This is a calendar of major events or eras in the prehistoric world from 10 million BC until about 5000 BC.

Names for Eras

Pliocene Epoch

5,332,000 BC - 2,588,000 BC

Paleolithic Era

2,500,000 BC - 18,000 BC

Middle Paleolithic Era

200,000 BC - 40,000 BC

Neolithic Era

18,000 BC - 3500 BC

Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age)

10,000 BC - 5,500 BC

Appearance of primitive farming and the domestication of animals, but the absence of writing systems or the use of metal.

Recorded History

3500 BC - Present

Hominid Species active


4,000,000 BC - 1,000,000 BC

Homo habilis

2,500,000 BC - 1,500,000 BC

Discovered by Jonathan Leakey, November 4, 1960 AD

Homo erectus lives

1,800,000 BC - 30,000 BC

Neanderthal flourishes

200,000 BC - 30,000 BC

Active in Europe

Modern Humans (Homo sapiens)

200,000 BC - Present

Cro-Magnon (Homo sapiens) flourishes

40,000 BC - 8,000 BC

Named after the //type-site// in the village of Cro-Magnon in southwestern France.


Toumai skull from northern Chad

7,000,000 BC

Lake Turkana hominid footprints

3,600,000 BC

"Lucy" typical Australopithicus afarensis female

3,500,000 BC

Earliest Stone Tools

2,500,000 BC

Found in Ethiopia

Hominid Jaw from Ethiopia

2,330,000 BC

First Domesticated Dogs

26,000 BC

First domesticated cows

8000 BC

Tassili n'Ajer, Algeria cave paintings

6000 BC - 200 AD


Oldowan Era

2,600,000 BC - 1,700,000 BC

Earliest era of stone tools.

Acheulean Era

1,650,000 BC - 30,000 BC

The appearance of the controlled use of fire, and more advanced stone tools, including the hand axe.

Riss Ice Age

180,000 BC - 130,000 BC

Würm Ice Age

70,000 BC - 10,000 BC

Cave Paintings at Lascaux

35,000 BC

Cro-Magnon Man buries dead

35,000 BC

Most Recent Ice Age

35,000 BC - 10,000 BC

Lascaux caves in France

15,000 BC - 13,000 BC

probably the most famous cave paintings set in the world, the caves of Lascaux, France has more than 600 paintings.

"Otzi" the ice man

3,000 BC

Stonehenge built

2400 BC - 2200 BC

Stonehenge built in England

Asia & Oceania

Trinil, Indonesia (Homo erectus) site

700,000 BC

Lantian, China

700,000 BC

Homo erectus fossil site in central western China.

Liujiang, China (Homo erectus settlement

67,000 BC

Aboriginal settlement of Australia

40,000 BC - 1750 AD

Lake Mungo, Australia

38,000 BC

Kakadu cave paintings

25,000 BC

Malta, Russia (Homo sapiens) site

15,000 BC

Duiktai Cave, Russia

14,000 BC

First domesticated pigs

9000 BC

First domesticated goats

8000 BC


First domesticated chickens

6500 BC

More or less simultaneously in India and Viet Nam.

First domesticated horses

4000 BC

In the Eurasian steppes, northeast of the Black Sea.

River boats invented

3500 BC

Mediterranean & Middle East

Terra Amata, France

380,000 BC

shelters built of rock and sticks near the beach at Nice, France.

Neanderthal Bone Flutes

83,000 BC - 43,000 BC

Neanderthal Funeral @ Shanidar Cave

60,000 BC

Wheat domesticated

12,000 BC - 10,000 BC

First domesticated sheep

11,000 BC - 9,000 BC

Çatal Hüyük

7500 BC - 5700 BC

Early farming town in Turkey, where tools of volcanic obsidian were also produced.

First domesticated cats

7500 BC

Jarmo, Iraq

7050 BC - 4080 BC

one of the earliest known agricultural settlements, Jarmo is on the rainline where agriculture and hunter-gatherer lifestyles are presumed to have been equally successful.

Invention of the Wheel

3500 BC

Invention of the Plow

3500 BC

First Hieroglyphics in Egypt

2900 BC

First Pyramid Built at Sakkarah

2700 BC

First evidence of cheese

2300 BC

From the walls of Egyptian tombs

First alphabetic writing system

1600 BC

First Olympic Games

776 BC

Greeks first to theorize Antarctica

350 BC

Lemons domesticated

700 AD

North & South America

Monte Verde, Chile

33,000 BC - 12,000 BC

Pedra Furada, Brazil

30,000 BC - 12,000 BC

Meadowcroft Rock Shelter, Pennsylvania

12,000 BC

Homo sapiens site in eastern North America

Blackwater Draw, New Mexico

11,000 BC

Homo sapiens site in North America

Potatoes Domesticated in Peru

3000 BC - 2000 BC