archaeological period, last part of the Stone Age
The Neolithic ( (listen), also known as the "New Stone Age"), the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world.
The Neolithic division lasted (in that part of the world) until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago (4500 BC), marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In other places the Neolithic lasted longer. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world (including the Americas and Oceania) remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact.The Neolithic comprises a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals.The term Neolithic derives from the Greek νέος néos, "new", and λίθος líthos, "stone", literally meaning "New Stone Age". The term was coined by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system.
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