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This volume comprises one of a series of publications on research in general anthropol- 
ogy published by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Incorpo- 
rated, a foundation created and endowed at the instance of Axel L. Wenner-Gren for 
scientific, educational, and charitable purposes. The reports, numbered consecutively as 
independent contributions, appear at irregular intervals. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 62-10631 

Copyright © 1962 by 

First published 1962 by 


64 East Van Buren Street 
Chicago S, Illinois 

Printed in the United States of America 




he contents of this volume result from a symposium held at the European 
headquarters of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Re- 
search at Burg Wartenstein, Austria, July 3-11, 1960. The separate papers 
were prepared by the participants before the symposium. Revision of the papers 
has since been accomplished by all the authors who were able to participate in 
the deliberations of the symposium. Unfortunately, Professors A. P. Okladnikov 
and Hasmukh D. Sankalia were not able to come to Burg Wartenstein; their 
papers stand as we received them, save for minor editing. 

The idea for the symposium grew out of our discussions concerning a seminar 
sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation in the Chicago Natural History 
Museum in 1958 (Gabel, 1960). We presented the idea in 1959 to Dr. Paul Fejos, 
President and Director of Research of the Foundation, with the general notion 
that it might take place during the summer of 1961 at Wartenstein. Dr. Fejos' 
response not only gratified us greatly, but also took our breaths away— he defi- 
nitely wanted the symposium, and he wanted it in the summer of 1960. Both of 
us were involved with field work during the 1959-60 academic year, Braidwood 
* in Iran and Willey in Guatemala. Had we had the extra year for more careful 

preparation and for detailed correspondence with the other participants, the 
symposium might have been somewhat different; but we are not— in retrospect- 
assured that it would have been any better. We might have made our prepara- 
tions too formal, and could thus have stifled the natural tendency for individual 
interests and discussions to flow in uncharted and often very useful directions. 
A further consequence of the rather short notice and long range (Kermanshah— 
New York-Guatemala City) correspondence involved in the planning was that 
many of the participants we invited had already made other commitments. Our 
desires were torn between keeping the size of the symposium to no more than 
twenty participants and getting as broad a geographic coverage and as diverse 
a representation of international scholarship as was possible. By the time some 
of our invitees had declined, it was too late to substitute obviously useful and 
^ desirable alternates. We now believe, again in retrospect, that our actual number 

e» of fifteen active-minded and interested participants was already the maximum for 

fluid and easy communication. We are, nevertheless, sorry not to have had the 
company and benefit of the knowledge of those colleagues who had other com- 
mitments, and we apologize to other obviously well-informed and interested col- 


leagues who were not invited because of the complications of short time and 

long-range planning. 

Because of the foregoing circumstances, what we achieved was in no sense a 
universal and world-wide consideration of the subject matter of our concern. 
We believe, however, that it was our very good fortune to have had such 
particular participants and area coverage as we did have. 

As it was originally announced, the subject matter of the symposium was pro- 
posed to be as follows: 


The symposium is to be concerned with tracing man's history from latest Pleistocene 
times up to the threshold of the urban civilizations. It is projected on a world-wide 
basis. It will deal, substantively, with those archeological evidences that reveal the 
varying degrees of intensification of food-collecting, the transitions from food-collecting 
to partial or to fully effective food production, and the eventual emergence of city 
life and civilization. The cultural consequences and accompaniments of these transi- 
tions are to be examined closely. Inquiry will be directed not only to those regions 
where urbanization was first to crystallize but to those more "peripheral" regions that 
may or may not have attained full urbanism. 

Attention will be given to environmental adaptations under differing conditions and 
to shifts in adaptations either before or following the appearance of food production. 
The relative roles of environmental factors and migration and/or diffusion in the 
conversion of hunter-collector cultures to those of food production will also be 
studied. Interest will center upon those qualities and quantities of cultural intensifica- 
tions immediately antecedent to the appearance of urban civilizations, analyzing rhe 
evidences for such things as settlement patterns, population sizes and groupings, long- 
range trade, incipient "priesthoods," "kingships," and the institution of warfare. In 
brief, we will be posing the questions: What can the prehistoric archeologist con- 
tribute to the understanding of why urban civilizations came about when and where 
they did? 

,As a working hypothesis we will use the delineations of an urban civilization given 
by Childe (1950) with Redfield's comments in The Primitive World and Its Trans- 
formations (1953). The goal of the symposium is not so much the definition of 
urban civilization as such— or a post facto analysis of its genesis via "historic" materials 
—as a consideration of the varieties of cultural build-ups leading to the thresholds of 
urban civilizations. 

Certainly not all our desiderata were achieved, but it was against this frame- 
work of problem that the background papers of the participants were prepared. 
These papers were circulated in advance among the participants and were not 
read as such during the sessions of the symposium. 

The symposium opened with three and one-half days of panel discussions based 
upon the background papers. Discussions ranged over possibilities of generaliza- 
tions about culture change in widely separated world areas. Environmentally 
similar culture areas were examined (e.g., semitropical areas, semiarid areas, Medi- 
terranean-type areas, continental plains areas, and temperate-arctic woodland 
areas), and developments within each of these were contrasted with the devel- 


opments of environmentally different areas. Similarly, "nuclear" and "marginal" 
area developments were explored for parallels and differences. A day of unpro- 
gramed discussions followed, during which five central questions were formulated: 

1. In the late glacial and in the early postglacial periods, what major cultural events 
characterize your area? By what archeological traces are these expressed? 

2. Defining incipient cultivation (and/or animal domestication) as a minor or supple- 
mentary basis of total subsistence, when and how do such conditions appear? 

3. At what point in the cultural sequence of your area do you feel that you can iden- 
tify effective food production (plant cultivation and/or animal domestication assum- 
ing a major subsistence role), and what are its artif actual expressions and social (di- 
recdy inferred) consequences? 

4. Does effective food production appear as part of an indigenous evolution or does it 
(as revealed archeologically) suggest outside influences? To what extent does the 
appearance of effective food production (either indigenous or imported) seem ex- 
plosive ("revolutionary")? 

5. Could you use the term "threshold of urbanization" in your area? If so, what would 
you mean, and what is the evidence for its development? 

The remaining four working days of the symposium were devoted to the 
reworking and redrafting of the background papers in the light of these "the- 
matic" questions. This was done, but in its course many informal talks on all 
aspects of the symposium subject were held. The final revisions of the papers 
contain, either implicitly or explicitly, the responses each individual participant 
believed that he could make to the five "thematic" questions, as he understands 
and interprets the available archeological evidence in his area (the Okladnikov 
and Sankalia papers, being the original background papers, did not receive this 
treatment; unfortunately also Klfma, Pittioni, and Schwabedissen had to leave 
Wartenstein before the informal discussions were completed). 

The shift in the wording of the last phrase of the original subtitle from "cul- 
tural alternatives" to "cultural alternates" was discussed by the participants. The 
change was made because our dictionaries suggested that the word "alternatives" 
might carry the implication of only two possible choices, and we are convinced 
that the possibilities of cultural choice were never so limited. 

We also considered how worthwhile it might be to construct a master map 
and chart to include here with the papers. The idea was rejected on the ground 
that it would give our efforts an implication of universality that we are only 
too conscious we must not claim. 

The arrangement of appearance of the papers in this volume follows the or- 
ganization of the first three and one-half days of the symposium itself; that is, 
the ordering runs essentially from tropical to boreal. We deny that any mystique 
lies behind this order. Our purpose has been only to choose an arrangement that 
gives precedent to neither hemisphere nor to any particular focus of nuclearity. 

Certain usage inconsistencies in style, spelling, and the capitalization of words 
inevitably arose. The editors have made such judgments as they saw fit in these 
matters and assume full responsibility therefor. For the translation of the Oklad- 


nikov paper into English, we are indebted to Paul Tolstoy; for those of Klima, 

Pittioni, and Schwabedissen to Wolfgang Weissleder and Linda Braidwood. 

One further observation about the symposium session itself is perhaps in order. 
Braidwood took the latter phrase of the original title, "to the Thresholds of 
Urban Civilizations," to mean only an approach to this threshold. Willey's con- 
viction was that the phenomena of the threshold itself should be discussed. Some 
of the other participants leaned toward Willey's interpretation, and some toward 
Braidwood's. This unevenness, of course, showed in the background papers, and 
it was tacitly agreed that considerations of the threshold itself should be, in 
the main, postponed for a further symposium. We give some thought to this 
curious divergence and a possible reason for it in our conclusions. 

It only remains for us— and here each of the active participants explicitly ex- 
pressed the desire to join us— to thank Dr. Fejos, his entire staff, and the Wenner- 
Gren Foundation for the hospitality and stimulation we received at Burg Warten- 
stein. Sight (or site [s/c]!) unseen, it was difficult for us to believe that Warten- 
stein could possibly be a place for serious scholarly activity, although we were 
quite prepared to believe that it might be an excellent place in which to dream. 
But for some reason that we cannot fully explain, we all felt happily impelled 
to industriousness and the communication and exchange of ideas. It will be diffi- 
cult for the reader to catch, from the printed page, the spirit and elan of the 
affair itself. Whether or not these pages appear to be anything more than simply 
the proceedings of just another symposium, we feel certain that the impact that 
this session had on that segment of international scholarship represented by the 
participants themselves has been the important thing. This may, we hope, leave 
its mark on the development of ideas in future culture-historical scholarship. For 
this, we are indebted to Burg Wartenstein. 


Childe, V. Gordon 

1950. "The Urban Revolution," Town Planning Rev., 21:3-17. 

Gabel, Creighton 

1960. "Seminar on Economic Types in Pre-Urban Cultures of Temperate Woodland, 
Arid, and Tropical Areas," Current Anthrop., 1:437—38. 

Redfield, Robert 

1953. The Primitive World and Its Transformations. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell Uni- 
versity Press. 


Africa South of the Sahara 1 

/. Desmond Clark, The Rhodes-Livingstone Museum {now University of California) 
The Intermediate Area, Amazonia, and the Caribbean Area 34 

Irving Rouse, Yale University 

India 60 

Hasmukh D. Sankalia, Deccan College, Poona 

Mesoamerica 84 

Gordo?! R. Willey, Harvard University 

The Greater American Southwest 106 

Emil W. Haury, University of Arizona 

Southwestern Asia beyond the Lands of the Mediterranean Littoral . . . 132 

Robert J. Braidwood and Bruce Howe, University of Chicago 

and Harvard, University 

Palestine— Syria— Cilicia 147 

Jean Perrot, Mission Archeologique Francaise en Israel 

The Central Andes 165 

Donald Collier, Chicago Natural History Museum 

China 177 

Kivang-chih Chang, Harvard University (now Yale University) 
The First Ground-Plan of an Upper Paleolithic Loess Settlement 

in Middle Europe and its Meaning 193 

Bohuslav Kl'ima, Ceskoslovenskd Academie Ved Archeologicky 
Ustav Pobocka Brno 

Southern Middle Europe and Southeastern Europe 211 

Richard Pittioni, Urgeschichtliches Institut der Universitat Wien 

The Lower Rhine Basin 227 

H. T. Waterbolk, Rijksuniversitet, 
Biologisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, Groningen 

Northern Continental Europe 254 

Hermann Schwabedissen, Institut fiir Ur.-u. Friihgeschichte der Universitat Koln 

The Temperate Zone of Continental Asia 267 

A. P. Okladnikov, Institute of Archeology, Leningrad 

Eastern North America 288 

Joseph R. Caldwell, Illinois State Museum 

Northern Europe 309 

Carl-Axel Moberg, Arkeologiska Museet Goteborg 

Conclusions and Afterthoughts 330 

Robert J. Braidwood and Gordon R. Willey, University of Chicago 
and Harvard University 

Index 363 






Any assessment of the rate and trend of the swing from food-collecting to 
/\ food-producing and so to incipient and then full urbanization must depend 
■*- jL. fundamentally on the establishment of a sound absolute chronology. There 
is as yet no such reliable chronology for sub-Saharan Africa. This must be stressed 
from the start. We have at the most only a handful of C 14 determinations— suggest- 
ing isolated dates— on which to construct our absolute chronology, and we have 
none of the other dating methods such as, in Europe and America, are derived 
from varved sediments, postglacial forest development, or dendrochronology. 
Neither have we had the benefit of such concentrated field work. Prehistorians 
in Africa are few and far between, and, in fact, it is estimated that there is some- 
thing less than one prehistorian to every 100,000 square miles of territory. Most 
of the field work has been exploratory rather than intensive; no complete settle- 
ment has been excavated, and many of the patterns are still, from the archeological 
evidence, mainly conjectural. 

Black Africa is, however, rich in ethnographic survivals in microenvironments 
that emphasize the very gradual and conservative nature of cultural progress in 
the subcontinent prior to the coming of Western civilization. It is both per- 
missible and illuminating, therefore, to make critical comparisons between later 
prehistoric cultural assemblages in similar environments and the way of life 
and material culture of existing, or recently existing, groups living at a similar 
cultural level. Not infrequently, also, physical anthropology shows that the 
same physical stock is associated. 

The location of sites in the higher rainfall areas is often difficult because of 
the thickness of the vegetation cover, which prevents, through lack of soil 
erosion, knowledge of what lies beneath the surface. The greatest number of 
sites, therefore, is known from the semiarid regions, where natural exposures 
have permitted a more complete understanding of cultural development. More- 
over, the general nature of the environment in sub-Saharan Africa is such that 
it has always influenced human activity toward mobility rather than long 
settlement in one place. Structures and dwellings were of the simplest and left 
few or no remains, while occupation sites, except those in caves or by the water- 
side, are usually shallow and show little indication of continuity of settlement. 


The tropical climate and the microfauna have, moreover, destroyed the organic 
remains in all but a few cases, so that only the more imperishable evidence from 
stone, bone, or clay remains. 

It is therefore small wonder that there are so many blanks and unknown areas 
on the prehistoric map of Black Africa. Indeed an immense field still awaits 
properly equipped research. But, bearing in mind these shortcomings, we can 
say, in all fairness, that a good start has been made, and quite extensive assem- 
blages have been collected in some regions. The approach, however, has almost 
invariably been the old taxonomic, typological one, so restrictive of wider inter- 
pretation, while the great bulk of the material is from the surface, and its 
homogeneity and position in the time scale are thus open to doubt— so much so 
that, for example, estimates for the duration of the later stone age in southern 
Africa have ranged from about 2,000 to 10,000 years. 

Except where contamination of the sample has obviously falsified the result, 
the few radiocarbon determinations now at our disposal are not inconsistent and 
agree reasonably well with the chronology as previously deduced from an inter- 
pretation of the stratigraphical and cultural evidence. A general pattern begins 
to emerge that, although it will need much amplification and amendment, shows 
that the later and post-Pleistocene cultural and economic levels of development 
are still largely determined, on the one hand, by environment and, on the other, 
by the diffusion of improved methods of food-getting from the north, beyond 
the Sahara. 

The Sahara Desert, with its eastern extensions, and the sudd area of the Nile 
valley form between them a fairly effective, but never complete, barrier to 
population movements between the regions to the north and south. In the past, 
at times of improved climate and more abundant or more evenly distributed 
rainfall, free movement of peoples and semipermanent settlement were possible 
in certain parts of the Sahara. These movements affected not only man but also 
both Ethiopian and palearctic fauna and flora, allowing them to mix. But, with 
the onset of desiccation, connections between north and south were disrupted 
and at the maximum ceased entirely (McBurney, 1960; pp. 70-87). It is believed, 
therefore, that these climatic oscillations played an important part in deciding 
the pattern of the later prehistoric cultures south of the desert. 

Thus at times the desert was unpopulated; at other times it acted as a filter 
through which cultural traits and economic products were able to pass in 
both directions. It sometimes also served as a common meeting ground for peoples 
moving into the Sahara when environmental conditions were more favorable 
than they are today. An understanding of developments in the desert in early 
post-Pleistocene times is essential, therefore, to an understanding of the sequence 
of events in the tropical regions. The general trend appears to have been for 
peoples to move down into the subcontinent, at least in historical or proto- 
historic times, though this does not exclude the fact that important movements 
have taken place in the opposite direction, especially during the warmer and 
wetter climate that followed the end of the Pleistocene in the Sahara. But most 


of the later and major cultural movements in sub-Saharan Africa seem to have 
had their origin in influences that penetrated the subcontinent from the north. 
Southern Africa may be described as a cul-de-sac, which was very receptive 
of new ideas— especially when these concerned improved and easier methods of 
food-getting— but had made no major contribution to human advancement after 
the end of the middle Pleistocene. The emphasis in this region thus seems to 
have been on the reception rather than on the dissemination of new cultural ideas. 


Sub-Saharan, or Black, Africa is a vast area of country with great variability 
in climate and environment. It is populated by many differing racial and cul- 
tural groups, living a life of equally varied economies, which have, in their turn, 
variously affected their natural surroundings. 

Africa is a very old land mass, and the greater part of it is uplifted some three 
to four thousand feet above the coast. This central plateau is usually gently 
undulating or monotonously flat, though it is relieved in places by mountain 
ridges of a residual nature or by great synclinal basins, such as Lake Victoria, 
the Congo, and the Kalahari. Down much of the center of the continent runs 
the Great Rift Valley, an ecological divide in the bottom of which are situated 
some of the deepest lakes in the world, flanked on either side by high mountain 
country and plateaus, which have formed natural highways for population 
movement. The coastal plains are mainly narrow and usually pass abruptly 
through rocky escarpment country up to the high mountain ridges that almost 
everywhere determine the edge of the plateau in the subcontinent. Such a 
topography prohibits navigation and renders the rivers largely useless as a 
means of access to the interior. 

Most of the rain is strictly seasonal and falls in the southeastern and north- 
western parts in a pattern that can be traced back into Pleistocene times and that 
is reflected in the predominant vegetation zones. These zones have played a 
major part in determining the zoological distributions and the main character- 
istics of their human populations, at least since the beginning of the upper Pleisto- 
cene. Paleobotanical (Bakker, 1960, and in press) and paleontological evidence 
indicates that, while they have fluctuated in extent, these vegetation zones are 
basically old, so that the over-all historical pattern is not one of complete re- 
placement of one form of vegetation by another in response to temperature 
and rainfall variability but rather one of advances and retreats between the 
different zones. 

By the closing stages of the upper Pleistocene the tectonics and volcanicity 
that had characterized middle Pleistocene and earlier times in eastern and central 
Africa were at an end, except for purely local movement, and the physio- 
graphic and vegetation patterns were in essence the same as those existing today 
—though the vegetation has, of course, been subject to variability in response 
to climatic fluctuation. 



\z&&€Z Tie? TVOA^ 

Figure 1. Simplified vegetative patterns and main 

indigenous plant crops of Africa. 

(After Schnell, 1951) 

There are five main vegetation types (Fig. 1) that have determined human 
cultural specialization (C.S.A., n.d.): 

1. Lowland, evergreen rain forest in the western half of our region between 
10° north and 10° south of the equator. This is dependent on a high and fairly 
evenly distributed rainfall and on fairly high temperatures. The rain forest is 
best seen in western Africa and the Congo basin, but eastward and southward it 
fingers out along the main river valleys in the form of gallery forest separated 
by open grasslands. 

2. Deciduous woodland savanna, which is very variable in thickness from grass 
to open forest and covers the greater part of the subcontinent to the north, 
south, and east of the rain forest at altitudes from sea level up to about 5,000 


feet. It is characterized by a long dry season and for the most part a semiarid 
type of rainfall with cool temperatures during the dry season, when surface 
water may be difficult to come by. 

3. Open grasslands in eastern and southeastern Africa and on either side of the 
Rift Valley are to be found alternating, in the higher parts, with stretches of 
evergreen montane forest. Such grasslands usually occur at altitudes of over 
5,000 feet; the two most extensive regions of this kind are the Abyssinian and 
east-African plateaus, which lend themselves to the cultivation of cereal crops. 

4. Semidesert and true desert occur in western and central Africa north of 
the savanna and form the southern border of the Sahara. Eastward, in the Horn, 
the Somalilands are covered by a semiarid sand and rock vegetation that has 
rendered this region favorable for pastoralists but not for agriculturalists. In 
the southwestern parts of the continent is found the Kalahari— not a true desert, 
since much of it is covered by thornbush, but with little permanent surface 
water. On the southwest coast itself, however, true desert conditions have 
existed since very early times. 

5. All the regions described above have summer rains, but in the extreme 
south the country between the coast and the Great Escarpment experiences 
winter rains that give the southwestern parts of Cape Province a Mediterranean 
type of climate. This region is considered to have formed an important "retreat 
area" for man when climatic change rendered the semiarid regions to the north 
too unattractive for permanent settlement. 

In the tropical savanna and forest human and animal disease has been a limiting 
factor to cultural development above the simple, mixed farming level, and the 
thick vegetation and inadequate methods of transport have generally been fur- 
ther hindrances to the growth of urban centers. 

Indigenous economies today are still dictated fairly closely by this pattern 
of environment. Thus the rain forest supports both sedentary peasant agri- 
culturalists and hunter-collectors; deserts and semideserts support hunter-col- 
lectors and pastoral peoples, either fully or seminomadic; in the savanna mainly 
shifting agriculturalists or mixed farmers are found; in the grasslands live mixed 
farmers— again in semipermanent settlements— or seminomadic pastoral peoples 
(Schnell, 1957; pp. 68-73). This pattern is already foreshadowed in later Pleisto- 
cene times in the economies of the hunting-collecting peoples (Fig. 2). 

In later prehistoric times two "nuclear areas" may be distinguished in sub- 
Sarahan Africa. The one is the Congo basin northward to Lake Chad; the other 
is the Abyssinian and east-African high plateaus. To the north both these 
regions were in contact with influences coming up the Nile. In each, cultural 
development followed different lines of specialization, and, from both, easy 
migration routes lead southward to the southern African plateau. However, 
southern Africa is so rich in natural food resources— in game and wild vegetable 
foods— that hunting and collecting have always formed a very important part of 
the economic life of the indigenous populations. Thus there was never complete 
dependence on stock-raising or agriculture, probably also because, in the one 


case, the prevalence of the tsetse fly and rinderpest disease and, in the other, 
the generally poor soils and uncertain rainfall, which usually restricted agri- 
cultural practices to the slash-and-burn level, rendered any overspecialization 
too uncertain or impracticable. It is important to appreciate this in order to 
understand why greater specialization and more intensive methods of farming 
did not evolve. 


