Who We Are #5 — Europe’s Stone-Age Evolution
by Dr. William L. Pierce
Invasion of Europe by Mediterranean Race 9,000 years Ago
ROUGHLY 10,000 years ago the glaciers which had covered much of Europe for so long melted, and the 3,000,000-year-long geologic epoch known as the Pleistocene came to an end.
The Pleistocene had seen the first tools and weapons made by man’s prehuman ancestors; the firm establishment of the various racial divisions of these prehumans, as the different hominid stocks continued their divergence from common roots in the preceding Pliocene epoch; the expansion of the hominid habitat from the original subtropical savanna to include the earth’s northern temperate zone; the evolution of the various geographically separated hominid racial groups across the human threshold at various times; and the continued, slow, cultural-biological-social evolution of European man until the Upper Paleolithic period, beginning roughly 40,000 years ago, when he acquired the physical and psychical traits which made him virtually indistinguishable from his present-day descendants.
During the Upper Paleolithic period (i.e., the late Old Stone Age) Europeans were hunters of the herd animals which flourished on the frozen tundra covering much of Europe during that time. But when the glaciers melted and the tundra thawed and forests sprang up across the face of Europe, our ancestors were forced to change their lifestyle.
The roving herds of reindeer, bison, mammoths, and other animals which were adapted to the tundra were not able to survive in the dense, northern forests. One dramatic example of a tundra-adapted animal was the Giant Irish Deer (Megaceros giganteus), which had an antler spread of up to 11 feet. With such massive antlers it simply could not move through heavily forested areas, and it became extinct.
Most of the herd animals succumbed to the loss of their food supply, which consisted of the small, scrubby, ground-hugging plants of the tundra. As the forests spread over the former tundra, the trees kept the life-sustaining sunlight from the forest floor, and the tundra vegetation could not grow.
This transition from tundra to forest took place quite rapidly, the glacier which covered northern Europe retreating at a rate of about 20 miles per century at the close of the Pleistocene. The resulting transition in European lifestyle and culture was also rather abrupt, and it signaled the beginning of the period known to archaeologists as the Mesolithic (i.e., The Middle Stone Age).
A much more profound revolution in lifestyle and culture came later, with the beginning of the Neolithic period (i.e., The New Stone Age). The Neolithic revolution involved the change from hunting, fishing, and gathering for sustenance to farming and animal domestication. The Mesolithic period was, in a sense, a transitional period between the herd-hunting lifestyle of the Upper Paleolithic and the farming lifestyle of the Neolithic, but it also saw some innovative and highly successful cultural-social developments of its own.
Unlike the sharp transition from Upper Paleolithic to Mesolithic, the transition to the Neolithic was more diffuse. It spread rather gradually throughout Europe over a period of more than 3,000 years, during which time the climate became suitable for farming, first in the south and then in the north.
Thus, the duration of the Mesolithic period varied for different areas of Europe. In northern Europe it lasted longest from the glacial retreat of 10,000 years ago to the replacement of the first post-glacial, cold-adapted, evergreen forests of the north by deciduous forests of oak and other temperate-zone trees about 6,000 years ago. In southeastern Europe it lasted as little as 2,000 years — even less in Greece.
As the warmer climate spread northward in Europe, carrying with it successive varieties of forest, new peoples and cultures also entered Europe from the south. The Mesolithic was, thus, a period of changing racial patterns in Europe as well as changing climate and lifestyles.
During the nearly 30,000-year duration of the Upper Paleolithic, the racial character of northern Europe, from Ireland to the Urals, was quite uniform, as was the lifestyle. But shortly after the advent of the Mesolithic, the uniformity was lost: a part of the Upper Paleolithic population followed the retreating ice northward and maintained a modified Upper Paleolithic lifestyle well into Mesolithic times; a part remained in the forests that sprang up on the thawed tundra and developed a distinctive, new, Mesolithic lifestyle; and a part began interacting almost immediately with the new peoples and cultures from the south, making the transition to a Neolithic lifestyle quite rapidly.
New Racial Patterns
New lifestyles inevitably lead, in time, to new racial characteristics, because of the strong interdependence of cultural and biological evolution. Thus, only the first group mentioned in the preceding paragraph retained a purely Upper Paleolithic racial character. In the south racial migrations and racial mixture began taking place. And even where there was no significant racial intermixture, there were biological changes, a notable example being the process of brachycephalization (increasing head breadth) which affected significant areas of Europe, beginning in Mesolithic times and continuing even into historic times, eventually producing the Alpine subrace of today.
