In the Neolithic Age (8000 BCE – 1400 BCE), people began adapting to the changing natural environment after the Ice Age. This period is marked by the creation of earthenware pieces and ground stone tools, and the foundation of the first settlements. Thus far, about 400 Neolithic ruins have been found throughout Korea, in the form of dwellings, tombs, shell mounds, and more. The best-known ruins include Amsa-dong (Seoul), Osan-ri (Yangyang, Gangwon-do), and Dongsam-dong (Busan).
Neolithic people built dugout huts near seas or rivers, where food and water were most abundant. They actively practiced fishing, hunting, and gathering wild plants. This period also saw the introduction of the first crude forms of agriculture with the cultivation of Italian millet and common millet.
Tools and weapons made from ground stone and bone enhanced people’s ability to gather food, while earthenware enabled them to store and cook food. They wore simple forms of clothing, made from woven thread or animal skins, and decorated themselves with jade, animal bones, horns, and shells. They actively engaged with various groups around the Japanese archipelago, Northeast China, and the Maritime Province.