The Neolithic age, which took place between 9,000 B.C. and 3,000 B.C., describes the period of human history that featured the use of stone tools, the appearance of domesticated plants and animals, and the appearance of settled villages. Crafts such as pottery and weaving also appeared during the Neolithic era.
The Neolithic era, which began with the advent of farming and ended when metal tools became widespread, is distinguishable by the domestication of plants and animals, which separated it from the earlier Paleolithic and Mesolithic ages, which were characterized by hunter-gatherer cultures.
Some Neolithic settlements include Mehrgarh, dating to around 7,000 B.C. and Lahuradewa in the Indus River Valley of modern day India, dating to about 6,200 B.C.
Many Neolithic settlements were characterized by the cultivation of cereal crops such as wheat, barley and millet, while in Southeast Asia, distinct Neolithic cultures featuring the cultivation of rice appeared.
Many Neolithic cultures show evidence of the raising of animals such as pigs, sheep, cattle and goats. Neolithic cultures also formed in present-day Mexico and South America, based on the cultivation of beans, corn and squash, which later gave rise to the Inca and Aztec civilizations.
While there are no written accounts from this period, certain features from Neolithic cultures, such as burial mounds, suggest a primitive religious system and a belief in the afterlife.