow, Quappendorf

Rheinland-Pfalz: Goloring

Neolithic long house

The Neolithic long house was a long, narrow timber dwelling built by the first farmers in Europe beginning at least as early as the period 5000 to 6000 BC. They first appeared in central Europe in connection with the early Neolithic cultures such as the Linear Pottery culture or Cucuteni culture. This type of architecture represents the largest free-standing structure in the world in its era. Long houses are present across numerous regions and time periods in the archaeological record.

The long house was a rectangular structure, 5.5 to 7.0 m wide, of variable length, around 20 m up to 45 m. Outer walls were wattle-and-daub, sometimes alternating with split logs, with pitched, thatched roofs, supported by rows of poles, three across. The exterior walls would have been quite short beneath the large roof. They were solid and massive, oak posts being preferred. Clay for the daub was dug from pits near the house, which were then used for storage. Extra posts at one end may indicate a partial second story. Some Linear Pottery culture houses were occupied for as long as 30 years.It is thought that these houses had no windows and only one doorway. The door was located at one end of the house. Internally, the house had one or two partitions creating up to three areas. Interpretations of the use of these areas vary. Working activities might be carried out in the better lit door end, the middle used for sleeping and eating and the end farthest from the door could have been used for grain storage. According to other view, the interior was divided in areas for sleeping, common life and a fenced enclosure at the back end for keeping animals.Twenty or thirty people could have lived in each house, with villages composed typically of five to eight houses. Exceptionally, nearly 30 longhouses in a fortified settlement (dating to 4300 BC, i.e., Late Linear Pottery culture) were revealed by excavations at Oslonki in Poland.

Old Europe

Old Europe may refer to:

Old Europe (archaeology) (6500-2800 BC), a culture of Neolithic Europe

"Old Europe" (politics), used by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Old European hydronymy (ca. 2500-1500 BC), in Central and Western Europe

Old European script, Vinča symbols

Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe, a book

Indo-European languages

Old Europe (archaeology)

Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas to describe what she perceived as a relatively homogeneous pre-Indo-European Neolithic culture in southeastern Europe located in the Danube River valley, also known as Danubian culture.

In a major work, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images (1974), she refers to these Neolithic cultures as Old Europe (Neolithic Europe and Pre-Indo-European are synonymous). Archaeologists and ethnographers working within her framework believe that the evidence points to later migrations and invasions of the peoples who spoke Indo-European languages at the beginning of the Bronze age (the Kurgan hypothesis).

Pit–Comb Ware culture

The Pit–Comb Ware culture or Comb Ceramic culture was a northeast European characterised by its Pit–Comb Ware. It existed from around 4200 BCE to around 2000 BCE. The bearers of the Comb Ceramic culture are thought to have still mostly followed the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, with traces of early agriculture.


The Proto-Indo-Europeans were hypothetical prehistoric people of Eurasia who spoke Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the ancestor of the Indo-European languages according to linguistic reconstruction.

Knowledge of them comes chiefly from that linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics. The Proto-Indo-Europeans likely lived during the late Neolithic, or roughly the 4th millennium BC. Mainstream scholarship places them in the Pontic–Caspian steppe zone in Eastern Europe (present day Ukraine and Russia). Some archaeologists would extend the time depth of PIE to the middle Neolithic (5500 to 4500 BC) or even the early Neolithic (7500 to 5500 BC), and suggest alternative location hypotheses.

By the early second millennium BC, offshoots of the Proto-Indo-Europeans had reached far and wide across Eurasia, including Anatolia (Hittites), the Aegean (the ancestors of Mycenaean Greece), the north of Europe (Corded Ware culture), the edges of Central Asia (Yamnaya culture), and southern Siberia (Afanasievo culture).


Proto-writing consists of visible marks communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BCE. They used ideographic or early mnemonic symbols or both to represent a limited number of concepts, in contrast to true writing systems, which record the language of the writer.

