Scientific and Technological Events before 1500 B.C.E.

© Copyright Andy Pepperdine 2007 - 2009

Some of these entries need cross-checking against more citations. It needs better references for the archaeological finds.


Science events

Political events

ca 200,000 – 150,000

Mineral pigments have been found in a cave in Zambia at least as old as 200,000 years indicating that use of technology was already underway.

DNA extrapolation techniques indicate Homo sapiens appears in Africa. There are alternative theories from here. Here is a pictorial representation of the migration with slightly different dates.

ca 160,000

Oldest fossil evidence for Homo sapiens.

ca 90,000 – 60,000

Homo sapiens emerges from Africa. It is strongly disputed when this occurred. Some sources put the date as late as ca 60,000. Others as early as ca 90,000.

ca 90,000

Earliest traces of Man in Middle East at Skhul.

ca 60,000

Man arrives in South-east Asia.

ca 50,000

Man arrives in Europe.

ca 45,000

Flutes in Southern Germany.

Rock art in North Australia.

Hunting tribes move into central Asia, 45,000 to 40,000.

ca 35,000

Bone at Lebombo, South Africa, with 29 notches; thought to be a counter for the lunar cycle similar to those used by modern Bushmen.

ca 30,000

Cave paintings in southern Europe

ca 18,000

Boomerangs in Poland.

ca 16,000

Mammoth bone shelters on Russian steppes

ca 12,000

Pottery in Japan quickly followed by artistic embellishments of them

ca 9,000

Clovis flint arrow heads in North America

First known human construction for probably ritualistic purposes at Göbekli Tepe (subscription required) in Eastern Turkey.

ca 8,000

Agriculture in Middle East.

Millet grown in Northern China.

Jericho [6], Israel, a big city

ca 6,000

Copper smelting in Cyprus [2]

ca 5,500

Pottery in South America (Brazil)

ca 4,800

Painted pottery in China (Yangshao).

ca 4,300

Megalithic tombs in western Europe (Carrowmore)

ca 4,000

Lead compounds in use as pigments (Egypt)

Bronze (90%Cu+10%Sn) objects made (Thailand)

ca 3,800

Bronze artefacts in Middle East with CuAs alloy


Year 1 of Hebrew calendar (see Notes)

ca 3500

Cuneiform script invented

Egyptians use sails on boats on the Nile.

Pottery in West Africa (Ghana)


Year 0 of Mayan calendar (see Notes)


Year 1 of old Hindu calendar (see Notes)

ca 3100

Hieroglyphic script used

ca 3,000

Maize cultivated in central America.

Fishing off South American coast.

Milled grain in central Europe.

Camels domesticated in Middle East.

Yams and taro roots cultivated in New Guinea.

Abacus used in Middle East, Mediterranean and China.

Bronze from CuSn alloy.

Vase made of antimony known, and pigments from it.

Gold jewellery (Egypt)

Silver mined (Turkey)

Soya beans cultivated in China.

Plough used in China.

Cotton woven by Harrapans in Indus valley.

Migration from Taiwan to Philippines.

ca 2800

Stonehenge built

ca 2700

Tea in China


Djoser builds first pyramid in Egypt.


Year 1 of Chinese calendar (see Notes)

ca 2600

Trade links along Mediterranean.

ca 2500

Harappan writing system and well-planned cities.

Harappans domesticate chickens.

Skiing in Norway.

Acupuncture in China.

First known settlements in Greenland.

Overland trade routes in Europe.


Khufu builds Great Pyramid.

ca 2500

Arctic campsites in North America


Year 1 of Korean calendar (see Notes)


First record of a comet (China).

ca 2200

Waterworks to prevent flooding of Yellow River.

Traditional founder (Yu) of Xia dynasty in China.


Earliest known solar eclipse recorded (China).

ca 2000

Gold being mined (Egypt)

ca 2050

Bows and arrows from Nubia, Egypt.

ca 2000

Potatoes and quinoa cultivated in Andes.

Weaving, basket making and pottery in Americas.

Wheeled ploughs in Europe.

Shadoof invented in Egypt.

Breadfruit cultivated (Polynesia).

Minoans appear.

Epic of Gilgamesh composed in Mesopotamia.

Trade routes bring amber and tin to Etruscans from Northern Europe.

Steady colonisation of Pacific islands.


Hammurabi compiles first known set of laws.

ca 1700

Earliest known Chinese script.

Jade carving (China).

A cuneiform tablet "Plimpton 322" contains tantalising lists of numbers for some arithmetic use, showing base 60 notation, and use of fractions. [3] [4]

Thera erupts.

ca 1650

Ahmes wrote the Rhind papyrus containing tables for Egyptian fraction calculations.

ca 1600

Egyptian medical texts on Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus.

Egyptians use stars to tell time at night.

Minoans use Linear A alphabet.

Babylonians record astronomical events.

Elemental mercury known (Egypt). [5]

Mycenaeans appear.

Indo-European languages spread around Middle East and Europe.


By "Origin" of a calendar is meant the date of the first day of the first year in the calendar's epoch. All calendar data is taken from
Dershowitz, N., Reingold, E., Calendrical Calculations, 3rd edition, Cambridge, 2008. See also their website.


[2] [5] J. Emsley, Nature's Building Blocks – An A-Z guide to the elements, Oxford University Press, 2001

[3] R. Creighton Buck, Sherlock Holmes in Babylon, American Mathematical Monthly 87 (1980), p335-345

[4] Eleanor Robson, Words and Pictures: New Light on Plimpton 322., American Mathematical Monthly 109 (2002), p 105-120

[6] Gates, Charles (2003). "Near Eastern, Egyptian, and Aegean Cities", Ancient Cities: The Archaeology of Urban Life in the Ancient Near East and Egypt, Greece and Rome. Routledge

© Copyright Andy Pepperdine, 2007 - 2009

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