The Ubaid period is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-'Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted by Henry Hall and by Leonard Woolley. In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvial plain although it is earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period. In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC, it is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period. The term "Ubaid period" was coined at a conference in Baghdad in 1930, where at the same time the Jemdet Nasr and Uruk periods were defined; the Ubaid period is divided into four principal phases: Ubaid 0, sometimes called Oueili, an early Ubaid phase first excavated at Tell el-'Oueili Ubaid 1, sometimes called Eridu corresponding to the city Eridu, a phase limited to the extreme south of Iraq, on what was the shores of the Persian Gulf.
This phase, showing clear connection to the Samarra culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlement south of the 5 inch rainfall isohyet. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Southern Iraq. Ubaid 2, after the type site of the same name, saw the development of extensive canal networks from major settlements. Irrigation agriculture, which seems to have developed first at Choga Mami and spread elsewhere, form the first required collective effort and centralised coordination of labour in Mesopotamia. Ubaid 3/4, sometimes called Ubaid I and Ubaid II — In the period from 4500–4000 BC saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Ubaid culture spread into northern Mesopotamia and was adopted by the Halaf culture. Ubaid artifacts spread all along the Arabian littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Mediterranean coast through to Oman. Spreading from Eridu, the Ubaid culture extended from the Middle of the Tigris and Euphrates to the shores of the Persian Gulf, spread down past Bahrain to the copper deposits at Oman.
The archaeological record shows that Arabian Bifacial/Ubaid period came to an abrupt end in eastern Arabia and the Oman peninsula at 3800 BC, just after the phase of lake lowering and onset of dune reactivation. At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, there is no evidence of human presence in the area for 1,000 years, the so-called "Dark Millennium"; that might be due to the 5.9 kiloyear event at the end of the Older Peron. Ubaid culture is characterized by large unwalled village settlements, multi-roomed rectangular mud-brick houses and the appearance of the first temples of public architecture in Mesopotamia, with a growth of a two tier settlement hierarchy of centralized large sites of more than 10 hectares surrounded by smaller village sites of less than 1 hectare. Domestic equipment included a distinctive fine quality buff or greenish colored pottery decorated with geometric designs in brown or black paint, but in the north and sometimes metal were used. Villages thus contained specialised craftspeople, potters and metalworkers, although the bulk of the population were agricultural labourers and seasonal pastoralists.
During the Ubaid Period, the movement towards urbanization began. "Agriculture and animal husbandry were practiced in sedentary communities". There were tribes that practiced domesticating animals as far north as Turkey, as far south as the Zagros Mountains; the Ubaid period in the south was associated with intensive irrigated hydraulic agriculture, the use of the plough, both introduced from the north through the earlier Choga Mami, Hadji Muhammed and Samarra cultures. The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism. Bogucki describes this as a phase of "Trans-egalitarian" competitive households, in which some fall behind as a result of downward social mobility. Morton Fried and Elman Service have hypothesised that Ubaid culture saw the rise of an elite class of hereditary chieftains heads of kin groups linked in some way to the administration of the temple shrines and their granaries, responsible for mediating intra-group conflict and maintaining social order.
It would seem that various collective methods instances of what Thorkild Jacobsen called primitive democracy, in which disputes were resolved through a council of one's peers, were no longer sufficient for the needs of the local community. Ubaid culture originated in the south, but still has clear connections to earlier cultures in the region of middle Iraq; the appearance of the Ubaid folk has sometimes been linked to the so-called Sumerian problem, related to the origins of Sumerian civilisation. Whatever the ethnic origins of this group, this culture saw for the first time a clear tripartite social division between intensive subsistence peasant farmers, with crops and animals coming from the north, tent-dwelling nomadic pastoralists dependent upon their herds, hunter-fisher folk of the Arabian littoral, living in reed huts. Stein and Özbal describe the Near East oecumene that resulted from Ubaid expansion, contrasting it to the colonial expansionism of the Uruk period. "A contextual analysis comparing different regions shows that the Ubaid expansion took place through the peaceful spre
The Gumelniţa–Karanovo VI culture was a Neolithic culture of the 5th millennium BC, named after the Gumelniţa site on the left bank of the Danube. At its full extent the culture extended along the Black Sea coast to central Bulgaria and into Thrace; the aggregate "Kodjadermen-Gumelnita-Karanovo VI" evolved out of the earlier Boian and Karanovo V cultures. In the East it was supplanted by Cernavodă I in the early 4th millennium BC. One of the most flourishing civilizations from the last half of the 5th millenium BC is Gumelniţa Culture... absolute chronology, still under discussion, according to the latest calibrated data, assigns this culture to the limits of the last half of the 5th millenium BC and maybe to early 4th millenium BC. —Silvia Marinescu-Bîlcu, "Gumelniţa Culture" This matches the view of Blagoje Govedarica. The first periodization of Gumelnita culture was suggested by VI. Dumitrescu who split the civilization of Gumelniţa into two phases: A and B. On, Dinu V. Rosetti divided the civilization into Al, A2 and B1, B2.
With a centric evolution from geographic point of view, the intensity of the cultural trends decreased from the center towards peripheral area. Having a strong Boian background at the origins, mixed with Maritza elements, the Gumelnita culture lasted short of a millennium from the beginning of Chalcolithic to the start of the fourth millennium BC. 4700-4350 Gumelnita-Karanovo VI-Kodjadermen is aggregated with Varna culture, still are debates along historians considering the distinctive character of Varna culture. 4500-3950 The regional characteristics of A1 phase are diminished, a more uniform characteristics is identified in discovered artifacts. The evolution of the Gumelniţa-Kodjadermen-Karanovo VI is ended on the north bank of the Danube after the arrival of Cernavoda cultures population; the layers at Karanovo are employed as a chronological system for Balkans prehistory. The Gumelniţa is remarkable by the richness of its zoomorphic representations; some consider the achievements of prehistoric craftsmen to be true masterpieces.
The representation from Gumelnița art differ by other cultures by the following: statuettes morphology characterised by expressivity and attitude. Modelling technique arms pozitions on the belly, stretched laterally, in the position of the “thinker” sex representation decoration patternSeashell ornament is common. At least some of the shellfish used come from the Aegean regions, for example the spondylas and the dentals; as evidence from archaeology, thousands of artifacts from Neolithic Europe have been discovered in the form of female figurines. As a result a goddess theory has occurred; the leading historian was Marija Gimbutas, still this interpretation is a subject of great controversy in archaeology due to her many inferences about the symbols on artifacts. Gumelniţa culture has some sign of work specialisation:...we do not have enough data on the internal organization of the community, but next to the dwellings themselves, arranged or not in a certain order, we encounter workshop-dwellings for processing lithic material, horns, statuettes, etc.).
