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The Holocene ( ) is the current
geological epoch In geochronology, an epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age (geology), age but shorter than a period (geology), period. The current epoch is the Holocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period. Rock layers deposited du ...

geological epoch
. It began approximately 11,650 cal years
before present Before Present (BP) years is a time scale used mainly in archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural ...
, after the last glacial period, which concluded with the
Holocene glacial retreat The Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 cal years before present Before Present (BP) years is a time scale used mainly in archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of ...
. The Holocene and the preceding
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) ...
together form the
Quaternary The Quaternary ( ) is the current and most recent of the three period (geology), periods of the Cenozoic era (geology), Era in the geologic time scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). It follows the Neogene Period and spans ...
period. The Holocene has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1. It is considered by some to be an
interglacial An interglacial period (or alternatively interglacial, interglaciation) is a geological interval of warmer global average temperature lasting thousands of years that separates consecutive glacial period A glacial period (alternatively glacial or ...
period within the Pleistocene Epoch, called the
Flandrian interglacialThe Flandrian interglacial or stage is the name given by geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. G ...
.Oxford University Press – Why Geography Matters: More Than Ever (book) – "Holocene Humanity" section https://books.google.com/books?id=7P0_sWIcBNsC The Holocene corresponds with the rapid proliferation, growth and impacts of the
human species Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They are the only Extant taxon, ...
worldwide, including all of its written history,
technological revolution A technological revolution is a period in which one or more technologies is replaced by another, novel technology in a short amount of time. It is an era of accelerated technological progress characterized by new innovation 190px, 1,093_ ...
s, development of major
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional characteristics such as , the of plant and ani ...

civilization
s, and overall significant transition towards urban living in the present. The human impact on modern-era
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wit ...

Earth
and its
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syste ...

ecosystem
s may be considered of global significance for the future evolution of living species, including approximately synchronous
lithospheric A lithosphere ( grc, wikt:λίθος#Ancient Greek, λίθος [] for "rocky", and [] for "sphere") is the rigid, outermost shell of a terrestrial planet, terrestrial-type planet or natural satellite. On Earth, it is composed of the crust (geol ...
evidence, or more recently hydrospheric and
atmospheric An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet A planet is an astronomical body orbi ...

atmospheric
evidence of the human impact. In July 2018, the
International Union of Geological Sciences The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) is an international non-governmental organization A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an that is, generally, formed independent from . They are typically s, and many o ...
split the Holocene Epoch into three distinct subsections,
Greenlandian In the geologic time scale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth sciences ...
(11,700 years ago to 8,200 years ago),
Northgrippian In the geologic time scale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth sciences, ...
(8,200 years ago to 4,200 years ago) and
Meghalayan In the , the Meghalayan is the latest or uppermost of the . It is also the upper, or latest, of three subdivisions of the or . It was officially ratified by the in June 2018 along with the earlier and ages/stages. Its (GSSP) is a Krem ...
(4,200 years ago to the present), as proposed by
International Commission on Stratigraphy The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), sometimes referred to unofficially as the "International Stratigraphic Commission", is a daughter or major subcommittee grade scientific daughter organization that concerns itself with stratigra ...
. The boundary
stratotypeA stratotype or type section is a geological Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which i ...
of the Meghalayan is a
speleothem A speleothem (; from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 ...
in Mawmluh cave in India, and the global auxiliary stratotype is an
ice core An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet or a high mountain glacier. Since the ice forms from the incremental buildup of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice core contains ice form ...
from
Mount Logan Mount Logan () is the highest mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is lar ...

Mount Logan
in Canada.


Etymology

The word is formed from two
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient Greek was the language of an ...
words. ''Holos'' () is the Greek word for "whole". "Cene" comes from the Greek word ''kainos'' (), meaning "new". The concept is that this epoch is "entirely new". The suffix '-cene' is used for all the seven epochs of the
Cenozoic The Cenozoic ( ; ) is Earth's current geological era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy, a calendar era used for a given calendar, or the ge ...

Cenozoic
Era.


