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The Neolithic Revolution
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

Around 10,000 BC, humans went through an important change. It was the most important change in human history. By its end, wandering hunter-gatherers would stop wandering and instead form permanent settlements. This change is called the Neolithic Revolution.

The Neolithic Revolution was a change in how humans survived. In the Paleolithic Era, humans were nomads. They moved from place to place, following the animals that they hunted to survive. But after the Neolithic Revolution, humans changed from hunter-gatherers to sedentary farmers.

What ingenious person led this important change? No one! The Neolithic Revolution was not led by any one person. The Neolithic Revolution did not happen at one time or place. It happened over many lifetimes. It happened in many places across the globe.

What if you could look into the trash pile of an early human home? What would you find? You could find animal bones, sticks, or stones. You could also find plant seeds. These plant seeds were the key to the Neolithic Revolution.

After they ate plants, humans left behind the seeds. These seeds began to grow. They were the first crops. Little by little, humans learned to control these crops. They learned to plant seeds at the right time. They learned to give them water and sun. They learned to pick them at the right time. They learned to store extra food for the winter.

Over time, humans learned to cultivate better crops. Neolithic humans took the seeds of their best plants. They chose plants that were big and strong. Then they planted those seeds. They did this season after season. Over time, their crops grew bigger and stronger. Little by little, humans learned to farm. This was the “revolutionary” change that gave the Neolithic Revolution its name.

Humans did not change all at once. The changes of the Neolithic Revolution took many lifetimes. Afterward, humans did not need to travel to find food. They stayed in one place. They grew food. They built cities. They claimed pieces of land as their own.


Revolution: an important change in how something works or is organized
Neolithic Revolution: the transition of humans from hunter-gatherers to farmers
Nomad: a person with no permanent home
Sedentary: staying in one place, not nomadic
Cultivate: to raise or grow, especially plants

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