This innovative study analyzes the great cultural and economic changes occurring in the Near East between 10,000 and 7,000 BC as Palaeolithic societies of hunter-gatherers gave way to village communities of Neolithic food-producers. Challenging the orthodox, materialist interpretations, and drawing on French theories of mentalities, Jacques Cauvin argues that the Neolithic revolution must be understood as an intellectual transformation, revealing itself above all in symbolic activities. He describes the emergence of the first agricultural villages, pastoralism and nomadism, and the diffusion of Neolithic ideas and practice to the region's periphery.
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