That part of the Upper Paleolithic population which adapted itself to forest living when the tundra disappeared did so quite successfully. The most outstanding Mesolithic cultural pattern which developed in northern Europe has been given the name Maglemosian by the archaeologists, with a site in a Danish bog at Mullerup on the Baltic yielding artifacts considered typical. (The name itself comes from the Danish words magle mose, meaning “large bog.”)
When their herds of reindeer disappeared about 10,000 years ago, the pre-Maglemosians turned to fishing and forest hunting. For the former they became skilled boat builders, navigating all the rivers and coasts of northern Europe, They developed fishhooks, fishnets, and other paraphernalia for efficient fishing.
For the latter they greatly expanded the use of the bow, which they had invented just before the close of the Upper Paleolithic. In order to be able to make forest clearings for their villages and to utilize trees for structural purposes, they developed ground-stone axes, which were much more effective at felling trees than the flaked-stone axes of the Upper Paleolithic.
The Maglemosian forest-dwellers became solitary hunters, in contrast to their Upper Paleolithic forebears, who had hunted in bands. They domesticated the dog as an aid in hunting, and they invented skis and sleds for winter mobility. And they settled new areas, which had not been habitable earlier, such as Scotland.
Although most of the Maglemosian sites which have been excavated are in northwestern Europe, centering around Denmark, the Maglemosian culture spread among the racially similar people who lived in the vast forest covering the entire northern Eurasian plain. A Maglemosian site has recently been dug up by Russian archaeologists as far east as Perm, in the western foothills of the Urals.
An outgrowth of the Maglemosian culture is named after another Danish site, Ertebolle, which lay on the north coast of the Danish peninsula in late Mesolithic times. The Ertebolle people were primarily fishermen, and they developed the first real pottery in their part of Europe.
To the south, in the region of the French Pyrenees, the descendants of the Upper Paleolithic people who had developed the Magdalenian culture modified their tools and weapons in the Mesolithic period to produce what is known to archaeologists as the Azilian culture (after the cave at Mas d’Azil, France, where typical artifacts have been found). The Azilian culture is not particularly exciting in most respects, but a few of the Azilian artifacts are enigmatic, indeed.
From the cave at Mas d’Azil and from a few nearby sites archaeologists have recovered pebbles painted with symbols which are strongly suggestive of alphabetic characters believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean area some 5,000 years later. The conventional archaeological reaction to the Azilian “alphabet stones” has been to dismiss them as a fluke, the symbols on them being mere random daubings, without linguistic significance, which by chance happen to resemble later Phoenician, Cretan, and Greek alphabetic characters.
The rational basis for this reaction is that the Azilian symbols seem to stand by themselves; no earlier symbols have been found from which the Azilian ones were obviously derived. In the eastern Mediterranean and in Mesopotamia, on the other hand, archaeologists can trace the development of written language from pictographs (drawings resembling the object or action named) to more and more abstract symbols, culminating in a true alphabet in the eastern Mediterranean and in Sumerian cuneiform word-symbols in Mesopotamia.
But there is more than the rational involved in the conventional reaction to the Azilian symbols. A bias in favor of the Middle East as the “cradle of civilization” has been so strong for so long that it dies hard, even in the face of the rapidly mounting proof that many of the arts of civilization — although not cities themselves — had their origins in Europe rather than in the Middle East.
Part of this bias was originally religious in nature and stemmed from the veneration formerly attached to the Old Testament by Europeans. Jewish mythology, of course, locates the Garden of Eden, whence man and his culture supposedly spread over the earth, in the Middle East.
Also, the oldest cities quite clearly were in the Middle East — the ruins of Jericho, for example, date back some 9,000 years — and there was an understandable tendency to assume that a higher intellectual and cultural level existed in the teeming cities of the Middle East than in the scattered villages of Europe in the millennia following the close of the Ice Age. Thus arose the archaeological presumption, ex oriente lux (light from the east), which saw the Middle East as a brightly glowing center of cultural innovation, from which new inventions and ideas spread out like illuminating rays, eventually reaching even the most backward areas of Europe.
Whether the 9,000-year-old Azilian alphabet stones are meaningless daubings or man’s first writing can only be decided after a great deal more archaeological research into the Mesolithic period has been done. Uncovering Mesolithic artifacts in Europe is much more difficult than finding Neolithic artifacts in the Middle East, where population densities were 100 times greater. But what is already certain is that many cultural innovations which had formerly been attributed to the Middle East actually were European in origin.
There can be little doubt, however, that the Neolithic revolution began in the Middle East. At the time when the first cereal grains were being cultivated in the Middle East more than 10,000 years ago, the climate in Europe was wholly unsuitable for farming. By about 9,000 years ago, however, farming had spread to eastern Greece. By 8,000 years ago it had reached Italy and the Balkans.
