Trisha Shetty (Editor)

5th millennium BC

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5th millennium BC

The 5th millennium BC saw the spread of agriculture from Western Asia throughout Southern and Central Europe.


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. World population grew slightly throughout the millennium, possibly from 5 to 7 million people.

Fertile Crescent

  • Ubaid culture in Mesopotamia
  • Yumuktepe and Gözlükule cultures in south Anatolia
  • Egypt

  • Badari culture on the Nile (c. 4400 BC – 4000 BC)
  • Merimde culture on the Nile in Prehistoric Egypt (c. 4570 BC – 4250 BC)
  • China

  • Yangshao culture on the Yellow River
  • 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)
  • Europe

  • Cycladic culture—a distinctive Neolithic culture amalgamating Anatolian and mainland Greek elements arose in the western Aegean before 4000 BC
  • Varna culture in the Balkans 4400-4100 BC
  • Vinča culture in the Balkans (also endured in the 6th, 4th, and 3rd millennia)
  • Comb Ceramic culture in northeast Europe (also endured in the 6th, 4th)
  • Samara culture on the Volga
  • Sredny Stog culture on the Dnieper
  • Lengyel culture in Eastern Europe
  • Events

  • 5000–4500 BC: Għar Dalam phase of Neolithic farmers on Malta, possibly immigrant farmers from the Agrigento region of Sicily
  • 5000–4000 BC: Bowl, from Banpo, near Xi'an, Shaanxi, is made; Neolithic period; Yangshao culture; now kept at Banpo Museum
  • 5000–2000 BC: Neolithic period in China
  • 4900–4600 BC: Arrangements of circular ditches are built in Central Europe (the Goseck circle was constructed c. 4900 BC)
  • 4800 BC: Dimini culture replaces the Sesklo culture in Thessaly, Greece (4800–4000 BC)
  • c. 4500 BC: Settlement of Chirokitia in Cyprus dates from this period
  • c. 4500 BC: Ending of Neolithic IA (the Aceramic) in Cyprus
  • c. 4350 BC: Kikai Caldera in Japan forms in a massive VEI7 eruption
  • c. 4300 BC: First Funnelbeaker Culture in north and east Germany
  • 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
  • c. 4250–3750 BC: Menhir alignments at Menec, Carnac, France are made
  • 4200 BC: Date of Mesolithic examples of Naalebinding found in Denmark, marking spread of technology to Northern Europe (Bender 1990)
  • 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
  • Inventions, discoveries, introductions

  • Rice is domesticated in China (c. 5000 BC); later, it is introduced in the Ganges Valley and the rest of Asia
  • Farming reaches Atlantic coast of Europe from Ancient Near East (c. 5000 BC)
  • Maize is cultivated in Mexico (c. 5000 BC)
  • Proto-writing, such as ideographic Vinča symbols, Tartaria tablets (c. 5000 BC)
  • c. 5000 BC, Metallurgy during the Copper Age in Europe
  • c. 5000 BC, agriculture starts in Ancient Japan; beans and gourds are cultivated
  • Plough is introduced in Europe (c. 4500 BC)
  • Gold metallurgy introduced in nowadays Bulgaria Varna culture
  • Copper pins dating to 4000 BC found in Egypt
  • Water buffalo are domesticated in China
  • Beer brewing is developed
  • Wheel is developed in Mesopotamia and India
  • Environmental changes

  • 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
  • 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
  • Biblical chronology

  • 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 nightfall.
  • References

    5th millennium BC Wikipedia