4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

Timeline Outline ViewEra: 2,800,000 BCE - 8,000 BCE   |   Theme: Technology / Engineering

Theme

Circa 2,500,000 BCE – 500,000 BCE
Olduvai Gorge
The First Industrial Complex
Circa 2,400,000 BCE – 1,400,000 BCE
Fragmented part of a lower mandible (which still holds thirteen teeth, as well as unerupted wisdom teeth). (Click on image to view larger.)
"Jonny's Child": Homo habilis
Circa 1,650,000 BCE – 100,000 BCE
A flint biface, discovered in Saint-Acheul, France.
Acheulean or Mode 2 Industries
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 950,000 BCE – 780,000 BCE
Ancient stone tools discovered at the Hapisburgh excavation site, East Anglia, England. Photocredit: Parfitt et al. Nature (View Larger)
Humans May Have Lived in Britain as Early as 950,000 Years Ago
Circa 500,000 BCE
Photocredit: James Di Loreto, & Donald H. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
Hunting Large Animals With Spears
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.)
Early Humans Hunt with Stone-Tipped Spears
Circa 500,000 BCEEarly Humans Process Elephant Carcasses for Food Circa 400,000 BCE – 350,000 BCE
A sample of geothite, or brown ochre. (View Larger)
The Earliest Use of Pigments
Circa 400,000 BCE
One of three spears found at Schöningen, Germany in 1995. Photocredit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
The Oldest Wooden Spears
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 164,000 BCE – 70,000 BCE
A silcrete nodule exhibiting the signs of experimental heat-treatment. Photocredit: Science/AAAS. (View Larger)
Early Humans Use Heat-Treated Stone for Tools
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 104,000 BCE
A projectile point, estimated to be over 104,000 years old, uncovered in Omo Kibish, Ethipia. Photocredit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
Tools for Capturing Fast or Dangerous Prey
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
88,000 BCE – 78,000 BCE
The Katanda Bone Harpoon Point. Photocredit: Smithsonian Institution.
Katanda Bone Harpoon Point
Circa 75,000 BCE
A silcrete stone tool from Blombos Cave in South Africa, finished with pressure flaking. (View Larger)
Tool Making by Pressure Flaking Discovered in Africa
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
38,000 BCE
The introduction of sturdy shoes led weaker toes.
The First Sturdy Shoes are Invented
Circa 32,000 BCE – 28,000 BCE
Wild flax fibers discovered in Dzudzuana Cave. (View Larger)
Making Materials from Flax Fibers
Circa 28,000 BCE – 21,000 BCE
Photocredit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution. (View Larger)
Some of the Earliest Tools for Sewing Garments
Circa 25,000 BCE
A modern replica of the Venus of Lespugue. (View Larger)
The Earliest Representation of Spun Thread
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 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 10,500 BCE
Spear thrower carved as a mammoth.  Source: The British Museum. (Click on image to view larger.)
The Mammoth Spear Thrower
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 9,000 BCE – 8,000 BCE
Emmer wheat, one of the first domesticated crops. (View Larger)
The Eight Founding Crops of Domesticated Agriculture