Neolithic daily life and society in ancient England and Wales.
The Neolithic Era (c. 4000 - 2000 B.C.)
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
Neolithic farmers settled in stable communities, cleared land, planted wheat and barley, and raised herds of domesticated sheep, cattle, and pigs. What hunting they did as a supplement to their agriculture may have been done with the assistance of small dogs.
They settled on the easily drained soils of the upland hills and on the coastal plains, avoiding the thickly wooded valley bottoms. This meant that the areas of heaviest settlement were the chalk hills of the south and west, where many of their remains can be seen today.
These Neolithic settlers originally lived in rectangular log cabins, similar in style to those of the early American West.
Communities were small, but they were communities, so people could and did indulge in large projects requiring group participation, such as the building of communal graves (long barrows), causewayed camps, and henges.
Although these people were farmers, they hadn't yet ironed out all the fine details of crop management, so every 10-20 years the land would reach the point where it could no longer support crops and the group would have to move on. Each group, probably no larger than an extended family, seems to have moved around a fairly small region in this way; packing up when the land would no longer produce. In a few generations they could have returned to the original settlement after the land had lain fallow long enough to regenerate.
Contents © David Ross and Britain Express
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