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§Of World Interest

The estimated population of the World is between 5 and 20 million people.

This period begins the period where the Northern Hemisphere had the highest insolation (solar radiation reaching the Earth) over the last 10,000 years, lasting for 2000 years until about the year 3000 BCE.


Cushitic speakers, partially turning away from cattle herding, domesticated teff and finger millet between 5500 and 3500 BCE. The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Ethiopia), as well as the Nile Valley (Sudan and Egypt), and parts of the African Great Lakes region (Tanzania and Kenya). The branch is named after the Biblical character Cush, who was traditionally identified as an ancestor of the speakers of these specific languages as early as 947 CE (in Masudi's Arabic history Meadows of Gold).


The predynastic period in Egypt begins around 5500 BCE. Not much is known of the pharaohs of the early Egyptian dynasties. Egyptian civilization began with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Menes (Hor-Aha).

Archaeoastronomical stone megalith in Nabta Playa, world's earliest known astronomy.

Badarian contacts with Syria; furniture, tableware, models of rectangular houses, pots, dishes, cups, bowls, vases, figurines, combs



Beginning of the Hemudu culture in China.

The Hemudu culture (河姆渡文化) (5000 BC to 4500 BC) was a Neolithic culture that flourished just south of the Hangzhou Bay in Jiangnan in modern Yuyao, Zhejiang, China. The site at Hemudu was discovered in 1973. Hemudu sites were also discovered on the islands of Zhoushan.

Material Culture

The Hemudu culture co-existed with the Majiabang culture as two separate and distinct cultures, with cultural transmissions between the two. Two major floods caused the nearby Yaojiang River to change its course and inundated the soil with salt, forcing the people of Hemudu to abandon its settlements. The Hemudu people lived in long, stilt houses.

The Hemudu culture is one of the earliest cultures to cultivate rice. Most of the artifacts discovered at Hemudu consist of animal bones, exemplified by hoes made of shoulder bones used for cultivating rice.

The culture also produced lacquer wood. The remains of various plants, including water caltrop, Nelumbo nucifera, acorns, beans, Gorgon euryale and bottle gourd, were found at Hemudu. The Hemudu people likely domesticated pigs, water buffalo and dogs. The people at Hemudu also fished and hunted, as evidence by the remains of bone harpoons and bows and arrowheads. Music instruments, such as bone whistles and wooden drums, were also found at Hemudu.

The culture produced a thick, porous pottery. The distinct pottery was typically black and made with charcoal powder. Plant and geometric designs were commonly painted onto the pottery; the pottery was sometimes also cord-marked. The culture also produced carved jade ornaments, carved ivory artifacts and small, clay figurines.


Fossilized amoeboids and pollen suggests Hemudu culture emerged and developed in the middle of the Holocene Climatic Optimum. A study of a sea-level highstand in the Ningshao Plain from 7000 – 5000 BP shows that there may have been stabilized lower sea levels at this time followed by, from 5000 to 3900 BP, frequent flooding.

Beginning of the Daxi culture in China.

The Daxi culture (大溪文化) (5000 BC- 3000 BC) was a Neolithic culture centered in the Three Gorges region, around the middle Yangtze River, China. The culture ranged from western Hubei to eastern Sichuan and the Pearl River Delta. The site at Daxi, located in the Qutang Gorge around Wushan, Chongqing, was discovered by Nels C. Nelson in the 1920s. Many key archaeological sites from the Daxi culture, including the site at Daxi, will be inundated or destroyed after the completion of the Three Gorges Dam.

Daxi sites are typified by the presence of dou (cylindrical bottles), white pan (plates), and red pottery. The Daxi people cultivated rice extensively. Daxi sites were some of the earliest in China to show evidence of moats and walled settlements.

The Daxi culture showed evidence of cultural interactions with the Yangtze River Delta region. The white pan artefacts from the culture were discovered at several Yangtze River Delta sites, including the type site at Majiabang. Conversely, jade artefacts at Daxi sites show possible influence from the Yangtze River Delta region. The Daxi culture was followed by the Qujialing culture.

Beginning of the Majiabang culture in China.

The Majiabang culture (馬家浜文化) was a Neolithic culture that existed at the mouth of the Yangtze River, primarily around the Taihu area and north of Hangzhou Bay in China. The culture was spread throughout southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. Initially, archaeologists had considered the Majiabang sites and sites in northern Jiangsu to be part of the same culture, naming it the Qingliangang culture. Archaeologists later realized that the northern Jiangsu sites were of the Dawenkou culture and renamed the southern Jiangsu sites as the Majiabang culture. The Majiabang culture coexisted with the Hemudu culture for over a thousand years as two separate and distinct cultures, with cultural transmissions between the two cultures.

