Europe's Neolithic phase is believed to have begun roughly about 10-12 thousand years ago. In other parts of the world it may have started sooner.
Distinguishing characteristics of neolithic culture:
- The presence of polished stone implements. Such as a stone axe bound to a wooden handle. An abundance of arrowheads.
- The beginnings of agriculture, particularly the use of plants and seeds. Even as hunting continued to be a major factor.
- Pottery and actual cooking.
- As people become less migratory and more settled, the domestication of animals such as dogs, cattle and sheep.
- Plaiting and weaving.
While not much is known of the origin of the neolithic peoples of Europe, it is generally believed that they migrated in from elsewhere, but recently it was proved, that more migrated technologies not people.
In time, metalworking was developed. First was gold. Then about six or seven thousand years ago copper smelting was developed. Unlike gold, copper could be used for implements as well as for ornamentation. Eventually copper alloys such as Bronze were developed as well, which had still greater strength over copper. It was about three thousand years ago that the early Europeans finally began working with iron. Surprisingly, the development of metalworking seems to have had precious little effect on ordinary life. It was used almost entirely as a superior substitute for wood and stone implements, as well as for ornamentation. Not much more.
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