Formation of our planet     Humans walk

The beginnings of civilization    Common Era    Bibliography

After the Big Bang (circa 18 billion years ago)

10-43 Seconds     1032 o Celsius

10-36-10-32 Sec   Rapid Inflation. The Four Fundamental Forces fully separate. The Universe is full of radiation. There are slightly more quarks than anti-quarks, and thus quarks begin to combine to form matter that we understand.

10-5 Seconds      Photons collide, their energy is converted into mass: protons, electrons and neutrons.

100–180 Sec      1 billion degrees (109). Protons and neutrons form H (Hydrogen) and He (Helium - positively charged, no electron, too hot). 10 H to one He then and still today. Space filled with electrons and atomic nuclei. Opaque to radiation. Packets of photons could not go far without colliding with electrons and immediately blocked.

300,000 Years    4000o – 3000o Celsius. Cool enough that most electrons have been captured by protons to form neutral atoms. Radiation no longer blocked. With no free electrons left to scatter photons of light, the universe became transparent to radiation. It is this light that we see today as the cosmic background radiation

1 Million Years    Nuclei and electrons were at low enough temperatures to coalesce to form other atoms.

1 Billion Years    Galaxies Form. Stars are born. Massive Stars build up heavy elements inside and explode as supernovae spewing them to form new stars.
After the Big Bang

Approximately a dozen billion years go by and then...

Years Before Present (BP)

4.56 Billion    OUR SOLAR SYSTEM FORMS, THE EARTH FORMS    4,560 Million Years Ago

4.56 bil - 545 mil   PRECAMBRIAN (ARCHAEAN AND PROTEROZOIC)  [4,560,000,000 - 545,000,000]

4,560-2,500 mil       ARCHAEAN  [4,560,000,000 - 2,500,000,000]

                                    MOLTEN EARTH PHASE  4,560 Million to 3,200 Million Years Ago

3,500 Million                Earliest evidence of life on planet Earth

                                    COOLING EARTH PHASE  3,200 Million to 1,900 Million Years Ago

2,500- 545 mil         PROTEROZOIC  [2,500,000,000 to 545,000,000]

                                    (Cooling Earth Phase continues until 1,900 Million)

                                    WATERY EARTH PHASE  1,900 Million to 600 Million Years Ago

                                    ICE HOUSE PHASE (1st)  600 Million to 500 Million Years Ago

                                    Multi-Cellular Animals Appear

545–495 mil            CAMBRIAN  [545,000,000 to 495,000,000]

                                    (Ice House Phase continues until 500 Million)

                                    Animals with shells and skeletons appear

495– 443 mil           ORDOVICIAN  [495,000,000 to 443,000,000]

                                    GREEN HOUSE PHASE

                                    Fish appear
                                    Oceans appear and disappear
At the end:                    Land Plants Appear


                                    SHORT ICE HOUSE PHASE (2nd)

443–417 mil            SILURIAN  [443,000,000 to 417,000,000]

                                    GREENHOUSE PHASE  443 Million to 370 Million

417–362 mil            DEVONIAN  [417,000,000 to 362,000,000]

                                    (Greenhouse Phase continues until 370 Million)

                                    Multipede arthropods appear on land
                                    Wingless insects
                                    Ancestors to amphibians and reptiles

                                    ICEHOUSE PHASE (3rd)  370 Million to 206 Million

                                    MASS EXTINCTION (2nd)

362–290 mil           CARBONIFEROUS  [362,000,000 to 290,000,000]

                                    (Icehouse Phase continues until 206 Million)

335 million                    Amphibians appear

325 million                    Flying insects appear

                                 Land Masses Collide and Form the PANGAEA

290–248 mil           PERMIAN  [290,000,000 to 248,000,000]

                                    (Icehouse Phase continues until 206 Million)

At the beginning            Sea Level 70 meters below current level

At the end                    MASS EXTINCTION (3rd)

248–206 mil           TRIASSIC  [248,000,000 to 206,000,000]

                                    (Icehouse phase continues until 206 Million)

                                    LIFE BLOOMS

230 million                    DINOSAURS APPEAR

                                    Mammals Appear
                                    Marine and Flying Reptiles Appear

