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Ancient Europe

An early farming communityAn early farming community Europe's first inhabitants were hunter-gatherers, who hunted for wild animals and picked plants to eat. By around 7000–6500 BC, some people living in southeastern Europe had settled down to grow crops. It took a few thousand years for farming to spread across Europe. Although people still hunted wild animals and fished in the rivers, they usually lived in simple farming communities, often close to water. They cut down trees to make room for fields. They could grow barley, wheat and other grains, as well as keep livestock. From around 4000 BC, some Europeans could make goods from metal. 

Stone monuments

Stonehenge as it may have looked in 2200 BCStonehenge as it may have looked in 2200 BCBy about 2000 BC, people in Europe had begun to build huge stone monuments for religious worship. To build Stonehenge, which stands on Salisbury Plain in southern England, massive stones had to be dragged across the plain on rollers, placed in deep pits and then hauled upright.

A farming settlementA farming settlement

Farming villages

A patch of forest was cleared by cutting down and burning trees. Then the people built huts of mud and straw. They grew crops such as wheat. The farmers had simple ploughs to work the land, and oxen to pull them. The people could produce everything they needed in the village. They chopped wood for their fires and spun yarn and wove cloth to make clothes. If they could grow enough food, they could exchange it for other products such as metal.

The largest stone circle in Europe is at Avebury, in Wiltshire, England. It was built around 2600 BC and has a diameter of 331.6 m (1088 ft).

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