People didn’t always live in towns and cities. They didn’t even live in houses. They didn’t farm or stay in one place for very long.
They lived in small groups called bands. They moved around and hunted wild animals. They ate fruits, nuts, honey and berries. They ate bird’s eggs that they found. They even ate snakes and lizards. When they ran out of food in one area they moved to a new place.
These people were called hunter gatherers. They were also called nomads because they moved around a lot. Some lived in tents made from animal hides. Others lived in caves.
Then people started farming in Mesopotamia, North Africa and an area called Asia Minor. People started planting seeds and growing their own food. They planted crops like wheat and barley. They domesticated or tamed animals like goats and sheep, which provided meat and wool. Later, they domesticated cattle and pigs. People built homes and decorated them. Settlements grew larger.
Settling down and staying in the same area allowed people to spend more time learning and developing important skills. They learned how to make cloth and sew. They learned how to weave baskets and make pottery. They improved their tool and weapon making skills. When settlements became very large, they could support people who made useful items fulltime.
This period is called the Neolithic or New Stone Age. The Neolithic began in different parts of the world at different times as more hunter gatherers turned to farming. It’s often called the Neolithic Revolution. A revolution is a big change. The Neolithic was a very big change from how people lived in hunter gatherer times.
Stonehenge is a monument that was built during the Neolithic Age, more than 5,000 years ago. It’s located in an area called Salisbury Plain in England. We don’t know how the gigantic stones were moved by early peoples. The stones which weigh many tons had to be transported for miles to their final location. We also don’t know how people got the stones standing up. We don’t even know the purpose of the monument.
There are many theories about why Stonehenge was constructed by Stone Age people. Some think it may have been an astronomical calendar that predicted solar eclipses and marked the summer and winter solstices. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and the winter solstice is the shortest.
Others think it was a burial ground, a place where surgery and healing was performed, or where religious rituals were carried out. Skeletal remains have been found there. Stonehenge is a fascinating mystery.