Neolithic Antecedents

Peter Tomkins

in The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199873609
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Neolithic Antecedents

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Ancient Greek History


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This article claims that at the turn of the twentieth century, excavations beneath Bronze Age strata at Dimini and Sesklo in Thessaly and Knossos on Crete revealed an earlier epoch of human occupation, characterized by stone tools, handmade pottery, and the bones of domesticated animals. Termed Neolithic period by analogy with other European regions, it was immediately clear that this was a phase of village-dwelling farmers, the Aegean's first agricultural society. In what has become a modern origin myth for Western society, the development of agriculture and sedentism was viewed as an escape from the impasse of savagery—a revolutionary beginning in the development of modernity, albeit one eclipsed in modern significance by the urban revolution and the emergence of civilization in the Bronze Age.

Keywords: Bronze Age; Crete; human; occupation; Neolithic period; society; agriculture; sedentism; civilization; excavations

Article.  8706 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Ancient Greek History

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