A New Western Prehistory
GENERATIONS of American and European schoolchildren have been taught about the “cradle of civilization” in the Middle East, from which cultural innovations supposedly spread out to other lands, eventually illuminating even the darkest corners of barbarian Europe. (ILLUSTRATION: A map of Europe depicting the spread of megalithic structures across the continent)
The Egyptian pyramids are cited as examples of the first spark of creative engineering applied to the erection of massive stone architecture — a spark which cast a dim light northward and westward, leading to later engineering achievements in Europe.
Likewise, the ceramics and metallurgical skills of ancient Mesopotamia are held up as the models which were supposedly later copied by the benighted peoples of Europe.
Now, recent scientific work has invalidated the entire scheme of European prehistory based on the notion of ex oriente lux — light from the east. The exciting new findings, which have revolutionized the fields of archaeology and prehistory within the last year, are discussed in an article in the October 1971 issue of Scientific American.
In essence, the new development has been a painstaking recalibration of the timescale used for dating prehistoric sites. A careful comparison of dates established by tree-ring counts and the radioactive carbon-14 method has revealed that carbon-14 dates for European prehistoric sites are late by as much as 1,000 years.
When sites have been updated according to the new timescale, it has been discovered that a number of European cultural innovations which formerly were considered to have been derived from analogous developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East actually predate the earliest known examples of such developments in the so-called “cradle of civilization.”
Thus, we now find that the Bronze Age in Europe — specifically in the Danube basin — came before the corresponding metallurgical skills were known in the eastern Mediterranean.
And, according to Scientific American: “Now it is clear that megalithic chamber tombs were being built in Brittany earlier than 4000 B.C., a millennium before monumental funerary architecture first appears in the eastern Mediterranean and 1,500 years before the raising of the pyramids. The origins of these European burial customs and monuments have to be sought not in the Near East but in Europe itself.”
The implications of all this are truly earthshaking. Although the author in Scientific American is careful to deny any “racist” conclusions which might be drawn, he does admit: “The central moral is inescapable. In the past we have completely undervalued the originality and the creativity of the inhabitants of prehistoric Europe. It was a mistake, as we now can see, always to seek in the Near East an explanation for the changes taking place in Europe.”
One can go much further. Although Europeans, because of their completely different lifestyle and mental makeup, did not begin living in cities until long after other races to the east had urbanized themselves, the technological and cultural innovations which were prerequisites for city life were nevertheless developed by Europeans themselves, and not imported from extra-European sources — and, in many cases, they were developed by Europeans first, and then exported to the more “civilized” peoples.
So we come closer to a recognition of the truth expressed by a great student of mankind nearly 50 years ago. He wrote: “Everything we admire on this earth today — science and art, technology and inventions — is only the creative product of a few peoples and, perhaps, originally of one race. On them depends the existence of this whole culture. If they perish, the beauty of this earth will sink into the grave with them.”
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From Attack! No. 7, 1971
transcribed by Anthony Collins and edited by Vanessa Neubauer, from the book The Best of Attack! and National Vanguard, edited by Kevin Alfred Strom