4505 entries. 93 themes. Last updated November 21, 2014.

Timeline Outline ViewEra: 2,500,000 BCE - 8,000 BCE   |   Theme: Archaeology

Theme

Circa 2,500,000 BCE – 500,000 BCE
Olduvai Gorge
The First Industrial Complex
Circa 1,800,000 BCE
Fossil skull of D2700. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Oldest Hominin Fossils Found Outside of Africa
Circa 1,650,000 BCE – 100,000 BCE
A flint biface, discovered in Saint-Acheul, France. (View Larger)
Acheulean or Mode 2 Industries
Circa 1,530,000 BCE – 1,510,000 BCE
Ancient footprints at Koobi Fora. Photograph by Brian Richmond. (View Larger)
The Earliest Preserved Footprints of Our Ancestors
Circa 1,500,000 BCE
Five bone tools excavated in Swartkrans, South Africa, once used by Parantrhopus robustus for foraging purposes. Photography by Jim Di Loreto and Don Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
Early Humans Make Bone Tools
Circa 1,500,000 BCE – 790,000 BCE
Scorched stone tools excavated in 2004 at Gesher Benot-Ya-aqov, in Israel, provide evidence for the existence of early hearths. Photograph by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
The Earliest Hearths
Circa 1,400,000 BCE
Carved flint.
The Earliest Flint Tool Found in Europe
Circa 1,200,000 BCE
The petite jaw suggests the oldest-found European was probably female.
The Earliest Human Remains from Western Europe
Circa 500,000 BCE
Example of nearly 500,000 year-old hafted spear tips from Kathu Pan 1. Photo by Jayne Wilkins. (Click on image to view larger.)
People Began Hunting with Stone-Tipped Spears 500,000 Years Ago
Circa 400,000 BCE – 350,000 BCE
A sample of geothite, or brown ochre. (View Larger)
The Earliest Use of Pigments
Circa 350,000 BCE – 325,000 BCEThe Earliest Synchronic Use of Bifacial and Levallois Technology Outside Africa Suggests that the Technology Evolved Independently in Multiple Locations Circa 132,000 BCE – 98,000 BCE
Photocredit: James Di Loreto, & Donald H. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
The Earliest Known Forms of Human Adornment
Circa 130,000 BCE
Stone tools found on Crete dating back over 130,000 years suggest that prehistoric civilizations took to the sea much earlier than previously thought. (view larger)
The Earliest Evidence of Sea Voyages
Circa 100,000 BCE
Ablone shell containing red ochre rich mixture. Image by Grethe Moell Pedersen. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Earliest Paint Workshop
Circa 75,000 BCE – 73,000 BCE
Early Attempt to Record Information or Early Art?
Circa 75,000 BCE
Sediments containing ancient mattresses at Sibudu Caves.  Photo by Lyn Wadley. (Click on image to view larger.)
At Sibudu Cave, the Oldest Known Early Bedding and Use of Medicinal Plants
Circa 68,000 BCE
Stone tools (segments) with adhesive from Sibudu Cave.  Segment with red ochre visible to the naked eye as well as microscopic views of red ochre and plant gum on the tool. (Click on image to view larger.)
From Sibudu Cave: the Earliest Known Creation and Use of Compound Adhesives, Suggesting Complex Cognition
Circa 59,000 BCEThe Earliest Sewing Needle, Made of Bone Circa 49,000 BCE – 43,000 BCE
A bone tool known as a lissoir, possibly used to prepare animal skins. Image courtesy of the Abri Peyrony and Pech de l'Azé I Projects. (Click on image to view larger.)
Neanderthals Made the First Specialized Bone Tools in Europe
Circa 39,000 BCE
Molar found in Denisova Cave of the Altay Mountains in Southern Siberia. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Denisova Hominin, a Third Kind of Human
Circa 38,000 BCE – 33,000 BCE
The Venus of Schelklingen.
The Earliest Known Examples of Figurative Art
38,000 BCE
The introduction of sturdy shoes led weaker toes.
The First Sturdy Shoes are Invented
Circa 37,000 BCE
Detail of the
The Oldest Cave Painting
35,000 BCE
Lembobo bone or tally stick. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Oldest Known Mathematical Artifact
Circa 33,000 BCE
A flute, found in the hills west of Ulm Germany, that is believed to be 35,000 years old.
The Earliest Musical Instruments
Circa 33,000 BCE
37mm long, 7.5 gram figurine, made from mammoth ivory is some 35,000 years old. It is one of the oldest pieces of art ever found.  Photo: Universität Tübingen. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Earliest Known Carving of a Mammoth
