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The 10th millennium BC spanned the years 10,000 through 9001 BC. 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.10,000 BC (about 12ka) 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.
The main characteristic of the Holocene has been the worldwide abundance of Homo sapiens sapiens (mankind). The epoch began when the Last Ice Age (i.e., the Würm aka Wisconsin glaciation, which started 80ka) ended while Homo sapiens was still in the Palaeolithic (Old Stone) Age. The Younger Dryas is believed to have been current in 10,000 BC and may have ceased c.9700 BC. It was a temporary reversal of the climatic warming that followed the end of the Last Ice Age, occurring when the Pleistocene epoch gave way to the Holocene epoch and coinciding with the end of the Upper Palaeolithic.
In the Holocene's first millennium, the Palaeolithic was largely superseded by the Neolithic (New Stone) Age which lasted about 6,000 years, depending on location.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, 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.
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. 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.
Beginnings of agriculture
Agriculture began to be developed in 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 the Near East. It is believed that 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. Agriculture developed in different parts of the world at different times. In many places, people learned how to cultivate without outside help; elsewhere, as in western Europe, the skills were imported.
- c. 10,000 BC: First cave drawings of the Mesolithic period are made, with war scenes and religious scenes.
- c. 10,000 BC: Bottle Gourd is domesticated and used as a carrying vessel.
- c. 9500 BC: There is evidence of harvesting, though not necessarily cultivation, of wild grasses in Asia Minor about this time.
- c. 9500 BC: First building phase of the temple complex at Göbekli Tepe.
- c. 9300 BC: Figs were apparently cultivated in the Jordan River valley.
- c. 9100 BC: Oldest known megaliths are created at the G��bekli Tepe temple complexes, some up to 20 tons
- c. 9000 BC: Neolithic culture began in Ancient Near East.
- c. 9000 BC: Near East: First stone structures at Jericho are built.
- Asia: Cave sites near the Caspian Sea are inhabited by humans.
- Africa: 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.
- Europe: Azilian (Painted Pebble Culture) people occupy northern Spain and Southern France.
- Europe: Magdalenian culture flourishes and creates cave paintings in France.
- Europe: Solutrean culture begins horse hunting.
- Egypt: Early sickle blades and grain grinding stones appear 
- Jordan: Wadi Faynan (WF16): large, oval-shaped building. Early farmers lived here between 9,600 and 8,200 BC, cultivating wild plants such as wild barley, pistachio, and fig trees, and hunting or herding wild goats, cattle, and gazelle.
- Kurdistan region in Iran: Zagros mountains near Kermanshah: very early agriculture (wheat, barley).
- Syria: Jerf el-Ahmar, occupied between 9200 and 8700 BC.
- Japan: The Jōmon people use pottery, fish, hunt and gather acorns, nuts and edible seeds. There are 10,000 known sites.
- Mesopotamia: People begin to collect wild wheat and barley probably to make malt then beer.
- Norway: First traces of population in Randaberg.
- Persia: The goat is domesticated.
- Sahara: Bubalus Period.
- Paleo-Indian hunter-gatherer societies live nomadically in the countryside
- Blackwater Draw forms in eastern New Mexico, evincing human activity
- Folsom people flourish throughout the Southwestern United States
- Settlement at the Tanu site in the Queen Charlotte Islands of modern-day British Columbia begins, starting the longest continual occupation in territory now belonging to Canada
- Petroglyphs at Winnemucca Lake in what is today northwest Nevada were carved by this time, possibly as early as 12.8 kya to as late as 8,500 BC
- Indigenous Australian peoples hunter-gather societies live nomadically in the countryside
- Arnhem land-bridge floods over and Northern Australia is separated from Papua New Guinea
- Aboriginal diet and land shift after great flooding, many Aboriginal people shift from land hunting such as the staple kangaroo and begin to fish on the new accessible coasts. Fish and turtles enter into indigenous art
- The multi-purpose boomerang disappears from use in Arnhem Land and northern indigenous communities
c. 10,000 BC:
- North America: Dire wolf, Smilodon, giant beaver, ground sloth, giant Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), woolly mammoth, mastodons, giant short-faced bear, American cheetah, scimitar cats (Homotherium), American camels, American horses, and American lions all become extinct
- Bering Sea: Bering land bridge from Siberia to North America covered in water
- Europe: Permanent ecological change. The savannah-dwelling reindeer, bison, and Paleolithic hunters withdraw to the sub-Arctic, leaving the rest to forest animals like deer, aurochs, and Mesolithic foragers (1967 McEvedy)
- World: Allerod oscillation brings transient improvement in climate; sea levels rise abruptly and massive inland flooding occurs due to glacier melt
c. 9700 BC: Lake Agassiz forms
- The Holocene calendar, devised by Cesare Emiliani in 1993, places its epoch at 10,000 BC (with the year 2018 being rendered as 12018 HE).
- Bronowski, pp. 59–60.
- Bronowski, p. 60.
- Bronowski, pp. 60–61.
- Jean-Noël Biraben, "Essai sur l'évolution du nombre des hommes", Population 34-1 (1979), pp. 13-25.
- Ann Gibbons (14 July 2016). "The world's first farmers were surprisingly diverse". Science. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Roberts, p. 22.
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- Michael Balter (2 May 2011). "First Buildings May Have Been Community Centers". Science. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- "Farming Got Hip In Iran Some 12,000 Years Ago, Ancient Seeds Reveal", NPR. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Ker Than (15 August 2013). "Oldest North American Rock Art May Be 14,800 Years Old". National Geographic. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
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