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awrezjc r*num.oo*l '9-3-9 

K&3 +JUAJT/KJG / GOi.L.C<Z-r/JU<Z 


Figure 2. The distribution and chronology of early subsistence 
economies and urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa. 



About 15,000 B.C. the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall of the last 
maximum of the Gamblian pluvial were beginning to be superseded, and the 
resulting decline must have been reflected in a deterioration of the vegetation 
pattern as well as in the shrinking of water resources in some of the drier parts 
of the continent (Korn and Martin, 1957, p. 19; Wayland, 1954, pp. 30, 39; 
Clark, 1954, p. 149). The rainfall would probably have been about a third as 
much again as the present mean in and around 15,000 b.c. and probably a simi- 
lar amount less during the height of the dry period (Bond, 1957, pp. 50-54; 
Flint, 1959, p. 370), which seems to lie between about 10,000 and 8,000 b.c. 
(Clark, in press). 

Archeological knowledge of human economies at the end of the Pleistocene 
is based largely on the associated fauna and on the interpretation of the stone 
equipment, since perishable remains have so seldom been preserved. That the 
people of these times had leisure to develop their intellectual interests is apparent 
from the existence of an aesthetic sense, which is seen in the fine craftsmanship 
exhibited by many of the tools and by the use of ornaments. It is probable also 
that magicoreligious beliefs had become established, as evidenced, for example, 
in the existence of pigment for painting and in intentional burial. Moreover, it 
may be estimated that, in the grasslands and semiarid bush country, larger 
groupings became possible, if the great number and extent of the sites there is 
an acceptable indication in a continent where soil erosion is the archeologist's 
best friend (e.g., Summers and Cooke, 1960, p. 27 and Map 2). 

By the last Gamblian maximum (ca. 17,000-10,000 b.c.) it would seem that 
modern man had everywhere replaced the paleoanthropic forms and, with one 
exception, was practicing a form of evolved middle stone age culture, based on 
che prepared core and faceted flake and on pressure and controlled percussion 
flaking for the secondary work. These cultures were widely but locally special- 
ized, so that a number of "regional variants" are distinguishable, which take 
their pattern from the environment in which they develop. All these people 
were food-collectors, but there is evidence for believing that, in some cases, 
the collecting was of the intensified form that has been observed in other parts 
of the world (e.g., Magdalenian, Hamburgian). If the premise is sound that, 
the more particular and specialized the food resources of a group, the more 
specialized the material and technical products of their society, then the most 
specialized utilization of food resources in our area at this time is to be found, 
on the one hand, in the gallery forest of Equatoria and, on the other, in the 
open grasslands, where can be seen intensification of settlement around lakes 
and rivers and on the seacoasts in the temperate region of the south. 

Thus we find semipermanent settlement in caves and rock shelters and a 
greater concentration of open station sites in favored localities yielding a vari- 
ously specialized hunting and collecting equipment. 


In the arid country of the Horn the emphasis must have been on hunting, 
as indicated in trie Somaliland Stillbay (Clark, 1954, pp. 190-203) by the greater 
number of and greater specialization in projectile points and knives. In other 
respects, however, the desert cultures of these times— southwestern Africa or the 
Kalahari (Fock, 1959, p. 14; Clark, 1959#, p. 41), for example— are less special- 
ized and have few characteristics that distinguish them, unless it be the general 
absence of pounding or grinding equipment. 

In the savanna regions there is evidence of more continuous and more fre- 
quent occupation of cave sites and the accumulation of some depth of deposits 
belonging to these times. The food resources seem to have been more variable, 
since, besides specialization in projectile and cutting equipment, certain scraping, 
pounding, and grinding equipment occurs, which suggests that vegetable foods 
assumed some importance. Such, for example, are the cultural assemblages at 
Mumbwa (Clark, 1942, pp. 181-83) and Bambata (Armstrong, 1931, pp. 239-75; 
Jones, 1940, pp. 11-28) in Rhodesia, or Mwulu's Cave (Tobias, 1949, p. 8) in 
the northern Transvaal. 

In the grassland and open savanna cultures the emphasis seems to have been 
on hunting, and collective hunting at that. If one can judge from the, so to 
speak^ "repetitive" nature of the faunal remains, these groups must have relied 
for their meat exclusively on some two or three antelope species, zebra and 
pig (e.g., Twin Rivers, Northern Rhodesia [H. B. S. Cooke, n.d.]; Vlakkraal, 
O.F.S. [Wells, Cooke and Malan, 1942, pp. 214-32]; Kalkbank, Transvaal [Mason, 
Dart, and Kitching, 1958]). Although no fauna was present, the remarkable 
specialization in triangular bifacial points by the later middle stone age group 
that inhabited the Gorgora rock shelter, at the north end of Lake Tana in 
Abyssinia (L. S. B. Leakey, 1943, pp. 199-203) indicates that this specialized 
form was surely dictated by an equally specialized hunting technique. A similar 
interpretation is suggested by the faunal assemblages from the open sites on the 
south-African high veld and central-African savanna— for example, Vlaakkraal, 
Kuruman (Malan and Wells, 1943, pp. 263-70), Katontwe (Anciaux de Faveaux, 
1957, pp. 100-01), Twin Rivers, etc. 

In the forest and closed savanna, on the other hand, the quantity of wood- 
working tools suggests a possible emphasis on vegetable foods and perhaps trap- 
ping or on more personal hunting by individuals or small groups. Settlement 
seems to have been concentrated here not in the equatorial rain forest proper, 
but in the peripheral areas where gallery forest in the valleys alternated with 
grassland and savanna on the interfluves as in northeast Angola and the Bas- 
Congo. The restriction of the lowland forest at this time seems to have been 
due to the cooler temperatures of the later Pleistocene, which may have repre- 
sented a drop of as much as 5° C. and which permitted the evergreen montane 
forest to form continuous corridors and to move down some 1,000 feet or 
more lower than it is found today (Flint, 1959, p. 362). Thus the peoples re- 
sponsible for the Lupemban culture (note new terminology in Clark, 1959b, pp. 
155-58) of the Congo basin lived, on the one hand, from the forest, as evidenced 


by the great preponderance of chopping and pounding tools, and, on the 
other hand, from the grasslands, since the highly developed bifacial projectile 
points stress the importance of meat in their diet and a well-organized hunting 
machinery. On this basis one may see the Lupemban forest culture or the Stillbay 
of the Horn, Kenya, and southern Africa as examples of the more specialized 
economies that can be distinguished at this time. All these regional variants 
were autochthonous growths from an earlier middle stone age ancestry, but 
usually part of their nature can be ascribed to external influences. 

There was, however, a true blade culture— the Kenya Capsian— present in the 
grasslands of the eastern Rift during the closing stages of the Pleistocene, and 
it is claimed that it was established there a good deal earlier. That it is intrusive 
south of the Sahara— as also in the continent itself— can scarcely be doubted, 
though the source from which it came is harder to determine. The nature of 
its stone industry, based on obsidian with numbers of backed blades of Chatel- 
perron-type, microliths, the presence of a very little pottery, a bone industry 
including the harpoon, and ornaments of shell suggest that the form represented 
in the type site at Gamble's Cave in the Nakuru basin (L. S. B. Leakey, 1931, 
pp. 90-109) can hardly be as old as the tenth millennium b.c. and is most likely 
to be contemporary with the so-called Khartoum mesolithic, though it is pos- 
sible that its earlier stages may be as old as 15,000 b.c. 

Perhaps one may see in the Kenya Capsian a southern movement, parallel to 
the Dabba culture of Cyrenaica, which may have entered Africa from south- 
western Asia about 15,000 b.c. (McBurney, 1960, p. 225) and which reached 
the Kenya highlands, and perhaps also Abyssinia, via the eastern desert and 
the Red Sea hills. The nature of its material products and its restricted distribu- 
tion show that it was as highly selective as collecting groups can be in its choice 
of environment and that it depended upon an economy based on hunting and 
fishing (Cole, 1958, pp. 47-5 1). 1 It is associated with a proto-Hamitic, longheaded, 
long-faced, physical stock (L. S. B. Leakey, 1935, pp. 47-56), which also seems 
to be intrusive into the continent, contrasting markedly with the Boskopoid and 
Australoid forms that are found with the middle stone age cultures south of the 
Sahara (Clark, 1959b, pp. 88-93). 

About 9000-10,000 b.c. (Clark, 1959b) the desiccation that ended the Pleisto- 
cene had set in, and the stone industries of the final middle stone age underwent 
fundamental changes. Middle stone age technology began in many places to give 
place to industries having as their object the production of small and micro- 
lithic backed blades and lunates; by later stone age times boneworking had been 
extensively developed, objects of bone, stone, and shell for personal adornment 
had become abundant, and new techniques for piercing and grinding stone had 
been introduced. The period of transition evidenced by the various Magosian- 
type industries, which combine both middle and later stone age technical forms, 

1. A butt end and central fragment of two bone harpoons, with a single row of barbs similar 
to forms found with the Early Khartoum and Khartoum Neolithic industries, have also been 
recovered with the upper Kenya Capsian Phase A from Gamble's Cave. 


seems to have lasted from about 9000 to 6000 b.c. and may be termed "the 
microlithic revolution," for by the end of that time human culture in the sub- 
continent had entered the later stone age. 

The microlithic techniques practiced in sub-Saharan Africa were of three 
main kinds. First, there were true microblade industries in the highlands of east- 
ern Africa based on the microburin technique and directly evolved, no doubt, 
from the Kenya Capsian (Cole, 1954, p. 192). Second, a microflake or flake- 
blade technique (Lowe, 1945, pp. 240-46) based on small, often flat, cores with 
a platform at one or both ends developed out of the final middle stone age cul- 
tures in most other parts except in the high veld of southern Africa, where the 
existence of indurated shale resulted in the special persistence of macrolithic 
forms (Goodwin and Lowe, 1929, pp. 151-234). Third, in the equatorial regions 
microliths of "petit tranchet" type were made from broken sections of macro- 
and microflakes struck from biconical-type cores. This diversity of technique 
suggests that it was the idea of "microlithicness" and the improved food-getting 
efficiency that it represented, rather than any extensive population movement, 
that was mainly responsible, with ecological pressure, for the changed industrial 

There is reason to believe that the climatic deterioration was responsible for a 
general withdrawal and concentration in certain areas favorable for settlement 
by reason of the permanent water, since the sites of these times are never as 
numerous as are those of the preceding and succeeding periods, except in the 
forest regions. This natural restriction of movement must have resulted in greater 
specialization in collecting and hunting habits, though this cannot yet be proved. 
Certainly, however, it seems to have prepared the way for the more intensive 
collecting habits of the later stone age. In the equatorial forest region, how- 
ever, the larger extent of the settlements, especially in northeastern Angola and 
the Congo; the many forms of projectile points (including serrated types); the 
introduction of tanged and winged points and of the punch technique and 
pressure flaking; and the evidence of wear, in the form of fine striations, smooth- 
ing, and incipient polishing of the working edges, as seen on bifacial adzes, 
gouges, and chisels, all indicate that the populations of these regions were now 
able to take greater care in the preparation of their tools and that they could 
develop special forms for special purposes and use many of these continually, 
on the sites where they were made, until the tools became too blunt, thus im- 
plying that the habitation sites were certainly semipermanent. 2 

These transitional industries in the savanna and grasslands— the regional Ma- 
gosians— are also, however, associated in some cases with new racial character- 
istics in southern Africa (Clark, 1959b, pp. 89-92). This suggests that at least 
some population movement was taking place at that time. It may be supposed 
that such movements, whether they comprised migration of groups or contacts 

2. Unpublished results of field work undertaken in northeastern Angola on behalf of the 
Companhia de Diamantes de Angola in 1959 and 1960. 


only, were instrumental in introducing new techniques and new kinds of tools 
and weapons. Because of their superiority over the traditional forms, these 
innovations were absorbed to varying degree from region to region. The use 
of the composite tool and the barbed projectile point, whether for spear or 
for bow and arrow, had very considerable advantages, which the indigenous 
populations cannot have been slow to appreciate. It is possible, but improbable, 
that this blade and microflake element was diffused to southern and western 
Africa solely from the Kenya Capsian of the east-African highlands since the 
more or less simultaneous appearance of other cultural forms, not represented 
in the Kenya Capsian, shows that other influences were at work here. For ex- 
ample, the tanged, shanked, and hollow-based forms of point or the bored stone, 3 
occurring in specific but widely separated associations, suggest the likelihood of 
northwestern African influences having been in part responsible also for the 
introduction of these new techniques and forms south of the Sahara. 

At the time these northern influences began to make themselves felt in southern 
Africa, during the drier climate that marks the end of Pleistocene times, sub- 
Saharan Africa was still in a food-collecting stage of culture. However, by the 
time of the last major desiccation of the Sahara in the first and second millennia 
b.c. we can distinguish, besides the food-collectors, other groups at a probable 
vegecultural stage of development and still others practicing incipient agricul- 
ture with domestication of animals. 


1. The Northern Dry Belt 

Sometime, probably beginning in the seventh millennium B.C., there was a 
gradual change of climate and an increase in rainfall over the Sahara and sub- 
continent (the Sahara wet phase: the Makalian wet phase of eastern and south 
Africa). Paleobotanical evidence shows that a typical Mediterranean flora was 
established in several parts of the desert (Bakker, 1960). This resulted in a 
readjustment of the vegetation belts, and peoples from the north and south were 
able to move into the desert. Cultural elements from the Congo basin and 
western Africa were able to carry the bifacial technique to the north into the 
Sahara and to the Nile at Khartoum. Immediately prior to that time the Sahara 
would appear to have been quite unpopulated (McBurney, 1960, p. 273). Evi- 
dence for northward movement from this nuclear area can be seen in the bifacial 
projectile points and axes; in the crescent adze-flake and the "petit tranchet" 
arrowhead; in the representations of Negroid peoples in the rock paintings and 
engravings in the Hoggar (Lhote, 1958, pp. 89, 179) and Fezzan (Mori, 1960); 
in the presence of fossil remains of Negroids at Early Khartoum (Arkell, 1949#, 
pp. 31-33), at Asselar (Boule and Vallois, 1946, pp. 455-58) north of Timbuctoo, 

3. Bored stones have been found in stratified association with Magosian industries at the 
type-site of Magosi in northeastern Uganda, at the Kalambo Falls in Northern Rhodesia, and 
at Khami, Southern Rhodesia. 

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Saharan Africa. It must be remembered, however, that 
older subsistence patterns persisted in symbiosis with 
more evolved forms for long periods and still do today. 


at Uan Muhuggiag in the Fezzan (Mori, 1960), at Tamaya Mellet in the Nigerian 
Sahara, and at Dar-es-Soltan in Morocco (Briggs, 1958, p. 13); as well as in 
the continued presence of the Negroid Teda, or Tebu, peoples of the south- 
eastern Sahara (Briggs, 1958, pp. 162-63). 

That there must also have been an even earlier movement, at least as far as 
the upper Nile, is shown by the Lupemban- and Sangoan-like lanceheads and 
chisels from the upper levels of the upper Pleistocene sediments at Khor Abu 
Angar, near Khartoum (Arkell, 1949Z?, pp. 9, 23). Though the evidence quoted 
above is referable to later times, mainly from the sixth to the fourth millennium, 
it nevertheless indicates that central-African influences were already well estab- 
lished in the Sahara and on the Nile by those times, and it is not unreasonable 
to suppose that these influences began to make themselves felt in the preceding 
millennium. The Sahara at this time must therefore have been a meeting ground 
for peoples from north and central Africa. These peoples were more or less 
sedentary hunters and fishermen who were concentrated on the permanent lakes, 
pans, and watercourses that existed at that time and lived in midden settlements 
of the nature of Early Khartoum, Taferjit, and Tamaya Mellet (Kelly, 1934, 
pp. 135-43). 

In the mesolithic so-called Early Khartoum culture we see a group of very 
specialized food-collectors, dependent upon the food resources derived from 
the Nile and living in large 'Village" settlements along the river banks. The 
stone industry, which is adapted to both hunting and fishing, is based on small 
blades and tools and includes some microliths and large crescents, the crescent 
adze-flake, bone harpoons, net sinkers, and grindstones. Although these people 
grew no crops and had no domestic animals, their pottery, with its characteristic 
wavy-line decoration, is a good indicator of a sedentary type of life. Racially, 
as has been said, they were Negroids. 

It would seem that when the neolithic traits of cultivating cereal crops and 
stock-raising entered the Nile delta from southwest Asia (McBurney, 1960, pp. 
230-44), sedentary groups like those at Early Khartoum were not slow to 
adopt the revolutionary methods of insuring a more adequate food supply. Such 
sites as those of Ishango on Lake Edward in the Albert Rift (de Heinzelin, 
1957) and the coastal middens of the south coast of southern Africa (Goodwin 
et al., 1938; Hoffman, 1958) again emphasize the great importance of a water- 
side milieu in the establishment of permanent settlements in later stone age 
("mesolithic") times, and in thus providing a favorable setting for the potential 
change-over from intensive collecting to full domestication. 

Is it possible to determine when and how incipient and effective food produc- 
tion came about in sub-Saharan Africa? Few would probably now dispute the 
evidence that "neolithic culture"— insofar as incipient agricultural practices and 
stock-raising are concerned— entered Africa from southwestern Asia sometime 
late in the sixth or the early fifth millennium B.C. Simple peasant farming com- 
munities of Fayum A type occupied the valley of the lower Nile and the eastern 
oases, and Fayum pottery and bifacial stone tools occur in Cyrenaica in the 
second half of the fifth millennium B.C., but only much later— in the fourth 


millennium B.C.— is their influence seen in the Sudan and upper Nile. This seems 
to exclude Abyssinia as having been the initial center from which food produc- 
tion spread in Africa. 

Though it cannot be disputed— both because of the radiocarbon determina- 
tions and because no wild wheat is known in Africa— that the wheat cultivation 
of the earliest agriculturalists in the Nile delta can be derived only from south- 
western Asia, and also that the same is true of the domesticated sheep and goat 
of those times, it is not quite so certain that there may not have been a second 
center of cattle domestication somewhere in northern Africa. A potential do- 
mesticate, Bos opisthonomus, existed in northern Africa, and C 14 determinations 
for Saharan neolithic industries from Tassili, claimed to be associated with the 
"bovidienne" style of rock paintings, give dates in the mid-third and mid-fourth 
millennia B.C., 4 while dates fom Uan Aiuhuggiag in the Fezzan show that related 
styles representing domesticated cattle can be ascribed to the mid-fourth and 
mid-sixth millennia b.c. 5 If the latter date is confirmed, an independent African 
source for domestic long-horned cattle may be a probability. Indeed, typically 
African rock engravings showing cattle exist at Kilwa in southern Trans Jordan 
and may indicate a first stage of animal domestication coming from Africa, but 
the age of these engravings is as yet unknown (Perrot, this volume). 

Although remains of Bos have been recorded from the prepottery neolithic 
levels at Jericho, it is not yet possible to say whether these are of the domesti- 
cated form (Kenyon, personal communication). It would seem that the earliest 
occurrence of undoubtedly domesticated Bos in southern Palestine is with the 
Ghassulian at Beersheba in an early fourth-millennium context (Perrot, this 

That the change to food-producing was a very slow and gradual process- 
not a sudden and revolutionary one— is well shown at another Khartoum settle- 
ment, the neolithic site of Shaheinab. These people were still hunters and fishers, 
but they now relied also on a small species of domestic goat. The pottery and 
stone industries show, on the one hand, associations with the mesolithic of the 
Early Khartoum site and, on the other, associations with the lower Nile neo- 
lithic cultures— the Tasian and Badarian. This is evidenced by the polished axes 
of stone and bone, the pyriform maceheads, and the characteristic gouges and 
adzes (Arkell, 1953). The Shaheinab C 14 determinations (average) of 3253 =h 
415 b.c. for the Khartoum neolithic confirms that its cultural innovations can 
have come only from the north and not from the Abyssinian plateau. This date 
also provides an indication of the time taken for cultural influences from Lower 
Egypt to reach the Sudan, as well as a lower limit when they may be expected 
to appear in sub-Saharan Africa. 

4. Results obtained from charcoal recovered in two different rock shelters at Jabbaren 
give determinations of 3500 b.c. and 2550 b.c. (H. Lhote, personal communication). 

5. Charcoal from two horizons in a rock shelter at Uan Muhuggiag in the Acacus Moun- 
tains, western Fezzan, give determinations of 3500 B.C. (associated in the upper layer with the 
desiccated burial of a Negroid child) and 5500 b.c. The associated industries in each case 
are presumably of Saharan neolithic form (Mori, 1960). 


So-called neolithic industries have been found in many parts of the central 
and eastern Sahara. There can be no doubt that the people who made them 
were living at a time when there was a substantial improvement in climatic con- 
ditions in the desert. From the few radiocarbon determinations now available it 
would seem reasonable to equate the main "neolithic" occupation with the 
warmer and wetter Atlantic period of Europe (5500-2500 B.C.). It is not easy to 
assess whether these industries were truly neolithic in the economic sense of 
being food-producing; the presence of various forms of pressure-flaked arrow- 
heads, pottery, and small grindstones 6 are not in themselves sufficient to warrant 
such a deduction. In any case, it is likely that the communities still obtained most 
of their meat supply by hunting. However, the industry at the central Saharan 
lake or pan of Taferjit includes bone harpoons of Khartoum neolithic type, deep 
concave-based arrowheads of Fayum A type, and a large, double-bladed axe or 
macehead similar to those on the predynastic Egyptian Lion Hunt Palette. This 
thus shows that the neolithic culture of the Nile must have spread widely during 
the optimum climatic conditions in the desert. Such spreading is hardly likely 
to have come about in the southern Sahara earlier than the fourth millennium 
B.C.— and perhaps was considerably later— but in this connection the sixth-millen- 
nium date from Uan Muhuggiag must not be forgotten. 

The various Egyptian and Lybian influences in the cattle paintings that can 
be seen in the central and northern Saharan art groups are associated with the 
later Saharan neolithic industries, and McBurney has suggested that they cannot 
be any earlier than the middle of the first millennium b.c. The later Saharan 
groups lived by cattle-raising, but the numerous quernstones and rubbers that 
are found on many of these later Saharan sites, as well as on those of Khartoum 
neolithic form, and the claim that some of the Tassili paintings depict reaping 
scenes suggest that some kind of incipient cultivation was being practiced at 
this time in the desert. 

