The Neolithic age, also known as the “New Stone Age” (from the Greek, neo meaning new and lithos, meaning stone), was a period of human prehistory beginning around 10,200 BCE. It ended with the Bronze Age, which occurred between 4500 and 2000 BCE, depending on the civilization. It was during the Neolithic age that human beings invented permanent housing structures.
The Neolithic age began with agricultural revolution, when human beings invented farming. Neolithic culture first emerged in the Levant, the area of modern day Israel and the West Bank, between 10,200 and 8800 BCE. It was there that people first began cultivating wild cereals, which evolved into farming. Faming communities then spread outward, to Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and North Africa. Neolithic farming was largely restricted to einkorn wheat, millet, and spelt, but also included the domestication of dogs, sheep, and goats. Later, around 6900-6400 BCE, cattle and pigs were domesticated as well.
During the Neolithic age, humans lives in small tribal bands, with little scientific evidence of social stratification, which developed in the Bronze Age. Most Neolithic groups continued to be simple, egalitarian societies. It was the domestication of animals that provided the first increases in social inequality. The possession of animals became a sign of wealth, and those who controlled larger herds were able to acquire more livestock, and gain more power.