10th millennium BC

The 10th millennium BC spanned the years 10,000 BC to 9,001 BC (c.12ka to c.11ka). It marks the beginning of the Mesolithic (northern and western Europe) and Epipaleolithic (Levant and Near East) periods, which together form the first part of the Holocene epoch that is generally reckoned to have begun c.9,700 BC (c.11.7ka) and is the current geological epoch. 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.

  • 100th century BC
  • 99th century BC
  • 98th century BC
  • 97th century BC
  • 96th century BC
  • 95th century BC
  • 94th century BC
  • 93rd century BC
  • 92nd century BC
  • 91st century BC

Holocene epoch

The main characteristic of the Holocene has been the worldwide abundance of Homo sapiens sapiens (mankind). The epoch began when the Last Ice Age (which started 80ka and is known variously as the Würm or Wisconsin glaciation) ended while Homo sapiens was still in the Palaeolithic (Old Stone) Age.[1] The Younger Dryas is believed to have been current in 10,000 BC and may have ceased c.9,700 BC, marking the cutover from Pleistocene to Holocene.[2] The Younger Dryas was a temporary reversal of the climatic warming that followed the end of the Last Ice Age and coincided with the end of the Upper Palaeolithic.[3]

In the Holocene's first millennium, the Palaeolithic was largely superseded by the Neolithic (New Stone) Age which lasted about 6,000 years, depending on location. The glaciers retreated as the world climate became warmer and that inspired an agricultural revolution,[4] though the dog was probably the only domesticated animal. This was accompanied by a social revolution in that man gained from agriculture the impetus to settle. Settlement is the key precursor to civilisation, which cannot be achieved by a nomadic lifestyle.[5]

The world population, c.10,000 BC, is believed to have been more or less stable. It has been estimated that there were some five million people at the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, growing to forty million by 5000 BC and 100 million by 1600 BC which is an average growth rate of 0.027% p.a. from the Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age.[6] Around 10,000 BC, most people lived in hunter-gatherer communities scattered across all continents except Antarctica and Zealandia. As the Würm/Wisconsin ended, settlement of northern regions was again possible.[6]

Beginnings of agriculture

Agriculture began to be developed in the Near East region called the Fertile Crescent, but it would not be widely practiced for another 2,000 years by which time Neolithic culture was becoming well established in some parts of the Near East.[7] Among the earliest cultivated plants were forms of millet and rice grown in the Middle East, possibly in this millennium but more likely after 9000 BC.[8] It is possible that the earliest sickle blades and grain grinding stones were used in Egypt during this millennium.[9] By about 9,500 BC, people in Asia Minor were harvesting wild grasses and grains.[10]

It is possible that the early cultivation of figs began in the Jordan River valley sometime after the middle of the 10th millennium.[11] There is evidence of buildings at Jericho between 9600 BC and 8200 BC.[12] Besides the fig trees, the people may have begun cultivation of wild plants such as barley and pistachio; and they possibly began herding goats, pigs and cattle.[10][13] The earliest evidence of sheep herding has been found in northern Iraq, dated before 9,000 BC.[10]

Agriculture developed in different parts of the world at different times.[8] In many places, people learned how to cultivate without outside help; elsewhere, as in western Europe, the skills were imported.[8]

Cultural developments

In North Africa, Saharan rock art engravings in what is known as the Bubalus or Large Wild Fauna period have been dated to between 10,000 BC and 7,000 BC.[14]

In North America, the Petroglyphs at Winnemucca Lake, in what is today northwest Nevada, were carved by this time, possibly as early as 12.8ka to as late as 10ka.[15]

Wall paintings found in Ethiopia and Eritrea depict human activity; some of the older paintings are thought to date back to around 10,000 BC.[16]

The Abu Madi tel mounds in the Sinai Peninsula have been dated c.9660 to c.9180 BC.[17]

The Star Carr site in North Yorkshire is believed to have been inhabited by Maglemosian peoples for about 800 years from c. 9335 BC – 9275 BC.[18]

Environmental changes

The Wisconsin glaciation had sheeted much of North America and, as it retreated, its meltwaters created an immense proglacial lake now known as Lake Agassiz.[19]

Chronological studies

The Holocene calendar, devised by Cesare Emiliani in 1993, places its epoch at 10,000 BC (with the year 2019 being rendered as 12019 HE).[20]

