The Neolithic era, or New Stone Age, which began in the Middle East around 9500 BC (BCE) and reached Europe around 4000 BC (BCE), marks the movement of human beings from a hunter-gather to an agricultural lifestyle. It followed the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) and Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) eras and was followed by the Bronze Age.

Neolithic peoples domesticated plants and animals and settled inĀ  communities. During the Neolithic period, people began to create functional art, such as decorative pottery, and to building freestanding structures, including megaliths.

Neolithic pottery found in KoreaHumans began to create decorated vases during the Neolithic era. In China, vases decorated with pictures of animals began to appear between 3000 and 5000 BC (BCE)

The Neolithic is also associated with the beginning of writing systems and with the rise organized religions.


StonehengeMegaliths are structures made up of very large stones that may be held interlocked. The construction of Megaliths began in the Neolithic period and continued to the Bronze Age.

Megaliths can be found in Europe, Africa and Asia.

In Turkey, there are Megaliths that were created beginning about the ninth millennium BC (BCE).

Megaliths sometimes had religious functions. Megalithic temples were constructed in Malta around 5000 BC (BCE)

Well-known megaliths were built at Carnac in France, at Stonehenge in England and on Easter Island in Polynesia.

About 3000 prehistoric standing stones are arranged in rows in Carnac. This is the largest collection of standing stones on Earth. They were probably erected between 3000 and 4500 BC (BCE).

Stonehenge in Wiltshire consists of a circle of 30 large standing stones with 30 stones placed horizontally on top of them. Stonehenge was probably built between 2000 and 3000 BC (BCE).

Some scientists believe that Stonehenge was used as giant astronomical calendar and could predict eclipses. It may also have been a setting for human sacrifices.

Easter Island is famous for large stone statues of humans, which are known as Moai. They were built between AD 1250 (CE) and AD 1500 (CE).