—Gumelniţa Culture by Silvia Marinescu-Bîlcu During the Middle Copper Age, the Danube script appears in three horizons: The Karanovo VI–Gumelniţa–Kodžadermen cultural complex, the Cucuteni A3-A4–Trypillya B, Coțofeni I. The first, rates 68.6% of the frequencies. Old Europe Vinča culture Tărtăria tablets Vinča symbols Sesklo culture Cucuteni–Trypillia culture Hamangia culture Butmir Culture Tisza culture Linear Pottery culture Lengyel culture Funnelbeaker culture Stefan Hiller, Vassil Nikolov, Karanovo III. Beiträge zum Neolithikum in Südosteuropa Österreichisch-Bulgarische Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in Karanovo, Band III, Vienna, ISBN 3-901232-19-2. Cimec.ro Cimec.ro Brukenthalmuseum.ro Civa.uv.ro Civa.uv.ro Bulgariatravel.org Worldmuseumofman.org Culture.gouv.fr Cimec.ro Cimec.ro Arheologie.ulbsibiu.ro Pnas.org Arheologie.ro
Sesklo is a village in Greece, located near Volos, a city located within the municipality of Aisonia. The municipality is located within the regional unit of Magnesia, located within the administrative region of Thessaly; the settlement at Sesklo gives its name to the earliest known Neolithic culture of Europe, which inhabited Thessaly and parts of Macedonia. The Neolithic settlement was discovered in the 1800s and the first excavations were made by the Greek archaeologist, Christos Tsountas; the oldest fragments researched at Sesklo place development of the civilization as far back as c. 7510 BC — c. 6190 BC, known as proto-Sesklo and pre-Sesklo. They show an advanced agriculture and a early use of pottery that rivals in age those documented in the near east. Available data indicates that domestication of cattle occurred at Argissa as early as c. 6300 BC, during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic. The aceramic levels at Sesklo contained bone fragments of domesticated cattle; the earliest similar occurrence documented in the Near East is at Çatalhöyük, in stratum VI, dating c. 5750 BC, although it might have been present in stratum XII too — c. 6100 BC.
The Neolithic settlement of Sesklo covered an area of 20 hectares during its peak period at c. 5000 BC and comprised about 500 to 800 houses with a population estimated to be as large as 5,000 people. The peoples of Sesklo built their villages on hillsides near fertile valleys, where they grew wheat and barley, they kept herds of sheep and goats, although they had cattle and dogs. Their houses were small, with two rooms, built of wood or mudbrick in the early period. Construction techniques became more homogeneous and all homes were built of adobe with stone foundations; the first houses with two levels were found and a intentional urbanism existed. The lower levels of proto-Sesklo lack pottery, but the Sesklo people soon developed fine-glazed earthenware that they decorated with geometric symbols in red or brown colors. New types of pottery were incorporated in the Sesklo period. Images of the Sesklo archaeological site: An "invasion theory" states that the Sesklo culture lasted more than one full millennium, until c. 5000 BC, when it was violently conquered by people of the Dimini culture.
The Dimini culture in this theory is considered different from that found earlier at Sesklo, however, in a contrary theory by Professor Ioannis Lyritzis about the end of the unique Sesklo culture, he describes as the "Seskloans". He and R. Galloway compared ceramic materials from both Sesklo and Dimini using thermoluminescence dating methods, they discovered evidence that the inhabitants of the settlement in Dimini first appeared among the Seskloans c. 4800 BC, four centuries before the end of the Sesklo culture c. 4400 BC. Lyritzis concluded that the "Diminians" co-existed for a period of time. Ceramic decoration evolves to flame motifs toward the end of the Sesklo culture. Pottery of this “classic” Sesklo style was used in Western Macedonia, as at Servia; that there are many similarities between the rare Asia Minor pottery and early Greek Neolithic pottery was acknowledged when investigations were made regarding whether these settlers could be migrants from Asia Minor, but such similarities seem to exist among all early pottery found in near eastern regions.
The repertoire of shapes is not different, but the Asia Minor vessels demonstrate significant differences. They seem to be deeper than their Thessalonian counterparts. Shallow open bowls are characteristic of the Sesklo culture, but are absent in Anatolian settlements. Use of a ring base was unknown in Anatolia and plano-convex bases were worked instead. Altogether, the appearance of the vessels is different; the rare examples of pottery from levels XII and XI at Çatalhöyük resemble the shape of the coarse earthenware of Early Neolithic I from Sesklo, but the paste is different, having a partly-vegetable temper, this pottery is contemporaneous, not a predecessor, of the better-made products in the Thessalonian material. The earliest appearance of figurines is different as well. One significant characteristic of this culture is the abundance of statuettes of women pregnant connected to widely-hypothesized prehistoric fertility cults during the Paleolithic Period and the Neolithic Period; these sculptures of women are present in all the Balkan cultures and most of the Danube civilization throughout many millennia, although they may not be considered exclusive to this area.
Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas mentions recognition of a gorgon mask from the Sesklo culture, an image that persists throughout Ancient and Classical Greek arts. On the whole, the artifactual data argues in favor of a independent indigenous development of the Greek Neolithic settlements; the Sesklo culture is crucial in the expansion of the Neolithic into Europe. Dating and research points to the influence of Sesklo culture on both the Karanovo and Körös cultures that seem to originate there, who in turn, gave rise to the important Danube civilization current. Sesklo and Dimini fortifications Dimini Neolithic Greece Dispilio Tablet Dispilio Lakeside Neolithic Settlement Archaeological Collection Old Europe Vinča culture Vinča symbols Varna culture Hamangia culture Cucuteni–Trypillia culture Gumelniţa–Karanovo culture Butmir Culture Boian culture Tisza culture Linear Pottery culture Lengyel culture Funnelbeaker culture Starčevo culture Karanovo culture Liritzis. I Dating by thermoluminescence: Application to Neolithic settlement of Dimini.
Anthropologika, 2, 37-48. Liritzis, Y and Galloway, R. B Thermoluminescence dating of Neolithic Sesklo an
The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first development of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development, although this term may not be used, 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" meaning "New Stone Age"; the term was coined by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system. Following the ASPRO chronology, the Neolithic started in around 10,200 BC in the Levant, arising from the Natufian culture, when pioneering use of wild cereals evolved into early farming.
The Natufian period or "proto-Neolithic" lasted from 12,500 to 9,500 BC, is taken to overlap with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of 10,200–8800 BC. As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 10,200–8800 BC farming communities had arisen in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor, North Africa and North Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat and spelt, the keeping of dogs and goats. By about 6900–6400 BC, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, the use of pottery. Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the Near East did not use pottery.
In other parts of the world, such as Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, independent domestication events led to their own regionally distinctive Neolithic cultures, which arose independently of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery before developing agriculture. In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are attested in southeastern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC; the prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 6000–5000 BC, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square yards, the collection of neolithic findings at the site encompasses two phases.
The Neolithic 1 period began around 10,000 BC in the Levant. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe, dated to around 9500 BC, may be regarded as the beginning of the period; this site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, as evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity, may be the oldest known human-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering 25 acres, contain limestone pillars carved with animals and birds. Stone tools were used by as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in Jericho, West Bank, Gilgal in the Jordan Valley, Byblos, Lebanon; the start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the Heavy Neolithic periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic Natufian cultures, wild cereals were harvested, early seed selection and re-seeding occurred; the grain was ground into flour. Emmer wheat was domesticated, animals were herded and domesticated.
In 2006, remains of figs were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings; this evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent, with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of mudbrick; the settlement had a surrounding stone wall and a stone tower. The wall served as protection from nearby groups, as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned; some of the enclosures suggest grain and meat storage. The Neolithic 2 began around 8800 BC according to the ASPRO chronology in the Levant; as with the PPNA dates, there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. This system of terminology, however, is not convenient for southeast Anatolia and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin.
A settlement of 3,000 inhabitants was found in th
The Hemudu culture was a Neolithic culture that flourished just south of the Hangzhou Bay in Jiangnan in modern Yuyao, China. The culture may be divided into an early and late phases and after 4000 BC respectively; the site at Hemudu, 22 km north-west of Ningbo, was discovered in 1973. Hemudu sites were discovered on the islands of Zhoushan. Hemudu are said to have differed physically from inhabitants of the Yellow River sites to the north. Scholars view the Hemudu Culture as a source of the proto-Austronesian cultures; some scholars assert that the Hemudu culture co-existed with the Majiabang culture as two separate and distinct cultures, with cultural transmissions between the two. Other scholars group Hemudu in with Majiabang subtraditions. Two major floods caused the nearby Yaojiang River to change its course and inundated the soil with salt, forcing the people of Hemudu to abandon its settlements; the Hemudu people lived in stilt houses. Communal longhouses were common in Hemudu sites, much like the ones found in modern-day Borneo.
