I love things like this.
Kottke found this map from National Geographic about the fertile crescent, the origin of farming, and where the domestication of wheat began.
There's so much in this map, and the rest of kottke's post but here's a few of my favorite snippets.
13,000 BC: In Natufian settlements hunter-gatherers built stacked stone houses... with animal hide roofs. Estimated average community size: 18.
8,000 BC: Thousands lived in farming villages of linked, multiroom homes.
It's fascinating to me that, in 8,000 BC, large villages existed in some form we'd recognize today, and that farming had basically taken over. According to that picture, the complete transformation of hunter-gatherers to farmers completed around 6,000 BC. That lines up pretty well with the formation of early civilizations in Egypt, and Mesopotamia.
I've always been fascinated by this period in history (well, pre-history) and I'd love to write or read a novel that takes place in the early villages, and towns of civilization. It's a time when so many things changed: nomadic life gave way to sedentary life, and brought with it new ideas, new challenges, organized religion, the invention of organized government, and certainly basic lawmaking.