Secondary products revolution

Andrew Sherratt's model of a secondary products revolution involved a widespread and broadly contemporaneous set of innovations in Old World farming. The use of domestic animals for primary carcass products (meat) was broadened from the 4th-3rd millennia BCE (c. Middle Chalcolithic) to include exploitation for renewable 'secondary' products: milk, wool, traction (the use of animals to drag ploughs in agriculture), riding and pack transport.The SPR model incorporates two key elements:

the discovery and diffusion of secondary products innovations

their systematic application, leading to a transformation of Eurasian economy and societyMany of these innovations first appeared in the Near East during the fourth millennium BCE and spread to Europe and the rest of Asia soon afterwards. They appeared in Europe by the beginning of the third millennium BCE. These innovations became available in Europe due to the westwards diffusion of new species (horse, donkey), breeds (e.g. woolly sheep), technology (wheel, ard) and technological knowledge (e.g. ploughing). Their adoption can be understood in terms of pastoralism, plough agriculture and animal-based transport facilitating marginal agricultural colonisation and settlement nucleation. Ultimately it was revolutionary in terms of both origins and consequences. However, both the dating and significance of the archaeological evidence cited by Sherratt (and thus the validity of the model) have been questioned by several archaeologists. The dangers of dating the innovations on the basis of evidence such as iconography and waterlogged organic remains with restricted chronological and geographical availability have been pointed out. Sherratt has himself acknowledged that such dates provide a terminus ante quem for the invention of milking and ploughing.Direct evidence for how domestic animals were exploited in later prehistoric Europe has grown substantially, in quantity and diversity, since 1981. Initially the concepts of the SPR were tested by analysing the appearance of certain artefact types (e.g. ploughs, wheeled vehicles). By the middle 1980s the most common means of testing the model derived from the more ubiquitous faunal (zooarchaeological) assemblages, through which mortality patterns, herd management and traction-related arthropathies were utilized to confirm or reject the SPR model. Many zooarchaeological studies in both the Near East and Europe have confirmed the veracity of the model.However the detection of milk residues in ceramic vessels is now considered the most promising means of detecting the origins of milking. Discovery of such residues has pushed back the earliest date for milking into the Neolithic. A study of more than 2,200 pottery vessels from sites in the Near East and Southeastern Europe indicated that milking had its origins in northwestern Anatolia. The lowland, coastal region around the Sea of Marmara favoured cattle-keeping. Pottery from these sites dating from 6500–5000 BCE showed milk being processed into dairy products. Milk residues had already been found in vessels from the British Neolithic, but farming arrived in Britain late (c. 4000 BCE).The seeming contradiction between the zooarchaeological and residue studies appears to be a matter of scale. The residues indicate that milking may have played a role in domestic animal exploitation from the later Neolithic. The zooarchaeological studies indicate that there was a massive change in the scale of such production strategies during the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age.

Sweet Track

The Sweet Track is an ancient trackway, or causeway in the Somerset Levels, England, named after its finder, Ray Sweet. It was built in 3807 BC and is the second-oldest timber trackway discovered in the British Isles, dating to the Neolithic. It is now known that the Sweet Track was predominantly built over the course of an earlier structure, the Post Track.

The track extended across the now largely drained marsh between what was then an island at Westhay and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick, a distance close to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) or around 1.2 miles. The track is one of a network that once crossed the Somerset Levels. Various artifacts and prehistoric finds, including a jadeitite ceremonial axe head, have been found in the peat bogs along its length.Construction was of crossed wooden poles, driven into the waterlogged soil to support a walkway that consisted mainly of planks of oak, laid end-to-end. The track was used for a period of only around ten years and was then abandoned, probably due to rising water levels. Following its discovery in 1970, most of the track has been left in its original location, with active conservation measures taken, including a water pumping and distribution system to maintain the wood in its damp condition. Some of the track is stored at the British Museum and at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton. A reconstruction has been made on which visitors can walk, on the same line as the original, in Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve.

Tumulus of Bougon

The Tumulus of Bougon or Necropolis of Bougon (French: "Tumulus de Bougon", "Nécropole de Bougon") is a group of five Neolithic barrows located in Bougon near La-Mothe-Saint-Héray, between Exoudon and Pamproux in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. Their discovery in 1840 raised great scientific interest. To protect the monuments, the site was acquired by the department of Deux-Sèvres in 1873. Excavations resumed in the late 1960s. The oldest structures of this prehistoric monument date to 4800 BC.