The Hemudu culture was one of the earliest cultures to cultivate rice. Recent excavations at the Hemudu period site of Tianluoshan has demonstrated rice was undergoing evolutionary changes recognized as domestication. Most of the artifacts discovered at Hemudu consist of animal bones, exemplified by hoes made of shoulder bones used for cultivating rice; the culture produced lacquer wood. A red lacquer wood bowl at the Zhejiang Museum is dated to: 4000~5000 BC, it is believed to be the earliest such object in the world. The remains of various plants, including water caltrop, Nelumbo nucifera, melon, wild kiwifruit, peach, the foxnut or Gorgon euryale and bottle gourd, were found at Hemudu and Tianluoshan; the Hemudu people domesticated pigs, dogs but practiced extensive hunting of deer and some wild water buffalo. Fishing was carried out on a large scale, with a particular focus on crucian carp; the practices of fishing and hunting are evidenced by the remains of bone harpoons and bows and arrowheads.
Music instruments, such as bone whistles and wooden drums, were found at Hemudu. Artifact design by Hemudu inhabitants bears many resemblances to those of Insular Southeast Asia; the culture produced a porous pottery. The distinct pottery was black and made with charcoal powder. Plant and geometric designs were painted onto the pottery; the culture produced carved jade ornaments, carved ivory artifacts and small, clay figurines. In the early Hemudu period is the maternal clan phase. Descent is said to be matrilineal and the social status of children and women is comparatively high. In the periods, they transitioned into patrilineal clans. During this period, the social status of men rose and descent is passed through the male line. Hemudu’s inhabitants worshiped a sun spirit as well as a fertility spirit, they enacted shamanistic rituals to the sun and believed in bird totems. A belief in an afterlife and ghosts is believed to have taken place as well. People were buried with theirs heads facing northeast and most had no burial objects.
Infants were buried in urn-casket style burials, while children and adults received earth level burials. They did not have a definite communal burial ground, for the most part, but a clan communal burial ground has been found in the period. Two groups in separate parts of this burial ground are thought to be two intermarrying clans. There were noticeably more burial goods in this communal burial ground. Fossilized amoeboids and pollen suggests Hemudu culture emerged and developed in the middle of the Holocene Climatic Optimum. A study of a sea-level highstand in the Ningshao Plain from 7000 to 5000 BP shows that there may have been stabilized lower sea levels at this time, followed by frequent flooding from 5000 to 3900 BP; the climate was said to be tropical to subtropical with high temperatures and much precipitation throughout the year. List of Neolithic cultures of China Liangzhu culture Majiabang culture Yangshao culture Fuller, D. Q.. Liu, Li. Wang, Haiming, "Majiabang", in Peregrine, Peter N..
Allan, The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective, ISBN 0-300-09382-9 Chang, Kwang-chih. The Archaeology of Ancient China, ISBN 0-300-03784-8 Fuller, D. Q & Harvey, E. Qin,L.. Presumed domestication? Evidence for wild rice cultivation and domestication in the fifth millennium BC of the Lower Yangzte region. Antiquity 81, 316-331 Zhu C, Zheng CG, Ma CM, Yang XX, Gao XZ, Wang HM, Shao JH. On the Holocene sea-level highstand along the Yangtze Ningshao Plain, east China. CHINESE SCIENCE BULLETIN 48: 2672-2683 DEC 2003
The Amratian culture called Naqada I, was a culture of prehistoric Upper Egypt. It lasted from 4000 to 3500 BC; the Amratian culture is named after the archaeological site of el-Amra, located around 120 km south of Badari in Upper Egypt. El-Amra was the first site where this culture group was found without being mingled with the Gerzeh culture. However, this period is better attested at the Nagada site, thus it is referred to as the Naqada I culture. Black-topped ware continued to be produced, but white cross-line ware, a type of pottery, decorated with close parallel white lines being crossed by another set of close parallel white lines, begins to be produced during this time; the Amratian falls between S. D. 30 and 39 in Flinders Petrie's sequence dating system. The Amratians possessed slaves, constructed rowboats of bundled papyrus in which they could sail the Nile. Trade between the Amratian culture bearers in Upper Egypt and populations of Lower Egypt is attested during this time through new excavated objects.