Overview

It is accepted by the
International Commission on Stratigraphy The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), sometimes referred to unofficially as the "International Stratigraphic Commission", is a daughter or major subcommittee grade scientific daughter organization that concerns itself with stratigra ...
that the Holocene started approximately 11,650 cal years BP. The Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy deprecates the term 'Recent' as an alternative to Holocene; it also observes that the term Flandrian, derived from
marine transgression A marine transgression is a geologic event during which sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an mean, average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which heights such as elevation may ...
sediments on the Flanders coast of Belgium, has been used as a synonym for Holocene by authors who consider the last 10,000 years should have the same stage-status as previous interglacial events and thus be included in the Pleistocene. The International Commission on Stratigraphy, however, considers the Holocene an epoch following the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) ...
and specifically the last glacial period. Local names for the last glacial period include the
Wisconsinan The Wisconsin Glacial Episode, also called the Wisconsin glaciation, was the most recent glacial period of the North American ice sheet complex. This advance included the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, which nucleated in the northern North American Cordill ...
in North America, the
Weichselian Weichselian glaciation), Vistulian glaciation, Weichsel or, less commonly, the Weichsel glaciation, Weichselian cold period (''Weichsel-Kaltzeit''), Weichselian glacial (''Weichsel-Glazial''), ''Weichselian Stage'' or, rarely, the Weichselian compl ...
in Europe, the Devensian in Britain, the Llanquihue in Chile and the Otiran in New Zealand. The Holocene can be subdivided into five time intervals, or
chronozone A chronozone or chron is a unit in chronostratigraphyChronostratigraphy is the branch of stratigraphy through Jurassic The Jurassic ( ) is a Geological period, geologic period and System (stratigraphy), stratigraphic system that spanned from the ...
s, based on climatic fluctuations: *
Preboreal The Preboreal is an informal stage of the Holocene epoch. It is preceded by the Late Pleistocene, Tarantian and succeeded by the Boreal (age), Boreal. It lasted from 10,300 to 9,000Before present, BP in radiocarbon years or 8350BC to 7050BC in Greg ...
(10 ka–9 ka BP), *
Boreal Boreal, meaning "(far) northern" in Latin and Greek language, Greek, may refer to: Climatology and geography *Boreal (age), the first climatic phase of the Blytt-Sernander sequence of northern Europe, during the Holocene epoch *Boreal climate, a c ...
(9 ka–8 ka BP), * Atlantic (8 ka–5 ka BP), * Subboreal (5 ka–2.5 ka BP) and * Subatlantic (2.5 ka BP–present). : ''Note: " ka BP" means "kilo-annum
Before Present Before Present (BP) years is a time scale used mainly in archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural ...
", i.e. 1,000 years before 1950 (non-calibrated C14 dates)'' Geologists working in different regions are studying sea levels, peat bogs and
ice core An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet or a high mountain glacier. Since the ice forms from the incremental buildup of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice core contains ice form ...
samples by a variety of methods, with a view toward further verifying and refining the Blytt–Sernander sequence. This is a classification of climatic periods initially defined by plant remains in
peat moss ''Sphagnum'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to ...
es. Though the method was once thought to be of little interest, based on 14C dating of peats that was inconsistent with the claimed chronozones, investigators have found a general correspondence across
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as cont ...

Eurasia
and
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
. The scheme was defined for
Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other geographic ...
, but the climate changes were claimed to occur more widely. The periods of the scheme include a few of the final pre-Holocene oscillations of the last glacial period and then classify climates of more recent
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...
.
Paleontologists Paleontology, also spelled palaeontology or palæontology (), is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximate ...
have not defined any
faunal stage In chronostratigraphyChronostratigraphy is the branch of stratigraphy that studies the ages of rock stratum, strata in relation to time. The ultimate aim of chronostratigraphy is to arrange the sequence of Deposition (geology), deposition and the ...
s for the Holocene. If subdivision is necessary, periods of human technological development, such as the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
,
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
, and
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
, are usually used. However, the time periods referenced by these terms vary with the emergence of those technologies in different parts of the world. According to some scholars, a third division, the
Anthropocene The Anthropocene ( ) is a proposed geological epoch In geochronology, an epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age (geology), age but shorter than a period (geology), period. The current epoch is the Holocene ...
, has now begun. This term is used to denote the present time interval in which many geologically significant conditions and processes have been profoundly altered by human activities. The ‘Anthropocene’ (a term coined by Paul J. Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000) is not a formally defined geological unit. The Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy of the
International Commission on Stratigraphy The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), sometimes referred to unofficially as the "International Stratigraphic Commission", is a daughter or major subcommittee grade scientific daughter organization that concerns itself with stratigra ...
has a working group to determine whether it should be. In May 2019, members of the working group voted in favour of recognizing the Anthropocene as formal chrono-stratigraphic unit, with stratigraphic signals around the mid-twentieth century C.E. as its base. The exact criteria have still to be decided upon, after which the recommendation also has to be approved by the working group's parent bodies (ultimately the International Union of Geological Sciences).