Mauny (1951, p. 83) has recognized a later neolithic with a marked Egyptian 
influence that was contemporary with a drying climate, and an earlier neolithic 
with bone harpoons and hollow-based arrowheads that belongs with a wet 
phase. On the Khartoum neolithic dating the latter cannot be older than the 
fourth millennium b.c, but the Tassili and Fezzan dates suggest that it extends 
back at least into the fifth millennium. 

2. The East African Desert and High Plateau 

Hollow-based arrowheads and other old Saharan forms make their appearance 
in the drier parts of the Horn of Africa during a wet phase in post-Pleistocene 
times (Clark, 1954, pp. 203-82), and, if the dates for the earlier Saharan neo- 

6. Grindstones, rubbers, and pounders are, of course, known in association with the 
cultures of the later Pleistocene in sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Mwulu's Cave, Transvaal; Kalk- 
bank, Transvaal; Kalambo Falls, Northern Rhodesia; etc.), but the forms are essentially of 
the kind found in use today for working wild vegetable foods. The stones associated with 
grinding cereal crops are all of the saddle and dish quern form. The grindstones associated 
with the Kenya stone-bowl cultures are flat with shallow dishing. 


lithic are confirmed, it may be that the spread of neolithic forms in the Horn 
is also of fifth-millennium date— though it may well be later. In the Horn, how- 
ever, there is no indication as yet from these sites that any form of cultivation 
(quernstones are quite absent) or domestication of animals was practiced, and 
they are still small settlements of hunter-collectors concentrated round the pans 
and water holes. 

There are, however, indications that influence, which stemmed ultimately from 
incipient food-producers, may have penetrated the Somalilands and, we may 
suppose, also to the Abyssinian plateau as early as the fourth millennium b.c. 
Unfortunately, almost nothing is known of the prehistoric cultures of Abyssinia. 
Middle stone age cultures gave place at some unspecified post-Pleistocene time 
to industries such as that from Quiha (Clark, 1954, p. 324) in the Tigre, where 
long blades and microliths in obsidian are associated with burnished pottery. 
The blades of this industry resemble the food-collecting Elmenteitan culture of 
Kenya and the blades associated with the Omerdin industry in eastern Abyssinia 
(Breuil, et al., 1951, p. 230). As yet, however, there is nothing to show that 
the Quiha people were anything more than sedentary food-collectors. 

Finds of polished axes and adzes, maceheads, stone palettes, and pottery having 
affinities with the so-called C group culture of Nubia have been described from 
Agordat in Eritrea (Arkell, 1954) and would seem to be the products of a 
sedentary and fully agricultural economy. Arkell has suggested a date in the 
earlier to the middle part of the second millennium b.c. for these assemblages, 
but with the proviso that they may well be later. Polished axes and adzes have 
been found also in western Abyssinia on the Tuli Kapi plateau and at Iubdo in 
Wollega District (M. D. Leakey, 1943, p. 193), but until research on a proper 
basis is undertaken there, it would be idle to speculate as to when food-producers 
entered Ethiopia. Paintings, which are themselves late and associated with im- 
poverished microlithic industries in rock shelters in the Somalilands, all show 
long-horned cattle and pastoral peoples (Clark, 1954, pp. 295-315). These paint- 
ings are believed to date to a time before the Christian Era, since the zebu cattle 
are not represented. Zebu cattle were probably introduced to the Horn from 
southern Arabia at about that time and are now the only form found in Ethiopia; 
the suggestion (Naville, 1898) that zebu cattle were introduced to Egypt from 
Punt (the Horn) during the eighteenth to nineteenth dynasties (1580-1205 B.C.) 
is not borne out by an examination of the bas-reliefs depicting the Punt cattle. 

In the Horn, therefore, specialized hunting groups showing Saharan connec- 
tions may have been present as early as the fifth millennium and persisted until 
historic times. In the later stages, they appear to have lived contemporaneously 
with pastoral— probably Hamitic— peoples showing connections with the Saharan 
cattle-breeders; as yet this latter group is known only from the paintings, and 
their connections are obscure. It is not impossible that these hunting groups in 
the Horn may have acquired their cattle at much the same time as did those in 
the Sahara, but it seems more likely that the stock-owners entered sometime 
before the middle of the second millennium b.c, when increasing desiccation 
dictated the dispersal of population from the central Sahara region. 


Peoples living in permanent, semisubterranean houses, practicing ceremonial 
group burial, and with other traits indicative of a settled food-producing com- 
munity, were living in the grasslands of the Kenya Rift valley and in northern 
Tanganyika during the first millennium and certainly earlier (M. D. Leakey, 
1945; M. D. and L. S. B. Leakey, 1950). They had domestic cattle and sheep, 
but, while they made pottery, there is no conclusive evidence as yet of plant 
cultivation, though it may be suspected from the grinding and mulling equip- 
ment. The microlithic and flaked-stone element remains much the same as it 
was in mesolithic times but is somewhat more impoverished by the falling-out 
of certain microlithic forms, and this points to the use of some other food 
source in addition to hunting. Their most characteristic piece of equipment is 
a shallow stone bowl of lava, sometimes with carbonaceous matter adhering to 
the inside, which was used, probably— since it is likely to have been of a utili- 
tarian rather than a ceremonial nature— for cooking or roasting. It is suggested 
that whatever it was that was roasted in the bowls formed part of the staple 
food of this neolithic "stone-bowl culture," as it has been called. From the pestle 
stones that very often accompany the bowls, this food would seem to have 
been pounded before it was used. The stone-bowl cultures are believed to have 
evolved from the Elmenteitan and the Kenya Capsian (Cole, 1954, pp. 228, 237). 

These people were longheaded Hamites, and at least three variants of their 
culture are known (Cole, 1954, pp. 227-46). The distribution has been only 
imperfectly established, but the culture occurs on the Kenya high plateau and 
in the Rift valley and extends certainly as far south as northern Tanganyika. 
Until it proves possible to determine whether these people planted cereal crops, 
one can go no further than to say that there is good reason to suppose that the 
stone-bowl peoples practiced some form of cereal cultivation— probably based 
on Eleusine coraca?ia and other millets— owned domestic stock, and lived in 
small family groups, but were only semisedentary in their habits and indulged 
in not a little hunting and gathering. These details we can learn from the Njoro 
River Cave and Hyrax Hill sites, the former (a late form) giving a C 14 deter- 
mination of approximately 970 B.C. (L. S. B. Leakey, 1956, p. 28). The remark- 
able beads of semiprecious stones, bone spacer beads, and some of the polished- 
stone axe forms (M. D. Leakey, 1943, p. 190) associated with the Kenya stone- 
bowl cultures point to connections with the Sudan, while the number of work- 
ings for bead stone indicate that the bead-making industry was of considerable 
extent. Such an industry could hardly have been carried on by a people who 
had advanced no further than the food-collecting level. 

That these neolithic stone-bowl cultures continued in some places until quite 
late times is indicated, however, by the possible occurrence of zebu cattle with 
the Gumban B variant at Hyrax Hill North-East Village (M. D. Leakey, 1945, 
p. 365). The continuation is also indicated by the earthwork-protected Lanet 
site, which is as late as the end of the sixteenth century a.d. 7 and shows, besides 

7. C 14 determination of 375 ± 100 years. Posnansky, 1961, p. 186. 


the extremely conservative nature of the cultural forms, a contemporaneity with 
potentially hostile iron age peoples. 

It may be suspected, therefore, that neolithic influences from the Sudan pene- 
trated to eastern Africa (probably via Abyssinia) sometime after the beginning 
of the third millennium B.C. These influences (like those of the Kenya Capsian 
and Elmenteitan peoples before them) seem to have been restricted to the high 
grasslands, where the potential for mixed farming was greatest, though pastoral 
nomads were established in the semiarid parts of the Horn before the end of 
the first millennium B.C. 

Vavilov (1931) has suggested that the Abyssinian high plateau may have 
been the place where millets and sorghums were first domesticated. 8 But, even 
if Vavilov's hypothesis is confirmed by archeological investigation, it would 
seem to be unlikely that the cultivation of the millets (Eleusi?ie, Pennisetum) 
and sorghums can have arisen independently in Abyssinia, since such indirect 
evidence as is available at present— in particular from radiocarbon determination 
—indicates that it is much more likely that the use of millet followed the trans- 
mission of the basic discovery of plant cultivation in southwest Asia by a process 
of experiment and selection. 

3. The West and Central African Forests 

In western Africa the later Sangoan and middle stone age cultures give place 
—though the intermediate industries are not differentiated— to later stone age 
cultures of local variation but all showing the same basic elements. These are a 
microlithic stone industry with many petit tranchet forms, flaked- and polished- 
stone axes and adzes, small grindstones and mullers, and pottery. Perhaps the 
best-known west coast forms are those from Bosumpra Cave in Ghana (Shaw, 
1944), and the Grotte des Singes in Dahomey (Delcroix and Vaufrey, 1939) 
Recent work has distinguished an earlier and a later neolithic in Ghana and 
Nigeria: pottery belongs only with the latter (Davies, 1959; Willett, 1959). 9 

In the Congo basin essentially similar industries are found, but usually con- 
fined to the more open country peripheral to the rain forest proper. The best 

8. This refers, of course, to the African millets Pennisetum spicatum, Eleusine coracana, 
and Sorghum vulgare, not to the Asiatic millets Panicum and Setaria. The latter formed the 
staple crop of neolithic China (see Chang, in this volume) and presupposes a domestication 
center independent of the African millets. 

9. In Ghana, Davies has found two main neolithic variants: an older form with edge- 
ground axes, adzes, and hoes but no pottery, which was possibly derived from the north- 
east; and a later form, perhaps coming from the northwest, characterized by pottery of 
cardial and pseudo-cardial type and small neatly made celts. The Bosumpra industry belongs 
with the later stage (Davies, in press). In Nigeria, Willet has similarly found evidence of 
two neolithic variants, one with pottery and polished axes, e.g., at Rop (Fagg, 1944) and 
one without these forms as at Old Oyo (Willett, in press). The age of these west- African 
neolithic variants is as yet unknown. Davies associates both neolithic stages with a wet phase 
and suggests that the earlier may have commenced about 1300 b.c. There seems little doubt 
that the neolithic persisted until quite late times in the west-African forests— Davies suggests 
until the sixteen century a.d. 


known are the northern tributaries' (Welle basin) industries (Grenade, 1910), 
and the Leopold ville and lower Congo forms (Mortelmans, 1957). Basically 
these industries appear to be those of hunters and collectors, but the "neolithic" 
elements, especially the stone hoe forms, seem to indicate that a more intensive 
type of collecting was being practiced here and that some groups had probably 
taken to cultivation of root crops and a settled village life. In the forest proper 
and many other parts of the south typical mesolithic-type collecting cultures 
still persisted. 10 

The more sedentary nature of the industries of the forest margins in terminal 
and early post-Pleistocene times suggests that exploitation of the food resources 
of the peripheral forest— such as the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and other oil- 
bearing plants, the wild yams (Dioscorea sp.), and perhaps Aframomum— enabled 
some of these groups to establish permanent camps and rendered them especially 
responsive to crop cultivation when influences from the neolithic cultures of 
northern Africa began to spread south of the Sahara. In fact it is not impossible, 
though this cannot yet be proved, that some of the mesolithic communities in 
the Guinea type of forest (e.g., the so-called "Guinea Tumbian" and some of 
the regional Tshitolian forms) may have already practiced incipient domestica- 
tion of the wild yam and perhaps other indigenous root plants before a knowl- 
edge of cereal cultivation was diffused to western Africa. Certainly the edge- 
ground axes and adzes could have had a natural derivation from the flaked 
forms, smoothed and polished by continuous utilization, which are found first 
with the transitional Lupembo-Tshitolian industries in the tenth millennium B.C. 
Likewise, no drastic change in the material equipment would have been neces- 
sary to change the enonomy to a fully vegecultural level. 

Murdock's (1959, p. 67) hypothesis that agriculture was invented independently 
in Negro Africa by ancestral Mande peoples around the headwaters of the Niger 
sometime before 4500 B.C., although based on linguistic evidence and a pre- 
sumed distribution center for the main west African indigenous food crops, is 
not yet supported by archeological evidence. In fact, as outlined in the present 
paper, the archeological data point rather to the contrary's being the case, 
namely, that agriculture in western Africa resulted from experiment following 
the diffusion of ideas and techniques of crop cultivation from northern Africa, 
though based quite possibly on an already simple vegecultural level of sub- 

At what date did the later stone age "neolithic" cultures of the Guinea-type 
forest and savanna come into being? There are no points of very close resem- 
blance in the material culture with the earlier Saharan neolithic stage except in 
the bifacial stone element, and it is likely that the "neolithic" traits did not take 

10. Purely microlithic industries with petit tranchets were noted by the writer at Mutongo 
near Masisi northwest of Lake Kivu; the Tshitolian of northeastern Angola and the lower 
Congo also shows no definite indication that the economy had passed out of the hunting- 
collecting stage. 


full effect in the equatorial region until late in Saharan neolithic times, probably 
only after continued desiccation had driven some of the Saharan groups south- 
ward to seek new pasturage and new land for cultivation. It is probable, there- 
fore, that their full effect was not felt before the second millennium B.C. The 
neolithic people of western Africa are unlikely to have been important stock- 
owners except in the Sahel and Sudan belts, since forest and closed savanna 
country would not have proved attractive to stock-owning peoples (mainly on 
account of cattle diseases that would have rendered stock-raising impossible). 
The main equipment, as we have seen, consists of flaked and polished axes and 
adzes (some of which were certainly used as hoes), chisels and gouges of various 
kinds, microliths, grindstones, and pottery. The former tools are in great part 
the natural, autochthonous development from the percussion-flaked forms, but 
the latter two and the hoes suggest a more specialized crop production based 
probably on the millets (Digitaria, Pennisetum, and Sorghum) or, in Guinea, on 
Oryza glaberrima (Schnell, 1957, pp. 146-47). 

The microlithic element shows these people to have done not a little hunting; 
the many axe forms may indicate a more determined attack on the forest margins 
by slash-and-burn methods than had ever been made before; while the pottery 
—occurring in considerable quantity— points to at least a semisedentary life. 
There is even evidence that these cultures persisted in places in the Cameroons 
and Congo until quite recent times, and the replacement of stone by iron may 
have come about as a result of later diffusion without any necessary change in 
population. Not a little traditional evidence exists to show that some of the so- 
called axe forms were used on the ends of digging sticks to break up new 
ground for cultivation, and in regions where iron was scarce these axe forms 
may have continued in use until quite late times, for example, in the lower 
Congo and in the Cameroons (Jeffreys, 1957, pp. 262-73). 

The later development of the neolithic economy in west Africa is best seen 
in the so-called Nok Figurine culture of northern Nigeria, which clearly must 
have been organized on a simple village basis. The Nok culture extends over a 
wide area— at least 300 miles across the Niger/Benue valley— and is characterized 
by terra-cotta sculpture of a high artistic standard, polished-stone tools, and 
stone beads and bracelets (Fagg, 1955). The chronological limits of the culture 
are believed to fall between 900 b.c. and a.d. 200, and from the associated finds 
it can be shown that by the terminal period iron was being worked and was 
replacing stone for axes. Tin had also come into use. Unfortunately, the settle- 
ment pattern is not known, since the finds come from the lowest aggradation 
terraces in the valleys and are being exposed by modern tin-mining operations. 
The fluted gourd and one or two other crops, as well as hafted axes, are repre- 
sented on figurines, and carbonized seeds of an oil-bearing tree (atili) have been 
found associated. It also seems probable that millet was cultivated (Willett, per- 
sonal communication). 


4. The Central-African Savanna and Southern African Grasslands 

Until about the beginning of the Christian Era the rest of the subcontinent 
was occupied by locally adapted food-collecting cultures, such as are repre- 
sented by the Smithfleld and Wilton complexes, associated with a remarkable 
art tradition. Anyone seeing the naturalistic style of this art cannot but be con- 
vinced that the artists were hunters with an intimate knowledge of the animals 
and scenes they portrayed. The leisure they enjoyed in which to do these paint- 
ings and engravings bears witness to the specialized collecting habits of the 
artists. This leisure resulted from intensified collecting practices, the general 
abundance of game, and the concentration upon one or two animal forms (for 
instance, the eland and rhebuck by the Basutoland and Drakensberg Wilton and 
Smithfleld C peoples). 

The Bushman peoples preserve for us something of the collecting life of the 
later stone age groups in southern Africa. Dependent essentially on game, they 
lived in bands of varying size according to the richness or poverty of the resources 
of their territory. While the game herds were their chief source of food, they 
supplemented this with vegetable foods and sometimes with fish. Special circum- 
stances permitted the strandlooping groups of the seacoasts to live in fairly 
permanent camps based on caves and rock shelters or middens in the coastal 
dunes. They fished with weirs, lines, and the spear; they collected shellfish and 
trapped and hunted game and were thus enabled to live a more or less sedentary 
life, interrupted only by a decline in the food supply or by death or disease 
that forced a move (Clark, 1959b, pp. 217-52). Specialized collecting groups, 
depending upon hunting, fishing, and shellfish-collecting, are also found around 
some of the lakes of eastern and central Africa during the later stone age. The 
people responsible for the Ishango culture on the shores of Lake Edward had 
developed a specialized fishing equipment based on the harpoon (de Heinzelin, 
1957). Although the determination ascribed to them on extrapolated C 14 evi- 
dence is early in the seventh millennium B.C., it is likely that they really belong, 
in fact, somewhat later and are related to the southern Saharan and upper Nile 
fishing communities of the early fourth or late fifth millennium. On the other 
hand, the shell mound Wilton C people of Lake Victoria are a later adaptation 
to strandlooping, and there is reason to believe that they were contemporary 
with more efficiently organized "neolithic" groups (L. S. B. Leakey, 1936, pp. 
69, 71). 

All these groups were never anything more than specialized food-collectors. 
As such, they persisted in many places, contemporaneously with pastoral and 
simple farming communities, up to the coming of the European. 

The historic Hottentots of southwestern Africa were pastoralists having herds 
of sheep and zebu-type cattle, but they grew no crops and lived a life of pastoral 
nomads. There is some evidence to suggest that the pastoral way of life was 
introduced into southern Africa by a group of longheaded peoples from eastern 


Africa, perhaps practicing one of the stone-bowl cultures. 11 At what date they 
arrived in southwestern Africa is not certainly known as yet, but it may be 
suggested that their advent there may have been brought about by the super- 
cession in eastern Africa of the neolithic stone-bowl peoples by iron-age Negroid 
groups, perhaps during the first millennium a.d. 

In south-central, and perhaps also in central Africa (i.e., in Northern Rhodesia 
and Uganda) the naturalistic art tradition had by the fifth millennium b.c. been 
replaced, if indeed it had ever existed there in a pure form, by a schematic 
tradition. This suggests that certain changes had come about in the culture of 
the later stone age hunting-collecting groups there that could have been asso- 
ciated with the growing importance of a simple vegecultural economy. 

The distribution of the bored stone in central and south-central Africa sug- 
gests that it may also sometimes accompany a vegecultural, perhaps in the more 
northern parts even an incipient agricultural, level of economy during later stone 
age times. It is widely distributed on the high watershed country in Rhodesia 
and Nyasaland, the high savanna in the Katanga, the high ridge country running 
west of the Rift Valley in the Congo, and the Sudan-type savanna in Nigeria 
and the Sudan. It is present in Abyssinia, in a recent context at least, for turning 
fresh land in millet cultivation (Clark, 1944, pp. 31-32), while the earliest evi- 
dence from C 14 of its presence is in an early fifth-millennium context in North- 
ern Rhodesia (Clark, 1958). The central- African bored-stone forms, while they 
undoubtedly were put to many different uses, must have served most often as 
digging-stick weights, and it is by no means improbable that their particular 
distribution and later associations may be related to millet cultivation, possibly 
also to cultivation of the wild Dioscoreas. Its almost total absence from the neo- 
lithic and collecting cultures of the Kenya highlands and the Horn, as also from 
the west- African forest country (where the polished axe replaces it), is surely 

The context of the digging-stick weights with a microlithic culture is best 
seen in Northern Rhodesia, where they appear consistently earlier than the pol- 
ished axe and adze and continue in later associations with the polished axe until 
the end of stone age times. The Nachikufan culture, of which they form a part, 
there is adapted to savanna woodland and provides all the elements usual to a 
hunting people who rely to a considerable extent on vegetable foods, as evi- 
denced by the many grinders and mullers (Clark, 1950). Some of the latest 
Nachikufan peoples may even have cultivated wild root crops and some millet 
(vide Bemba tradition), but the bored stone in southern Africa proper is asso- 
ciated with food-collecting only. 

11. Stone bowls have been found in the northern part of south-west Africa and in south- 
ern Bechuanaland, and the Kakamas physical type on the middle Orange River is most 
closely comparable with some of the east African mesolithic stock (Clark, 1959b, pp. 99-101, 



While the neolithic "stone-bowl" peoples of the east African grasslands were 
organized in small open villages by at least the beginning of the first millennium 
b.c, it was not until the introduction of metalworking and mixed farming on 
a more intensive scale that the southern Africa savanna region supported true 
village-farming communities of a dispersed, rather than a concentrated, nature. 

The earliest metal-users worked iron, and the earliest metalworking peoples 
in western Africa were Negroes, who presumably acquired the art from the 
Meroitic Kingdom of the upper Nile in the centuries immediately prior to the 
beginning of the Christian Era. In south-central Africa the first metalworkers 
seem to have been basically of the same stock as the Bush-Hottentot people but 
with Negroid admixture north of the Zambezi. They are believed to have been 
in Northern Rhodesia in the first century a.d. (Clark, 1959/?, p. 311) and to 
have crossed the Zambezi before a.d. 700— since the site of Zimbabwe was occu- 
pied by that time (Summers, 1955; 1961, p. 13)— and the Limpopo by a.d. 1055 
(Galloway, 1959, p. xi). They were communities of simple mixed farmers living in 
circular wattle-and-daub or grass huts, grouped, it is believed, in small open hamlets 
and villages. They worked iron and copper and also, where these metals occurred, 
tin and gold. By the tenth century a.d. there was a flourishing gold trade with 
Arabs at Kilwa and Sofala on the east coast. 