And as the climate in Europe continued to change, farming moved northward. By about 6,000 years ago it had virtually blanketed Europe, reaching as far as northern Scotland, where evidence of 6,000-year-old cultivated grains was found earlier this year.
For some time, however, the new Neolithic and the older Mesolithic lifestyles existed side by side in Europe. The cultural uniformity that had existed during the Upper Paleolithic was not regained in Europe, in fact, until the Middle Ages. And, as already mentioned, with cultural changes came racial changes.
Until now we have traced the development of a single, rather homogeneous racial group: the Whites of the Upper Paleolithic period who hunted the herds on the northern Eurasian plain, and their forest-and-coast-dwelling descendants in the Mesolithic period. In the last installment we saw what they looked like: tall, ruggedly built, large-headed people with broad faces, large jaws, and craggy features. There were substantial secondary sexual differences between male and female adults.
But throughout the whole Upper Paleolithic period there was another subracial type on the southern and southeastern margins of Europe. Averaging about five inches shorter than the Upper Paleolithic Whites, with slenderer builds, smaller heads, narrower faces, and more delicate features, the male and female members of this southern subrace were quite similar in skeletal appearance. That is, they were a pedomorphic subrace, to use the ethnological term; the adults did not develop as strong a degree of sexual differentiation as did the Upper Paleolithic Whites. These were the ancestors of today’s small, dark, narrow faced, pedomorphic Mediterraneans.
Some 150,000 years ago, during the relatively mild Riss-Wuerm interglacial period, the ancestors of the Upper Paleolithic Whites first expanded from southern Europe into the northern Eurasian plain, as described in the third installment in this series. But some of their fellows remained behind, along both the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. Those who went north and became big-game hunters went through the Neanderthaloid phase and eventually evolved into the Cro-Magnon type of the Upper Paleolithic. Those who remained in the south evolved under different conditions, becoming the Mediterranean type.
There was never total isolation between the Upper Paleolithic people and the Mediterraneans. In North Africa and in the Middle East there are a few Ice Age fossils of the taller, more rugged Upper Paleolithic types as well as of the smaller Mediterraneans. And later, during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, groups of men from northern Europe evidently wandered as far south as Libya, because Egyptian artists (who were of the Mediterranean type) portrayed Libyans as blond, with Nordic features. Today, of course, these Libyan Nordics have disappeared without a trace into a dark sea of Mediterraneans and Mediterranean-Negro hybrids.
Mediterraneans, however, have predominated heavily in North Africa and the Middle East for at least the last 10,000 years. In the Middle East it was they who first turned from food gathering to food producing, thus introducing the Neolithic revolution. To be sure, other subracial types made their presence felt in the south during Neolithic times — the Sumerians, for example, differed in several subracial characteristics from their Mediterranean neighbors, and several members of the Egyptian royalty were blond, the first known instance being Queen Hetep-Heres II of the IVth Dynasty, daughter of Cheops, builder of the great pyramid — but it was much more the Mediterraneans who made their presence felt in the north.
Farming and animal husbandry is a vastly more efficient lifestyle than hunting and gathering, and it allows a given area to support a much larger population. The population density in the earliest Neolithic areas exploded by a factor of about a hundred, whereas Mesolithic Europe remained virtually empty in comparison.
Thus, when Neolithic Mediterranean farmers began moving north and west, they were able to initially swamp Europe’s sparsely settled Mesolithic hunters. Three principal streams of Mediterranean immigrants entered Europe: those who crossed from North Africa into the Iberian peninsula; those who settled Greece and Italy by sea; and those who moved northward around the eastern end of the Mediterranean, thence across the Bosporus into the Balkans, and finally along the Danube valley into central Europe.
The Mediterraneans brought their new lifestyle with them and their genes. Some of them, unfortunately, were contaminated with a Negroid strain, as evidenced by the prognathous character of some of the skulls from this period. The net result was that much of Europe became predominantly Mediterranean in subracial character early in Neolithic times.
As the hunting and fishing people of Europe began farming and breeding livestock themselves, they were able to greatly expand their numbers too, but the strong Mediterranean subracial element remained in all but the northernmost areas of Europe.
However, the Cro-Magnon types were reinforced by migrations in a few areas, rather than being swamped; not all the immigrants who moved north in Neolithic times were short, dark, and pedomorphic. In the next installment we will look at the megalith builders who traveled by sea up the Atlantic coast to Britain, western France, and Scandinavia; and at the Battle-ax People, who moved from the plains of southern Russia across central Europe to northern Germany and Scandinavia.
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Source: National Alliance