Majiabang people cultivated rice. At Caoxieshan, a site of the Majiabang culture, archaeologists excavated paddy fields. However, faunal remains excavated from Majiabang archaeological sites indicated that people had domesticated pigs. In addition, the remain of sika and roe deer have been found, showing that people were not totally reliant on agricultural production. Archaeological sites also bear evidence that Majiabang people produced jade ornaments.

Beginning of the Yangshao culture in China.

The Yangshao culture (Chinese: 仰韶文化; pinyin: Yǎngsháo wénhuà) was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China. The Yangshao culture is dated from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. The culture is named after Yangshao, the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921 in Henan Province. The culture flourished mainly in the provinces of Henan, Shaanxi and Shanxi.


The subsistence practices of Yangshao people were varied. They cultivated millet extensively; some villages also cultivated wheat or rice. The exact nature of Yangshao agriculture -- small-scale slash-and-burn cultivation versus intensive agriculture in permanent fields, is currently matter of debate. However, Middle Yangshao settlements such as Jiangzhi contain raised floor buildings that may have been used for the storage of surplus grains. They kept such animals as pigs and dogs, as well as sheep, goats, and cattle, but much of their meat came from hunting and fishing. Their stone tools were polished and highly specialized. The Yangshao people may also have practiced an early form of silkworm cultivation.


The Yangshao culture is well-known for its painted pottery. Yangshao artisans created fine white, red, and black painted pottery with human facial, animal, and geometric designs. Unlike the later Longshan culture, the Yangshao culture did not use pottery wheels in pottery-making. Excavations found that children were buried in painted pottery jars.

Archaeological sites

The archaeological site of Banpo village, near Xi'an, is one of the best-known ditch-enclosed settlements of the Yangshao culture. Another major settlement called Jiangzhai (姜寨) was excavated out to its limits, and archaeologists found that it was completely surrounded by a ring-ditch. Both Banpo and Jiangzhai also yielded controversial incised marks on pottery which a few have interpreted as numerals or perhaps precursors to the Chinese script. However, such conclusions may be premature.


Among the numerous overlapping phases of the Yangshao culture, the most prominent phases, typified by differing styles of pottery, include:

  • Banpo phase, approximately 4800 BC to 4200 BC, central plane
  • Miaodigou phase, circa 4000 BC to 3000 BC, successor to Banpo
  • Majiayao phase, approximately 3300 BC to 2000 BC, in Gansu, Qinghai
  • Banshan phase, approximately 2700 BC to 2300 BC, successor to Majiayao
  • Machang phase, approximately 2400 BC to 2000 BC


Early Jomon

This is one suggested date for the beginning of the Early Jomon period. Another is 4000 BCE.

Huge shell mounds were evidence that the diet in this period was largely shell fish and marine foods. Kyushu and Korean pottery bore significant similarities suggesting that trade existed between the Japanese islands and Korean peninsula. The Japanese early Jomon culture inhabitants lived in square-shaped pithouses, clustered in small villages. Handicrafts, such as cord-marked pottery cooking and storage vessels, woven baskets, bone needles, and stone tools, were produced for daily use.


Farming reached central and north Europe. DNA studies show that people from Northern Eurasian tribes interbred with Middle Eastern farmers migrating into Europe and the indigenous hunter gatherer tribes already in Europe. Variability in European morphology is attributed to the interbreeding of these three populations.

Beer brewing is developed.


Salt mining is begun at Hallstatt about this time. It remains operational until 1965.


Hundreds of pits in the rolling Breckland heath of southeastern England mark a Neolithic flint-mining complex called Grime’s Graves, one of numerous such sites in the region. More than 5,000 years old, these former mineshafts—dug with antler picks and bone shovels—accessed flint (coveted in the era for forging stone axes) embedded in the landscape’s extensive chalk formations.

§Central Europe

According to 2013 MtDNA studies, the inhabitants of Central Europe varied through time, with one genetic population completely replacing another. The inhabitants of Central Europe were genetically distinct from the inhabitants of 7000 BCE, and would be again replaced by 3500 BCE.


The Varna Necropolis contained the oldest golden treasure in the world, dating to this time. Each one of three graves (No.1, 36 and 43) contains more gold than has been found in the entire rest of the world for that epoch. The total weight of more than 3000 golden artifacts found in Varna necropolis is near 6.5 kg.


