4th millennium BC


The 4th millennium BC spanned the years 4000 BC to 3001 BC. Some of the major changes in human culture during this time included the beginning of the Bronze Age and the invention of writing, which played a major role in starting recorded history.

Monte d'Accoddi is an archaeological site in northern Sardinia, Italy, located in the territory of Sassari near Porto Torres. 4th millennium BC.

The city states of Sumer and the kingdom of Egypt were established and grew to prominence. Agriculture spread widely across Eurasia.

World population growth relaxed after the burst that came about from the Neolithic Revolution. World population was largely stable in this time at roughly 50 million with a slow overall growth rate at roughly 0.03% per year.


Sumerian priest-king from Uruk, Mesopotamia, circa 3300–3000 BC
Near East
Pharaoh Scorpion II on the Scorpion Macehead, c. 3200 BC
Bronze Age spread of Yamnaya steppe pastoralist ancestry into two subcontinents—Europe and South Asia—from c. 3300 to 1500 BC.
Central Asia
East Asia
  • Neolithic Chinese settlements. They produced silk and pottery (chiefly the Yangshao and the Longshan cultures), wore hemp clothing, and domesticated pigs and dogs.
  • 4000–2500 BC – Vietnamese Bronze Age culture. The Đồng Đậu Culture, produced many wealthy bronze objects.
Fertility figurine from Mehrgarh, Indus Valley, c. 3000 BC
Indian Subcontinent
Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa remains in the Paleolithic period, except for the earliest neolithization of the Sahel following the desiccation of the Sahara in c. 3500 BC. As the grasslands of the Sahara began drying after 3900 BC, herders spread into the Nile Valley and into eastern Africa (Eburan 5, Elmenteitan). The desiccation of the Sahara and the associated neolithisation of West Africa is also cited as a possible cause for the dispersal of the Niger-Congo linguistic phylum.


Based on studies by glaciologist Lonnie Thompson, professor at Ohio State University and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center, a number of indicators shows there was a global change in climate 5,200 years ago, probably due to a drop in solar energy output.

  • The Older Peron transgression was a period identified in 1961 happening between 6,000 and 4,600 years BP when sea levels were 3 to 5 metres higher than today.
  • Plants buried in the Quelccaya Ice Cap in the Peruvian Andes demonstrate the climate had shifted suddenly and severely to capture the plants and preserve them until now.
  • c. 3750 BC – The last North American mammoths, on Saint Paul Island, Alaska, go extinct.
  • Tree rings from Ireland and England show this was their driest period.
  • Ice core records showing the ratio of two oxygen isotopes retrieved from the ice fields atop Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro, a proxy for atmospheric temperature at the time snow fell.
  • Major changes in plant pollen uncovered from lakebed cores in South America.
  • Record lowest levels of methane retrieved from ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica.
  • End of the Neolithic Subpluvial, start of desertification of Sahara (35th century BC). North Africa shifts from a habitable region to a barren desert.
  • c. 3150 BC – a lesser Tollmann's hypothetical bolide event may have occurred.
  • 3051 BC – The oldest currently (2013) living non-clonal organism germinated in the present-day Grove of the Ancients, Inyo County, California.

Calendars and chronology

  • 4000 BCEpoch of the Masonic calendar's Anno Lucis era.
  • 3929 BC – Creation according to John Lightfoot based on the Old Testament of the Bible, and often associated with the Ussher chronology.
  • 3761 BC – Since the Middle Ages (12th century), the Hebrew calendar has been based on rabbinic calculations of the year of creation from the Hebrew Masoretic text of the bible. This calendar is used within Jewish communities for religious and other purposes. The calendar's epoch, corresponding to the calculated date of the world's creation, is equivalent to sunset on the Julian proleptic calendar date 6 October 3761 BC.
  • 3114 BC – One version of the Mayan calendar, known as the Mesoamerican Long Count, uses the epoch of 11 or 13 August 3114 BC. The Maya Long Count calendar was first used approximately 236 BC (see Mesoamerican Long Count calendar#Earliest Long Counts.
  • 3102 BC – According to calculations of Aryabhata (6th century), the Hindu Kali Yuga began at midnight on 18 February 3102 BC.
  • 3102 BCAryabhata dates the events of the Mahabharata to around 3102 BC. Other estimates range from the late 4th to the mid-2nd millennium BC.


This page was last updated at 2024-01-27 13:13 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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