10th millennium BC

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  • 98th century BC
  • 97th century BC
  • 96th century BC
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  • 92nd century BC
  • 91st century BC

The 10th millennium BC spanned the years 10000 through 9001 BC. It marks the beginning of the Mesolithic and Epipaleolithic periods, which is the first part of the Holocene epoch. Agriculture, based on the cultivation of primitive forms of millet and rice, occurred in Southwest Asia.[1][page needed] Although agriculture was being developed in the Fertile Crescent, it would not be widely practiced for another 2,000 years.[2]

World population at this time was more or less stable, at Mesolithic level reached during the Last Glacial Maximum, estimated at roughly five million,[3] most of whom were hunter-gatherer communities scattered over all continents except Antarctica and Zealandia. The Würm glaciation ended, and the beginning interglacial, which endures to this day, allowed the re-settlement of northern regions.


Göbekli Tepe, Şanlıurfa, 2011
The Stone Age
before Homo (Pliocene)


Lower Paleolithic
Late Stone Age
Control of fire
Stone tools
Middle Paleolithic
Middle Stone Age
Homo neanderthalensis
Homo sapiens
Recent African origin of modern humans
Upper Paleolithic
Later Stone Age
Behavioral modernity, Atlatl,
Origin of the domestic dog


Microliths, Bow and arrows, Canoe
Heavy Neolithic
Shepherd Neolithic
Trihedral Neolithic
Pre-Pottery Neolithic


Neolithic Revolution,
Pottery Neolithic

Old World[edit]

  • Asia: Cave sites near the Caspian Sea are inhabited by humans.
  • Africa: Wall paintings found in Ethiopia and Eritrea depict human activity; some of the older paintings are thought to date back to around 10,000 BC.[5]
  • Europe: Azilian (Painted Pebble Culture) people occupy northern Spain and Southern France.
  • Europe: Magdalenian culture flourishes and creates cave paintings in France.
  • Europe: Solutrean culture begins horse hunting.
  • Egypt: Early sickle blades and grain grinding stones appear [6]
  • Jordan: Wadi Faynan (WF16): large, oval-shaped building. Early farmers lived here between 9,600 and 8,200 BC, cultivating wild plants such as wild barley, pistachio, and fig trees, and hunting or herding wild goats, cattle, and gazelle.[7]
  • Kurdistan region in Iran: Zagros mountains near Kermanshah: very early agriculture (wheat, barley).[8]
  • Syria: Jerf el-Ahmar, occupied between 9200 and 8700 BC.
  • Japan: The Jōmon people use pottery, fish, hunt and gather acorns, nuts and edible seeds. There are 10,000 known sites.
  • Mesopotamia: People begin to collect wild wheat and barley probably to make malt then beer.
  • Norway: First traces of population in Randaberg.
  • Persia: The goat is domesticated.
  • Sahara: Bubalus Period.


North America[edit]



Environmental changes[edit]

c. 10,000 BC:

c. 9700 BC: Lake Agassiz forms

c. 9700 BC: Younger Dryas cold period ends; Pleistocene ends and Holocene begins; Paleolithic ends and Mesolithic begins; Large amounts of previously glaciated land become habitable again

Chronological studies[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roberts (1994)
  2. ^ Ann Gibbons (14 July 2016). "The world's first farmers were surprisingly diverse". Science. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  3. ^ Jean-Noël Biraben, "Essai sur l'évolution du nombre des hommes", Population 34-1 (1979), 13-25, estimates 40 million at 5000 BC and 100 million at 1600 BC, for an average growth rate of 0.027% p.a. over the Chalcolithic to Middle Bronze Age. Data from History Database of the Global Environment. K. Klein Goldewijk, A. Beusen and P. Janssen, "HYDE 3.1: Long-term dynamic modeling of global population and built-up area in a spatially explicit way" in the Abstract (With a total global population increase from 2 to 6145 million people over that time span [10,000BC to 2,000AD]), Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
  4. ^ Kislev et al. (2006a, b), Lev-Yadun et al. (2006)
  5. ^ Pankhurst, Richard (1998). The Ethiopians. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-631-18468-3.
  6. ^ Midant-Reynes, Béatrix. The Prehistory of Egypt: From the First Egyptians to the First Kings. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers
  7. ^ Michael Balter (2 May 2011). "First Buildings May Have Been Community Centers". Science. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Farming Got Hip In Iran Some 12,000 Years Ago, Ancient Seeds Reveal", NPR. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  9. ^ Ker Than (15 August 2013). "Oldest North American Rock Art May Be 14,800 Years Old". National Geographic. Retrieved 20 December 2018.