5th millennium BC
Urban cultures in Mesopotamia and Anatolia flourished, developing the wheel. Copper ornaments became more common, marking the beginning of the Chalcolithic. Animal husbandry spread throughout Eurasia, reaching China.
- Ubaid culture in Mesopotamia
- Yumuktepe and Gözlükule cultures in south Anatolia
- Badari culture on the Nile (c. 4400 BC – 4000 BC)
- Merimde culture on the Nile in Prehistoric Egypt (c. 4570 BC – 4250 BC)
- Copper pins dating to 4000 BC found in Egypt[page needed]
- c. 5000 BC Farming reaches Atlantic coast of Europe from Ancient Near East (
- c. 5000 BC, Metallurgy during the Copper Age in Europe
- Cycladic culture—a distinctive Neolithic culture amalgamating Anatolian and mainland Greek elements arose in the western Aegean before 4000 BC
- 5000–4500 BC: Għar Dalam phase of Neolithic farmers on Malta, possibly immigrant farmers from the Agrigento region of Sicily
- c. 4500 BC Plough is introduced in Europe
- Varna culture in the Balkans 4400-4100 BC
- Vinča culture in the Balkans (also endured in the 6th, 4th, and 3rd millennia)
- Stroke-ornamented ware culture
- c. 4300 BC: Funnelbeaker Culture in north and east Germany
- c. 4250–3750 BC: Menhir alignments at Menec, Carnac, France are made
- 4100–3500 BC: New wave of immigration to Malta from Sicily leads to the Żebbuġ and Mġarr phases, and to the Ġgantija phase of temple builders
- Lengyel culture in Eastern Europe
- Stentinello culture in Italy
In North-Eastern Europe a "ceramic Mesolithic" can be distinguished, found peripheral to the sedentary Neolithic cultures. It created a distinctive type of pottery, with point or knob base and flared rims, manufactured by methods not used by the Neolithic farmers. The earliest manifestation of this type of pottery may be in the region around Lake Baikal in Siberia, from as early as 7000 BC, and from there spread via the Dnieper-Donets culture to the Narva culture of the Eastern Baltic. Spreading westward along the coastline it is found in the Ertebølle culture of Denmark and Ellerbek of Northern Germany, and the related Swifterbant culture of the Low Countries.
- Samara culture on the Volga
- Sredny Stog culture on the Dnieper
- Khvalynsk culture
- Dnieper–Donets culture
- Ertebølle culture, northern Europe
- Swifterbant culture, Netherlands
- Comb Ceramic culture in northeast Europe (4200–2000 BC)
- c. 5000 BC, agriculture starts in Ancient Japan; beans and gourds are cultivated
- Yangshao culture on the Yellow River
- Water buffalo are domesticated in China
- Proto-Austronesian culture is based on the south coast of China; they combine extensive maritime technology, fishing with hooks and nets and gardening (c. 5000 BC)
Prior to the 5.9 kiloyear event (3900 BC) and the desiccation of the Green Sahara, Sub-Saharan Africa remains in the Paleolithic. The beginning of the Pastoral Neolithic falls still into the late phase of the Green Sahara, in the 6th or 5th millennium BC. As the grasslands of the Sahara began drying after 3900 BC, herders would spread into the Nile Valley and by the mid 3rd millennium BC into eastern Africa.
|Preceded by the Pleistocene|
- 5000–4900 BC: The Older Peron transgression, a warm period that would dominate the 5th millennium, begins in this period
- According to Early Anthropocene Hypothesis the early farming practises started to raise the atmospheric CO2-levels to preindustrial levels
- c. 4350 BC: Kikai Caldera in Japan forms in a massive VEI7 eruption
Calendars and chronology
- 4713 BC: The epoch (origin) of the Julian Period described by Joseph Justus Scaliger occurred on January 1, the astronomical Julian day number zero
- 4241 BC: Eduard Meyer's (supposed, and long since rejected) date for the creation of the Egyptian calendar, based on his calculations of the Sothic cycle
- 4750 BC: Starting year for the Assyrian calendar, marking the traditional date of the foundation of Assur, around 2000 years before the actual date.
- October 22, 4004 BC: According to the Ussher chronology, created by James Ussher based on the Old Testament of the Bible, the universe is created by God at 6pm.
- 4300 BC: Theta Boötis became the nearest visible star to the celestial north pole; it remained the closest until 3942 BC when it was replaced by Thuban
- 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.
- Roberts, J: History of the World. Penguin, 1994
- De Roevers, p.162-163
- Anthony, D.W. (2007). "Pontic-Caspian Mesolithic and Early Neolithic societies at the time of the Black Sea Flood: a small audience and small effects". In Yanko-Hombach, V.; Gilbert, A.A.; Panin, N.; Dolukhanov, P. M. The Black Sea Flood Question: changes in coastline, climate and human settlement. pp. 245–370. ISBN 978-9402404654. Anthony, David W. (2010). The horse, the wheel, and language : how Bronze-Age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691148182.
- Gronenborn, Detlef (2007). "Beyond the models: Neolithisation in Central Europe". Proceedings of the British Academy. 144: 73–98.
- Detlef Gronenborn, Beyond the models: Neolithisation in Central Europe, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 144 (2007), pp. 73-98 (87).
- Gifford-Gonzalez, Diane. (2017) "Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa." In The Oxford Handbook of Zooarchaeology, pp. 396-413.