A stone vase from the north has been found at el-Amra. The predecessor Badarian culture had discovered that malachite could be heated into copper beads. Obsidian and a small amount of gold were both imported from Nubia during this time. Trade with the oases was likely. Cedar was imported from marble from Paros, as well as emery from Naxos. New innovations such as adobe buildings, for which the Gerzeh culture is well known begin to appear during this time, attesting to cultural continuity. However, they did not reach nearly the widespread use that they were known for in times. Additionally and theriomorphic cosmetic palettes appear to be used in this period. However, the workmanship was still rudimentary and the relief artwork for which they were known is not yet present; each Amratian village had an animal deity. Food, statuettes, decorations and dogs were buried with the deceased. 5.9 kiloyear event Prehistoric Egypt Naqada culture Gerzeh culture Naqada III Footnotes Citations
Neolithic Europe is the period when Neolithic technology was present in Europe between 7000 BCE and c. 1700 BCE. 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 Neolithic Expansion; the duration of the Neolithic varies from place to place, its end marked by the introduction of bronze implements: in southeast Europe it is 4,000 years while in parts of Northwest Europe it is just under 3,000 years, although copper metallurgy was in use on a small scale from c.2800 BC. 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, producing hand-made pottery, that is, pottery made without the potter's wheel. Polished stone axes lie at the heart of the neolithic culture, enabling forest clearance for agriculture and production of wood for dwellings, as well as fuel.
There are many differences, with some Neolithic communities in southeastern Europe living in fortified settlements of 3,000-4,000 people whereas Neolithic groups in Britain were small and mobile cattle-herders. The details of the origin, social organization, subsistence practices and ideology of the peoples of Neolithic Europe are obtained from archaeology, 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, 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, whereas other archaeologists and many linguists believe the Indo-European languages were introduced from the Pontic-Caspian steppe during the succeeding Bronze Age.
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, 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, 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 show some continuity with groups in southwest Asia and Anatolia. Current evidence suggests that Neolithic material culture was introduced to Europe via western Anatolia, 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, contain the plants and animals domesticated in Southwest Asia: einkorn, barley, pigs, goats and cattle. Genetic data suggest that no independent domestication of animals took place in Neolithic Europe, that all domesticated animals were domesticated in Southwest Asia.
The only domesticate not from Southwest Asia was broomcorn millet, domesticated in East Asia. The earliest evidence of cheese-making dates to 5500 BCE in Poland. Archaeologists seem to agree that the culture of the early Neolithic is homogeneous, compared both to the late Mesolithic and the Neolithic; the diffusion across Europe, from the Aegean to Britain, took about 2,500 years. The Baltic region was penetrated a bit around 3500 BCE, there was 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 that Mesolithic and Neolithic populations lived side by side for as much as a millennium in many parts of Europe in the Iberian peninsula and along the Atlantic coast. With some exceptions, population levels rose at the beginning of the Neolithic until they reached the carrying capacity; this was followed by a population crash of "enormous magnitude" after 5000 BCE, with levels remaining low during the next 1,500 years.
Populations began to rise after 3500 BCE, with further dips and rises occurring between 3000 and 2500 BCE but varying in date between regions. A study of twelve European regions found most experienced boom and bust patterns and suggested an "endogenous, not climatic cause."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. 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" and "Early European Farmers" (EEF