At the end                    MASS EXTINCTION (4th)

206–144 mil           JURASSIC  [206,000,000 to 144,000,000]

                                    GREENHOUSE PHASE  206 Million to 34 Million

170 million                    PANGAEA Breaks up Creating Oceans and Seas

145 million                    Birds Appear

144–65 mil            CRETACEOUS  [144,000,000 to 65,000,000]

                                    (Greenhouse phase continues until 34 Million)

                                    Sea level rising – 250 meters higher than current level.
                                    Flowering plants appear

(5th) - end of the story for Dinosaurs

65–1.75 mil    TERTIARY  (PALAEOCENE, EOCENE, OLIGOCENE, MIOCENE AND PLIOCENE)  [65,000,000 to 1,750,000]

65–55.5 mil            PALAEOCENE  [65,000,000 to 55,500,000]

                                        (Greenhouse Phase continues until 34 Million)

55.5–34 mil             EOCENE  [55,500,000 to 34,000,000]

                                        (Greenhouse Phase continues until 34 Million)

                                        Marine Mammals

35 million                        Ice Forms at the South Pole

34–24 mil                OLIGOCENE  [34,000,000 to 24,000,000]

                                        CURRENT ICEHOUSE PHASE (4th)  34 Million to Present

24–5 mil                  MIOCENE [24,000,000 to 5,000,000]

                                       (Icehouse Phase continues until Present)

20 Million                    EARLY GREAT APES, the ancestors of humans

19 Million                        Dryopithecus in Africa. (Proconsul)

15 Million                        Dryopithecus in Africa and Europe

13 Million                        Ramapithecus in East Africa

10 Million                        Dryopithecus and Ramapithecus in Pakistan, India and Europe

Black Hole in the fossil record.

6 Million                        Evidence of Hominids

5-1.75 mil              PLIOCENE

                                    (Icehouse Phase continues until Present)

5,000,000                    Australopithicenes Walk Upright in East Africa. (Leakey and others think sooner.)

3,000,000                    Ice Forms on the North Pole

2,500,000             PALAEOLITHIC

                                    Beginning of Present Ice Age
                                        (?: See 800,000. In any case, an Ice Age within the greater Icehouse Phase which began the Oligocene 34 Million Years BP)

                                    First Tools – Hadar, Ethiopia and Olduvia Gorge, Tanzania

2,000,000                    Homo Habilis evolves

[somewhere in here the Oldowan gives way to the Acheulian industry: St. Acheul site in N. France]

1,800,000                    Homo Habilis fades from fossil record (?)
                                    Home erectus left Africa and enters Israel

1.75 mil-Present    QUATERNARY  [1,750,000 to Present]

                                    (Icehouse phase continues until Present)

1,500,000                    Homo Erectus evolves and brings about a major change in tools (and the use of)2 (?: See 1,800,000)

800,000                       Beginning of Ice Ages 2
                                    LINK TO: Ice Cap Behavior from 880,000.8
                                    Use of Fire 2 (Natural Science London has it at 500,000)
                                    Humans spread to Europe

500,000                       Homo heidelbergensis, the first 1st Britons, Interglacial period

250,000                       LEVALLOIS TECHNIQUE

200,000–30,000          Neanderthalensis in Europe and West Asia 8

120,000                       Modern humans evolve 8

100,000-40,000          Neanderthals: They buried dead, had first ceremonies, modern humans evolve in Africa. 8

70,000                        First Ceremonies (see 100,000)

45,000                        First Grave in Africa

50,000-40,000           Homo Sapiens evolve in Africa

40,000                        Earliest Art in S.A. 2

30,000                        Use of symbols 8

20,000                        Body proportions of the remains of humans in Europe look like they do today.

Before the Common Era (BCE or BC)

See Ancient Civilization Pages for information regarding the rise of civilization around this time.

10,000                        MESOLITHIC    Settlements in the Middle East.

                    End of Last Ice Age

                       Earliest Farming in Near East. Earliest use of copper in Near East

8,000                           NEOLITHIC    Depends greatly on the region. Neolithic economy is a synonym for the process of agriculture introduction and animal domestication. 8000 BC-3000 BC.

