What was life like for a neolithic farmer in ancient Europe?

Dec 2011
That idea is half a century out of date. Bronze is just as hard as medium carbon steel and is superior to a lot of early iron tools and weapons. Iron doesn't begin to surpass bronze until the intricacies of quench hardened steel are understood. Anything written by Tylecote has all the data you need.
Thank you for correcting me.

To get it clear in my mind, did the neolithic people have bronze? I thought that didn't happen until the bronze age.
Nov 2018
This stone is about 5000 years old, found on the Danish island of Bornholm, and, according to the archaeologists, shows a map of fields.

It is found in a place that apparently had a ritual significance for people who belonged to the funnel beaker culture.

They most likely had real fields, because traces of wickerwork hazel- fences are found in England. And in Denmark, soil layers with strong concentration of hazel pollen have been found, suggesting that hazel brush wood were cultivated and used for fencing cattle.

Similar stones of the same age have been found in France and Italy.


A close up of the stone

Likes: Todd Feinman
Nov 2018
Youtube video here. It only shows the very last couple of minutes of the task though, and it is a rather small tree.
First of all, he probably had to improve his woodcutting technique and I would put a longer shaft on that ax.

And an iron ax is not much better. As these sad excuses for Viking descendants show.It took them 39 minutes to cut down the tree .

We must also remember that our ancestors were more muscular than we are today.
Oct 2013
We must also remember that our ancestors were more muscular than we are today.
It really isn't about that. It's about knowing the lumber.

Wood has it's characteristic. Knowing how it reacts, makes things 10 times easier (and 10 times isn't a metaphor).

Take a look at this:

It took the guy only 20 hits to do it (look how much wood is already gone in the first 5 hits).

As everything in life: it's a lot easier than it seems when one knows how to do it.
Likes: Runa
Mar 2015
To get it clear in my mind, did the neolithic people have bronze? I thought that didn't happen until the bronze age.
By definition they did not.
Note that stone tools remained into use through bronze age and some time into iron age. Bronze was scarce and expensive enough that it could not replace all stone tools.
Ötzi had a bronze axe, but a stone knife.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Republika Srpska
Neolithic is supposed to be sedentarisation, so not moving from a valley to another but gathering ressource around the town. They did have good axes / scissors and the neolithic industry was really a a top technic (see the industry of Grand Pressigny and exportation all over Europe). People needed more human ressources (strength) but already worked in teams to achieve common goals. The first settlements needed to develop agricultural understanding of the nature and thus organize people's living to fulfill town needs. Spiritual / cultural lives was a very active part of people's living too. Then, commerce of goods from towns to others (and through rivers and commercial roads... see Varna for instance as bneing a trade gate between East and Western Europe...) emerged and other art / cultural / luxurious objects were more and more integrated into indigenous societies.
Before bronze there was copper and then bronze as soon as tin was used (so there had been massive commercial roads for trade purpose for population that had tin & copper mines).
Most people in the Neolithic were semi-sedentary. Their primitive agricultural techniques would quickly exhaust the soil and the people would be forced to move somewhere else in order to find suitable land for agriculture. Some notable exceptions to this were areas in the Middle East, Egypt and Mesopotamia (for example, we are pretty sure Jericho was inhabited throughout the entire year).