Geology

Continental motions due to
plate tectonics upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written L ...
are less than a kilometre over a span of only 10,000 years. However, ice melt caused world sea levels to rise about in the early part of the Holocene and another 30 m in the later part of the Holocene. In addition, many areas above about 40 degrees north latitude had been depressed by the weight of the Pleistocene glaciers and rose as much as due to post-glacial rebound over the late Pleistocene and Holocene, and are still rising today. The sea-level rise and temporary land depression allowed temporary marine incursions into areas that are now far from the sea. Holocene marine fossils are known, for example, from
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
and
Michigan Michigan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Michigan
. Other than higher-latitude temporary marine incursions associated with glacial depression, Holocene fossils are found primarily in lakebed,
floodplain A floodplain or flood plain or bottomlands is an area of land adjacent to a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows int ...
, and cave deposits. Holocene marine deposits along low-latitude coastlines are rare because the rise in sea levels during the period exceeds any likely
tectonic uplift Tectonic uplift is the geologic uplift An orogeny is an event that leads to both structural Deformation (physics), deformation and compositional differentiation of the Earth's lithosphere (Crust (geology), crust and uppermost Mantle (geology) ...
of non-glacial origin. Post-glacial rebound in the
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
region resulted in a decreasing
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
. The region continues to rise, still causing weak
earthquake An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known ...

earthquake
s across Northern Europe. The equivalent event in North America was the rebound of
Hudson Bay Hudson Bay ( iu, text=ᑲᖏᖅᓱᐊᓗᒃ ᐃᓗᐊ, translit=Kangiqsualuk ilua or iu, text=ᑕᓯᐅᔭᕐᔪᐊᖅ, translit=Tasiujarjuaq; french: baie d'Hudson), sometimes called Hudson's Bay (usually historically), is a large body of sal ...
, as it shrank from its larger, immediate post-glacial Tyrrell Sea phase, to near its present boundaries.


Climate

Compared to the preceding cold period (Glaciation), climate has been relatively stable over the Holocene.
Ice core An ice core is a core sample . A pied butcherbird The pied butcherbird (''Cracticus nigrogularis'') is a songbird native to Australia. Described by John Gould in 1837, it is a black and white bird long with a long hooked bill. Its head an ...
records show that before the Holocene there was global warming after the end of the last ice age and cooling periods, but climate changes became more regional at the start of the
Younger Dryas The Younger Dryas (around 12,900 to 11,700 years BP) was a return to glacial conditions after the Late Glacial Interstadial The Late Glacial Interstadial (LGI) c.14,670 to c.12,890 BP represents the first ''pronounced'' warming since the end of ...
. During the transition from the last glacial to the Holocene, the Huelmo–Mascardi Cold Reversal in the
Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (hemisphere Hemisphere may refer to: * A half of a sphere As half of the Earth * A hemispheres of Earth, hemisphere of Earth ** Northern Hemisphere ** Southern Hemisphere ** Eastern Hemisphere ** Western He ...

Southern Hemisphere
began before the Younger Dryas, and the maximum warmth flowed south to north from 11,000 to 7,000 years ago. It appears that this was influenced by the residual glacial ice remaining in the
Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remain ...

Northern Hemisphere
until the later date. The Holocene climatic optimum (HCO) was a period of warming in which the global climate became warmer. However, the warming was probably not uniform across the world. This period of warmth ended about 5,500 years ago with the descent into the
Neoglacial The neoglaciation ("renewed glaciation A glacial period (alternatively glacial or glaciation) is an interval of time (thousands of years) within an ice age that is marked by colder temperatures and glacier A glacier ( or ) is a persistent bod ...
and concomitant
Neopluvial Neopluvial is a term referring to a phase of wetter and colder climate that occurred during the late Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 cal years before present Before Present (BP) ye ...
. At that time, the climate was not unlike today's, but there was a slightly warmer period from the 10th–14th centuries known as the
Medieval Warm Period The Medieval Warm Period (MWP), also known as the Medieval Climate Optimum or the Medieval Climatic Anomaly, was a time of warm climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmos ...
. This was followed by the
Little Ice Age The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) also known as the Medieval Climate Optimum, or Medieval Climatic Anomaly was a time of warm climate Climate is the ...
, from the 13th or 14th century to the mid-19th century. The temporal and spatial extent of Holocene climate change is an area of considerable uncertainty, with
radiative forcing Radiative forcing is the change in energy flux in the atmosphere caused by Climate variability and change, natural or Human impact on the environment#Impacts on climate, anthropogenic factors of climate change as measured by watts / metre2. It is ...
recently proposed to be the origin of cycles identified in the North Atlantic region. Climate cyclicity through the Holocene ( Bond events) has been observed in or near marine settings and is strongly controlled by glacial input to the North Atlantic. Periodicities of ≈2500, ≈1500, and ≈1000 years are generally observed in the North Atlantic. At the same time spectral analyses of the continental record, which is remote from oceanic influence, reveal persistent periodicities of 1,000 and 500 years that may correspond to solar activity variations during the Holocene Epoch. A 1,500-year cycle corresponding to the North Atlantic oceanic circulation may have had widespread global distribution in the Late Holocene.