See also


  1. ^ Bronowski, pp. 59–60.
  2. ^ "Major Divisions". Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy. International Commission on Stratigraphy. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  3. ^ Carlson, A. E. (2013). "The Younger Dryas Climate Event" (PDF). Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. 3. Elsevier. pp. 126–34.
  4. ^ Bronowski, p. 60.
  5. ^ Bronowski, pp. 60–61.
  6. ^ a b Jean-Noël Biraben, "Essai sur l'évolution du nombre des hommes", Population 34-1 (1979), pp. 13-25.
  7. ^ Ann Gibbons (14 July 2016). "The world's first farmers were surprisingly diverse". Science. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Roberts, p. 22.
  9. ^ Midant-Reynes, Béatrix. The Prehistory of Egypt: From the First Egyptians to the First Kings. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  10. ^ a b c Roberts, p. 23.
  11. ^ Kislev et al. (2006a, b), Lev-Yadun et al. (2006)
  12. ^ Freedman, D. N.; Myers, Allen C.; Beck, Astrid B. (2000). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. William B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 689–691. ISBN 978-0-8028-2400-4.
  13. ^ Michael Balter (2 May 2011). "First Buildings May Have Been Community Centers". Science. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  14. ^ Visonà, Monica Blackmun (2008). A History of Art in Africa – Second Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education. pp. 22–24. ISBN 978-0-13-612872-4.
  15. ^ Ker Than (15 August 2013). "Oldest North American Rock Art May Be 14,800 Years Old". National Geographic. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  16. ^ Pankhurst, Richard (1998). The Ethiopians. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-631-18468-3.
  17. ^ Ian Kuijt (2000). Life in Neolithic farming communities: social organization, identity, and differentiation. Springer. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-306-46122-4.
  18. ^ Milner, Conneller & Taylor 2018, pp. 225–244.
  19. ^ Ojakangas, R. W.; Matsch, C. L. (1982). Minnesota's Geology. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 106–110. ISBN 978-0816609536.
  20. ^ Emiliani, Cesare (1993). "Correspondence – Calendar Reform". Nature. 366 (6457): 716. Bibcode:1993Natur.366..716E. doi:10.1038/366716b0. Setting the beginning of the human era at 10,000 BC would date […] the birth of Christ at [25 December] 10,000


9th millennium BC

The 9th millennium BC spanned the years 9,000 BC to 8,001 BC (c.11ka to c.10ka). It marks the beginning of the Neolithic period in the Near East, with evidence of agriculture in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Syria. The key characteristic of the Neolithic is agricultural settlement, albeit with wooden and stone tools and weapons still in use. Elsewhere, especially in Europe, the Palaeolithic continued until 6ka. 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.

Abu Madi

Abu Madi is a cluster of prehistoric, Neolithic tell mounds in Southern Sinai, Egypt. It is located east of Saint Catherine's Monastery at the bottom of a granite ridge. It was suggested to have been a seasonal encampment for groups of hunter gatherers and contained the remains of two major settlements; Abu Madi I and Abu Madi III. Abi Madi I is a small site with the remains of a partially buried 4 metres (13 ft) building containing deposits up to a depth of 1.3 metres (4.3 ft). Abu Madi III was an area of roughly 20 square metres (220 sq ft) that was excavated close to a large nearby boulder. Dwellings were found to have stone built silos next to them. It was first excavated in the early 1980s by Ofer Bar-Yosef.

Architecture of Mesopotamia

The architecture of Mesopotamia is ancient architecture of the region of the Tigris–Euphrates river system (also known as Mesopotamia), encompassing several distinct cultures and spanning a period from the 10th millennium BC, when the first permanent structures were built, to the 6th century BC. Among the Mesopotamian architectural accomplishments are the development of urban planning, the courtyard house, and ziggurats. No architectural profession existed in Mesopotamia; however, scribes drafted and managed construction for the government, nobility, or royalty.


Cyprus ( (listen); Greek: Κύπρος [ˈcipros]; Turkish: Kıbrıs [ˈkɯbɾɯs]), officially the Republic of Cyprus (Greek: Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, lit. Cypriot Republic; Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti, lit. Republic of Cyprus), is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.