It is probable that the knowledge of metalworking was introduced to southern 
Africa via the Horn, on the one hand, and across the Sahara to the Lake Chad 
region, on the other, about the beginning of the Christian Era— sometime between 
the last century b.c. and a.d. 500. These people were farmers and had long- 
horned cattle and fat-tailed sheep, but apparently not the goat, and are believed 
to have cultivated millets and sorghums. They made two characteristic forms 
of well-fired and decorated pottery— Stamped and Channeled wares (Summers, 
1960). They depended very considerably on hunting for meat and, certainly, 
for their clothing also. Like some of their descendants today they seem to have 
been very loath to kill their stock, and, since the supply of wild meat was so 
plentiful, there was indeed no valid reason why they should do so except for 
religious purposes. The settlement sites of these people are not well known, but 
they seem to have lived in small open villages and sometimes to have used 
pits for food-storage purposes. The type of country in which they preferred to 
settle was the more semiarid parkland and grassland. No public or religious build- 
ings existed, and their magicoreligious beliefs seem to have been of a simple 
animistic form with which clay figurines of a fertility nature are associated. 

There can be no doubt in the case of the Channeled wares that their appear- 
ance in southern Africa represents a true population movement down the high 
country flanking the Rift valley from an original center of dispersal, perhaps 
in the southern Sudan or in Abyssinia. The origins of this ware in Rhodesia can 
be traced northward to the Katanga and Ruanda-Urundi to Kenya and Uganda, 


and it seems most probable that this distribution is connected with the tsetse 
free routes that this high country provided into the drier south African grass- 
lands. It is not known what crops these people cultivated, but one was almost 
certainly millet (probably Eleusine coracana), and they practiced slash-and- 
burn methods on the forest margins in their gradual progress down the central 
highway to the south. If the open and higher country was more healthful for 
man and beast, the opposite was true for the main river valleys, which were 
generally avoided— except where the economically strategic and environmentally 
favorable open valleys, such as the Barotse valley on the upper Zambezi, en- 
couraged settlement on mounds in flood plains. 

That these people lived in harmony with the hunter-gathering peoples is 
attested by the general tranquillity of the rock art (Cooke, 1957) and the per- 
sistence of the collecting traditions. With the coming of the later iron age 
peoples, about the beginning of the fifteenth century, adaptation, integration, 
or annihilation of the hunting groups seems to have begun to take place or to 
have been speeded up. Later pottery elements and, in some cases, iron slag 
appear with the collecting cultures in the topmost layers in many of the rock 
shelters north of the Zambezi, and at the same time there is a marked degenera- 
tion in the stone industry, such as is always attendant upon fundamental changes 
in the economy. North of the Zambezi, at any rate, the evidence of the rock 
shelters suggests that some of the indigenous collecting peoples had effectively 
adapted their economy and turned to food-producing and metalworking by 
this time. 

Very little archeological evidence is available for protohistoric times in sub- 
Saharan Africa, and the best-studied areas are Southern Rhodesia and in east 
Africa. More efficient methods of warfare, agriculture, and stock-raising were 
transmitted to the subcontinent during the first millennium a.d. No doubt this 
was due indirectly to the influence of the establishment of the Ghanian and 
later empires in western Africa under Meroitic influence and trans-Saharan trade 
and to the Himyaritic and Amharic empires in the Horn, which captured the 
maritime trade from the Indian Ocean through the Red Sea. It is now possible 
to see the Abyssinian highlands and the Congo basin as nuclear areas, so to 
speak, from which at various times migrations of peoples with more efficiently 
organized political systems and new cultural traits spread into souhtern Africa. 

In the Congo, tribal groupings based on strong centralized authorities rose up 
and sank again into obscurity with surprising rapidity because of competition 
resulting from a kind of continual "hiving-off" process of groups moving east- 
ward and southward in search of new land and new wealth. Such movements 
gave rise to the present-day later Bantu populations of East and South Africa. 
One movement originating probably from Ethiopia was instrumental in estab- 
lishing the Zimbabwe-Monomatapa culture in Southern Rhodesia (Caton-Thomp- 
son, 1923; Wieschoff, 1 94 1 ; Sommers, 1961). 

The Zimbabwe culture was certainly one of the most highly organized of all 
the indigenous cultures in sub-Saharan Africa outside the west coast and Abys- 


sinia. These people were warrior agriculturalists and mixed farmers living in 
large villages and building defensive and perhaps religious structures in stone. 
They were governed by a centralized political system and had more complex 
religious beliefs. It cannot, however, be doubted that they owed much of their 
development and prosperity to "exotic" influences from the east coast, and when 
these influences began to weaken we find that the Zimbabwe culture decayed and 
was overrun by later invaders. It was never a truly urbanized society in the 
strict sense of the term, since there is no indication that classes of professionals 
or a religious hierarchy, a centralized exchequer or public building programs, 
ever existed, but it must have come nearer to this form than any other southern 
African culture. It appears to have been stimulated by racial elements deriving 
from Ethiopia and the Congo basin, and certainly the later elements have their 
connections with the southern Congo, where it can be supposed that over- 
population and the limitation of cultivable land in this nuclear region were the 
main reasons for the tribal movements into the southeastern savanna (Walton, 


During the closing stages of the Pleistocene and in early post-Pleistocene times 
the climatic events that took place between 10,000 and 6000 b.c. led to greater 
cultural specialization than ever before. There was a general concentration on 
one or more sources of food instead of on any and every available source, prob- 
ably because first the desiccation and then, during the Makalian wet phase, the 
forest encroachment affected the distribution of game and generally limited the 
range of the hunting territory and the collecting potential. 

In the gallery forest country of west-central Africa this concentration can 
be- clearly demonstrated— larger areas of settlement, more specialized and more 
intensive utilization of the cultural equipment, and the use of two or three staple 
vegetable foods. Movement to the south African coasts and concentration for 
the first time on a shellfish diet rich in protein permitted the southern mountain 
peoples to live for long periods in the same place. That they still practiced 
transhumance cannot be doubted, especially in the earlier period, but the gradual 
decline in quanity of animal bones in the food debris and the preponderance of 
shellfish and later of fish remains shows that these groups could, by the end 
of the later stone age, have existed permanently from the seafoods available in 
the immediate vicinity of the settlements. Around the lakes of eastern and 
central Africa— Nakuru and Ishango, for example— a similar development can be 
observed, but here the emphasis was on both fishing and hunting and on the 
development of efficient equipment for both these occupations. In the grasslands 
the improved forms of projectile points and cutting implements indicate the 
over-all importance of hunting and the probable dependence on one main food 
animal. Moreover, the general increase that can be seen in the use of smaller 
animals as a source of food suggests that traps and snares were now more in- 
tensively used than ever before. 


The introduction of microlithic forms into the tool kit at this time also em- 
phasizes the importance and superiority of the composite weapon— whether the 
spear or the bow and arrow— which formed lighter and more efficient piercing 
and cutting weapons, especially when used with poison, than had been available 
heretofore. This "microlithicness" may have developed and spread out of the 
need to adapt hunting equipment to suit the capture of smaller and fleeter ani- 
mals that followed the extinction of the large beasts on which man had even 
up to early middle stone age times depended for his main source of meat. The 
more restricted territorial range that more concentrated settlement would neces- 
sitate must also have brought the smaller animals into more important focus. 

Thus by about 6000 b.c. we can distinguish two main zones of population 
concentration: one in the gallery forest country based on staple vegetable foods 
and hunting, with emphasis on chopping, digging, pounding, and grinding equip- 
ment; the other around the lakes and other permanent water in the grasslands 
and on the seacoasts, with emphasis on bone points, harpoons, hooks, and gorges 
for fishing and microliths for hunting. Both, when the opportunity occurred, 
were not slow to make use of the domestication practices that filtered through 
to them from northern Africa across the Sahara. Each adopted those practices 
best suited to the natural environment, so that the one led through vegeculture 
to full cultivation of root crops, while the other developed cereal cultivation 
and stock-breeding, though both still obtained a high proportion of their meat 
from hunting. 

By the middle of the sixth millennium b.c. it would seem that central-African 
groups had, by reason of the higher rainfall that probably coincided with the 
Atlantic period in Europe, been able to penetrate to the northern Sahara, carry- 
ing central-African hunting techniques and equipment— in particular the bifacial 
technique— with them and making their influence felt still farther, as far as the 
Mediterranean coast and the Nile delta. By contact and exchange with Mediter- 
ranean peoples moving southward they acquired a knowledge and experience 
of crop cultivation, almost certainly wheat (emmer). These mixed Saharan neo- 
lithic populations do not seem to have been slow to adopt an incipient form of 
agriculture, based, we must suppose, on wheat and later on barley, as well 
as domestication of cattle and sheep. This economy can, however, have been 
little more than a supplementary basis of subsistence, since, while the cattle and 
possible reaping scenes in the rock art, together with the sickle blades, show 
that stock-raising and agriculture were practiced, hunting as a source of food 
must have assumed almost equal importance, if we can again judge by the rock 
art and the many associated projectile points. Such an economy in an arid or 
semiarid environment necessitates mobility of the settlement pattern and a wide 
range of territory, so it may be expected that the new domesticates must have 
spread fairly rapidly through the desert. 

On the existing archeological evidence, sub-Saharan Africa seems never to 
have made any major contribution to food production or to any of the higher 
forms of economy. Perhaps the richest part of any continent in potentially 


domesticable large mammals, it succeeded in domesticating none of them and 
received its domestic stock from external sources, and the initial impetus for 
the cultivation of cereal crops also seems to have come from outside. 

If, however, Black Africa seems not to have taken any important lead in 
domestication, yet it cannot have been slow to experiment and adapt the new 
potential to the locally available natural resources. Thus it is not difficult to 
see how simple vegecultural practices, based on the wild yam and oil-bearing 
plants, could have grown up in the Guinea-type bush of western and central 
Africa, since many tribes in Africa have the habit of storing any collection of 
root vegetables— over and above those required for immediate needs— by partially 
burying them in the ground. Also contact with and observation of the desert 
peoples and later, because of the desiccation of the Sahara, movements out of 
that region resulted in population absorption and adjustment. 

Plant cultivation and, probably, domestication cannot have arrived at the 
proportions of effective food production in western Africa until the time of 
the Nok culture at the beginning of the first millennium B.C., though it is prob- 
able that in eastern Africa cultivation of millets and domestic stock were first 
present in the second millennium B.C. In eastern Africa the new economy mani- 
fests itself in the presence of open village settlements of small groups of semi- 
subterranean houses; in material equipment, such as grinding stones, pestles, 
stone bowls, platters, and pottery; and in group burial and the presence of 
domestic animals in the food debris. There can still have been little cohesion 
between groups, however, and the social and political organization must have 
been on a simple communal level, with no centralized political authority. In the 
forested country it is more difficult to assess the settlement patterns, since no 
occupation sites other than rock shelters have ever been completely excavated. 
The environment, however, lends itself to greater cohesion of the population 
into larger but more widely dispersed settlements. From such simple village so- 
cieties, which must nevertheless have been organized on an effective food- 
producing level, can be derived the later village-farming communities of southern 
Africa that are connected today with the Bantu- and semi-Bantu-speaking peo- 
ples. In some regions, notably in the more thickly wooded and lower-lying parts 
of the central plateau, as well as in the rain forest, greater importance seems 
to have been given to agriculture— as, for example, in the Kisalian culture of 
the Katanga. In other parts, for example in the dry Bechuanaland grassland and 
thornveld, cattle-raising predominated, while in the richer soils and higher rain- 
fall areas of the southeast mixed farming was the rule. But all remained essen- 
tially mobile as a result of quick exhaustion of suitable agricultural soil and 
pasture, and all still relied to a considerable extent on hunting and collecting to 
supplement their diet and, especially, to tide them over famine years. 

Thus, effective food production appears as a terminal stage in a long and 
gradual developmental process that derived from experiment and adaptation in 
the northern grasslands and forest fringes. From here population movement into 


the subcontinent caused fully food-producing economies to appear suddenly in 
some regions from the beginning of the Christian Era onward, while around 
them, as the result of symbiotic existence, some of the hunting-collecting peo- 
ples, by gradual adaptation, became fully food-producing also. 

Full urbanization was never achieved in southern Africa, and the main cen- 
ters of the Zimbabwe-Monomatapa culture can at most represent only the first 
step in this direction. Though there was a strong centralized political system 
with a hereditary ruling house and hereditary office-bearers, society was still 
organized on a dispersed-village basis. The Monomatapa may have been the 
religious and secular head, but there was no official state religion; neither was 
there a priestly or, for that matter, any fully professional class dependent upon 
other groups for their basic needs. There can never have been any great food 
surplus in a country where insect pests, uncertain rainfall, and war are the 
contributing factors in restricting food production to a subsistence level and 
where no intensive forms of agriculture, such as irrigation or selective stock- 
breeding were widely developed. The population concentrations that were re- 
sponsible for the large stone-constructed prestige buildings may have had un- 
limited manpower at their disposal, but the lack of interdependence between 
specialized communities never enabled them to develop full urbanization, and, 
as the coastal gold trade decreased, the Monomatapa culture began to disap- 
pear. Of course, in western Africa, on the east-African coast, and in Abyssinia 
full urbanization was achieved, but this came about in historic times as a result 
of trade— both overland trade routes and maritime trade— which was usually in 
the hands of foreigners, Berbers, Moors, Persians, and southern Arabians, and 
so does not rightly fall within the scope of this paper. 

The main cause behind this lack of "invention" centers and progression to 
full urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa is probably the nature of the climate, 
which did not require any particular exertion on the part of the population to 
insure survival. Generally it was not difficult to obtain a livelihood, food and 
other natural resources were abundant, and the incentive to develop any cultural 
form more elaborate than the simple village-farming community was for the 
most part absent. On the other hand, if a subsistence level of life is generally 
easier in the tropics than in temperate or colder conditions, it is also more 
restrictive. The rapidity of plant growth, malnutrition from an unbalanced diet, 
famine, disease, and warfare have all combined to act upon the mentality of the 
people, so, while they are not usually slow to adopt improvements that affect 
the obtaining of food, such revolutionary inventions and developments as the 
use of the wheel, irrigation systems, or the growth of classes of professionals or 
experts seem never to have been adopted. Perhaps the general difficulties of 
intercommunication have been a contributing factor to those others that prob- 
ably explain the receptivity but absence of intiative qualities of the sub-Saharan 
peoples in post-Pleistocene and later times. 



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he three regions under consideration, the Intermediate area, Amazonia, 
and the Caribbean area, are outlined in Figure 1. They may be char- 
acterized as follows: 

The Intermediate Area 

This region takes its name from its geographic position between the two areas 
of New World civilization, Mesoamerica and the Central Andes (Haberland, 
1957). It comprises the lower part of Central America, including eastern Hon- 
duras and Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama; all of Colombia and Ecuador 
except the eastern, Amazonian sections; and the northwestern, Andean corner 
of Venezuela. It has a central core of mountains, consisting of the local ranges 
in Central America and of the Andes in northwestern South America. These are 
bordered by a low coastal strip along the Pacific Ocean in the west and by an- 
other such strip along the Caribbean Sea to the north and east. 

The mountains occupy the greater part of the region and provide its uni- 
fying factor. By contrast, the coastal strips are relatively narrow, except where 
they extend deeply into the lower Aiagdalena valley of Colombia and the 
Maracaibo basin of Venezuela and cut across the peninsulas of Panama and 
Nicaragua. The mountains tend to be rugged and the coastal strips swampy, 
with the result that travel and communication through the area are relatively 

The region is characterized by an extreme diversity of climate, flora, and 
fauna. Although it straddles the equator, there are areas of perpetual snow and of 
treeless plains, known as paramos, on the mountain tops. Moving down to lower 
altitudes, one enters successively the tierra fria, in which potatoes are the prin- 
cipal crop; the tierra templada, in which maize grows best; and, finally, the 
tierra caliente, in which tropical root crops such as sweet manioc abound (Crux- 
ent and Rouse, 1958-59, 1:138). The coastal belts and the flood plains of the 
major rivers are also tierra caliente. Here the vegetation varies from semiarid 

1. I am indebted to Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff and Michael D. Coe for reading this paper 
and suggesting several additions and corrections, especially as it pertains to their own work. 


















scrub growth along the Venezuelan-Colombian border to dense tropical jungles 

on the Pacific coast. 


The Amazon basin extends from the so-called Montana, or eastern slopes of 
the Andes, in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia on the west through north- 
ern Brazil to the Atlantic Coast on the east. To the south, the region begins in 
the vast central Brazilian plateau of Matto Grosso, and, to the north, it ends in 
the Guiana highlands of southern Venezuela and the Guianas proper. The At- 
lantic drainages of central Brazil and of the Guianas probably also belong in 
this region, culturally speaking, but will be omitted here because relatively 
little is known of their archeology. 

This is a region of gentle topography and poor drainage, except in parts of 
the Montana and the Guiana highlands. The climate is hot and humid, supporting 
dense tropical forests, interspersed with savannas in the uplands. The seasonal 
rains produce heavy floods, which inundate the lowlands and thereby limit the 
possibilities of habitation. On the other hand, the rivers are large, navigable, 
and provide an easy means of communication throughout the area, despite its 
large size. 

The Caribbean Area 

The term "Caribbean" is employed here not in its ordinary geographical mean- 
ing but in a special culture-historical sense. It refers to the region lying east of 
Mesoamerica and the Intermediate area, north of Amazonia, and southeast of 
the United States, that is, to central and northeastern Venezuela, the adjacent 
part of British Guiana, and the West Indies (Fig. 1). 

As in the case of Amazonia, the geographical unity of this region is provided 
by its waterways, including the drainage of the Orinoco River in the interior 
and the Caribbean Sea along the coast and in the islands. But there are also 
large numbers of mountains; unlike the Andes, these occur in relatively small, 
isolated masses, both on the mainland and in the islands. They are surrounded 
by low, flat areas, the largest of which is the so-called "llanos" or plains of 
Venezuela, which extend from the coastal mountain range in the north to the 
Orinoco River on the south. 

The region does not have such extremes of environment as the Intermediate 
area or such uniformity as Amazonia. The mountains are lower and offer only 
a temperate climate on the upper slopes and a tropical environment lower down. 
The trade winds blow steadily, cooling the coasts and providing heavy rainfall 
on the windward sides of the mountains, where tropical jungles nourish. The 
leeward sides tend to be dry. Vegetation on the coasts varies from semiarid 
scrub growth to savannas and forests. The Venezuelan llanos consist primarily 
of grasslands, giving way to open forests in the west. 



Steward (1947, pp. 85-86) has distinguished three levels of cultural develop- 
ment within the regions under consideration at the time of first contact with 
Europeans. These he calls "Marginal," "Tropical Forest," and "Circum-Carib- 
bean," respectively. 2 In the terminology of the symposium, these may be re- 
garded as cultural alternates, adapted to the variations in climate that have 
just been outlined. Their nature is as follows: 

1. Marginal Alternate 

Scattered through the peripheries of the regions were groups of people who 
lacked agriculture and subsisted only by hunting, fishing, and gathering. They 
lived in relatively small camps, building only the flimsiest of huts, if any, and 
had the simplest kind of social organization and religion. Pottery was usually, 
though not always, lacking. Since most of the artifacts were of perishable 
material— even the arrows were tipped with wood rather than with stone- 
it is difficult to find archeological traces of these people. 

Marginal tribes were most widespread around the edges of the Amazon Basin, 
that is, in parts of the Montana, Matto Grosso, and the Guiana Highlands. Here 
they emphasized hunting and gathering in adaptation to an upland forest en- 
vironment. The Caribbean area also had a considerable Marginal population, 
living in the swampy areas of western Cuba, in parts of Haiti, in the Orinoco 
delta, and possibly in the eastern llanos. Here, because of the nature of the 
environment, there was greater emphasis upon fishing and the gathering of shell- 
fish. On the other hand, Marginal tribes are not reported .from the Intermediate 
area. 3 

2. Tropical Forest Alternate . •„. 

At the time of first European contact, the greater part of Amazonia was occu- 
pied by agriculturalists of the Tropical Forest type. These Indians cultivated 
primarily bitter manioc and other root crops, which are best adapted to the 
humid conditions and poorly drained soils of the forests, using the slash-and-burn 
technique. After harvesting, the manioc root was grated, squeezed in a basketry 
tube to remove the poisonous juice, and baked on a large circular griddle. Almost 
all the artifacts employed were made of perishable material; the only ones likely 

2. Steward and Faron (1959, pp. 60-64) have recently redefined these three levels as 
"sociocultural types" and have given them more descriptive names: "nomadic hunters and 
gatherers," "tropical-forest-village farmers," and "chiefdoms," respectively. This enables the 
authors to abandon the term "Marginal" and to use "Circum-Caribbean" in a purely areal 
sense, referring jointly to the two regions here called the Intermediate and the Caribbean areas. 

3. For a map of the distribution of Marginal culture see Steward and Faron (1959, p. 375). 
There the two variants distinguished above are termed "forest hunters and gatherers" and 
"aquatic nomads," respectively. Steward and Faron, however, include the so-called Ciboney 
Indians in the former category, whereas we have put them in the latter 


to survive archeologically are small pieces of flint that were set into a wooden 
slab to form the grater and the griddle, which was made of clay. 

The Tropical Forest Indians were good potters, frequently using this tech- 
nique to make burial urns as well as vessels and griddles. Ground-stone axes or 
celts are also characteristic. Little else is found in the archeological sites, because 
most of the artifacts were made of perishable materials. The buildings consisted 
of huts grouped together into villages. The villages tended to be politically inde- 
pendent and to have a relatively simple form of social organization, with little 
emphasis upon religion. 

While the Tropical Forest alternate was most typical of Amazonia, it also 
occurred widely in the Caribbean area and was the dominant form of life in the 
Orinoco basin, the Lesser Antilles, and parts of both the Greater Antilles and the 
north coast of Venezuela. It also extended into the Intermediate area, where it 
occupied the western part of the Aiaracaibo basin, the Pacific coast of Colombia, 
and the Atlantic coastal plain of Nicaragua. 4 

Bitter manioc was the staple food in the Caribbean area as well as in Amazonia, 
but in the Intermediate area its place was taken by sweet manioc, which is not 
poisonous. The Indians boiled or roasted the latter plant, and as a result its use 
cannot be readily identified from archeological remains. The Tropical Forest 
Indians of both the Caribbean and the Intermediate areas also relied heavily upon 
fruits, especially of the pejivalle and moriche palms, and upon the products of 
fishing. 5 

3 . Circum-Caribbean Alternate 

Interspersed among the Tropical Forest tribes, especially in the Intermediate 
area, were more-advanced farming peoples, characterized by a certain complex- 
ity of social and religious life. These Indians lived in larger villages, which were 
socially stratified, and had chiefs, whose authority typically extended over more 
than one village. They also possessed priests, who presided over the worship of 
idols in temples made of the same perishable materials as the houses, since there 
was little or no monumental architecture. 

