Prehistory covers the time from the middle paleolithic (old stone age) to the beginnings of ancient history.

Homo sapiens in Africa 315,000 years ago to the invention of writing, over 4,000 years ago.

-320,000 to 305,000 years ago: Olorgesailie, in Southern Kenya modern advancements to lithic tools made.

-315,000 years ago: appearance of homo sapiens in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco.

-250,000 years ago: appearance of saccopastore skulls and homo neanderthalensis.

-210,000 years ago: modern human presence in Apidima, Greece

-200,000 years ago: oldest known grass bedding.

-170,000 years ago: humans wearing clothing.

-164,000 years ago: humans found to be eating seafood.

-120,000 years ago: possible earliest evidence of of symbols carved onto bone.

-120,000 years ago: use of marine shells for personal decoration by humans.

-120,000–90,000 years ago: North Africa and the Sahara desert region is wet and fertile.

-100,000 years ago: earliest structures in the world in Egyptian near the Sudan border (sandstone blocks set in a semi-circle with an oval foundation).

-75,000 years ago: Toba Volcano super eruption.

-70,000 years ago: earliest example of abstract art or symbolic art from Blombos Cave, South Africa.

-50,000 years ago: earliest sewing needle found. Made and used by Denisovans.

-50,000–30,000 years ago: Mousterian Pluvial in North Africa. The Sahara desert region is wet and fertile. Later Stone Age begins in Africa.

-45,000–43,000 years ago: early European modern humans.

-45,000–40,000 years ago: Châtelperronian cultures in France.

-42,000 years ago: Laschamps event, a geomagnetic excursion with major implications for humans at the time.

-42,000 years ago: paleolithic flutes in Germany.

-42,000 years ago: earliest evidence of advanced deep sea fishing technology at the Jerimalai cave site in East Timor.

-41,000 years ago: Denisova hominin lives in the Altai Mountains.

-40,000 years ago: Aurignacian culture begins in Europe.

-40,000 years ago: oldest known figurative art the zoomorphic Löwenmensch figurine.

-40,000–30,000 years ago: aboriginal Australians form first human settlements in several areas which today are cities of Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

-35,000 years ago: oldest known figurative art of a human figure as opposed to a zoomorphic figure (Venus of Hohle Fels).

-31,000–16,000 years ago: last glacial maximum (peak at 26,500 years ago).

-30,000 years ago: rock paintings tradition begins in Bhimbetka rock shelters in India, which presently as a collection, the densest known concentration of rock art. In an area about 10 km square, there are about 800 rock shelters and 500 with paintings.

-29,000 years ago: the earliest ovens found.

-28,500 years ago: New Guinea is populated by colonists from Asia or Australia.

-28,000 years ago: oldest known twisted rope.

-Lion-man sculpture

-28,000–24,000 years ago: oldest known pottery used to make figurines.

-28,000–20,000 years ago: Gravettian period in Europe. Harpoons and saws invented.

-26,000 years ago: to make baby carriers, clothes, bags, baskets, and nets people around the world use fibers.

-25,000 years ago: a hamlet consisting of huts built of rocks and of mammoth bones is founded in what is now Dolní Věstonice in Moravia in the Czech Republic.

-24,000 years ago: The cave bear is thought to have become extinct.

-24,000 years ago: Evidence suggests humans are living in Alaska and Yukon areas of North America.

-23,000-21,000 years ago: the earliest known human footprints in North America are left at what is now White Sands National Park, New Mexico. It is also the earliest known evidence of the Oasisamerica civilizations, which eventually became the cultures in modern northern Mexico and sw United States.

-21,000 years ago: artifacts suggest early human activity occurred in the capital city of Austrailia Canberra.

-20,000 years ago: beginning of the Epipalaeolithic and Kebaran in the Levant

-20,000 years ago: theorized earliest date of development of traditional inuit skin clothing

-20,000–10,000 years ago: Khoisanid expansion to Central Africa.

-20,000–19,000 years ago: earliest pottery use, in Xianren Cave, China.

-18,000–12,000 years ago: though estimations vary widely, it is believed by scholars that Afro-Asiatic was spoken.

-16,000–14,000 years ago: Minatogawa Man in Okinawa, Japan

-16,000–11,000 years ago: caucasus hunter-gatherer expansion to Europe.