The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, and Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. As a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878 (de jure until 1914).Cyprus was placed under the UK's administration based on the Cyprus Convention in 1878 and was formally annexed by the UK in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders and Turkey in the 1950s. Turkish leaders for a period advocated the annexation of Cyprus to Turkey as Cyprus was considered an "extension of Anatolia" by them; while, since the 19th century, the majority Greek Cypriot population and its Orthodox church had been pursuing union with Greece, which became a Greek national policy in the 1950s. Following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. The crisis of 1963–64 brought further intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which displaced more than 25,000 Turkish Cypriots into enclaves and brought the end of Turkish Cypriot representation in the republic. On 15 July 1974, a coup d'état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis, the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece. This action precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July, which led to the capture of the present-day territory of Northern Cyprus in the following month, after a ceasefire collapsed, and the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots. A separate Turkish Cypriot state in the north was established by unilateral declaration in 1983; the move was widely condemned by the international community, with Turkey alone recognizing the new state. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.

The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island, including its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, with the exception of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which remain under the UK's control according to the London and Zürich Agreements. However, the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic, located in the south and west, and comprising about 59% of the island's area; and the north, administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island's area. Another nearly 4% of the island's area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union.Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean. With an advanced, high-income economy and a very high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone.

Holocene calendar

The Holocene calendar, also known as the Holocene Era or Human Era (HE), is a year numbering system that adds exactly 10,000 years to the currently dominant (AD/BC or CE/BCE) numbering scheme, placing its first year near the beginning of the Holocene geological epoch and the Neolithic Revolution, when humans transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture and fixed settlements. The year 2019 in the Holocene calendar is 12019 HE. The HE scheme was first proposed by Cesare Emiliani in 1993 (11993 HE).


Iwajuku (岩宿遺跡, Iwajuku iseki) is an archaeological site in Midori, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. The site was excavated in 1949 by amateur archaeologist Aizawa Tadahiro, who confirmed the existence of two cultural strata, one of which contained small tools such as projectile points and blades made of obsidian and agate from the Japanese Paleolithic period. This overturned the prevalent theory that human habitation of the Japanese archipelago began with the Jōmon period, and indicated that humans had resided before the 10th millennium BC, or since the end of the last Ice Age.The site was designated a National Historic Site by the Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1979.

Japanese art

Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture, ink painting and calligraphy on silk and paper, ukiyo-e paintings and woodblock prints, ceramics, origami, and more recently manga which is modern Japanese cartoons and comics along with a myriad of other types. It has a long history, ranging from the beginnings of human habitation in Japan, sometime in the 10th millennium BC, to the present-day country.

Japan has been subject to sudden invasions of new ideas followed by long periods of minimal contact with the outside world. Over time the Japanese developed the ability to absorb, imitate, and finally assimilate those elements of foreign culture that complemented their aesthetic preferences. The earliest complex art in Japan was produced in the 7th and 8th centuries in connection with Buddhism. In the 9th century, as the Japanese began to turn away from China and develop indigenous forms of expression, the secular arts became increasingly important; until the late 15th century, both religious and secular arts flourished. After the Ōnin War (1467–1477), Japan entered a period of political, social, and economic disruption that lasted for over a century. In the state that emerged under the leadership of the Tokugawa shogunate, organized religion played a much less important role in people's lives, and the arts that survived were primarily secular.

Painting is the preferred artistic expression in Japan, practiced by amateurs and professionals alike. Until modern times, the Japanese wrote with a brush rather than a pen, and their familiarity with brush techniques has made them particularly sensitive to the values and aesthetics of painting. With the rise of popular culture in the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints became a major form and its techniques were fine tuned to produce colorful prints. The Japanese, in this period, found sculpture a much less sympathetic medium for artistic expression; most Japanese sculpture is associated with religion, and the medium's use declined with the lessening importance of traditional Buddhism.

Japanese ceramics are among the finest in the world and include the earliest known artifacts of their culture. In architecture, Japanese preferences for natural materials and an interaction of interior and exterior space are clearly expressed.

Khazir River

The Khazir River (Arabic: الخازر‎) is a river of northern Iraq, a tributary of the Great Zab river, joining its right bank.

Lake Agassiz

Lake Agassiz was a very large glacial lake in central North America. Fed by glacial meltwater at the end of the last glacial period, its area was larger than all of the modern Great Lakes combined though its mean depth was not as great as that of many major lakes today.

First postulated in 1823 by William H. Keating, it was named by Warren Upham in 1879 after Louis Agassiz, when Upham recognized that the lake was formed by glacial action.

Lithic stage

In the sequence of cultural stages first proposed for the archaeology of the Americas by Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips in 1958, the Lithic stage was the earliest period of human occupation in the Americas, as post-glacial hunters and collectors spread through the Americas.

The stage derived its name from the first appearance of Lithic flaked stone tools. The term Paleo-Indian is an alternative, generally indicating much the same period.

