Communities of the Neolithic Period ► 1. The first Neolithic communities lived in densely built settlements and numbered 50-300 individuals. A. The basic unit of society was the clan or extended family that consisted of parents, children, grandparents and other close kinship. B. Production was shared and did not allow for economic differentiation and subsequently social stratification. C. The role of the woman in Neolithic society seems to have been very important as evidenced by numerous figurines. ► In Late Neolithic an increase in population has been observed, with subsequent changes in the number and the inner organization of settlements, as well as in economy. A. Hearths and ovens ceased to be commonly used and were constructed in the interior of houses. B. In economy there was specialization in production e.g. in pottery and jewellery of Spondylus sea-shell (Dimini), while at the same time cultural and commercial exchanges developed. C. Objects of social prestige and consisted of: leaf-shaped arrow heads of Melian obsidian, jewellery of gold or silver (ring idol pendants, strips of gold), jewellery of Spondylus sea-shell and copper tools.
Architecture 1.Building materials: 1.thick timber posts 2.Reeds 3.clay (hayclay or mud-bricks) 4.stone for the foundations and the upper structure (walls) 5.for roofing: tree trunks, reeds, clay and hay As communities grew so did the need for more family privacy. Studying the architecture of a people is the single most important characteristic to understanding how communities grew.
The Economy 1. The economy of the Neolithic Period was based: a. agriculture b. animal husbandry 2. Increasing and manipulating production. 1.Transition from the hunting and food- gathering stage to the productive stage of farming and stock-rearing. 2.Took place in the Aegean in the first half of the 7th millenium BC, earlier than in the Balkans and the rest of Europe. 1.cultivated cereals (einkorn, emmer wheat, barley, bread wheat, millet, rye, & oat) 2.pulses (lentils, peas, broad beans, Vicia evilia, chickpeas). 3.Flax and wool for weaving from goats and sheep.
Cultural Aspects of the Neolithic Period The wooden tablet, (5260 BC), is likely to be an early form of written speech as conjectured about similar symbols written on clay, discovered in settlements of the southern Balkans A woven wool hat and a cup woven from reeds Jewelry made from metal and animal bone and shells Metals used: copper, silver and gold Figurines made of clay were common place
Burial Practices 1.Three types of burial customs found in Greece: a. Burial of the dead in simple pits in a contracted crouched position 2. Cremation of the dead, partial (Early Neolithic) or complete (Late Neolithic), accompanied by vases, or cremations in which the cremated were in several cases placed in vases. 3. Collecting the bones (skull, thighs, ribs) of the dead individual and burying these beneath the floors of the house. 4. An exception to the burial customs of the Neolithic was the chamber tomb with a passage (dromos), discovered in the area of the Ancient Agora of Athens and this is the oldest example of its kind in Greece. 5. The dead were accompanied by funerary items, such as pottery, stone tools, animal offerings, while from the Final Neolithic onwards figurines and jewellery were offered.