The Circum-Caribbean alternate was not limited to the Intermediate area but, 
as its name implies, was also present at scattered points in the northern part of 

4. The distribution of Tropical Forest tribes is mapped by Steward and Faron (1959, p. 
285). To this map should be added Tropical Forest enclaves along the north coast of 
Venezuela, as discussed above. 

5. The Talamanca Valley of northeastern Costa Rica provides a good example of the dif- 
ficulties that maize faced in the lowlands. According to Stone (1956), this area was occupied 
by Tropical Forest people, subsisting primarily upon sweet manioc and the fruit of the 
pejivalle palm, until shortly before the arrival of Europeans. Then the area was invaded by 
"Mexicans," who presumably introduced maize. This crop never "made too great an impres- 
sion, whether because the climatical conditions were unfavorable to its cultivation and 
storage or whether it was a question of taste" (Stone, 1956, p. 192). 


Venezuela and among the so-called Taino of the central part of the Greater 
Antilles. It has not been reported from Amazonia during historic time. 6 

There were several significant differences between the Circum-Caribbean 
tribes of the Intermediate and of the Caribbean areas. In the first place, maize 
was the staple food of the Intermediate area, whereas in the Caribbean area the 
Circum-Caribbean tribes followed the example of their Tropical Forest neigh- 
bors in relying primarily upon bitter manioc. Maize was present as a secondary 
crop among some Caribbean tribes, but they apparently boiled or roasted it 
instead of grinding it into flour to make bread (Rouse, 1948, p. 523). As a result, 
one finds metates and manos of stone archeologically only in the Intermediate 
area; in the Caribbean area, their place is taken by clay griddles for baking cassava. 

Sauer (1952, pp. 40-73) theorizes that the Intermediate and Caribbean forms 
of agriculture constitute separate culture-historical complexes, to which he gives 
the names "seed" and "vegetative" farming, respectively. We may say that the 
Circum-Caribbean peoples of the Intermediate area had the seed complex be- 
cause they relied primarily upon maize and beans, using root crops only second- 
arily, and that the Circum-Caribbean tribes of the Caribbean area were, instead, 
vegetative planters because their staple foods were bitter manioc and the sweet 
potato, with maize being used only secondarily, if at all. There are exceptions 
to this rule, of course. The Indians of the tierra fria in the Intermediate area 
relied not so much on seed crops, which grow poorly at that altitude, as on the 
potato, which is a root crop. Similarly, some Indians of the tierra caliente seem 
to have favored sweet manioc, presumably because it grows better than maize 
in the poorly drained tropical jungles. Wherever the environment was favorable, 
however, the tribes of the Intermediate area were seed planters. 

A second significant difference between the Circum-Caribbean tribes of the 
Intermediate and the Caribbean areas was that only the former had learned to 
cast metals. They fashioned gold and other precious metals into ornaments and 
religious objects of considerable complexity, although not into tools and uten- 
sils. These religious objects, together with large amounts of pottery, are now 
found mainly in graves, especially of the deep-shaft type. Elaborate graves with 
such a wealth of furniture are absent from the Caribbean area, and it would 
seem that the Indians who lived there had relatively little interest in burial 
and in life after death. 

Some anthropologists have theorized that the civilizations of Mesoamerica and 
the Central Andes must have been joined by an as yet undiscovered civilization 
in the Intermediate area. If it was present, such a civilization would constitute an 
additional alternate within the area, existing alongside the Tropical Forest and 
Circum-Caribbean cultures. There is, however, no evidence that this was so, 
either in the colonial records or in the contemporary studies of the Indians. The 

6. For a map of the distribution of Circum-Caribbean culture see Steward and Faron 
(1959, p. 203). 


Muisca (Chibcha) tribe of the Bogota basin in Colombia is sometimes cited as 
an example of civilization because of its sedentary form of agriculture and rela- 
tively dense population, but the rest of its culture was typically Circum-Caribbean 
(see, e.g., Steward and Faron, 1959, pp. 212-16). It must be concluded, there- 
fore, that the Indians of the Intermediate area did not attain civilization. 


Of the three regions, only the Caribbean has been adequately covered by 
archeologists. This region has not only been the scene of intensive local activity, 
especially in Cuba and Venezuela, but has also benefited from a series of research 
programs by United States organizations: the Bureau of American Ethnology, 
Smithsonian Institution; the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation; 
and, most recently, the Peabody Museum, Yale University. These programs 
have been well planned and have covered all parts of the area in some detail. 
One of their principal results has been the establishment of a region-wide chron- 
ology, which will be utilized in the present paper (Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 
Vol. 2, Figs. 6-9, 26, 100, 149, 170). 

Research in the Intermediate area, on the other hand, has been relatively un- 
balanced. Until recently, it was concentrated in the mountainous parts of the 
region, where most of the modern population lives and where the more elab- 
orate archeological remains are to be found. It was not until the last decade that 
intensive work was begun on the coast by a few archeologists, notably Bushnell 
(1951), Estrada (1957a, b, 1958), and Evans and Meggers (1957) in Ecuador; 
Reichel-Dolmatoff (1954, 1957, 1958) in northern Colombia; and Willey (1958, 
pp. 358-59) and his students (e.g., McGimsey, 1956, 1958; Ladd, 1957) in Central 
America. Chronology proved to be difficult to obtain in the highlands, for the 
refuse sites there are sparse, shallow, and, in the area of most intensive agriculture 
around Bogota, Colombia, surprisingly late (Haury, 1953). On the coast, how- 
ever, the recent work has resulted in the discovery of deep refuse sites with 
long sequences of occupation. These are still too few in number and too scat- 
tered to provide a reliable chronology for the region, but they are a promising 

Amazonia is even less fully covered. Intensive work has been carried out only 
in the peripheries of the region, that is, in the Montana (e.g., Bennett, 1936; 
Lathrap, 1958), the Guianas (Meggers and Evans, 1955), and at the mouth of 
the Amazon (Meggers and Evans, 1957). We do have chronologies for these 
peripheral regions, since the sites are deep enough to yield sequences of occupa- 
tion, but they will not mean much over-all until stratigraphic work is carried 
out in the central part of the area. The one attempt at synthesis, by Howard 
(1947), is now out of date. 

For purposes of the present paper, it seems advisable to use the Caribbean 
chonology, since it is region-wide, is based upon the most stratigraphy, and is 
supplied with the best series of radiocarbon determinations. The scattered chrono- 


logical sequences in the other two regions will be correlated with it, but the 
correlations must be considered no more than provisional, since we do not yet 
possess adequate data for either the Intermediate area or Amazonia. 

Figure 2 presents the chronology to be used here, consisting of a Pleistocene 
and/or early post-Pleistocene period and a Recent one. The latter is subdivided 
into four parts, arbitrarily numbered from I to IV. The probable values of these 
periods in absolute time are indicated on the left side of the chart. In order to 
simplify the presentation, only selected local areas are included in the figure and 
the lesser cultures have been eliminated. The periods listed in Figure 2 will be 
discussed in turn and will be illustrated primarily in terms of the cultures named 
in the figure. 




























200 AC. 















iooo ac 














Figure 2. Chronology of selected areas of the Intermediate 
area, Amazonia, and the Caribbean. 


Early hunters must have been widespread throughout the three regions, but 
only a single complex— El Jobo— has so far been worked out. This is situated in 
the west-central part of Venezuela (Cruxent and Rouse, 1958, 1: 68-70). It is 
known from small, shallow camp sites some distance in the interior, which have 
yielded only stone implements. Leaf-shaped projectile points of quartzite, finely 
rechipped over both surfaces, are characteristic. There are also unifacially or 
bifacially worked knives, scrapers, and choppers. Traces of food are lacking, 
but it may be presumed that the points, knives, and scrapers were used in hunt- 


ing and butchering big game and the choppers, perhaps, in collecting and split- 
ting nuts, in the manner described by Desmond Clark (this volume) for nearly 
identical tools from Africa. 

Some evidence of hunting big game has recently been obtained by Cruxent 
(personal communication) at the nearby coastal site of La Vela del Coro. Here 
he found typical El Jobo points in association with the bones of various extinct 
mammals, including the mastodon, glyptodon, and megatherium. Unfortunately, 
the deposit was too disturbed to determine whether this was a kill site, but sev- 
eral bones showed evidence of cutting. 

Cruxent (personal communication) has obtained a radiocarbon determination 
of 14,000 B.C. for this site, but the date cannot definitely be associated with the 
El Jobo complex because of the disturbance there. The typical El Jobo points 
are comparable to those found with mammoth bones at Santa Isabel Iztapan in 
the Valley of Mexico, which are dated from 14,000 to 9000 b.c. (Willey, this 
volume), and to the points of the Ayampitin complex in Argentina, which have 
a radiocarbon determination of about 6000 b.c. (Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 
1: 70). It is presumed, therefore, that the El Jobo complex dates from either late 
Pleistocene or early post-Pleistocene time. 

Two other lithic assemblages were discovered recently. At Catru on the head- 
waters of the Baudo River in western Colombia, Gerardo and Alicia Reichel- 
Dolmatoff (personal communication) obtained "a large series of flake tools, all 
fashioned by percussion chipping, mostly uniface scrapers. There is only one 
(doubtful) single-shouldered projectile point." Reichel-DolmatofT adds that Catru 
"is related to San Nicolas, Lower Sinu," which is another lithic site in the Carib- 
bean part of Colombia (Fig. 1). 

At El Inga, near the town of Tumbaco in highland Ecuador, Bell and Mayer- 
Oakes (1960) encountered a more typical hunting complex, characterized by 
fluted points and also by large stemmed specimens comparable to those obtained 
by Junius Bird in the bottom level of Fells Cave in Patagonia. These would 
place the site in early post-Pleistocene time, since the earliest occupation at 
Fells Cave has a radiocarbon determination of 6679 b.c. (Libby, 1955, p. 134). 

These scattered finds do little more than indicate the presence of early hunters 
in the Intermediate and Caribbean areas. Presumably the hunters migrated south- 
ward from Mesoamerica, but the time of their arrival, the directions in which 
they moved, and the duration of their occupation remain to be determined (cf. 
Collier, this volume). 


The first of the Recent periods is so far known almost entirely from a series 
of shell middens along the coast and on the adjacent islands, which indicate a 
change in the principal means of subsistence from hunting to fishing and the 
gathering of shellfish. A number of cultural complexes have been recognized, 


and these may be divided into two groups, depending upon whether or not 
pottery is present. The six best-documented non-ceramic complexes and all three 
known ceramic complexes are listed in Table 1, with their radiocarbon deter- 
minations. It will be seen that Period I lasted from about 5000 to 1000 B.C. 


The Principal Complexes of Period I with Their Radiocarbon Determinations 

Determination Sources for the Complex 




and Its Detennination 


Cerro Mangote 

Pacific coast of Panama 

4850 ± 100 

McGimsey, 1956, 1958 


El Heneal 

Central coast of Venezuela 

1440 ± 120 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 
1: 75-76 



East coast of Venezuela 

2190 ± 80 

Ibid., pp. 46-49 



East coast of Venezuela 

1610 ± 130 
1090 ± 80 

Ibid., pp. 49-53 
Ibid., pp. 111-13 



Eastern Puerto Rico 

AJegria, Nicholson, and 
Willey, 1955 




Rouse, 1941, pp. 24-53 



Pacific coast of Panama 

2130 ± 70 

Willey and McGimsey, 1954; 
Deevey, Gralenski, and 
Hoffren, 1959, pp. 166-67 



Coastal Ecuador 

Estrada, 1956 



Caribbean coast of 

1510 ± 70 

Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1955, 


1180 ± 120 
1020 ± 120 

personal communication 

Note. The first six complexes lack pottery. The last three have it. 

The origin of the complexes is not known, but there is reason to think that 
it was diverse (Rouse, 1960). As Table 4 indicates, the non-ceramic complexes 
are widespread in both Intermediate and Caribbean areas. The Manicuare com- 
plex, in eastern Venezuela (Fig 2), is a typical example. It has been found in a 
large number of shell middens on the peninsula of Araya and on the islands of 
Cubagua and Margarita offshore. Most sites are situated just back of sandy 
beaches, where agriculture would be difficult if not impossible but where fishing 
could easily be carried out. Occupation must have been relatively permanent, 
since the deposits range up to 15 feet in depth. The presence of large numbers 
offish bones, shells, and especially echinoderm remains confirm the importance 
of sea food in the diet. Projectile points are made of bone rather than stone; 
there are also biconical sling(?) stones. Gouges are the commonest implements 
of shell and are thought to have been used in the manufacture of dugout canoes, 
which the Manicuare peoples must have had in order to be able to travel from 
island to island. Burials are directly in the refuse, without grave objects. No re- 
ligious structures or other evidences of ceremonialism have been encountered. 

The ceramic complexes have so far been found only in the Intermediate area. 


Barlovento, in northern Colombia (Fig. 2), may serve as an example. Its sites 
are very similar to the shell heaps of the Manicuare complex and, like them, are 
situated in areas where agriculture is virtually impossible but where there is 
good fishing. The few non-ceramic artifacts include hammerstones and possible 
net-sinkers. Potsherds are considerably more common; they come from sub- 
globular bowls with broad-line incised designs. Similar decoration occurs in the 
other complexes, and it may be that, despite very considerable differences in 
the details of material, shape, and design, all the pottery came from a single, as 
yet undetermined, source, spreading from this source to the preceramic peoples 
in advance of agriculture. 

The absence of agriculture from these complexes is of interest because Period 
I was the time when incipient farming made its appearance in Mesoamerica to 
the north and the Central Andes to the south. Instead of being in the line of agri- 
cultural development, the complexes just described must be regarded as a dis- 
tinct, non-agricultural alternate that had become specialized on the marine food 
available along the coast. At least in the two examples described, the necessary 
preconditions for incipient agriculture seem to have been lacking. Wild vege- 
table foods were rare, judging from modern conditions and from the paucity of 
milling stones in the sites. There may have been little incentive to turn to these 
foods anyway, since products of the sea were so easily obtainable. Even in 
later periods, many of the coastal people seem to have been loath to accept 
agriculture, for non-agricultural shell heaps continued through Periods II, III, 
and IV, as will be discussed below, and the culture of these sites leads directly 
into the Marginal culture of historic time. 

Since the coastal people of Period I seem to have been ancestral to the Marginal 
tribes of historic time and since they had a similar mode of life, we will apply 
the term "Marginal" to them. It signifies that they had specialized away from 
the direction of incipient agriculture, which was developing elsewhere during 
Period I. 

If we are to find incipient agriculture in the regions under consideration, we 
must look for it in the interior rather than on the coast. Unfortunately, it has 
not yet been possible to locate sites dating from Period I in the interior, with 
the possible exception of Michelena, in the Valencia basin of northern Venezuela, 
where workmen constructing a factory found milling stones, pestles, axes, and 
hammerstones two meters deep, together with traces of ash, which may indicate 
habitation (Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 1: 171-72). One might speculate that 
the milling stones and pestles were used to prepare wild or cultivated vege- 
tables, although they are not typical of the historic agriculture in the area. 

Sauer (1952, pp. 45-46) has theorized that there was a center of plant domesti- 
cation in the llanos or plains of central Venezuela, in which the Indians first 
cultivated manioc, which subsequently became their staple. One can imagine this 
taking place where the forests border the llanos, especially along the galleries 
on the banks of the Orinoco River. Presumably, these forest galleries were in- 


habited at the beginning of Period I by people who fished in the Orinoco, col- 
lected wild vegetable foods in the galleries, and at the same time continued to 
hunt upon the savannas, like some modern tribes in South Africa (Clark, this 
volume). From collecting manioc roots and palm fruits wild, it would have 
been an easy step to start cultivating them, that is, to develop incipient agri- 
culture of the vegetative type. 

We would suggest, then, that incipient vegetative agriculture may have devel- 
oped on the llanos in the interior of Venezuela during Period I as an alternate 
to the Marginal fishing cultures that were emerging on the coast at the same 
time. But we must also consider the possibility of a third alternate that is even 
more speculative. Incipient seed agriculture may have spread along the Pacific 
coast of Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador from either of the two 
known centers of its development, Mesoamerica to the north and Peru to the 
south. Finally, it is probable that some of the Pleistocene hunting cultures per- 
sisted into Period I as a fourth alternate, although with a shift from large to 
small game. This is particularly likely to have been true of Amazonia, since 
Marginal hunting tribes still survive there, but it has yet to be demonstrated 
archeologically. 7 


Period II is the time of first appearance of effective food production. Here we 
are on firmer ground. Vegetative agriculture is well represented in archeological 
sites of the Caribbean area during this period, and seed agriculture in archeo- 
logical sites of the Intermediate area. In addition, we have good evidence of a 
continuation of the Marginal fishing alternate of Period I in the peripheries of 
the Caribbean area. 

The principal cultures of the period are listed in Table 2, beginning with the 
Marginal complexes and continuing with those characterized first by vegetative 
agriculture and then by seed agriculture. Radiocarbon determinations are in- 
cluded where known. It will be seen that Period II lasted from ca. 1000 B.C. to 
a.d. 200, that is, during approximately the same time that effective agriculture 
was making its appearance in Mesoamerica to the north and the Central Andes 
to the south. 

Little need be said about the Marginal complexes, since they continue the 
form of life already described for Period I. Punta Gorda, for example, is simply 
an offshoot of the Manicuare culture, already discussed, from which it differs 
mainly in having a greater elaboration of shellwork. It also contains a few 
potsherds, but these are so rare and technologically so fine as to indicate that 

7. Willey (1960, Fig. 2) has recently published a chart in which he postulates the co- 
existence of all four of these alternates, as suggested above, except that he shows the fishing 
alternate only along the south coast of Brazil (not covered here) and omits it from the 
Caribbean area. 



The Principal Cultures of Period II with Their Radiocarbon Determinations 




Sources for the Culture 
and Its Determination 

1. Punta Gorda East coast of Venezuela 

2. Ortoire 

3. Saladero 

4. Barrancas 

5. ElMayal 


Middle-lower Orinoco 
River, Venezuela 

Lower Orinoco River, 

Northeast coast of 

6. Cedros Trinidad 

7. Cuevas Puerto Rico 

8. Tutishcainyo Montana of Peru 

9. Anantuba Mouth of the Amazon 
10. Momil I — II Caribbean lowlands of 


11. Monte 

12. Sarigua 

13. Chorrera 

14. Tejar 

15. Loma 

16. Tocuyano 

17. Cerro 

Pacific coast of 

Costa Rica 
Pacific coast of Panama 
Coastal Ecuador 
Coastal Ecuador 
Caribbean lowlands of 

Western Venezuela 

Central Venezuela 

800 ± 130 B.C. 
790 ± 130 b.c. 

910 ± 130 b.c 
740 ± 130 b.c 
610 ± 130 b.c 
890 ± 120 b.c 

860 ± 80 b.c 
840 ± 150 b.c. 
a.d. 165 ± 80 

a.d. 90 ± 200 
a.d. 430 ± 280 

220 ± 300 B.C. 

a.d. 30 ± 70 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 

pp. 53-56 
Rouse, 1953, pp. 94-96; 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958- 

59, Table 2 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958— 
59, 1: 213-23 

Ibid., pp. 223-27 

Ibid., pp. 119-21 

Rouse, 1953 

Rouse, 1952, pp. 336-40 
Lathrap, 1958 
Meggers and Evans, 1957 
Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. and 
A., 1956 

Michael D. Coe, personal 

Willey and McGimsey, 1954 
Evans and Meggers, 1957 
Ibid., 1957 

Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. and 

A., 1951 
Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 

1: 152-55 
Ibid., pp. 93-95 

Note. The first two cultures are Marginal, Nos. 3-9 have vegetative agriculture, 10 apparendy 
has a succession of vegetative and seed agriculture, and 11-17 have only seed agriculture. 

they were not locally manufactured but were traded in, probably from the El 
Mayal culture (Table 2, No. 5), which has similar pottery. 8 

8. It is perhaps also worth noting that the Ortoire complex, on the island of Trinidad, and 
the related El Conchal and El Penon complexes, on the east coast of Venezuela, have large 
numbers of tiny stone chips (Rouse, 1953, pp. 94-96; Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 1:113-14, 
128-29). These could have been used in manioc graters, but, in view of the absence of pottery 
griddles, I am more inclined to believe that agriculture was lacking. 


Theoretically, effective vegetative agriculture should have originated some- 
where around the Venezuelan llanos about the beginning of Period II, arising 
out of the hypothetical incipient form of agriculture postulated for the previous 
period. Alternatively, it may have spread to the Orinoco as the result of a migra- 
tion from Amazonia or the Intermediate area. Unfortunately, we know nothing 
about its origin. There can be little doubt, however, that it was present in the 
lower Orinoco valley by 800 b.c. We have six radiocarbon determinations clus- 
tering around that time (Table 2, Nos. 3 and 4), and all are associated with 
clay griddles like those still used in the area today for the preparation of manioc 
bread. Metates and manos indicative of maize agriculture are absent. Accom- 
panying the earliest griddles is a relatively fine, white-on-red painted pottery, 
to which we have given the name of the Saladoid tradition (Cruxent and Rouse, 
1958-59, 1: 26). 

The Saladoid pottery is widespread in eastern Venezuela and the West Indies. 
Study of its distribution, resemblances, and the sequence of radiocarbon deter- 
minations presented in Table 2 has led to the following historical reconstruction. 
Saladoid potters, with effective vegetative agriculture, made their appearance 
in the Orinoco valley during the first millennium b.c. By the time of Christ, they 
had spread to the northeastern coast of Venezuela, where they supposedly ac- 
quired the ability to navigate by sea from the already extant Marginal peoples 
of the Manicuaroid tradition. With this new skill, they were able to move out 
into the West Indies during the first centuries after Christ (Cruxent and Rouse, 
1958-59, 1: 244-45). They apparently proceeded only as far as Puerto Rico at 
this time, since we do not find the white-on-red pottery diagnostic of Period II 
in any other parts of the Greater Antilles. The Marginal peoples must have 
survived in the other islands, such as Hispaniola and Cuba (Rouse, 1951, Fig. 2). 

