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The Neolithic (Greek: neo = new, lithos = stone) represents a major period of change in the history of humankind: for the first time humans take their destiny into their own hands economically, cultivate plants and breed animals. Thus societies acquire a certain independence from the natural environment. Agriculture is also combined with a sedentary way of life. Although some hunter-gatherer groups had already lived permanently in one place in particularly favourable ecosystems, it was farming that made it possible to establish villages with long-term habitation in less favourable landscapes.