Tools & Weapons of the Neolithic Age

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  • 0:04 The Neolithic Age
  • 1:44 Neolithic Tools & Weapons
  • 4:01 End of the Neolithic Era
  • 5:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joanna Harris

Joanna has taught high school social studies both online and in a traditional classroom since 2009, and has a doctorate in Educational Leadership

Could you imagine taking down a wolf with a stick? Well, luckily for us, our Neolithic ancestors had developed much stronger weapons than sticks. To learn more about the weapons and tools of the age, watch this lesson.

The Neolithic Age

If you traveled back in time 2.5 million years ago, you would arrive in the time known as the Stone Age. This period first began in Africa, the birthplace of mankind, and then spread across the globe. The first period of the Stone Age was called the Old Stone Age, or the Paleolithic Age. During this time, humans began to use stone to produce tools and weapons in the world's first technological revolution.

Some of these weapons and tools were set in bone or wood, but predominantly they were made from stone. As it was very cold during these years, mankind needed strong and durable tools and weapons to kill the large animals that were characteristic of the era. Most of these animals were covered in thick fur, which man could wear to survive the cold climate.

Around 600,000 years ago, the Mesolithic Age began, which was the middle part of the era when the world began to warm, causing Earth's glaciers to melt. During the Paleolithic and the Mesolithic ages, humans had to forage for nuts and berries and hunt animals for food and clothing, so they were called hunter-gatherers.

Hunter-gatherers learned to farm around the world despite their lack of communication with each other. This was an agricultural revolution that included the domestication of animals like sheep, pigs, and goats, which provided clothing (wool) and meat. No longer did mankind need to follow animals around or forage for nuts and berries to survive. This knowledge began the New Stone Age, called the Neolithic Age.

Paleolithic and Neolithic Age weapons

Farming and animal domestication required different tools and weapons, and as the lives of humanity changed, so too did their tools and weapons.

Neolithic Tools & Weapons

The Neolithic Age began at different times around the world sometime between 10,000 and 3,000 BCE. Although farming tools are much different from tools used for hunting, they still needed to be sharp. These new civilizations that arose had to protect themselves from others and from the attacks of wild animals, like wolves. New tools with dual purposes emerged during the Neolithic Age to clear fields for planting and to dig into the soil. Tools and weapons of similar shapes, functions, and compositions were created in Neolithic civilizations around the world.

Neolithic Age weapons

Neolithic humans had very busy lives without the modern conveniences we enjoy today. Their tools and weapons would have been made by hand, which was time-consuming and painstaking. For these reasons, weapons had to be tools, and tools had to be weapons.

Neolithic tools and weapons that would have characterized the period include:

  • Leaf-shaped flint, which were used as knives and as arrows. Flint stone was abundant during the age, and the stone was malleable and created quickly. Unfortunately, this also meant that it wore down easily and became blunt, rendering it useless.
  • Blades and diggers, which were made from stones and/or bone and were used to field dress animal carcasses and cut through meat, as well as to till fields for planting. They had to be very sharp, which meant that edges had to be sharpened into thin blades. These too wore down quickly or simply broke under constant use.
  • Axes, which were used to cut down trees in the clearing of fields for planting. Created by flaking, they were also used as weapons to defend from attack, either from other people or from animals. Flaking is done by striking a stone repeatedly to wear away at the surface, gradually creating an edge, and then sharpened by using another stub to run away the rough surfaces.

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