Ancient History Timeline - 10,000 - 4000 BC
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Timeline: 10,000-4000 BC

Map

Gobekli Tepe (southern Turkey, about 9000 BC)

May 2016 - Around 10,000 BC, with the end of the last major Ice Age, people all over the world - not everyone, but a lot of people - began to shift from fishing and hunting and gathering to farming as their main way of getting food. North Africans, Egyptians, and West Asians were already farming figs, and now they added barley and wheat, chickpeas and lentils. They made beer out of the barley, and they learned from Central Asians how to make pottery to drink it in. They started to build stone temples like this one at Gobekli Tepe, and mud-brick houses in towns like Jericho and Catal Huyuk. Around 8000 BC, they also began to grow grapes and make wine. By 6000 BC West Asian people were planting olive orchards to get olive oil.

People started farming in other places too. By around 8000 BC, South American people in Ecuador and Peru were growing squash and potatoes, and soon after that they were growing chili peppers and corn. In Brazil they grew yuca root and peanuts, instead. In Southeast Asia, it was bananas and plantains. Around 7000 BC, people were growing rye for rye bread and planting apple trees in Central Asia. By 6000 BC, people in southern China were growing rice. Then about 5000 BC, South Americans added beans to their squash and corn.

Along with farming, people also began to keep farm animals. By about 10,000 BC, people in Central Asia and Europe were beginning to keep pigs. In South-East Asia and southern China, they were keeping chickens by around 7000 BC, and people started to keep sheep in West Asia and Egypt about the same time. By 5500 BC, people in Central Asia had also tamed the wild aurochs and turned them into cattle, which they kept for both meat and milk (and yogurt and cheese). Around 5000 BC, South Americans were raising guinea pigs for their meat, and by about 4000 BC, they were keeping llamas too. Also about 4000 BC, people in Sudan tamed donkeys.

Once people were farming, they also started to grow crops to make rope and clothing too. About 5000 BC-4000 BC people all over the world began to spin and weave clothes out of flax and hemp, cotton and wool.

Still people kept experimenting with new crops. By 4500 BC, they were growing millet and probably peaches in China. By around 4000 BC, people in Sudan, south of Egypt, were growing dates and millet and in Aksum (modern Ethiopia) they were growing another kind of grain, teff. In both West Africa and East Africa, people were pressing palm nuts for palm oil. About the same time, Peruvian people were growing avocados.

But not all of the changes of this time were things people invented. People also continued to evolve naturally. As people traveled further north, their children evolved to have whiter skin, because there wasn't as much sunshine and they needed to soak up more sunshine to make enough Vitamin D to stay healthy. Sometime around 5000 BC, in Europe, the first people evolved who had white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes.

Bibliography and further reading for a world history timeline:

3000-1000 BC
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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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Now that the weather's nice, try some of these outdoor activities! How about bicycle polo, or archery for a Medieval Islam day? Or kite flying or making a compass for a day in Medieval China? How about making a shaduf for a day in Ancient Egypt? Holding an Ancient Greek Olympic Games or a medieval European tournament? Building a Native American wickiup?