Ecological developments

Animal and plant life have not evolved much during the relatively short Holocene, but there have been major shifts in the distributions of plants and animals. A number of large animals including
mammoth A mammoth is any species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organ ...

mammoth
s and
mastodon A mastodon ( Greek: μαστός "breast" and ὀδούς, "tooth") is any proboscidean belonging to the extinct genus ''Mammut'' (family Mammutidae) that inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene The Miocene ( ) is the first ...

mastodon
s,
saber-toothed cat A saber-tooth (alternatively spelled sabre-tooth) is any member of various extinct groups of predatory Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "stud ...
s like ''
Smilodon ''Smilodon'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), cir ...

Smilodon
'' and ''
Homotherium ''Homotherium'' (also known as the scimitar-toothed cat or scimitar cat) is an extinct genus of machairodontinae, machairodontine saber-toothed cats, often termed scimitar-toothed cats, that inhabited North America, South America, Eurasia, and Afri ...

Homotherium
'', and
giant sloth Ground sloths are a diverse group of extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the endling, last individu ...
s disappeared in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene—especially in North America, where animals that survived elsewhere (including horses and camels) became extinct. This extinction of American
megafauna In terrestrial zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, evolutio ...

megafauna
has been blamed by some on the
Clovis Clovis may refer to: People * Clovis (given name), the early medieval (Frankish) form of the name Louis ** Clovis I (c. 466 – 511), the first king of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler ** Clovis II (c. 634 – c. 657), ...
people, who vanished at the same time, though climatic change or a bolide impact are favored by others. Throughout the world, ecosystems in cooler climates that were previously regional have been isolated in higher altitude ecological "islands". The '' 8.2-ka event'', an abrupt cold spell recorded as a negative excursion in the record lasting 400 years, is the most prominent climatic event occurring in the Holocene Epoch, and may have marked a resurgence of ice cover. It has been suggested that this event was caused by the final drainage of
Lake Agassiz Lake Agassiz was a very large glacial lake in central North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontine ...
, which had been confined by the glaciers, disrupting the
thermohaline 350px, A summary of the path of the thermohaline circulation. Blue paths represent deep-water currents, while red paths represent surface currents. Thermohaline circulation (THC) is a part of the large-scale ocean circulation An ocean curr ...
circulation of the . Subsequent research, however, suggested that the discharge was probably superimposed upon a longer episode of cooler climate lasting up to 600 years and observed that the extent of the area affected was unclear.


Human developments

The beginning of the Holocene corresponds with the beginning of the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
age in most of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
, but in regions such as the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
and
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
with a very early neolithisation,
Epipaleolithic In archaeology, the Epipalaeolithic or Epipaleolithic (sometimes Epi-paleolithic etc.) is a term for a period occurring between the Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the Late Stone Age The Later Stone ...
is preferred in place of Mesolithic. Cultures in this period include
Hamburgian The Hamburg culture or Hamburgian (15,500-13,100 BP) was a Late Upper Paleolithic culture of reindeer hunters in northwestern Europe during the last part of the Last glacial period#Weichselian glaciation, Scandinavia and northern Europe, Weichsel G ...
, Federmesser, and the
Natufian culture The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic (Levant), Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a Sedentism, sedentary or semi-sedentary pop ...
, during which the oldest inhabited places still existing on Earth were first settled, such as
Tell es-Sultan Tell es-Sultan ( ar, تل السلطان, ''lit.'' Sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a Royal and noble ranks, position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rul ...

Tell es-Sultan
(Jericho) in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
. There is also evolving archeological evidence of proto-religion at locations such as
Göbekli Tepe Göbekli Tepe (, "Potbelly Hill"; known as ''Girê Mirazan'' or ''Xirabreşkê'' in Kurdish languages, Kurdish) is a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Urfa, Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Anatolia Region, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. ...

Göbekli Tepe
, as long ago as the 9th millennium BCE. Both are followed by the aceramic Neolithic (
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
and
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that ...
) and the pottery
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
. The Late Holocene brought advancements such as the bow and arrow and saw new methods of warfare in North America. Spear throwers and their large points were replaced by the bow and arrow with its small narrow points beginning in Oregon and Washington. Villages built on defensive bluffs indicate increased warfare, leading to food gathering in communal groups for protection rather than individual hunting.


Gallery


See also

* 8.2-kiloyear event * 10th millennium BCE * Blytt–Sernander system * Holocene calendar * Holocene extinction * Neolithic Subpluvial * Older Peron * Outburst flood * Piora Oscillation * Quaternary extinction event


References


Further reading

* * *


External links


The Holocene epoch explained by the BBC




{{Authority control Holocene, Geological epochs Quaternary geochronology Interglacials Historical eras