Paleolithic and neolithic periods are both historical periods which refer to the Stone Age era. Paleolithic period refers to the early stone age while neolithic period is the last phase of the stone age. Paleothic period started around 2.6 million years ago and ended about 11,700 years ago. Paleolithic period was followed by the Mesolith-ic period. Neolithic period on its part came after the Mesolithic period or the Middle Stone Age as it is referred to. Neolithic age is thought to have began around 10,200 BC and ended between 4500 BC and 2000 BC.
The names paleolithic and neolithic stem from Greek words. The term paleolithic is derived from two Greek words namely Palaios which means old and lithos which refers to stone. Neolithic also consists of two Greek words, neos which means new and lithos.
Paleothic period and neolithic period were both characterised by different lifestyles and occurrences. Lets look at some differences between these two periods which go way back in history.
Type of tools
Different types of tools were used during the paleolithic and neolithic eras. The tools which were used during the paleolithic period were very primitive ones. Human be-ings at that time used tools made from stone, bones, and wood. It is also said that vegetable fibers and leather were also being used during the paleolithic period. There have been evidences of the chipped tools which were being used during the paleo-lithic age. Archaelogist Louis Leakey discovered Oldowan tools near Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania in the 1930s. Oldowan tools were the tools which were being used dur-ing the earliest paleolithic period.
Unlike during the paleolithic period where rudimentary tools were being used, the neolithic era saw the introduction of more sophisticated tools. The tools used during the neolithic era were smooth as opposed to those used during the paleolithic age which were rough and looked like broken pieces of rocks. Neolithic tools were made from stone and were shaped by polishing and grinding.
Human beings engaged in different activities for daily sustenance during the paleo-lithic and neolithic ages. During the paleolithic age, human beings engaged in hunt-ing, gathering, fishing, and scavenging for animals. They hunted wild animals and gathered foods such as fruits, vegetables, and root tubers. They also gathered fire-wood and materials used in tool making.
The economic activity practised during the neolithic period on the other hand was farming. Human beings kept animals and cultivated crops. They kept both wild and domestic animals. Among the animals kept during the neolithic period included dogs, pigs, goats, and sheep. The crops which were cultivated included cereals like millet, einkorn wheat, and spelt.
Type of dwelling
During the paleolithic period, people mainly dwelt in caves. In addition, they also made shelters from stone, straws, and wood. People who lived during the neolithic age were nomads and therefore they just dwelt in temporary shelters.
In the neolithic age however, human beings dwelt in mud brick huts which were supported by timber. The cultivation of crops necessitated the introduction of per-manent dwellings.
Lifestyle and governance
Paleolithic human beings lived in clans of 20-30 people and were governed by the elders or the powerful among them. In terms of clothing, they dressed in animal skins. During the neolithic era, families lived together in mud brick huts and wore animal skins or woven garments. They were governed by a mornachy system. Reli-gious leaders and the military also had authority during the neolithic era.
During the paleolithic period, human beings did cave paintings while in the neolithic period, people made paintings on walls.