After the term “Stone Age” was coined in the late 19th century CE, scholars proposed to divide the Stone Age into different periods: Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic. The term Neolithic refers to the last stage of the Stone Age. The period is significant for its megalithic architecture, spread of agricultural practices, and use of polished stone tools.
The term Neolithic or New Stone Age is most frequently used in connection with agriculture, which is the time when cereal cultivation and animal domestication was introduced. Because agriculture developed at different times in different regions of the world, there is no single date for the beginning of the Neolithic. In the Near East, agriculture was developed around 9,000 BCE, in Southeast Europearound 7,000 BCE, and later in other regions. Even within a specific region, agriculture developed during different times. For example, agriculture first developed in Southeast Europe about 7,000 BCE, in Central Europe about 5,500 BCE, and Northern Europe about 4,000 BCE. In East Asia, the Neolithic goes from 6000 to 2000 BCE.
I set the parts of my Darkeningstone books to take place in the Late Neolithic period in the UK – 3,650 BC and also 3,500 BC. Ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop.