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The Neolithic, (Greek neos=new, lithos=stone, or "New Stone Age") is traditionally the last part of the stone age. It followed the mesolithic period with the start of farming and ended when metal tools came into widespread use in the following bronze age or iron age, depending on geographical region.

Some archaeologists, possibly those working in certain regions of the world, now distinguish other periods: before neolithic, the period in which microliths were in use is called epipalaeolithic. After the neolithic, a period of overlapping use of stone and bronze tools is called chalcolithic.

The advent of farming caused great change in people's lives. Instead of living as nomads and wandering from place to place in search of food, people increasingly stayed in one place, giving rise to towns, and later cities and states. Because of the profound differences in the way humans interacted once agriculture began, the New Stone Age is sometimes called the neolithic revolution.

With very minor exceptions (a few copper hatchets and spear heads in the Great Lakes region) the peoples of the Americas remained at the neolithic level of technology up until the time of the European contacts. A glance at such cultures as the Iroquois, Pueblo, and Maya shows that a culture may be highly sophisticated in many ways without knowledge of the use of metals.

Neolithic settlements included:

Jericho in the Levant, Neolithic from around 8350 BC, arising from the earlier Epipaleolithic Natufian culture.
Catalhoyuk in Anatolia, 7500 BC
Mehrgarh in South Asia, 7000 BC

Neolithic individuals included Oetzi the Iceman.

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