Agriculture arrived in the Netherlands somewhere around 5000 BC, by the Linear Pottery culture (probably Central European farmers) but was only practiced on the loess plateau in the very south (Southern Limburg). Their knowledge was not used to build farms in the rest of the Netherlands owing to a lack of animal domestication and proper tools.

The Wadden Islands like Ameland or Terschelling were form the remains of a former coastal barrier that was shaped in the old-Holocene, a period that ended about 5,000 years B.C.


La Braña 1, a hunter gatherer found in Spain, had blue eyes and African versions of genes that determine the light pigmentation of current Europeans, which indicates that he had dark skin, although we cannot know the exact shade. The genome, or an organism's full set of inheritable traits, shows that contemporary populations nearest to the man live in far northern Europe.


Wheel is developed in Mesopotamia and India

Beginnings of Indus-Sarasvati civilizations of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Date derived by considering archeological sites, reached after excavating 45 feet. Brick fire altars exist in many houses, suggesting Vedic fire rites, yajna. Earliest signs of worship of Lord Siva. This mature culture will last 3,000 years, ending around -1700.

Rice is harvested in China, with grains found in baked bricks. But its cultivation originated in Eastern India.

§Middle East

§Fertile Crescent

Details of the first peas (Pisum sativum) to be cultivated are sketchy, but documentation suggests that the origins took place in the Fertile Crescent perhaps around 5,000 BCE and maybe thousands of years previous. More closely related to the lentil than other early domestications from this area such as wheat and barley, the wild pea still grows in the Middle East. It’s domestication spread outwards towards the Indus Valley and also into Europe.

§Iran (formerly Persia)

Some of the earliest evidence of wine production has been discovered in the Zagros Mountains; both the settlements of Sialk, Hajji Firuz and Godin Tepe have given evidence of wine storage dating between 3500 BCE and 5400 BCE. These 7,000 year old jars of wine excavated in the Zagros Mountains are now on display at The University of Pennsylvania.

§Near East

The Indus Valley Tradition: Mehrgarh II-VI (ceramic Neolithic), Regionalization era.

§North America

The Na-Dené people reached the Pacific Northwest by this time.

Until the discovery of the Chilean iron-oxide location, some of the oldest known mines in the Americas came from the margins of Lake Superior in the Upper Midwest. The Old Copper Complex refers to American Indian cultures that mined the great deposits of Precambrian copper found on the Keweenaw Peninsula, Isle Royale in Lake Superior, and nearby areas of Upper Michigan and northern Wisconsin.

This prehistoric copper-mining dates back at least to 5,000 BCE Keweenaw copper (as the 600-million-year-old metals, formed from mineral deposits in massive basaltic lava flows, are collectively known) from this period was widely traded in aboriginal North America, and has been found at archaeological sites as remote as South Florida.



Hekla, a stratovolcano in the south of Iceland, erupted about 5050 BCE

§South America


Domestication of the alpaca – In actual fact, the term “domestication of the alpaca” is a very historically inaccurate statement. In reality, we should say that domestication of the vicuña actually created what we call today an alpaca. The reason for this is that although we recognised the alpacas’ differences to other South American camelid animals such as the llama, we have never been sure of the animal’s origins. Through scientific nuclear DNA study, it has been discovered that the alpaca’s (Vicugna pacos) closest living relatives are the vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna), and not animals such as the llama (Lama glama) and the guanaco (Lama guanicoe). The vicuña originally would not have seemed like a likely candidate as the alpaca’s closest living relative due to the difference in appearance of the two animals, but it cannot be discounted how much domestication can alter the outward appearance of an animal. If you look at all the breeds of dog in the world today, to the uneducated eye you would never believe that they are all the same species of animal. This is a testament to the dramatic effects that domestication and manipulation of the evolution of a species can cause. Such is the complete revision of the wild vicuña that was possibly first domesticated as far back at 5000BCE, that the fur which we associate with the modern alpaca was not held in high regard until around 500BCE. Until then, the alpaca’s main role in human society would have most likely been a source of meat, and as a beast of burden.

Domestication of the guinea pig – With the small size of the guinea pig, it has been difficult to discover much in the way of archaeological evidence, most likely due to the size of the remains and the high chance of their degradation over time. Local experts have speculated that the earliest domestication of a wild variety of cavia occurred around 5000BCE and lead to what is called in modern society as the domestic guinea pig (Cavia porcellus). The most likely protagonist is the wild Montane guinea pig (Cavia tschudii), although it is also speculated that the Brazilian guinea pig (Cavia aperea) may have been involved. South Americans now have a long and historic relationship with their indigenous rodent cohabiters. They are used in local medicine practices and are still a source of food.


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