The history of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions such as, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe.
The coastal periphery was the home to some of the world's earliest known civilizations, with each of the three regions developing early civilizations around fertile river valleys. These valleys were fertile because the soil there was rich and could bare lots of root crops. The civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and China shared many similarities and likely exchanged technologies and ideas such as mathematics and the wheel. Other notions such as that of writing likely developed individually in each area. Cities, states and then empires developed in these lowlands.
The steppe region had long been inhabited by mounted nomads, and from the central steppes they could reach all areas of the Asian continent. The northern part of the continent, covering much of Siberia was also inaccessible to the steppe nomads due to the dense forests and the tundra. These areas in Siberia were very sparsely populated.
The centre and periphery were kept separate by mountains and deserts. The Caucasus, Himalaya, Karakum Desert, and Gobi Desert formed barriers that the steppe horsemen could only cross with difficulty. While technologically and culturally the city dwellers were more advanced, they could do little militarily to defend against the mounted hordes of the steppe. However, the lowlands did not have enough open grasslands to support a large horsebound force. Thus the nomads who conquered states in China, India, and the Middle East were soon forced to adapt to the local societies.
9000 BC to 4500 BC
A temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe dated to 10000 BC has been seen as the beginning of the "Neolithic 1" culture. This site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherers since there is no permanent housing in the vicinity. This temple site is the oldest known man-made place of worship. By 8500–8000 BC farming communities began to spread to Anatolia, North Africa and north Mesopotamia.
A report by archaeologist Rakesh Tewari on Lahuradewa,India shows new C14 datings that range between 8000 BC and 9000 BC associated with rice, making Lahuradewa the earliest Neolithic site in entire South Asia.
The prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, China, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 7000–8000 BC, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square meters and the collection of neolithic findings at the site consists of two phases.
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