Verziau of Gargantua

The verziau of Gargantua (or vierzeux of Gargantua), also known under the name of Haute-Borne is a menhir at Bois-lès-Pargny in France.

Vinča-Belo Brdo

Vinča-Belo Brdo (Serbian: Винча-Бело брдо) is an archaeological site in Vinča, a suburb of Belgrade, Serbia. The tell of Belo Brdo ('White Hill') is almost entirely made up of the remains of human settlement, and was occupied several times from the Early Neolithic (c. 5700 BCE) through to the Medieval period. The most substantial archaeological deposits are from the Neolithic-Eneolithic Vinča culture, of which Vinča-Belo Brdo is the type site.

Vinča symbols

The Vinča symbols, sometimes known as the Danube script, Vinča signs, Vinča script, Vinča–Turdaș script, Old European script, etc., are a set of symbols found upon Neolithic era (6th to 5th millennia BC) artifacts from the Vinča culture of Central Europe and Southeastern Europe. Most historians agree that those symbols are not a writing system, but some kind of private symbols or ornaments. A minority of historians claim that this is the earliest known writing system that has influenced other early writing systems.

Züschen (megalithic tomb)

The Züschen tomb (German: Steinkammergrab von Züschen, sometimes also Lohne-Züschen) is a prehistoric burial monument, located between Lohne and Züschen, near Fritzlar, Hesse, Germany. Classified as a gallery grave or a Hessian-Westphalian stone cist (hessisch-westfälische Steinkiste), it is one of the most important megalithic monuments in Central Europe. Dating to the late 4th millennium BC (and possibly remaining in use until the early 3rd), it belongs to the Late Neolithic Wartberg culture. The presence of incised carvings, comparable to prehistoric rock art elsewhere in Europe, is a striking feature of Wartberg culture tombs, known so far only from Züschen and from tomb I at Warburg.

Neolithic Europe (including the Chalcolithic)
Sovereign states
States with limited
Classical antiquity
Middle Ages
Early modern
See also

  Pre-Pottery Neolithic   Pottery Neolithic
Europe Egypt Syria
Anatolia Khabur Sinjar Mountains
Middle Tigris Low
Iran Indus/
10000 Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
(10,500 BC)
Early Pottery
(18,000 BC)[3]
9000 Jericho
Tell Abu Hureyra
8000 Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Tell Aswad
Göbekli Tepe
Aşıklı Höyük
Initial Neolithic
(8500–8000 BC)
7000 Egyptian Neolithic
Nabta Playa
(7500 BC)
(7000 BC)
Tell Sabi Abyad
Jarmo Ganj Dareh
Chia Jani
Ali Kosh
Mehrgarh I[2]
6500 Neolithic Europe
Pre-Pottery Neolithic C
('Ain Ghazal)
Pottery Neolithic
Tell Sabi Abyad
Pottery Neolithic
Chogha Bonut Teppe Zagheh Pottery Neolithic
(7000-5000 BC)
6000 Pottery Neolithic
Pottery Neolithic
(Sha'ar HaGolan)
Pottery Neolithic
Ubaid 0
(Tell el-'Oueili)
Pottery Neolithic
Chogha Mish
Pottery Neolithic
Sang-i Chakmak
Pottery Neolithic

Mehrgarh II

Mehrgarh III
5600 Faiyum A
Amuq A


Umm Dabaghiya
(6000-4800 BC)
Tepe Muhammad Djafar Tepe Sialk
5200 Linear Pottery culture
(5500-4500 BC)

Amuq B



Ubaid 1
(Eridu 19-15)

Ubaid 2
(Hadji Muhammed)
(Eridu 14-12)

Susiana A
Yarim Tepe
Hajji Firuz Tepe
4800 Pottery Neolithic

Amuq C
Hassuna Late

Gawra 20

Tepe Sabz
Kul Tepe Jolfa
Amuq D
Gian Hasan
Ubaid 3 Ubaid 3
Ubaid 3 Khazineh
Susiana B

Ubaid 4


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