The Cuevas culture of Puerto Rico may be discussed as an example of the 
Saladoid development. A survey of Puerto Rico has revealed that Cuevas sites 
are limited to the seashore and to the banks of the major rivers near the shore 
(Rouse, 1952, Table 13). Most are close to sheltered beaches, from which fish- 
ing could have been undertaken, and contain large amounts of crab and shell 
remains. It would seem, therefore, that not only agriculture but also fishing and 
shell fishing contributed to the diet. 

Since the sites are considerably larger than in the previous period, we may 
assume that the Cuevas people were living in more or less settled villages, all of 
which appear to have been of approximately the same size. There are no cere- 
monial structures, and the burials consist simply of skeletons in the refuse, usually 
without any grave objects. 

Cuevas potsherds are technologically better than any of the latter material, 
are more complicated in shape, and are characteristically decorated with fine, 
white-on-red painted designs. Few other artifacts have been found in the sites, 
and these are all relatively plain and utilitarian. They include clay griddles for 
baking cassava, stone adzes and celts, bone awls, and beads and pendants of 
stone, bone, and shell. No ceremonial artifacts have been recovered, nor are 


there any recognizable evidences of warfare or trade. One gains the impression 
of simple, peasant villages, existing in relative isolation. 

This way of life corresponds to Steward's Tropical Forest alternate of historic 
time, and indeed most, if not all, of the historic Tropical Forest Indians of the 
Caribbean area seem to have developed out of the Saladoid tradition or out of 
the corresponding Barrancoid tradition, which also makes its appearance in east- 
ern Venezuela during Period II, accompanied by vegetative agriculture (Table 
2, No. 4). There are likewise evidences of Tropical Forest culture in Amazonia 
that may be this early (Table 2, Nos. 8 and 9), although ift relationships are 
not known. 9 If Sauer's theory is correct, effective vegetative agriculture should 
have spread from Venezuela to Amazonia during Period II, with Tropical Forest 
people expanding there, too, at the expense of the previous Marginal inhabitants. 

To the west, in the northern Andes, a different picture is beginning to emerge. 
Coe (1960) has found pottery in the Ocos phase at the site of La Victoria on 
the Pacific coast of Guatemala that is surprisingly similar to that of the Chor- 
rera culture on the coast of Ecuador (Table 2, No. 13). He postulates a south- 
ward diffusion of this pottery from Guatemala to Peru, accompanied by the 
first fully effective cultivation of maize, that is, the first effective seed agriculture. 
Whether this diffusion took place as a result of contacts along the Pacific coasts 
of Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador or is due to direct, overwater move- 
ment from Guatemala to Ecuador is a problem currently under investigation as 
a project of the Institute of Andean Research. 

According to Manglesdorf, MacNeish, and Willey (MS), this southward 
diffusion of effective seed agriculture began in Mesoamerica about 1000 B.C. 
It apparently reached the Central Andes during the Cupisnique period, that is, 
about 750 B.C. (Collier, this volume). Hence, it paralleled the spread of effective 
vegetative agriculture through the Caribbean area to the east, where, as we 
have seen, the earliest dates are ca. 800 B.C. 

The western area of effective seed agriculture overlaps the eastern area of 
effective vegetative agriculture at the site of Momil, near the Caribbean coast 
of northwestern Colombia (Table 2, No. 10). In the lower half of this site— 
Momil I— Reichel-Dolmatoff (1957, pp. 233-34) found a local style of pottery 
accompanied by clay griddles, which he, too, considers indicative of vegetative 
agriculture. In the upper half— Momil II— griddles are replaced by metates and 
manos, and the pottery begins to show stronger Mesoamerican influences. The 
exact age of the site of Momil is not known, but, from the other dates listed 
in Table 2, it may be inferred that seed agriculture, together with Mesoamerican 
ceramic influences, reached Momil about 500 B.C. 

From Momil, Mesoamerican-like pottery, presumably accompanied by seed 
agriculture, spread eastward through cultures such as Loma in northeastern 
Colombia to Tocuyano in the interior of western Venezuela, where it has a radio- 
carbon determination of ca. 220 b.c (Table 2, No. 16). It subsequently reached 

9. The dates given in Table 2 for Nos. 8 and 9 are based upon Willey (1958, Fig. 9). 
Evans and Meggers (personal communication) consider these dates too early. 


the Caribbean coast of central Venezuela ca. a.d. 30 (Table 2, No. 17). Here it 
is obviously intrusive and lasted for only a short period of time, for subsequent 
cultures in the central part of Venezuela have local, Caribbean pottery of the 
Saladoid and Barrancoid traditions, accompanied by griddles indicative of vege- 
tative agriculture (Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 1: 93-98). 

There is an interesting parallel between this spread of effective seed agri- 
culture eastward through the northern part of South America and its diffusion 
northward from Mesoamerica into the southwestern part of the United States 
(Haury, this volume). Both events seem to have taken place at about the same 
time, and both seem to have stopped abruptly, the South American spread in 
the face of Tropical Forest culture, which was already well established in the 
Caribbean area, and the North American one in the face of non-agricultural alter- 
nates, which prevailed in California and the Great Basin. 

Momil II culture of northern Colombia may be described as an example of 
the form of life that resulted from the introduction of effective seed agriculture 
into northwestern South America. The Momil site is composed of refuse but 
without the remains of sea food so characteristic of the Tropical Forest cul- 
tures, even though sea shells were used in making artifacts. There is a greater 
variety of pottery than in the Tropical Forest cultures, such as bowls, jars, 
and storage vessels with incised, rocker dentate stamped, and polychrome decora- 
tion. The Mesoamerican traits include basal flanged bowls, tripod vessels, and 
mammiform supports. There is a much greater variety of other artifacts than in 
the Tropical Forest cultures: clay spindle whorls, figurines, stamps, and whistles; 
stone axes, metates, and manos; rechipped flint points, scrapers, and microliths; 
bone awls and needles; and shell buttons and pendants. Many of these artifacts, 
like the pottery, indicate Mesoamerican influence, and they also testify to a 
ceremonial development that is lacking in Tropical Forest cultures. This cere- 
monial development, like the pottery and cultivation of maize, may have had 
its origin in Mesoamerica (Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1957, p. 233). 

From the standpoint of Steward's classification of the historic tribes, cultures 
like Momil II must be considered Circum-Caribbean because of their evidences 
of ceremonial (and presumably also social) development. 10 In other words, we 
would equate Momil II with the Circum-Caribbean tribes that occupied the 
Intermediate area during historic time. 

Theoretically, there should also have been Tropical Forest tribes in the Inter- 
mediate area during Period II, since they were there at the time Europeans 
arrived. No traces of them have yet been reported, however. Momil I does not 
qualify, despite its vegetative agriculture, because it already has evidences of 
ceremonialism. We must look for sites with Momil Fs economy but without its 

10. The term "Circum-Caribbean" is used here in place of "Formative," which is pre- 
ferred by many archeologists (e.g., Collier, this volume), for two reasons: it makes for 
easier correlation with the ethnology and applies equally to all the periods and regions under 
discussion, whereas there is a tendency to restrict "Formative" to the spread of effective 
seed agriculture from Mesoamerica during Period II (e.g., Evans and Meggers, 1957; Reichel- 
Dolmatoff, 1957). 


evidences of Mesoamerican influence, which, in effect, make it transitional be- 
tween the Tropical Forest and the Circum-Caribbean form of life. 


The distinction between Marginal, Tropical Forest, and Circum-Caribbean 
alternates continues into Period III. The principal cultures indicative of each 
of these alternates are listed in Table 3, with their radiocarbon determinations. 
It will be seen that the period lasted from ca. a.d. 200 to a.d. 1000. 


Selected Cultures of Period III with Their Radiocarbon Determinations 


Sources for the Culture 




and Its Determination 



Northeast coast of 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 



1: 105-7 



Lower Orinoco River, 

590 ± 90 

Ibid., pp. 227-30 



Northeast coast of 

605 ± 80 

Ibid., pp. 121-23 



Northeast coast of 

380 ± 40 

Ibid., pp. 129-31 




Rouse, 1953 



St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles 

740 ± 110 

Marshall McKusick, 
personal communication 



Puerto Rico 

Rouse, 1952, pp. 340-44 


Santa Elena 

Puerto Rico 

Ibid., pp. 344-47 




Ibid., pp. 54-113 



Montana of Peru 

Lathrap, 1958 



Mouth of the Amazon 

Meggers and Evans, 1957 



Pacific coast of Costa Rica 565 ± 90 

Michael D. Coe, 

personal communication 



Pacific coast of Panama 

210 + 60 

Deevey, Gralenski, and 
Hoffren, 1959, p. 166 



Coastal Ecuador 

Estrada, 1957b 


Tierra Alta 

Caribbean lowlands of 

Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. 
and A., 1958 


La Pitia 

Western Venezuela 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 
1: 63-66 

Note. The first culture is Marginal, cultures 2-11 

are Tropical Forest, and cultures 12-15 are 

Only a single Marginal culture, Pedro Garcia in northeastern Venezuela, can 
be listed in Table 3. However, it is probable that similar cultures persisted in 
the Greater Antilles and in Amazonia, since they were still there during historic 
time. In the Greater Antilles, the Marginal Indians may be said to have re- 


treated into the positions they occupied historically, for we find the Tropical 
Forest sites extending beyond Puerto Rico, which had been their limit during 
Period II, into most of the rest of the Greater Antilles. 

Tropical Forest culture is well represented archeologically in both Amazonia 
and the Caribbean area. As in the case of Period II, however, it has not yet 
been reported from the northern Andes, although it should be there. All the 
known cultures of the latter area may be identified as Circum-Caribbean (Table 3). 

The known Tropical Forest cultures show very little advance over the pre- 
vious period, with one significant exception. During late Period III a geographi- 
cally restricted group of cultures in Puerto Rico and the neighboring islands 
began a ceremonial development that was to culminate later, during Period IV, 
in the eastern variety of Circum-Caribbean culture. The Ostiones culture, which 
succeeded Cuevas in Puerto Rico (Table 3, No. 7) will serve to illustrate this 
development. Ostiones sites are found throughout the major river valleys as well 
as on the coast, indicating that at least some of the inhabitants were relying more 
on agriculture and less upon fishing. The villages are still of the relatively 
small, peasant type; whatever increase of population there may have been was 
apparently siphoned off by expansion into the interior of the island and seizure 
of the neighboring islands to the west from Marginal peoples. The earlier sites 
still contain no ceremonial structures, but the later ones have ball courts, con- 
sisting of flat areas surrounded by stone slabs. Burial continues to be directly in 
the refuse, with few, if any, grave objects. 

The earlier Ostiones pottery is largely undecorated, the white-on-red designs 
of the previous period having died out; but lugs modeled in the form of human 
and animal heads are added to it during the latter part of the period. To judge 
from the customs of historic time, these were intended to portray the Indian 
deities, called zemis, and hence they support the evidence of the ball courts in 
indicating that the Circum-Caribbean religious development of historic time had 
its origin in this period. Representations of the zemis also began to be carved 
on ornaments and implements of stone, bone, and shell during the latter part 
of Period III. Otherwise, the artifacts are little more complex than in the previous 
period. A few trade sherds have been found but no evidences of warfare. 

The Circum-Caribbean cultures of the Intermediate area show equally little 
advance during Period III. It was at this time that the Indians to the north and 
the south, in Mesoamerica and the Central Andes, achieved civilization, but the 
local Indians now fell behind. In effect, they stagnated, as compared with their 
neighbors who had crossed the threshold of civilization. 

The culture of Tierra Alta, in the Atlantic lowlands of Colombia, may be 
cited as an example of Circum-Caribbean life in the west during Period III 
(Table 3, No. 15). Reichel-Dolmatoff (1958, pp. 481-82) reports that the people 
of this culture expanded up the rivers and their tributaries in a manner analogous 
to that in Puerto Rico. At the same time, the villages along the larger streams 
increased in size and clearly became differentiated from the lesser hamlets in 
more remote areas, 'something which did not happen in Puerto Rico. Burial was 


now in urns, accompanied by some grave objects, but religious structures are 
not known. 

Tierra Alta pottery is typically incised and modeled. Most of the other types 
of artifacts listed for the preceding Momil culture persisted, but clay figurines 
were replaced by effigy vessels. Gold ornaments appear for the first time. 


Selected cultures of the final period are listed in Table 4. We do not have 
many radiocarbon determinations for them but estimate that the period began 
about a.d. 1000 and persisted into historic time. 

Selected Cultures of Period IV with Their Radiocarbon Determinations 

Determination Sources for the Culture 




and Its Determination 




1000 ± 60 

Osgood, 1942; E. S. Deevey, 
personal communication 



Lower Orinoco River, 

1660 ± 50 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 
1: 230-34 


El Morro 

Northeast coast of 

1670 ± 70 
1245 ± 70 

Ibid., pp. 123-25 



Central Cuba 

Rouse, 1942 



Montana of Peru 

Lathrap, 1958 



Mouth of the Amazon 

Meggers and Evans, 1957 



Eastern Puerto Rico 

Rouse, 1952, pp. 352-54 


Boca Chica 

Dominican Republic 

Boyrie Moya, 1955 



Central Venezuela 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 
1: 175-79 



Mouth of the Amazon 

Meggers and Evans, 1957 



Highlands of Costa Rica 

Lothrop, 1926 



Pacific coast of Panama 

Lothrop, 1937-42 



Andes of Colombia 

Haury and Cubillos, 1953 



Coastal Ecuador 

Estrada, 1957a 



Caribbean slope of 

Mason, 1931-39; Reichel- 
Dolmatoff, G. and A., 1954 



Andes of Venezuela 

1380 ±50 

Cruxent and Rouse, 1958-59, 
1: 148-51 

Note. Culture 1 is Marginal, cultures 2-6 are Tropical Forest, and 7-16 can be considered 

So far as is known, the distributions of the Marginal, Tropical Forest, and 
Circum-Caribbean cultures relative to each other remained the same during 
Period IV with an important exception. Circum-Caribbean culture now pene- 


trated the Caribbean area and Amazonia, from which it had previously been 

This penetration can be demonstrated archeologically at three points: in the 
Greater Antilles, central Venezuela, and at the mouth of the Amazon (Table 4, 
Nos. 7, 8, 9, and 10, respectively). The first of these is simply the culmination 
of a local development that began during the previous period, as discussed above, 
very probably under the stimulation of Mesoamerican influences, which will be 
described below. The second may well have developed in a similar manner, 
under influences from the Intermediate area rather than from Mesoamerica. 
The third is a different matter. Meggers and Evans (1957) conclude that Mara- 
joara, the Circum-Caribbean culture at the mouth of the Amazon, was intrusive 
from up river— from as far away as the Intermediate area, according to them— 
and that it lasted only briefly. 

It is interesting to speculate why the Antillean and Venezuelan developments 
survived whereas the Amazonian did not. Meggers and Evans (1957) theorize 
that Marajoara culture failed because it was poorly adapted to the tropical- 
forest conditions at the mouth of the Amazon. However, the Circum-Caribbean 
cultures of the Greater Antilles and central Venezuela flourished in the same 
kind of environment. We would suggest that a difference in agriculture may 
have been the determining factor. Both the Greater Antillean and central Ven- 
ezuelan cultures were built upon vegetative agriculture, which was well adapted 
to Tropical Forest conditions, whereas Marajoara culture, if it did come from 
Colombia, was probably based upon seed agriculture, which could not be effi- 
ciently carried on in the jungles of Amazonia. 11 

There were, then, two kinds of Circum-Caribbean people in the regions under 
consideration at the close of Period IV: isolated groups of vegetative planters in 
the Caribbean area and a much larger mass of seed planters in the Intermediate 
area. Boca Chica culture, of the Dominican Republic (Fig. 2), will serve to illus- 
trate the life of the vegetative planters. Boca Chica is the culture of the Taino 
Indians, who were encountered by Columbus (Loven, 1935). Its sites vary con- 
siderably in size, and the larger ones are accompanied by ceremonial plazas and 
ball courts, usually surrounded by stone slabs set on edge. Stone pillars, carved 
with figures of the zemis, or Indian deities, were set up in the centers of the 
plazas. Burials are frequently accompanied by pottery vessels, although there are 
still no ornaments or other ceremonial artifacts, such as are found in the 
Intermediate area. It may be assumed that the larger sites were inhabited by 
more important chiefs and that considerable trade and social stratification were 
also present, since both have been described by the first European explorers. On 
the other hand, the Taino were not warlike. 

The pottery is elaborately decorated with modeled-incised heads, which, 
according to the historic sources, represented zemis. Carvings of the zemis also 

11. One wonders, though, why the Marajoara people did not shift from seed to vegetative 
agriculture when they entered the tropical forests, as the Mexicans who migrated into the 
Talamanca valley apparently did (see n. 5 above) . 


appear on celts, pestles, and ornaments of various kinds and are reproduced as 
idols of clay, stone, and wood. The last come out of caves, which the Indians 
used as shrines. The caves have also yielded carved wooden stools, which were 
a sign of rank, and several of these are inlaid with gold— the only use of that 
metal known for the culture. Finally, there are a number of unique types of 
carved-stone artifacts, including collars, "elbow stones," three-pointed stones, 
and balls, most of which also bear representations of the zemis. 

The historic sources indicate a dense population and refer to the use of 
irrigation among the Taino, but this cannot have been extensive, since no traces 
of it have been found archeologically. The cultivation of maize is also recorded, 
but it was secondary to bitter manioc. As already noted, the Taino apparently 
did not grind maize into flour to make bread. 

Not only maize but also the ball game and certain ceremonial objects, such as 
stone collars, and elbow stones, look Mesoamerican. Loven (1935) has suggested 
that the Taino obtained the basic elements of their religion through diffusion 
directly from Mesoamerica, although this would have required long over-water 
voyages of several thousand miles. 

The highest development of Circum-Caribbean culture among the seed planters 
was achieved by the Tairona Indians in northern Colombia (Fig. 2). Reichel- 
Dolmatoff (1958, p. 483) terms Tairona an urban culture— the only one in the 
three regions under discussion here— but it cannot be considered a civilization, 
since it lacks many of the other elements in Childe's (1950) definition, such as 
monumental buildings, writing, and science. The sites consist of "large urban 
centers grouped around one or various ceremonial sites." There are foundations 
of stone masonry— presumably for temples as well as dwellings— ceremonial courts, 
reservoirs, irrigation canals, agricultural terraces, stone bridges, paved stone roads 
and stairways, and stelae. Burial was in urns, shaft graves, or slab-lined cists, 
accompanied, as is typically the case in the Intermediate area, by pottery vessels 
and ornaments of various kinds, including some of metal. Pottery is complex in 
shape and is decorated mainly by simple modeling or incision. Other artifacts of 
clay include pestles, whorls, rattles, stamps, whistles, and, more rarely, figurines. 
Stone was used not only for utilitarian artifacts, such as metates and manos, but 
also for ceremonial objects, for example, batons, small seats or tables, amulets, 
and figurines. The last two were also carved out of bone. The Tairona Indians 
knew how to smelt gold, copper, and the alloy of the two called tumbaga, using 
these materials for ornaments but not for implements. According to the historic 
sources, the government was theocratic; there was marked social stratification; 
and warfare, if not trade, was well developed. 

The Tairona sites are situated on the northern and western slopes of the Sierra 
Nevada de Santa Marta. One might expect them to be limited to, or at least 
concentrated in, the tierra templada, or temperate zone, but such is not the case. 
Most of them lie in the lower, tropical zone. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1958, p. 483) 
believes that the Tairona Indians originated in the Caribbean lowlands, probably 
in a culture like Tierra Alta, which has been described above for Period III. 




Three features stand out in the foregoing account of the culture history of the 
Intermediate area, Amazonia, and the Caribbean area. One is the fact that all the 
cultural alternates survived until historic time (Fig. 3). True, the early hunters 
must have shifted from large to small game as the latter became extinct at 
the close of the Pleistocene, but otherwise the Marginal tribes who lived in the 
peripheries of Amazonia during historic time apparently carried on much the 
same form of life as their Pleistocene predecessors. The fishing peoples who arose 
in the Caribbean area during Period I similarly survived in places like western 

































? piasters 












I Fli 


? Fl: 







Figure 3. Summary of the culture history of the Intermediate 
area, Amazonia, and the Caribbean. 

Cuba until the time of Columbus; and both the Tropical Forest and Circum- 
Caribbean alternates, which developed during Period II, were still widespread 
when the first Europeans arrived. 

This survival of earlier forms of life recalls the situation in Negro Africa and 
in Siberia (Clark and Okladnikov, both in this volume). As in the latter areas, 
it may be due to the varying nature of the environment, which in effect supplies 
a number of different ecological niches, many of them better suited to earlier 
forms of life. The absence of civilization is also probably a factor. If it had been 
present, the less advanced peoples would presumably have been drawn into its 
economic and political web, becoming a part of the larger whole, even though 
they might, at the same time, have retained many of their local customs and their 
peculiar means of subsistence. 


A second interesting feature of the culture history just discussed is the way 
in which the Intermediate area, in the west, diverged from Amazonia and the 
Caribbean area, in the east, after the appearance of effective agriculture. The 
Tropical Forest cultures of the first part of Period II in the east give us our first 
evidence of effective vegetative agriculture. The situation in the west at this time 
is uncertain. (Momil I, with its vegetative agriculture, may or may not be typical 
of the west.) Sometime during Period II, effective seed agriculture seems to have 
entered the Intermediate area from Mesoamerica, accompanied by ceremonial 
traits that have led us to classify the new cultures as Circum-Caribbean. These 
traits apparently did not penetrate either Amazonia or the Caribbean area, which 
remained on the less advanced, Tropical Forest level of development (Fig. 3). 

One reason for this divergence may have been the remoteness of the eastern 
regions from Mesoamerica. Another may have been the persistence of vegetative 
agriculture in the east. In effect, the Indians of Amazonia and the Caribbean area 
rejected seed agriculture, presumably because they were satisfied with the form of 
agriculture they already had, and, in rejecting it, they may also have rejected 
the accompanying ceremonial developments. 