-16,000 years ago: near Spain, european bison sculpted in clay deep inside the cave now known as Le Tuc d’Audoubert in the French Pyrenees.

-15,000–14,700 years ago: earliest supposed date for the domestication of the pig.

-14,800 years ago: the humid period begins in North Africa. The region that would later become the Sahara is wet and fertile, and the aquifers are full.

-14,200 years ago: the oldest agreed domestic dog remains belongs to the Bonn-Oberkassel dog that was buried with two humans.

-14,000–12,000 years ago: oldest evidence for prehistoric warfare (Jebel Sahaba, and Natufian culture).

13,000–10,000 years ago: last glacial maximum, end of the last glacial period. Climate warms, glaciers recede.

-13,000 years ago: major water outbreak occurs on Lake Agassiz, which at the time could have been the size of the black sea and the largest lake on Earth. Much of lake is drained in the arctic ocean through the mackenzie river.

-13,000–11,000 years ago: earliest dates suggested for the domestication of the sheep.

-12,900–11,700 years ago: the younger dryas, a period of sudden cooling and return to glacial conditions.

-12,000 years ago: volcanic eruptions in the Virunga Mountains blocked Lake Kivu outflow into lake Edward and the Nile system, diverting the water to lake tanganyika. Nile’s total length is shortened and lake tanganyika’s surface is increased.

-12,000 years ago: earliest dates suggested for the domestication of the goat.


The terms “neolithic, copper and bronze age” are cultures of the old world. Many populations of new world began a mesolithic cultural stage.

-11,600 years ago: an abrupt period of global warming accelerates the glacial retreat; taken as the beginning of the Holocene geological epoch.

-11,600 years ago: Jericho has evidence of settlement dating back to 9,600 BC. Jericho was a popular camping ground for Natufian hunter-gatherer groups, who left a scattering of crescent microlith tools behind them.

-11,200–11,000 years ago: rise of sea level 25 ft within about 160 years.

-11,000 years ago: earliest date recorded for construction of temenoi ceremonial structures at Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, as possibly the oldest surviving proto-religious site on Earth.

-11,000 years ago: Giant short-faced bears and giant ground sloths go extinct. Equidae goes extinct in North America.

-11,000-8,000 years ago: the ancestral Puebloans, in modern day New Mexico and the southwestern United States, began their archaic early basketmaker era. Leading art styles in pottery and basketmaking.

-as well, early structures in Pueblo architecture style, including as seen at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in the north west.

-10,500 years ago : earliest supposed date for the domestication of cattle.

-10,000 years ago: the quaternary extinction event, which has been ongoing since the mid-Pleistocene, concludes. Many cave painting of a conflict between man, other men, and food/shelter/clothing mega fauna go extinct, including the megatherium, woolly rhinoceros, irish elk, cave bear, cave lion, and the sabre-toothed cats. Minus one island in Siberia, the mammoth goes extinct.

-10,000–8,000 years ago: the post-glacial sea level rise decelerates, slowing the submersion of landmasses that had taken place over the previous 10,000 years.

-10,000–9,000 years ago: in northern Iraq, cultivation of barley and wheat begins. At first they are used for beer, gruel, and soup, and eventually for bread.

-evidence of a large stone tower, almost 30 feet in diameter and 30 feet high is built. In Jericho

-9,500–5,500 years ago: Saharra desert region subplivials . Lake Chad is larger than the current Caspian Sea. An African culture develops across the current Sahel region.

-9,500 years ago: urban settlement founded in Anatolia. Earliest supposed date for the domestication of the cat in Çatalhöyük

-9,200 years ago: Ain Ghazal, the first giant human settlement in Amman, Jordan; spanning over 37 acres.

– 9,000 years ago: Jiahu culture began in China.

-9,000 years ago: large first fish fermentation in southern Sweden.

-9,000 years ago: earliest site with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia. Perhaps oldest evidence of dental work. Mehrgarh.

-8,200–8,000 years ago: The 8.2-kilo year event: a sudden decrease of global temperatures, probably caused by the final collapse of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, and others, which leads to drier conditions in East Africa and Mesopotamia.

-8,200–7,600 years ago: believed sudden rise in sea level 21 feet in less than 140 years;

-8,000–5,000 years ago: development of writing proto-writing in China, southeast Europe (Vinca symbols) and west Asia (proto-literate cuneiform).