Circa 32,000 BCE – 30,000 BCE
Fighting rhinos and horses. Detail from one of the most important panels of Chauvet.  It contains twenty animals including rhinoceroses and horses. (Click on image to view larger.)
Probably the Earliest Extensive Collection of Paintings
Circa 32,000 BCE – 28,000 BCE
Wild flax fibers discovered in Dzudzuana Cave. (View Larger)
Making Materials from Flax Fibers
Circa 30,000 BCE
The 'Lion Man,' preserved in the Ulmer Museum in Ulm, Germany. (View a full-scale image.)
The Earliest Zoomorphic / Anthropomorphic Sculpture
Circa 30,000 BCE – 29,000 BCE
The
The Earliest Sculpture of a Horse
29,000 BCE – 25,000 BCE
The Venus of Dolní VÄ›stonice. (View Larger)
The Oldest Known Ceramic Figurine
Circa 28,000 BCE – 21,000 BCE
Photocredit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
Some of the Earliest Tools for Sewing Garments
25,000 BCE – 20,000 BCEThe Ishango Bone, Possibly One of the Oldest Calendars Circa 25,000 BCE
A modern replica of the Venus of Lespugue. (View Larger)
The Earliest Representation of Spun Thread
Circa 24,000 BCE – 22,000 BCE
The Venus of Willendorf. (View Larger)
The Venus of Willendorf
24,000 BCE
The oldest known portrait of a woman, sculpted from mammoth ivory during the last ice age around 26,000 years ago.  Photograph: Graeme Robertson for The Guardian. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Earliest Portrait
Circa 23,000 BCE
The Venus of Brassempouy. (View Larger)
One of the Earliest Known Realistic Representations of a Human Face
Circa 23,000 BCE – 12,000 BCE
Artist rendition of dwelling in Mezhirich, Poland, made of mammoth bones.  Source: Dolní VÄ›stonice Museum. (Click on image to view larger.)
Perhaps the Oldest Surviving Architecture
Circa 21,000 BCE – 16,000 BCE
Fish hooks made of shell found in the Jerimalai Cave in East Timor. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Oldest Fish Hooks and Evidence of Paleolithic Offshore Fishing
Circa 20,000 BCEDiscoveries in Brazil Could Predate the Arrival of the Clovis People in the Americas Circa 18,000 BCE
Two of the 20,000 year-old pottery fragments found in the Xianrendong Cave in China.  Photo by AFP/Science/AAAS. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Oldest Known Pottery
Circa 16,000 BCE
Photocredit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Pottery From Japan
Circa 15,300 BCE
Painting of a dun horse from Lascaux Cave. (Click on image to view larger.)
The "Sistine Chapel" of the Upper Paleolithic
Circa 13,500 BCE – 11,200Hunter-Gathers Were Living At Buttermilk Creek, Texas, as Early as 15,000 Years Ago Circa 12,800 BCE – 8,500 BCE
Winnemucca Lake petroglyphs. (Click on image to view larger.)
North America's Earliest Rock Art
Circa 12,000 BCE
'The Sorcerer' is one name for this cryptic painting found in the Trois Frères in France by Henri Breuil. Photocredit: Encyclopaedia Britannica(View Larger)
"The Sorcerer"
Circa 12,000 BCEMore than 5000 Flint Tools Are Found in Biggar, Scotland Circa 11,000 BCE
Flutings at Rouffignac.  Both children and adults created cave art known as finger flutings in the French caverns of Rouffignac roughly 13,000 years ago. Credit: Jessica Cooney / Leslie van Gelder. (Click on image to view larger.)
Pre-Historic Art Created by Children at the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths, Rouffignac
Circa 11,000 BCE
Ice age carving of two reindeer swimming.  It is carved from the tip of a mammoth tusk and shows a female reindeer swimming ahead of a male reindeer. (Click in image to view larger.)
The Swimming Reindeer
Circa 10,500 BCE
Spear thrower carved as a mammoth.  Source: The British Museum. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Mammoth Spear Thrower
10,000 BCE
Perhaps the Oldest Map in the World
Circa 9,500 BCE
The Göbekli Tepe, Turkist for 'Potbelly Hill,' is the oldest discovered structure for religious worship. (View Larger)
The Earliest Surviving Human-Made Place of Worship
Circa 9,300 BCE – 9,175 BCEFood Storage Preceded Plant Domestication in the Jordan Valley Circa 8,500 BCE – 7,200 BCEFort Rock Sandals: The Oldest Surviving Shoes Circa 8,000 BCE
In Mesopotamia Neolithic Tokens are Developed for "Concrete" Counting