Both Amazonia and the Caribbean area, then, lagged behind the Intermediate 
area in achieving the Circum-Caribbean level of development. It did not arise in 
either area until Period IV, though it had been present in the Intermediate area 
two periods earlier. Moreover, the Indians of Amazonia achieved it only tem- 
porarily—in the form of Marajoara culture at the mouth of the Amazon— and the 
Caribbean Indians only sporadically. We have speculated that the latter were 
more successful with it than the former because they based it upon their own 
vegetative agriculture rather than upon seed agriculture. 

A third significant feature brought out by our survey is the failure of the 
Indians of the Intermediate area to develop civilization. They acquired the basis 
for it when they adopted seed agriculture during Period II but then stagnated 
during Periods III and IV, long after their neighbors in Mesoamerica and the 
Central Andes had crossed the threshold of civilization. 

This stagnation cannot have been for lack of knowledge of civilization, for 
we find many evidences of contact between the Indians of the Intermediate area 
and their neighbors to the north and south (e.g., Willey, 1959, pp. 188-89). The 
extremes of environment and difficulties of communication within the Inter- 
mediate area, to which reference was made at the beginning of this article, may 
have been factors, but they can hardly have been decisive, for civilization existed 
in similar, though perhaps less extreme, environments to the north and south. 

The relatively low density of population in the Intermediate area was probably 
also a factor, although this may have been a symptom of the stagnation rather 
than a cause. So far as we know, only isolated groups of Period IV Indians, 
notably the Tairona and Muisca in Colombia and the Taino in the Greater 
Antilles, attained a significant degree of population density. One wonders whether 
these Indians would have gone on to develop civilizations if the Europeans had 
not arrived in America when they did, or whether other factors, such as the 


scarcity of irrigation, the relative simplicity of social stratification and religion, 
the lack of specialization by occupation, and the apparent paucity of large-scale 
trading, would have prevented them from rising beyond the Circum-Caribbean 
level of development. 


Alegria, Ricardo; H. B. Nicholson; and Gordon R. Willey 

1955. "The Archaic Tradition in Puerto Rico," Amer. Antiq., 21:113-21. 
Bell, Robert E., and W. J. Mayer-Oakes 

1960. "An Early Lithic Site near Quito, Ecuador." (Paper delivered at the 25th 

Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, New Haven.) 
Bennett, Wendell C. 

1936. Excavations in Bolivia. ("Anthrop. Papers Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.," Vol. 35, 

Part 4.) New York. 

1944. Archeological Regions of Colombia. ("Yale Univ. Pubis, in Anthrop.," No. 30.) 

New Haven. 


1955. Monumento megalitico y petroglifos de Chacuey, Republica Dominicana. 
("Pubis, de la Universidad de Santo Domingo," Ser. 7, Vol. 97, No. 1.) Ciudad 

Bushnell, Geoffrey H. S. 

1951. The Archaeology of the Santa Elena Peninsula in Southwest Ecuador. ("Occ. 

Pubis. Cambridge Univ. Mus. Archaeol. and Ethnol.," No. 1.) Cambridge, England. 
Childe, V. Gordon 

1950. "The Urban Revolution," Town Planning Review (Liverpool), 21:3-17. 
Coe, Michael D. 

1960. "Archeological Linkages with North and South America at La Victoria, 

Guatemala," Amer. Anthrop. 62:363-93. 
Cruxent, J. M., and Irving Rouse 

1958-59. An Archeological Chronology of Venezuela. ("Pan American Union, 

Soc. Sci. Monogs.," No. 6.) 2 vols. Washington. 
Deevey, Edward S., L. J. Gralenski, and Vaino Hoffren 

1959. "Yale Natural Radiocarbon Measurements IV," Amer. J. Sci., Radiocarbon 

Suppl., 1:144-72. New Haven. 
Estrada, Emilio 

1956. Valdivia: un sitio arqueologico formativo en la costa de la pfovincia del 
Guayas, Ecuador. ("Publ. Museo Victor Emilio Estrada," No. 1.) Guayaquil. 
1957a. Los Huancavilcas: ultimas civilizaciones pre-historicas de la costa del Guayas. 
(Ibid., No. 3.) 

\9Slb. Ultimas civilizaciones pre-historicas de la cuenca del Rio Guayas. (Ibid., 

No. 2.) 

1958. Las culturas pre-cldsicas, formativas, o arcaicas del Ecuador. (Ibid., No. 5.) 


Evans, Clifford, and Betty J. Meggers 

1957. "Formative Period Cultures in the Guayas Basin, Coastal Ecuador," Amer. 

Antiq., 22:235-47. 
Haberland, Wolfgang 

1957. "Black-on-red Painted Ware and Associated Features in Intermediate Area," 

Ethnos, (Stockholm), 22:148-61. 
Haury, Emil W. 

1953. "Some Thoughts on Chibcha Culture in the High Plains of Colombia," Amer. 

Antiq., 19:76-78. 
Haury, Emil W., and Julio Cesar Cubillos 

1953. Investigaciones arquelogicas on la Sabana de Bogota, Colombia (cultura 
Chibcha). (Univ. Ariz., Soc. Sci. Bull., No. 22.) Tucson. 

Howard, G. D. 

1947. Prehistoric Ceramic Styles of Lowland South America: Their Distribution 
and History. ("Yale Univ. Pubis, in Anthrop.," No. 37.) New Haven. 

Ladd, John 

1957. "A Stratigraphic Trench at Sitio Conte, Panama," Amer. Antiq., 22:265-71. 
Lathrap, Donald W. 

1958. "The Cultural Sequence at Yarinacocha, Eastern Peru." Amer. Antiq., 

LlBBY, Willard F. 

1955. Radiocarbon Dating. 2d ed. Chicago. 
Loven, Sven 

1935. Origins of the Tainan Culture, West Indies. Goteborg. 

Manglesdorf, Paul C, R. S. MacNeish, and G. R. Willey 

MS. "Origins of Agriculture in Mesoamerica." In Robert Wauchope (ed.), Hand- 
book of Middle American Indians, Vol. 1. (In preparation.) 

Mason, J. Alden 

1931-39. Archaeology of Santa Marta, Colombia: the Tairona Culture. ("Anthropol. 
Ser., Field Mus. Nat. Hist.," Vol. 20, Nos. 1-3.) Chicago. 

McGimsey, C. R., Ill 

1956. "Cerro Mangote: a Preceramic Site in Panama," Amer. Antiq., 22:151-61. 
1958. "Further Data and a Date from Cerro Mangote, Panama," Ibid., 23:434-35. 

Meggers, Betty J., and Clifford Evans 

1955. "Preliminary Results of Archeological Investigations in British Guiana." (Re- 
printed from Timehri: J. Roy. Agric. and Commer. Soc. British Guiana [George- 
town], No. 34, pp. 1-26.) 

1957. Archeological Investigations at the Mouth of the Amazon. (Bur. Amer. Ethnol. 
Bull., No. 167.) Washington. 

Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo 

1954. "A Preliminary Study of Space and Time Perspective in Northern Colombia," 
Amer. Antiq., 19:352-66. 

1955. "Excavaciones en los conchales de la costa de Barlovento," Revista Colombiana 
de Antropologia (Bogota), 4:249-72. 

1957. "Momil: A Formative Sequence from the Sinii Valley, Colombia," Amer. 
Antiq., 22:226-34. 

1958. "Recientes investigaciones arqueologicas en el norte de Colombia," Miscellanea 
Paul Rivet, Octagenario Dictada, 2:471-86. Mexico City. 


Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo and Alicia 

1951. "Investigaciones arqueologicas en el Depto. del Magdalena, Colombia, 1946- 

1950," Boletin de Arqueologia, Vol. 3, Nos. 1-2. Bogota. 

1954. "Investigaciones arqueologicas en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta," Revista 

Colombiana de Antropologia, 2: 147-207; 3:139-70. Bogota. 

1956. "Momil, excavaciones en el Sinu," ibid., 5:109-333. 

1958. "Reconocimiento arqueologico de la hoya del Rio Sinii," ibid., 6:29-158. 
Rouse, Irving 

1941. Culture of the Ft. Liberte Region, Haiti. ("Yate Univ. Pubis, in Anthrop.," 
No. 24.) New Haven. 

1942. "The Arawak." In Julian H. Steward (ed.), Handbook of South American 
Indians. (Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. No. 153, 4:507-39.) Washington. 

1951. "Areas and Periods of Culture in the Greater Antilles," Southwestern J. 
Anthrop. 7:248-65. 

1952. Puerto Rican Prehistory . ("N.Y. Acad. Sci. Scient. Surv. of Porto Rico and 
the Virgin Islands," Vol. 18, Nos. 3-4.) New York. 

1953. Indian Sites in Trinidad. ("Yale Univ. Pubis, in Anthrop.," No. 50, pp. 
94-111.) New Haven. 

1960. The Entry of Man into the West Indies. Ibid., No. 61. 
Sauer, Carl O. 

1952. Agricultural Origins and Dispersals. New York. 
Steward, Julian 

1947. "American Culture History in the Light of South America," Southwestern J. 

Anthrop., 3:85-107. 
Steward, Julian H., and Louis C. Faron 

1959. Native Peoples of South America. New York. 
Stone, Doris 

1956. "Date of Maize in Talamanca, Costa Rica: An Hypothesis," /. Soc. des 
Americanistes (Paris), n.s., 45:189-94. 
Willey, Gordon R. 

1958. "Estimated Correlations and Dating of South and Central American Culture 
Sequences," Amer. Antiq., 23:353-78. 

1959. "The 'Intermediate Area' of Nuclear America: Its Prehistoric Relationships 
to Middle America and Peru," Adas del XXX111 Congreso Internacional de Ameri- 
canistas, San Jose, 20-21 Julio 1958, 1:184-94. San Jose. 

1960. "New World Prehistory," Science, 131:73-86. 
Willey, Gordon R., and C. R. McGimsey 

1954. The Monagrillo Culture of Panama. ("Papers Peabody Mus. Archaeol. and 
Ethnol., Harvard Univ.," Vol. 49, No. 2.) Cambridge. 




Before calling our attention to the main theme of the symposium I should 
like to say a few things regarding, first, the traditional point of view; 
second, the present view of archeologists in India and outside; third, the 
method of inquiry and the type of approach necessary for answering the problem, 
and, fourth, a detailed review of archeological evidence. 

Traditionally, it is believed that the centers of early civilization in India were 
the Gangetic valley, Sind, Sauvira, Saurashtra, and Vidharba, south of the 
Narmada. It is in these regions only, covering most of northern India and northern 
Deccan, that cities like Rajagriha, Pataliputra, Kosambi, Hastinapur, Ujjain, 
Kushasthali, and Kundinapiira existed. Ancient literature describes also very 
briefly how these centers developed, but we have had no idea of the actual stage 
of their development: were they really urban centers or merely peasant villages, 
though called puras and nagaras? 

Archeologists believe that India is on the periphery of culture spread, the main 
centers where urban civilization developed being the ancient "Fertile Crescent," 
known as the Near East or Middle East to Western archeologists and as western 
Asia to Indian archeologists. The belief is probably right; but it must be said 
that it is also based on insufficient field work done in India so far, and many areas, 
even potentially rich ones, are left unexplored. To take one instance, only ten 
years ago it was believed that the vast expanses in India outside the Indus Valley 
civilization were in a purely food-collecting stage or at best were just emerging 
from it. Explorations have shown that these areas were not in such a backward 
condition but were teeming with early peasant villages, some of which might 
have developed into cities that are not yet discovered. For example, Navdatoli 
and Nagda in the Narmada and Chambal Valleys of central India, Prakashe in 
the Tapi, and Nasik, Nevasa, and others in the Godavari-Pravara basin. Again, 
in the last mentioned valley, the writer thought that since numerous sites have 
given identical pottery from the basal layers, the Jorwe-Nevasa was the first 
or the earliest chalcolithic culture. But this view has been belied by the dis- 
coveries at Daimabad, only fifteen miles west of Nevasa, where two earlier 
cultures are found. 



Method of Inquiry 

There are three different methods of approach for our inquiry: 

1. We may divide India geographically, following Subbarao, into "nuclear" areas 
or areas of "attraction," areas of "relative isolation," and areas of "isolation." 

2. We may discuss the evidence riverwise as follows: 

a) The Indus basin 

b) The Gangetic valley 

c) The Narmada valley or the Malwa plateau and central India 

d) The valley of the Sarasvati and Drishadvati in Rajputana and Sabarmati in 

d) The valley of the Sarasvati and Drishadvati in Rajputana and Sabarmati in 
north Gujarat and the Saurashtra or Kathiawad peninsula 

e) The valleys of the Tapi, Godavari, Krishna or the upper Deccan plateau 
(known as Desha) or Maharashtra 

f ) The lower Krishna basin covering parts of Andhra-Karnatak 

g) The valleys of Kaveri, TambraparnI etc. in Tamilnad 
h) The valleys of the MahanadI, Brahman! etc. in Orissa 

3. We may simply divide the subcontinent on a topographical basis into northern 
India (NI), western India (WI), central India (CI), eastern India (EI) and 
southern India (SI). 

Type of Approach 

Whatever be the method of approach, it is essential that it should not be 
biased by different assertions. The conclusions and explanations about the nature 
of the results should follow from the objective statement and interpretation of 
archeological facts, rather than taking for granted a particular theory or attitude, 
and should explain the results from that point of view. The reasons for such 
an approach are obvious. Our knowledge about the different regions in India is 
incomplete for various reasons. There is the lack of systematic and planned 
research, so that some areas are completely neglected, whereas some, for instance 
Sind and more recently the Deccan, Gujarat, central India, and the United 
Province are better explored in recent years. Again the nature of the evidence 
itself, though based on scientific excavations, is fragmentary and therefore in- 
complete. Excavations and even explorations have been only partial and by 
no means exhaustive, in any of its aspects. 


Primitive to Advanced Food-collecting Stages: Flake Industries 

A regional review is therefore desirable. Almost all parts or divisions of India 
have now yielded lower paleolithic industries. These are of two types: (1) 
Soanian and (2) the hand-axe-cleaver type. The former is primarily confined 
to the Punjab, though tools resembling some of its types, for example, choppers 
and chopping tools, do occur in the latter. 


The handaxe or the biface industry has an all-India distribution, though, owing 
to perhaps inadequate explorations, it has not been reported so far from Sind, 
Saurashtra in Western India, Assam in Eastern India, and the extreme south. 
Everywhere it can be placed typologically and/or stratigraphically in the middle 
pleistocene period. In the Punjab this is related to the inter-glacial period, while 
in the rest of India it may be placed in the first pluvial or a period of heavy rain. 
So far, however, its earlier antecedents are nowhere clearly visible. It may have 
been introduced from Africa, where a well-marked development is available. 

Until recently, the next cultural stage was not clearly discernible, except in 
the Punjab and to some extent in Kurnool in south India. Work during the last 
six years has shown that the handaxe culture was followed by a culture in which 
scrapers, points, blade-like flakes (some of definite Levallois type, but others of 
nondescript nature) occur. 

This culture has a wide distribution, almost co-extensive with the handaxe 

Since stratigraphically it succeeds the former— particularly at Nevasa and other 
sites in western India and at Maheshwar and other sites in central India— and is 
assignable in both to Terrace II, it has been called "middle paleolithic" or 
"Middle Stone Age" or, after the type site "Nevasa," Nevasian. A middle 
Pleistocene fauna such as that including Bos namadicus Falconer has been 
associated with it at Kalegaon and other sites on the Godavari in western India, 
but since the culture is typologically so dissimilar to the hand-axe culture and 
also uses a completely different raw material in western, central, and eastern 
India, it is advisable to place it in the late Pleistocene. A4oreover, it seems to bear 
a genetic relationship with the later blade cultures, though so far no indisputable 
stratigraphical evidence is available anywhere. For all these reasons, this culture 
has been discussed in some detail here (though if it is indeed late middle 
Pleistocene, it would fall outside the scope of this symposium). 

Observations by the writer in western India, central India, and Karnatak and 
Kurnool in south India and reports from Orissa, United Province, central India, 
and Rajputana definitely indicate that stratigraphically this culture succeeds the 
lower paleolithic or the handaxe culture. The raw material, except in Kurnool 
and Karnatak to some extent, is fine-grained stone-like jasper and agate or flint 
in southern Rajputana. 1 

The tools indicate a peculiar combination of "free," "controlled," "soft 
hammer," and "pressure" techniques as well as the (occasional) preparation of 
the core as in the Levallois technique. But by and large the makers preferred to 

1. In Kurnool, however, where quartzite is plentiful, the tools continue to be made of 
this material. And it appeared to the writer, when he recently examined the sites there, 
that this region might provide a clue to the development or evolution of a middle paleo- 
lithic and late paleolithic culture from the lower paleolithic. Elsewhere there appears super- 
ficially to be a clean break between the techniques as well as the raw material of the two 
cultures. It must, however, be mentioned that a tendency toward smaller and neater bifaces, 
very nearly like points, is visible at a number of sites in western India and central India 


use any flat or flattish flake or a suitable nodule and turned it into a "side" or 
"hollow scraper" or into a point. A recurrent type is a point-cum-hollow scraper. 
The retouch— sometimes very fine, but often nothing but nibbling— is generally 
only on one side, the upper or the under, but at times on both. Carefully finished 
specimens are a thing of beauty— perfectly symmetrical, with retouch, and ex- 
hibiting an innate sense of the selection of the material. Points, for instance, are of 
a multicolored stone (e.g., jasper; Kalegaon, D.C., Poona). 

Some of the points also indicate an incipient tang and the use of hafting. 
Recently this feature was noticed in small hand-axes and cleavers of a late lower 
paleolithic character from Gangapur, near Nasik, western India. 

There is also a blade element in this culture, the flakes being thin and narrow 
and at times quite long, as for example from the Tapi basin in Khandesh, central 
India. These are also at times retouched, thus resembling the classical upper 
paleolithic blades of western Europe. 

Thus this new culture, called here "middle paleolithic" or the "Nevasian," has 
some elements that recall those of Europe and Africa. Two of its most char- 
acteristic tool types— the scrapers and points— definitely indicate a change in the 
hunting method of the people who made them. Bows and arrows and spokeshaves 
had come into use, in addition to the earlier methods of snaring and capturing 
the prey. These included Bos namadicus Falconer and probably the Elephas 
anticuus, equids, rhinoceros, and the hippopotamus, besides deer, etc. (A fuller 
list will be available when Mr. C. Tripathi of the Geological Survey of India and 
Dr. Khatri working on behalf of the C.S.I.R. submit their reports.) 

The climate was decidedly wetter than when (owing to increasing dryness) 
the silt of the first conglomerate phase was deposited but not so wet as to enable 
the streams to transport large and heavier material. Consequently, the gravels 
everywhere are smaller in size and often contain markedly different material. 
For instance, in the Deccan there are medium-sized chunks and occasional pebbles 
of agate, chalcedony, carnelian, and jasper, and sometimes olive-green pebbles of 
basalt or olivine dolorite. This feature also indicates that the makers could break 
the thin veins of the fine-grained rocks that appear in the trap hills. 

Another notable feature is that the gravels almost everywhere covered the old 
conglomerate but did not reach up to the silt, and thus they form a kind of 
ledge or low terrace against the older formation. This is clearly visible at 
Maheshwar on the Narmada in central India and Nandur Madhmeshwar on the 
Godavari in western India. Probably it is for this reason that the gravels are 
found eroded at a large number of places where these have been examined in 
India. However, some of the best exposures of this gravel are seen on the 

Briefly, then, the middle paleolithic culture characterized by scrapers and points 
and incipient blades may be assigned to the late Pleistocene, when the climate 
was comparatively less wet than in the middle Pleistocene, when the handaxe 
culture flourished. The fauna and probably the flora (of which we have no 
remains) continued the same. 


Probably contemporary and perhaps related to this are the late Soan industries 
of the Punjab. The earlier, late Soan A, belongs to the third glacial period, when 
T2 was being formed. It is placed in the upper Pleistocene and contains a good 
deal of Levallois element along with the earlier choppers (which are now smaller 
and neater) and a small percentage of blades. This last feature definitely indicates 
a change in the life of the people and occupies a prominent place in late Soan B 
industries. Thus for our purpose this phase in the Punjab is important. It is 
associated with the basal portion of the Potwar loessic silt on T2 and placed 
tentatively in later third interglacial. 

Thus both the tools and the climatic conditions— a dry phase as in the rest 
of India— suggest different environment for man and his activities. 

While recent work in India has been able to fill the gap between the middle 
Pleistocene and the earliest Holocene, there is no clear undisputed stratigraphical 
evidence for a culture or cultures as in Europe, Palestine, and Africa (?) that 
can be assigned to the latest Pleistocene times (unless, of course, future research 
brings down the date of the culture just discussed or the cultures which are 
about to be mentioned are relegated to this phase of the Pleistocene from the 

Transition from Food Collection to Food Production: 
Microlithic Industries 

As in Europe, Africa, and several parts of Asia, great climatic changes had 
taken place in India toward the end of the paleolithic period. These must have 
had bearing upon the environment of man and his mode of living. 

Though there was widespread archeological evidence for this in the shape of 
microliths, it was not supported by stratigraphical, geochronological, and paleo- 
biological data. Hence the microliths had little cultural significance. This de- 
ficiency is being slowly filled up, though not so quickly and in such a planned 
manner as one would wish. 

Within the last twenty years, three or four other regions, besides the classic 
sites of Cammiade in Kurnool District, have yielded microliths in a geological 
context. We may say that the whole of India is thus represented. Todd's 
Khandivli microliths come from the western coast near Bombay and those from 
Karachi in Sind may be regarded as their continuation. 

The evidence from Langhnaj is fully representative of the whole northern 
and central Gujarat, which lies a little away from the western coast. 

In eastern India the evidence is provided by Birbhanpur, Chakradharpur, and 
Mirzapur, while in south India we have evidence from the Teri sites and from 
surface microliths from Mysore. 

Of these, the oldest microlithic industry seems to be that from the Teri in 
the Tinnevelly in south India. The sites lie mostly along the eastern coast 
of the tip of the peninsula and, though exposed, they are believed to be "derived 
from a soil profile, now in the process of denudation and forming part of a 
series of aeolian sands." The sites seem to be associated with a sea level somewhat 
higher than at present. 