-8,000 years ago: evidence of habitation at the current site of Aleppo dates to about c. 8,000 years ago, although excavations at Tell Qaramel, 25 kilometres (16 mi) north of the city show the area was inhabited about 13,000 years ago,

-8500 years ago: dating at Tell Ramad, on the outskirts of Damascus, suggests that the site possibly developed around 6300 BC. However, evidence of settlement in the wider Barada basin is believed to go back to 9000 BC.

-7,500 years ago: copper smelting in evidence in Pločnik, which later become Serbia.

-7,700-6,500 years ago: Vinča culture

-7,200–6,000 years ago: Għar Dalam phase on Malta. First farming settlements on the island.

-6300 or 6350 years ago: Akahoya eruption creates the Kikai Caldera and ends the earliest homogeneous Jomon culture in Japan. When the Jomon culture recovers, it shows regional differences.

-6,100–5,800 years ago: Żebbuġ phase. Malta.

-6,070–6,000 years ago: Trypillian build in Nebelivka (Ukraine) settlement which reached 15,000–-18,000 inhabitants.

-6,500 years ago: the oldest known gold hoard deposited at Varna Necropolis, Bulgaria.

-6,000 years ago: civilizations develop in the Mesopotamia/Fertile Crescent region (now Iraq). Earliest supposed dates for the domestication of the horse and for the domestication of the chicken, invention of the potter’s wheel.

-5,840–5,800 years ago: the Post Track and Sweet Track causeways are constructed in the Somerset Levels.

-5,800 years ago: Trypillian build in Talianki (Ukraine) settlement which reached 15,600–21,000 inhabitants.

-5,800–5,600 years ago: Mġarr phase. A short transitional period in Malta’s prehistory. It is characterized by pottery consisting of mainly curved lines.

-5,700 years ago: mass graves at Tell Brak in Syria.

-5,700 years ago: Trypillian build in Maidanets (Ukraine) settlement which reached 12,000–46,000 inhabitants, and built three-story buildings.

-5,700 years ago: Minoan culture begins on Crete.

-5,600–5,200 years ago: Ġgantija phase on Malta. Characterized by a change in the way the prehistoric inhabitants of Malta lived.

-5,500 years ago: Uruk period in Sumer. First evidence of mummification in Egypt.

-5,500 years ago: oldest known depiction of a wheeled vehicle (Bronocice pot, Funnelbeaker culture)

-5,500 years ago: earliest conjectured date for the still-undeciphered Indus script.

-5,500 years ago: end of the African humid period possibly linked to the piora oscillation: a rapid and intense aridification event, which probably started the current Sahara desert dry phase and a population increase in the Nile Valley. It is believed this event contributed to the end of the Ubaid period in Mesopotamia.

-5,400 years ago: Waun Mawn is built in West Wales

-5,300 years ago: bronze Age begins in the Near East. Newgrange is built in Ireland. Ness of Brodgar is built in Orkney. Hakra Phase of the Indus Valley. Civilization begins in the Indian subcontinent.

-5,300–5,000 years ago: Saflieni phase in Maltese prehistory.

-5,200 years ago: the bronze age begins on Crete signaling the beginning of the early minoan period.

-5,000 years ago: settlement of Skara Brae built in Orkney.

-4,600 years ago: writing is developed in Sumer and Egypt, triggering the beginning of recorded history.

Bibliography: McNeill, William H. (1999) [1967]. A World History (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN978-0-19-511616-8.

Brown, Cynthia Stokes (2007). Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present. New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton.

ISBN978-1-59558-196-9.Fournet, Louis-Henri (1986). Diagrammatic Chart of World History. Editions Sides. ISBN 978-2-86861-096-6.

Yoffee, Norman, ed. (2015). Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE–1200 CE. The Cambridge World History. Vol. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN978-0-521-19008-4. Archived from the original on 21 February 2023. Retrieved Jan 2022

Iliffe, John (2007). Africans: The History of a Continent (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN978-0-521-68297-8.

Roberts, J. M.; Westad, Odd Arne (2013). The Penguin History of the World (Sixth ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN978-1-84614-443-1. Archived from the original on 21 February 2023.

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