The 10th millennium BC marks the beginning of the Mesolithic and Epipaleolithic periods, which is the first part of the Holocene epoch. Agriculture, based on the cultivation of primitive forms of millet and rice, occurred in Southwest Asia. Although agriculture was being developed in the Fertile Crescent, it would not be widely practiced for another 2,000 years.
The world population was between one and ten million people, most of whom were hunter-gatherer communities scattered over all continents except Antarctica and Zealandia. The Würm glaciation ended, and the beginning interglacial, which endures to this day, allowed the re-settlement of northern regions.
- Asia: Cave sites near the Caspian Sea are inhabited by humans.
- Africa: Wall paintings found in Ethiopia and Eritrea depict human activity; some of the older paintings are thought to date back to around 10,000 BC.
- Europe: Azilian (Painted Pebble Culture) people occupy northern Spain and Southern France.
- Europe: Magdalenian culture flourishes and creates cave paintings in France.
- Europe: Solutrean culture begins horse hunting.
- Egypt: Early sickle blades and grain grinding stones appear 
- Jordan: Wadi Faynan (WF16): large, oval-shaped building. Early farmers lived here between 9,600 and 8,200 BC, cultivating wild plants such as wild barley, pistachio, and fig trees, and hunting or herding wild goats, cattle, and gazelle.
- Kurdistan region in Iran: Zagros mountains near Kermanshah: very early agriculture (wheat, barley).
- Syria: Jerf el-Ahmar, occupied between 9200 and 8700 BC.
- Japan: The J?mon people use pottery, fish, hunt and gather acorns, nuts and edible seeds. There are 10,000 known sites.
- Mesopotamia: People begin to collect wild wheat and barley probably to make malt then beer.
- Norway: First traces of population in Randaberg.
- Persia: The goat is domesticated.
- Sahara: Bubalus Period.
c. 10,000 BC:
- North America: Dire wolf, Smilodon, giant beaver, ground sloth, giant Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), woolly mammoth, mastodons, giant short-faced bear, American cheetah, scimitar cats (Homotherium), American camels, American horses, and American lions all become extinct
- Long Island becomes an island when waters break through on the western end to the interior lake
- Bering Sea: Bering land bridge from Siberia to North America covered in water
- Europe: Permanent ecological change. The savannah-dwelling reindeer, bison, and Paleolithic hunters withdraw to the sub-Arctic, leaving the rest to forest animals like deer, aurochs, and Mesolithic foragers (1967 McEvedy)
- World: Allerod oscillation brings transient improvement in climate; sea levels rise abruptly and massive inland flooding occurs due to glacier melt
c. 9700 BC: Lake Agassiz forms
c. 9700 BC: Younger Dryas cold period ends; Pleistocene ends and Holocene begins; Paleolithic ends and Mesolithic begins; Large amounts of previously glaciated land become habitable again
- ^ Roberts (1994)
- ^ Data from History Database of the Global Environment. K. Klein Goldewijk, A. Beusen and P. Janssen, "HYDE 3.1: Long-term dynamic modeling of global population and built-up area in a spatially explicit way" in the Abstract (With a total global population increase from 2 to 6145 million people over that time span [10,000BC to 2,000AD]), Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
- ^ Kislev et al. (2006a, b), Lev-Yadun et al. (2006)
- ^ Pankhurst, Richard (1998). The Ethiopians. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-631-18468-3.
- ^ Midant-Reynes, Béatrix. The Prehistory of Egypt: From the First Egyptians to the First Kings. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers
- ^ "First Buildings May Have Been Community Centers", Science, 2 May 2011.
- ^ "Farming Got Hip In Iran Some 12,000 Years Ago, Ancient Seeds Reveal", 5 July 2013
- ^ Ker Than (15 August 2013). "Oldest North American Rock Art May Be 14,800 Years Old". National Geographic. Retrieved 2013.
- Kislev, Mordechai E.; Hartmann, Anat & Bar-Yosef, Ofer (2006a): "Early Domesticated Fig in the Jordan Valley". Science 312(5778): 1372. doi:10.1126/science.1125910 PMID 16741119 (HTML abstract) Supporting Online Material
- Kislev, Mordechai E.; Hartmann, Anat & Bar-Yosef, Ofer (2006b): "Response to Comment on 'Early Domesticated Fig in the Jordan Valley'". Science 314(5806): 1683b. doi:10.1126/science.1133748 PDF fulltext
- Lev-Yadun, Simcha; Ne'eman, Gidi; Abbo, Shahal & Flaishman, Moshe A. (2006): "Comment on 'Early Domesticated Fig in the Jordan Valley'". Science 314(5806): 1683a. doi:10.1126/science.1132636 PDF fulltext
- Roberts, J. (1994): History of the World. Penguin.