- The cultivation of cereals appear to have started at least 12,000 years ago in the Levant (source), and perhaps earlier in Northeast Africa.
- Humans started building stone structures, including temples, at Göbekli Tepe in Anatolia about 11,000 years ago (source).
- The use of calendars dates from at least from 10,000 years ago in Scotland (source).
- The world’s first bricks were made in the Near East at least 9,500 years ago (source).
- Metallurgy may have started in the Balkans with copper working (c. 7,500 years ago, source), followed by gold (7,000 ybp), bronze (6,500 ybp) and silver (6,000 ybp).
- The oldest evidence of writing date from 7300 years ago in central Romania (source) and northern Greece (source).
- The world’s first cities appeared in southern Mesopotamia some 6,500 years ago (source).
- The first potter’s wheel appears in the Near East between 6,500 and 5,200 years ago, during the Ubaid period (source).
- The earliest evidence of horse domestication, and perhaps also horse riding, dates from 6,000 to 5,500 years ago in the Eurasian Steppe (source).
- The oldest trace of glassmaking comes from the Near East circa 5,500 years ago (source).
- Shoes only show up in the archeological record from 5,500 years ago in Armenia (source). Ötzi the Iceman, the oldest natural human mummy, who died in the Alps 5300 years ago also wore leather shoes.
- Humans started making swords and bronze weapons in the Maykop culture in the northwest Caucasus c. 5,500 to 5,000 years ago.
- The world’s oldest known wheel is approximately 5,200 years old and was found in Slovenia (source).
- The oldest known horse-drawn chariots date from the Sintashta and Petrovka cultures in the Eurasian Steppe, c. 4,000 years ago (source).
Haplogroup I is the oldest major haplogroup in Europe and in all probability the only one that originated there. Haplogroup I2a1 seems to have come out of the Neolithic period as the big winner for reasons that are not yet clear. Haplogroup I2a1 is by far the largest branch of I2 and the one most strongly linked to Neolithic cultures in south-east, south-west and north-west Europe. I2a1a-M26 was probably one of the main paternal lineages of the Megalithic cultures of western Europe during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. I2a1b is found overwhelmingly in the Dinaric Slavs as well as in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia, western Ukraine and Belarus. It is also common to a lower extent in Albania, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and south-western Russia. The high concentration of I2a1b-L621 in north-east Romania, Moldova and central Ukraine reminds of the maximum spread of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture (4800-3000 BCE). It evolved as an offshoot from the Starčevo–Kőrös–Criş culture. The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was the most advanced Neolithic culture in Europe before the Indo-European invasions in the Bronze Age and seems to have had intensive contacts with the Steppe culture before the expansion of Yamna to the Balkans and Central Europe (see histories of R1a and R1b). From 3500 BCE, at the onset of the Yamna period in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, the Cucuteni-Trypillian people started expanding east into the steppe of what is now western Ukraine, leaving their towns (the largest in the world at the time), and adopting an increasingly nomadic lifestyle like their Yamna neighbours. It can easily be imagined that Cucuteni-Trypillian people became assimilated by the Yamna neighbours and that they spread as a minority lineage alongside haplogroups R1a and R1b as they advanced toward the Baltic with the Corded Ware expansion.
I2a2 is found in most of Europe and seems to have had a continent-wide distribution before the arrival of Neolithic farmers. Remains from the Late Neolithic Sredny Stog culture (4500-3500 BCE) in Ukraine and of the Chalcolithic Globular Amphora culture (3400-2800 BCE) from Ukraine and Poland, were also tested by Mathieson et al. (2017). All six individuals from the Globular Amphora belonged to haplogroup I2a2. The Sredny Stog people carried a mix of I2a2, R1, R1a and R1b lineages. L701 was also found in Copper Age Bulgaria. Other I2a2a individuals was also found in Neolithic Scotland (L1195 and CTS10057), Neolithic Spain (CTS616 and Z161) and Neolithic Hungary (CTS10057). During the Early Bronze Age, I2a2a was found in southern Russia during the Yamna culture (L699), in Hungary (L1229), and in Germany (L38). This very ancient dispersal and its relatively low modern frequency makes it very difficult to assess what happened to each branch before the Late Bronze Age or the Iron Age.
Nowadays, I2a2 peaks in central and northern Germany (10-20%), the Benelux (10-15%) as well as in northern Sweden. It is also found in 3 to 10% of the inhabitants of Denmark, eastern England, and northern France. It is rarer in Norway, except in the south, where the Danish influence was the strongest historically.
I2a2b (formerly I2b2) could have appeared soon after the Last Glacial Maximum, perhaps 17,000 years ago. Most of its branches would have become extinct and only one survived with a patriarch living during the Bronze Age, probably in Germany. The oldest known L38 sample comes from the Unetice culture in central-east Germany 4,000 years ago. Four out of the six samples from the 3,000 year old Lichtenstein Cave in central Germany belonged to L38+ as well. The cave was part of the Bronze Age Urnfield Culture. Based on the STR dating, it is believed that this lineage spread from Germany to England via Belgium in the Late Iron Age with the Celtic people of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures. I2a2b is therefore essentially a Alpine Celtic haplogroup. The distribution of I2-L38 matches fairly well that of haplogroup R1b-U152 north of the Alps. Both haplogroups are also found at low frequency in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and central Turkey, probably reflecting the migration of La Tène Celts in the third century BCE (see map). R1b-U152 is associated with both the Central European Celts (Unetice, Urnfield, Hallstatt, La Tène) and the Italic people. In Italy, I2-L38 is limited to the Alpine region, mostly the north-west, where Gaulish tribes settled, and it is likely that I2-L38 was brought to Italy by Celtic migrations many centuries after the arrival of Italic tribes from the Alpine Danube region. I2-L38 people would therefore have been autochthonous to the region between the Alps, Central Germany and the Low Countries and were assimilated into the Celtic society during the Hallstatt or La Tène period.