Compare and contrast the political, social, and economic structures of the Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras.
The separation of the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages mark a great divide in the lives and cultures of prehistoric peoples. Many aspects of everyday life were modiﬁed to suit a new standard of living, while other remained unchanged. Similarities between these eras include use of stone tools, polytheism, and patriarchies. Neolithic societies had a larger population due to the fact that they domesticated animals, and had new agriculture, which led to a surplus in food that supported all people. This large population led to a form of government, which did not exist in Paleolithic times. During the Paleolithic Era, everyone shared property, and were considered egalitarian. Hunting and gathering was dominant during the Paleolithic era. ! Paleolithic is a term used to describe the very earliest humans. The term itself,
meaning “old stone,” refers to the level of development of their stone tools and weapons. They were food-gatherers rather than food producers. They did not plant vegetables or grains; they gathered berries and roots that grew in the wild. Instead of domesticating animals, they hunted the wild animals in their surroundings. Fishing was also a valued part of Paleolithic society. Since this mode of securing food was not as efﬁcient as farming and domesticating animals, Paleolithic communities lived in small bands of twenty-ﬁve to ﬁfty people, and were widely scattered. For the most part, these small bands were nomadic: having to keep on the move in pursuit of the animal herds that they depended on for food. Occasionally, they lived in larger, more settled
communities, of one hundred or more individuals along lakes or rivers where ﬁshing and hunting was plentiful. These primitive Paleolithic bands were politically organized along very simple lines. Judging from the evidence of modern day Paleolithic communities, they tended to form around a...
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