This stage was conceived of as embracing two major categories of stone technology: (1) unspecialized and largely unformulated core and flake industries, with percussion the dominant and perhaps only technique employed, and (2) industries exhibiting more advanced "blade" techniques of stoneworking, with specialized fluted or unfluted lanceolate points the most characteristic artifact types. Throughout South America, there are stone tool traditions of the lithic stage, such as the "fluted fishtail" that reflect localized adaptations to the diverse habitats of the continent.

The indications and timing of the end of the Lithic stage vary between regions. The use of textiles, fired pottery and start of the gradual replacement of hunter gatherer lifestyles with the use of agriculture and domesticated animals would all be factors. End dates vary, but are around 5,000 to 3,000 BC in many areas. The Archaic stage is the most widely used term for the succeeding stage, but in the periodization of pre-Columbian Peru the Cotton Pre-Ceramic may be used, as in the Norte Chico civilization cultivated cotton seems to have been very important in economic and power relations, from around 3,200 BC.

One of the leading figures is Alex Krieger who has documented hundreds of sites that have yielded crude, percussion-flaked tools. The most convincing evidence for a lithic stage is based upon data recovered from sites in South America where such crude tools have been found and dated to more than 20,000 years ago.In North America, the time encompasses the Paleo-Indian period that subsequently is divided into more specific time terms such as Early Lithic stage or Early Paleo-Indians and Middle Paleo-Indians or Middle Lithic stage. Examples include the Clovis culture and Folsom tradition groups.

The Lithic stage was followed by the Archaic stage.


Matera (Italian pronunciation: [maˈtɛːra], locally [maˈteːra] (listen); Materano: Matàrë [maˈtæːrə]) is a city in the province of Matera in the region of Basilicata, in Southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Matera and was the capital of the province of Basilicata from 1663 to 1806. The town lies in a small canyon carved out by the Gravina.

Known as la città sotterranea ("the underground city"), its historical centre "Sassi" contains ancient cave dwellings from the Paleolithic period (10th millennium BC). If continually inhabited as Leonardo A. Chisena has suggested it would be one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world; alternatively it has been suggested by Anne Parmly Toxey that the site has been "occupied continuously for at least three millennia and occupied sporadically for 150-700 millennia prior to this". Sassi, along with the park of the Rupestrian Churches, was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO since 1993.

On 17 October 2014, Matera was declared Italian host of European Capital of Culture for 2019 together with the Bulgarian town of Plovdiv.

Nevalı Çori

Nevalı Çori (Turkish: Nevali Çori) was an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates, in Şanlıurfa Province, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. The site is known for having some of the world's oldest known communal buildings and monumental sculpture. Together with the earlier site of Göbekli Tepe, it has revolutionised scientific understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic period. The oldest domesticated Einkorn wheat was found there.The settlement was located about 490 m above sea level, in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, on both banks of the Kantara stream, a tributary of the Euphrates.

Proto-Afroasiatic language

The Proto–Afroasiatic language, also known as simply PAA; is the reconstructed proto-language from which all modern Afroasiatic languages are descended. Though estimations vary widely, it is believed by scholars to have been spoken as a single language around 12,000 to 18,000 years ago. As Afroasiatic is the oldest established language family in the world, the reconstruction of Proto-Afroasiatic is problematic and remains largely lacking. Moreover, there is no consensus as to where the Afroasiatic Urheimat, the homeland of Proto-Afroasiatic speakers, was located.

Proto-Afroasiatic was believed to be a Nominative-Absolutive ("Marked nominative") language; due to most Afro-Asiatic languages evidently marking the Nominative case; while leaving the Object case to be unmarked (Absolutive). Its syntax possibly featured an exclusively default, strict word ordering of VSO. Although, latter Afro-Asiatic descended languages may have evolved areal or (variable) free word order. It is generally surmised that PAA was originally a VO language.

Reconstructed words for fauna and flora and evidence of linguistic contact with language families known to have been spoken in Eurasia suggest that its home was in the Middle East, probably the Levant. Some geneticists and archaeologists have argued for a back migration of proto-Afroasiatic speakers from Western Asia to Africa as early as the 10th millennium BC. They suggest the Natufian culture might have spoken a proto-Afroasian language just prior to its disintegration into sub-languages. The hypothesis is supported by the Afroasiatic terms for early livestock and crops in both Anatolia and Iran. Evidence of Cushitic being formerly spoken in the south of Arabia also speaks for a Middle Eastern origin, but some proposals also claim Northern Africa or the Horn of Africa.

