7th millennium BC
|Preceded by the Pleistocene|
*Relative to year 2000 (b2k).†Relative to year 1950 (BP/Before "Present").
The 7th millennium BC spanned the years 7000 BC to 6001 BC (c. 9 ka to c. 8 ka). It is impossible to precisely date events that happened around the time of this millennium and all dates mentioned here are estimates mostly based on geological and anthropological analysis. Towards the end of this millennium, the islands of Great Britain and Ireland were severed from continental Europe by rising sea water.
Neolithic culture and technology was established in the Near East by 7000 BC and there is increasing evidence through the millennium of its spread or introduction to Europe and the Far East. In most of the world, however, including north and western Europe, people still lived in scattered Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer communities. The world population is believed to have been stable and slowly increasing. It has been estimated that there were perhaps ten million people worldwide at the end of this millennium, growing to forty million by 5000 BC and 100 million by 1600 BC, an average growth rate of 0.027% p.a. from the beginning of the Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age.
Neolithic culture and technology reached modern Turkey and Greece c. 7000 BC; and Crete about the same time. The innovations, including the introduction of farming, spread from the Middle East through Turkey and Egypt. There is evidence of domesticated sheep or goats, pigs and cattle together with grains of cultivated bread wheat. The domestication of pigs in eastern Europe is believed to have begun c. 6800 BC. The pigs may have been descended from European wild boar or more probably were introduced by farmers migrating from the Middle East. There is evidence, c. 6200 BC, of farmers from the Middle East reaching the Danube and moving into Romania and Serbia. Farming gradually spread westward and northward over the next four millennia, finally reaching Great Britain and Scandinavia c. 3000 BC to complete the transition of Europe from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic.
By the end of this millennium, Tell es-Sultan (Jericho) had become a large agricultural settlement with some eight to ten acres within its walls. Kathleen Kenyon reckoned that it was home to about three thousand people. Construction was done using stone implements to mould clay into breaks. The main crop was wheat.
Geologic and climatic change
In the geologic time scale, the "Northgrippian" succeeded the "Greenlandian" c. 6236 BC (to c. 2250 BC). The starting point for the Northgrippian is the so-called 8.2 kiloyear event, which was an abrupt climate change lasting some four centuries in which there was a marked decrease in global temperatures, possibly caused by an influx of glacial meltwater into the North Atlantic Ocean.
Creation of Great Britain and Ireland
The influx is believed to be one factor in the creation of Great Britain and Ireland as islands separate from the European continent. After the Last Ice Age ended c. 9700 BC, increasing sea levels gradually inundated Doggerland, a land bridge which linked Great Britain to Denmark and the Netherlands. This process began the formation of the North Sea and the English Channel. Further west, another low-lying land area was being flooded to form the Irish Sea and create Ireland. Sometime in the second half of the 7th millennium, the Storegga Slides occurred off Norway to generate a huge tsunami which completely overwhelmed Doggerland and its Mesolithic community of an estimated 5,000 hunter-gatherers. By about 6100 BC, Great Britain had become an island.
- Jean-Noël Biraben, "Essai sur l'évolution du nombre des hommes", Population 34-1 (1979), pp. 13–25.
- Barry Cunliffe (2011). Europe Between the Oceans. Yale University Press. p. 94.
- "Ancient Pig DNA Study Sheds New Light on Colonization of Europe By Early Farmers". ScienceDaily. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
- "Isotopic data show farming arrived in Europe with migrants". EurekAlert!. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
- "Neolithic". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
- Carter, Robert A. and Philip, Graham Beyond the Ubaid: Transformation and Integration in the Late Prehistoric Societies of the Middle East (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization, Number 63) The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (2010) ISBN 978-1-885923-66-0 p. 2; "Radiometric data suggest that the whole Southern Mesopotamian Ubaid period, including Ubaid 0 and 5, is of immense duration, spanning nearly three millennia from about 6500 to 3800 B.C."
- Hall, Henry R. and Woolley, C. Leonard. 1927. Al-'Ubaid. Ur Excavations 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Bronowski, p. 70.
- "GSSP Table – All Periods". www.stratigraphy.org. International Commission on Stratigraphy. 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
- Alley, Richard B.; Ágústsdóttir, Anna Maria (2005). "The 8k event: cause and consequences of a major Holocene abrupt climate change". Quaternary Science Reviews. 24 (10–11): 1123–49. Bibcode:2005QSRv...24.1123A. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.12.004.
- Lane, Megan (15 February 2011). "The moment Great Britain became an island". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 5 November 2019.