6,000               Earliest Pottery in Near East, Japan, later full metallurgy in Near East and S.E. Europe.

5,000               Jericho remains – oldest evidence of a village.

4,5000             First Sumerian settlements.

4,000               Earliest Wheel in Central and Northern Europe and the Near East.
                        Earliest Writing

3,500-3,000    Sumerian (Sumer and Akkad) cities and temple estates develop

3,000               Beginning of the Minoan Civilization. (Crete, Greece)
Earliest history of Israel from Egyptian sources

2,750-2,500    Written history begins in Sumeria.

2,100               Royal Palace at Knossos, Crete, Greece.

2,000               Earliest use of iron - widespread
           Achaen Invasion of Greece

2nd millennium    Oriental texts: A piru group may be the biblical Hebrews: wanderers from Mesopotamia thru Syria/Palestine to Egypt.

1,750               Sumerian people ceased to exist.

1400                Destruction of the Palace at Knossos, Crete

13th century:    Moses

1000                King David reign (1000-961)
                       Yin-Yang concept

961                 King Solomon reign (961-922)

950                 Iliad and Odyssey (may not have been written by the same person)

800                 Hesiod’s poems

776                Olympic Games

753                Rome’s Legendary Founding (Romolus and Remus)

701                Sennacherib attacks Judah

599                Nataputta Vardhamma born Vaisali (modern Bihar) (Jainism)

563                Siddhartha Gotama (563-483) born in Nepal. (Buddhism)

551                Confucius born (551-479)

5th cent          Ten Commandments compiled. (Exodus 19-20) Process of creation, similar to Akkadian epic. A 2nd cent account found in Genesis Ch. 7 is similar
                        to Gilgamesh. Utnapishtim’s Tale of the Flood.

480               Battle of Marathon

323               Death of Alexander the Great

210               Worship of Cybels in Rome

149               Destruction of Carthage

31                 Julius Ceasar (Augustus) reign (31 BC - 14 AD)

Common Era (CE or AD)

3 circa    Birth of Jesus (see Christianity)

13          Ara Pacis by Augustus

311        Edict of Milan

453        Saint Patrick in Ireland

476        End of Western Roman Empire

700-1300 The Middle Ages

987          The Kingdom of France commences with King Hugh Capet (reign c987-996)

1170        The first great European silver mines were opened

1192        Venice silver gross coins twelve times heavier

1350 The Renaissance begins in Florence

1337-1453 The traditional dates of The Hundred Years War

1500 Voyages of Geographical Discovery


1517        Martin Luther's 95 Theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg

1545        The Council of Trent first called in France.

1600 Baroque

Scientific Revolution

Breakdown of Scholasticism

1745 - 1790 Age of Enlightenment

Romantic Movement

1750-1850 Industrial Revolution

In England: construction of looms increases textile output, steam engine, limitless power for machines, coal fired boilers.

1820        Rise of Positivism

1850        Marxism

1859        Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species

1861-1865 American Civil War

1865        Classical Cultural Evolutionism

1895        Evolutionism vs. Diffusionism


It is estimated that 5 million years from now our Sun will burn into a Red Giant Star and vaporize Earth.



1.   The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Ian Shaw ed. 2000.
2.   The British Museum, London 2002.
3.   People of the Lake, Leakey – Lewin.
4.   Early Man, Paul Jordon, Sutton Packet.
5.   Ancient World to 300 AD, Alexander ed., University of Michigan.
6.   Roots of Western Religion.
7.   The Sumerians, Their History, Culture, and Character, Samuel Noah Kramer. U of Chicago, 1967.
8.   Natural Science Museum, London 2002.
9.   Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World.
10. Human Origins Richard E Leakey. 1982.
11. www.pbs.org 2002.
12. Natural Science Museum, London 2002.
13. Ancient World to 300 AD, Alexander ed., University of Michigan.
14. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions.
15. The European Philosophers From Descartes to Nietzsche, Ed. Monroe C. Beardsley. The Modern Library Edition 1992, New York. Copyright 1960, Random House.