Saharan rock art

Saharan rock art is a significant area of archaeological study focusing on artwork carved or painted on the natural rocks of the central Sahara desert. The rock art dates from numerous periods starting c. 12,000 years ago, and is significant because it shows the culture of ancient African societies.

The paintings and carvings of the Sahara are endangered, and vulnerable rock art on uncovered rock has already disappeared. Organizations such as the Trust for African Rock Art are researching and recording as much information about Saharan rock art as possible, while raising awareness of threats to the art itself.

Timeline of environmental history

The timeline lists events in the external environment that have influenced events in human history. This timeline is for use with the article on environmental determinism.

For the history of humanity's influence on the environment, and humanity's perspective on this influence, see timeline of the history of environmentalism.

See List of periods and events in climate history for a timeline list focused on climate.

Upper Paleolithic

The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic, Late Stone Age) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago (the beginning of the Holocene), according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity in early modern humans, until the advent of the Neolithic Revolution and agriculture.

Anatomically modern humans (i.e. Homo sapiens) are believed to have emerged out of Africa around 200,000 years ago, although these lifestyles changed very little from that of archaic humans of the Middle Paleolithic, until about 50,000 years ago, when there was a marked increase in the diversity of artefacts.

This period coincides with the expansion of modern humans from Africa throughout Asia and Eurasia, which contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals.

The Upper Paleolithic has the earliest known evidence of organized settlements, in the form of campsites, some with storage pits. Artistic work blossomed, with cave painting, petroglyphs, carvings and engravings on bone or ivory. The first evidence of human fishing is also found, from artefacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa. More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tool types. This probably contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicity.The peopling of Australia most likely took place before c. 60 ka. Europe was peopled after c. 45 ka.

Anatomically modern humans are known to have expanded northward into Siberia as far as the 58th parallel by about 45 ka (Ust'-Ishim man).

The Upper Paleolithic is divided by the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), during about 25 to 15 ka. The peopling of the Americas occurred during this time, with East and Central Asia populations reaching the Bering land bridge after about 35 ka, and expanding into the Americas by about 15 ka.

In Western Eurasia, the Paleolithic eases into the so-called Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic from the end of the LGM, beginning 15 ka. The Holocene glacial retreat begins 11.7 ka (10th millennium BC), falling well into the Old World Epipaleolithic, and marking the beginning of the earliest forms of farming in the Fertile Crescent.

Winnemucca Lake

Winnemucca Lake is a dry lake bed that features the oldest known petroglyphs in North America. It is in northwest Nevada and sits astride the border between Washoe and Pershing counties. Until the 1930s, it was a shallow lake, but was dried when a dam and a road were built that combined to restrict and block water flow. It was formerly designated as a National Wildlife Refuge, but its status as a refuge was removed due to the lack of water.

Winnemucca Lake is home to several petroglyphs long believed to be very old. In 2013, researchers dated the carvings to between 14,800 and 10,500 years ago. Either date would make them the oldest known petroglyphs found in North America. The carvings lie within the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation.

Younger Dryas

The Younger Dryas (c. 12,900 to c. 11,700 years BP) was a return to glacial conditions which temporarily reversed the gradual climatic warming after the Last Glacial Maximum started receding around 20,000 BP. It is named after an indicator genus, the alpine-tundra wildflower Dryas octopetala, as its leaves are occasionally abundant in the Late Glacial, often minerogenic-rich, like the lake sediments of Scandinavian lakes.

Physical evidence of a sharp decline in temperature over most of the Northern Hemisphere has been discovered by geological research. This temperature change occurred at the end of what the earth sciences refer to as the Pleistocene epoch and immediately before the current, warmer Holocene epoch. In archaeology, this time frame coincides with the final stages of the Upper Paleolithic in many areas.

The Younger Dryas was the most recent and longest of several interruptions to the gradual warming of the Earth's climate since the severe Last Glacial Maximum, c. 27,000 to 24,000 years BP. The change was relatively sudden, taking place in decades, and it resulted in a decline of 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) and advances of glaciers and drier conditions, over much of the temperate northern hemisphere. It is thought to have been caused by a decline in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which transports warm water from the Equator towards the North Pole, in turn thought to have been caused by an influx of fresh cold water from North America to the Atlantic.

The Younger Dryas was a period of climatic change, but the effects were complex and variable. In the Southern Hemisphere and some areas of the Northern Hemisphere, such as southeastern North America, there was a slight warming.


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