On the basis of the available collection, a sequence of three industries is 
postulated: (1) an earlier Teri industry consisting of flakes and core tools; (2) 
a later, the main Teri industry, similar to the former but including blades and 
geometric forms; and (3) a neolithic blade industry, often accompanied by 
stone axes. In fact nothing much is known about the last, and so it is better left 
out of consideration. 

The first two are generally made on quartz and chert (though why these 
should be preferred when finer silicate material is locally available is a mystery) 
and are heavily stained with red, hydrated ferric oxide. The tools comprise a 
large number of indeterminate flakes, blades, burins, geometric forms like the 
lunates, trapezes and triangles, scrapers and discoids, small chopping tools, and 
points of various types, including a few pressure-flaked bifacial ones. 

These tools must have been made by hunting and/or fishing people living in 
temporary camps on or near the coast. The geological context and the presence 
of certain tool types might make the industry upper paleolithic and might place 
it toward the close of the late Pleistocene, but provisionally it has been given 
a date of 4000 B.C., which is certainly very conservative. 

The second, and perhaps equally ancient, is the Birbhanpur microlithic in- 
dustry. Because of the non-occurrence of the trapeze and the triangle it is 
regarded as non-geometric and includes irregular, free-flaked cores; fluted cores; 
blades; lunates ; points; borers; scrapers; and burins. The material is mostly milky 
quartz, though occasionally crystal, chert, chalcedony, quartzite, and fossil wood 
are used. Dr. Lai's (1958, p. 47) geochronologic studies indicate that when the 
microlithic people occupied the site the climate must have been comparatively 
dry and mild, following the last wet phase, during which the laterite weathered, 
and dense forest existed in the region. This mild climatic phase was followed 
by a period of increasing aridity and violent wind activity, so that the habitation 
layers were covered with wind-blown sand. 

The evidence from Mysore is mostly surface. The only important site is at 
Jalahalli, near Bangalore. Here Todd found in a reddish soil horizon, beneath 
the black soil, microliths of quartz and rock crystal and one of red jasper. 
Dr. Seshadri groups the collection on typological basis into: 

1. Jalahalli microlithic industry with a preponderance of crescents, points, and 
arrowheads, indicating a hunting economy and environment. 

2. Brahmagiri microlithic industry, consisting primarily of parallel-sided flakes 
and Gravettian-like penknife blades, implying a semiurban culture in which 
arrowhead, crescent, etc., are absent. 

There is also a third group, formed by Kibbanahalli in which there are three 
or four types of scrapers, blades, and highly finished lunates. 

Subsequent work elsewhere in India has shown that Brahmagiri microlithic 
industry indeed forms a part of the vast Chalcolithic culture complex, which 
was mostly of a peasant village type but had attained an urban stage in Sind, the 
Punjab, and Saurashtra. Further, while this peasant stage can be approximately 


dated to 1000 B.C., the purely geometric industry cannot be brought to that date. 
Probably it is early and truly mesolithic. 

The Mirzapur (Singrauli basin) microliths occur about four feet below the 
upper alluvium along the southern bank of Balia Nadi near Kola. They are 
predominantly of limpid quartz, which is easily available in the vicinity and are 
"non-geometric denoted by parallel-sided blades, lunates and points. Only a few 
tools are either finished or retouched." It may be a degenerate, late upper pale- 
olithic blade industry, ascribable to an early mesolithic period, when a gradual 
dryness came over the area after the end of the paleolithic period. 

This brings us to Langhnaj. It is not a solitary site, an oasis, but one of the 
hundreds (Subbarao lists over 80) in the sandy undulating alluvial plain of 
northern and central Gujarat. The topography is certainly different from that 
which one sees in Kurnool, in the heart of the old land mass. Here are miles 
and miles of flat sandy stretches, where suddenly one finds two or three small 
hillocks of the same material enclosing an inundation lake that keeps water for 
almost ten months in a year. The tops and slopes of these small hillocks are 
strewn with microliths. These, as well as the river banks, were the resorts of 
the microlithic people. A series of small excavations and examination of the soil 
by Professor Zeuner suggest that the dunes were formed when at the end of the 
dry phase (U) a slightly damper phase had followed, which in its turn was 
succeeded by a drier phase. It was at this phase, sometime in the late Pleistocene, 
that "more or less isolated dunes were blown over the land surface." A soil 
developed on these dunes. 

The climate was slightly wetter, so that large inundation lakes were formed 
between the hollows of the dunes. A nomadic, hunting people lived on these 
mounds and along the river banks. The industry— consisting of blades, lunates, 
trapezes, triangles, scrapers, points, a few burins, and fluted as well as amorphous 
cores— may be described as geometric but is on the whole coarse and crude, 
though the material is chert, agate, carnelian, and only occasionally quartz. 
Heavy tools so far are very few; only one macehead or weight for a digging 
stick of quartzite was excavated. The men hunted rhinoceros (Rhinoceros uni- 
cornis L), hog deer (Hyelaphus porcimus Z.imm), Indian buffalo, antelope 
(Boselaphus tragocamelus Pall), black buck (Antelope arvipra), and dog. All 
these, including the dog and the buffalo, seem, according to Professor Zeuner's 
study, to be wild. The fauna is thus of game, and the people were, primarily, 
hunters and fishers (as, besides animal bones, remains of fish vertebra and tortoise 
shell have been found). 

Along with microliths, a large number of bones, and a negligible quantity of 
pottery, about twelve human skeletons have so far been found. These are of a 
fairly tall, thin, dolicocephalic people with a slight prognathism. Their cranial 
capacity compares with that of the modern Europoid, whereas other skull 
features suggest Negroid affinities. 2 

2. This is based on a preliminary study by my colleague Dr. (Mrs.) I. Karve as far back 
as 1948. Since then the human remains have been more fully studied by Dr. (Mrs.) Erhardt 
of Tubingen University. I hope to bring forward her report at the symposium. 


Since a majority of microliths, animal remains, and human skeletons were 
found more than four feet from the surface, which represents a buried soil 
phase, the Langhjaj culture is likely to be quite old and may, by further tests 
and work, turn out to be toward the closing phase of the Pleistocene. 

Cammiade's Kurnool sites do not stand isolated now. Extensive explorations 
by Shri Isaac of the Deccan College have brought to light numerous sites, some 
even extending into the limestone cave region of the district. This field will be 
further enlarged when the adjacent regions are similarly explored, thus bringing 
into our purview those districts of Andhra, Madras, and Mysore States that have 
similar geomorphological features, implying similar or identical climatic condi- 
tions in the past. 

The Kurnool microliths may fall into two series— non-geometric and geometric, 
though as yet a rigid stratigraphical correlation eludes us. The industry comprises 
parallel-sided blades, lunates, triangles, trapezes, scrapers, backed blades, and 

Khandivali microlithic was supposed to mark the end of a rich cultural sequence 
beginning with the early paleolithic. But recent observations by Lai, McCown, 
and the writer suggest that the whole is probably a rewash, and more extensive 
studies of the area are necessary before inferences are made regarding the climatic 

However, there are other sites along the coast and the Thana creek and along 
the banks of rivers like the Ulhas in the north and the Amba in the south of 
Bombay that definitely suggest that the people inhabited these areas on slightly 
higher grounds— usually rocks or hillocks— and avoided the thicker jungle in the 
interior. It is likely that they preferred the region because it grows an abundance 
of bananas and coconuts and abounds in fish and fowl. Hitherto no remains of 
their temporary camps have been discovered except microliths. These sites also 
contain a few heavier tools like the macehead or digging weight and chopper, 
besides a purely geometric microlithic industry. They may therefore be divided 
into an earlier and a later series. The former may be derived from the blade and 
burin industry, dependent primarily on hunting, while the latter, along with 
geometric forms and heavier tools like the macehead, may point towards a 
food-producing stage. Todd lists the following groups of tools: microliths 
(obliquely and wholly blunted), lunates, triangles, trapezes, trapezoids, and 
drills, five types of cores and scrapers, maceheads, and axes. 

This review shows that in a few areas in India the microliths claim a fairly 
good antiquity. This in Tinnevelley or at Birbhanpur might mean the latest 
Pleistocene times or the beginning of Holocene. The exact age in years is 
difficult to guess but may be placed between 10,000-4000 b.c. 

In all the regions there was definitely an environmental change, though dif- 
fering in intensity and nature from region to region. But on the whole a climate 
drier than in the preceding phase may generally be postulated. Except in northern 
and central Gujarat, no idea can be had of the contemporary fauna or flora 
(though even in Gujarat, the evidence for the flora is almost nil). In Gujarat, man 
was practically a hunter, and almost all the animals on whom he subsisted were 


wild (or of a huntable type) except perhaps the dog. It is argued from the 
presence of small flat querns (found, so far, in numerous fragments that cannot 
be put together and hence no idea can be had of their size) that man probably 
pounded (wild) grains and might thus be placed on a higher rung of the ladder 
between a food-collecting and a food-producing stage. This view does not seem 
to be justified. First, the querns seem to have been too small to pound anything 
on them; they are more like stones used today for preparing sandalwood and 
other pastes. Second, the writer, so far, has not come across a single grain in any 
one of the numerous excavations on the site or elsewhere in the region. The 
pottery evidence is also negligible. Not more than ten to twenty sherds, not one 
indicating the probable shape of the vessel, have so far been recovered. Thus the 
Langhna] culture must be regarded as a food-collecting one, whatever be its 
exact antiquity. 

The microliths (whether they contain a geometric element or not) might have 
evolved from the earlier "blade and burin" industry; but nowhere is such an 
evolution available stratigraphically. The Knrnool evidence is not from one 
stratified site but from a typological grouping of the collection from a number 
of sites. 

So we may end this section with the observation that the microlithic industries 
are associated with an environmental change, that they do indicate a change in 
the mode of life of man in India, but that it is not exactly clear whether the 
microliths developed out of the earlier "blade and burin" industries or were due 
to the influence of some external stimuli. 

From the Semi-Nomadic and Pastoral Stage to Urbanization 
through a peasant village stage 

Just as we do not get from one single site in India well-documented data for 
the evolution of man, his environment, and his cultural equipment in the early 
period, so also the evidence for his further march toward civilization is scattered 
and hence inadequate for understanding the steps by which this was achieved. 

On the one hand, we find several cultures in the foothills of Baluchistan which 
from the existence of painted pottery (some of which is definitely wheel-made) 
is an index of a food-producing stage, though among their other equipment are 
microliths and occasionally figurines of animals, "mother goddess," and rarely 
burials. However, none of this is fully or even partially excavated, so we have 
no clear image of the size of settlement or of even one of its houses. Fortunately 
some sites now have C 14 determinations, while their pottery definitely indicates 
Iranian influence. So we know the age of a few of these cultures and how they 
might have come about. 

Immediately east of these peasant cultures, in the fertile valleys of the Indus 
and in Sind and the Punjab, we suddenly meet face to face a mature urban 
civilization. Its antecedents are hitherto unknown, though Wheeler's work at 
Harappa and Khan's at Kot Diji show that there were earlier stages. The 


civilization had a much wider extension than originally realized; its offshoots are 
being found as far south as the coast of Gujarat in western India, as far east 
as Delhi, and in the west beyond the borders of Sind proper. 

But this was not the only culture in western and northern India. In the Punjab, 
as well as in Rajputana, Saurashtra, central India, in the Deccan and Andhra and 
Mysore and probably in the Uttar Pradesh in the Gangetic valley, traces of 
peasant or early agricultural communities have been found every year since 1947. 
The antecedents of these, as well as their relationship with the Harappan, also 
remain unknown. It is probable that most of the central Indian, Saurashtra, and 
the upper Deccan painted pottery cultures are later than the original, mature, 
Harappa civilization in the Punjab and Sind and that they were perhaps responsible 
for its destruction. But the same is not true of the purely polished-axe cultures 
of southeastern India. These were in a neolithic stage, practicing primitive 
agriculture and rearing animals, and partly dependent on hunting and fishing. 
C 14 determinations for two of these— Piklihal and Utnoor in Andhra State— give 
a date of 2100 B.C. (4120 ± 150). They were definitely contemporary with, 
though far removed from, the Indus civilization. 

Thus four different cultures intervene between the mesolithic cultures of the 
latest Pleistocene or early Holocene and the advent of iron and the second 
phase of urbanization in about 500 b.c. With this brief introduction, we shall 
review in detail the size of the settlement, food economy, and industry and 
affinities of some of the more important and well-documented sites of each of 
the four cultures mentioned above. 


This account is based mainly on the recent work of Fairservis. Prior to it 
we had only studies of pottery collected by Stein, Piggott, and others. Fairservis' 
work was confined to small excavations in the Quetta valley and the adjoining 
eastern area, namely, surveys in the Zhob and Loralai districts of Baluchistan. 

Baluchistan, lying between the higher inland plateau of central Asia and the 
low flat plains of Sind, is indeed a transitional zone. The region is mostly 
mountainous. The Quetta valley itself is very narrow, not more than six miles 
in width and running north-south. Since its physiographical features shut out the 
monsoon winds from the south and east and admit the winds from the northwest, 
the climate is more akin to that of southern Afghanistan and eastern Iran than to 
that of Sind and the Punjab. This has had an important bearing upon the growth, 
development, decay, and affinities of the prehistoric cultures of Baluchistan. 

This District of Quetta was extensively inhabited in prehistoric times. The 
earliest of the inhabitants, some 5,500 years ago (Kili Ghul Mohammad I [C 14 
determination 3100-3500 B.C.]), lived in small huts, perhaps at first of mud and 
later of mud bricks. They had no pottery but probably used skin bags and had 
basketry. They had bone and stone tools. It was thus an extremely primitive 


pastoral society that depended upon plentiful forage and water for their flocks 
in the central portion of the valley. During the next phase, Kili Ghul Moham- 
mad II, probably because of the fertility of the soil, the abundant water supply, 
and the arrival of people and ideas from Iran, we find a fine wheel-made 
pottery, implying the beginning of agriculture and even an increase in population. 
This black-on-red pottery might have been locally made or brought in by 
traders from Iran. Stimulus from the west is also seen in a fine buff wheel-made 
ware having decorative styles of the Halaf type. 

Probably these influences also introduced copper to the inhabitants, which 
helped them to improve the drainage in the southern part of the valley and 
enabled its settlement. 

From the size of the sites, it is estimated that the villages were large, the 
houses small, and the passages between them irregular; doors moved on stone 
sockets, hearths were sunken, and pottery bread ovens were used in every home. 
Flat stones and pebbles were employed as foundations for the mud walls. The 
predominant economy was agriculture (probably wheat and barley, though so 
far no actual grains have been found). Herds of sheep, goats, and cattle must 
have been kept as before. The emphasis on agriculture is perhaps indicated by 
small mother goddess figurines, which are regarded as symbols of a fertility cult. 

In the third and last phase, owing to the increasing contact with the Indus 
valley, the original Baluchi culture inspired by Irani migrations and influences 
underwent a radical change. Both the pottery and houses exhibit this in no 
uncertain way. The pottery now displays typical Indian designs, such as the 
Brahmi bull and the pipal leaf, and the houses are equipped with bricks and 
drains. But the Iranian influence persists, as instanced by the ibex and the desert 
antelope. Agriculture naturally must have received a great impetus. 

However, instead of producing a large homogeneous culture or civilization in 
the valley, a number of localized cultures came into existence, probably because 
of regional politics, economic outlets, and social affinities, as has happened so 
often in India and the East. 

At present, in the absence of other evidence, we see only the different ceramic 
traditions, but there might have been variations, probably minor, in ritual and 
crafts from region to region. 

This study of Baluchi cultures seems to explain the growth of the typical 
Indus, Sindhi, or the so-called Harappa culture. At first it appeared that there 
were a number of local cultures, for instance, the Amri, Kot Diji I, and Harappa 
I, originally perhaps inspired by Iranian sources. But these cultures, being based 
on a different ecological background from that existing either in Iran or in 
Baluchistan, took a further step toward urbanization. The fertile alluvial plains, 
under efficient management, could promise agricultural surplus— the main source 
of wealth and rise in population. Some genius, who, it is believed, was under 
Mesopotamian influence where earlier cities existed, turned these rich agricultural 
villages into fine brick-built towns and cities. This implies also a great organizing 
and unifying factor— either a simple political figure or a religious-cum-political 


personality— something like a priest-king of Iraq and Egypt. Whatever it be, 
the indigenous character of the civilization stands unchallenged. Once having 
established itself, it affected in turn the Baluchi on the west (e.g., Mehi and 
Kulli), Sutkagen-dor in the south, and Dabar Kot in the north and soon 
encompassed on the east almost the whole of north India up to Delhi and the 
Simla foothills and western India as far Surat. Without some explanation like 
this, we cannot understand the rise and expansion of the Indus civilization. About 
the civilization itself, much has been written. It is well known. However, little 
is known about the method of plowing and irrigation. The traces of the latter 
might have disappeared in the frequent Indus floods, and plows, if of wood, 
might have perished. 

So far no remains of plows are found in any of the cities, so the exact method 
by which the agriculture was practiced is not known. Whatever be the methods 
for plowing and irrigation, it is suggested by some scholars that bunds were 
extensively prevalent, and it is these that were broken by the Aryans under 
Indra. It is the traces of these bunds that were noted by Sir Aurel Stein in 
Baluchistan. There was so much surplus grain that it was stored in large well- 
built granaries. In fact, this was a special feature of the Indus civilization and has 
been noticed as far away as Lothal on the Gujarat-Saurashtra border. 

This civilization was destroyed by invasion, floods, or drought. In Sind and 
the Punjab there is a hiatus so far, and we do not know what culture replaced 
it. At Harappa the Cemetery H culture does not exactly overlie it. It also has 
a localized distribution, though this may be due to want of field work, whereas 
at Chanhu-dare the new people— Jhukar— are believed to have come after the 
Harappan was deserted. So it is doubtful whether Aryans could be held 
responsible for the destruction. In Rupar another culture succeeds it after a clean 
break indicated by a thick layer of sand. At Alamgirpur (Ukhliana, District 
Meerut) a break is indicated by a weathered surface. 

Only at Rangpur in Saurashtra does it appear that the original Harappan 
culture gradually changed into another. And this change was not for a better, 
still more highly organized urban culture, but probably for a pastoral or, at 
most, a village culture. 3 Rangpur illustrates what happened in the Punjab and 
Sind. One cultural cycle ended with the Harappan and another began, which 
was to take nearly a thousand or more years to reach urbanization— a city 
civilization once again. 

About 2000 b.c. large parts of India outside Sind, the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, 
Saurashtra— and even inside these regions— were enjoying a peasant-cum-pastoral 
culture. This has been sufficiently demonstrated by explorations, followed by 
small excavations in the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh (that is, the Gangetic valley as 
far as Bihar), in Rajputana (the valleys of the SarasvatI, Drishadvati, Beas, 
Chambal etc.), in central India (the valleys of the Narmada, Chambal, Ksipra), 

3. Unfortunately all excavations, including that by the writer and Dr. M. G. Dikshit in 
1947, were on a small scale, and those carried out by Shri S. R. Rao have not been fully 


in northern Deccan (the valleys of the Godavari, Pravara, Mula), in southern 
Deccan (the valleys of the Krishna), and in Karnatak-Andhra (the valleys of 
the Krishna and Tungabhadra). 

All these are riverine cultures. Except at two sites— at Navdatoli in central 
India and at Nevasa in northern Deccan— excavations were nowhere large enough 
to provide an answer for their rise and growth or to give a definite idea of the 
size and form of the houses and of the food economy of the people. One does, 
however, notice a broad relationship between the riverine cultures of central 
India and southern Rajputana, on one side, and those of central India and 
Khandesh and northern Deccan, on the other. At the same time, the tendency 
to develop a highly localized culture, evidenced so far by ceramic features, 
differing not only from valley to valley but within one river valley itself, has to 
be mentioned. This may be but a shadow of what was to happen throughout 
historic times— small and large states dotted over the length and breadth of India. 
Two exceptions to this may be cited: one is the existence of Jorwe-Nevasa 
culture, which by 1000 b.c. had spread over a large area, and the other is Malwa 
or Navdatoli culture, which had covered an equally large area. 

What brought about both these riverine cultures? Was it a slow development 
from the earlier food-gathering-cum-food-collecting stage? Or was it external 
stimuli, such as colonization by outsiders? 

The evidence is so inadequate that no satisfactory answer can be given. It 
appears probable, however, 

1. that around 2500 b.c. a purely neolithic culture flourished in Andhra-Karnatak 
and possibly extended up to northern Deccan and that its one feature— the 
polished stone axe— might have been derived from the east or alternatively 
from the west (?); 

2. that Saurashtra, central India, came under Iranian or central Asian influences 
either because of the actual migration of peoples or because of ideas and 
contacts and that this led to the colonization or development of village 

3. that these— or some of their branches— migrated farther down and impinged 
upon the neolithic cultures of the northern Deccan and Karnatak; 

4. that the refugees of the Indus culture after its destruction spread out and gave 
birth to another pottery tradition that bore a vague affinity with the Indus. 

Such is a most tentative explanation of the birth of these early village communities. 
We shall now have a glimpse of their life. 

This can be had in some detail from one or two sites in India. Elsewhere the 
excavations are small, and nothing but pottery, microlithic blades, beads, and 
some animal bones have been found. Moreover, the reports of these are not yet 
published, and hence nothing more than a brief reference to them is possible. 
Something about the food economy of the inhabitants is possible to guess because 
the excavators have kindly supplied me with the identification of the animal bones. 

Presumably, all these settlements— in Sind, the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, 
Saurashtra, central India, Khandesh, north and south A4aharashtra, and even in 


the granitic regions of Andhra-Karnatak— were clusters of mud huts. But barring 
Rajputana and the Punjab, where the settlements seem to rest on sandy alluvium, 
they are on a black soil. This may imply a clearance of the jungle, the black soil 
itself being a weathering in situ of the brownish alluvium, owing to thick vegeta- 
tion. This is clearly demonstrated at Navdatoli and Nevasa, the two sites that 
have so far been horizontally excavated and of which the writer has firsthand 
knowledge. Navdatoli is situated opposite Maheshwar on the Narmada, about 
sixty miles south of Indore. It stands on an old crossing of the river, which itself 
is a great commercial artery dividing India into north and south. 

The black soil at Navdatoli, a small hamlet now occupied by boatmen (navdds), 
covers a fairly large area, about 2X2 furlongs, and caps the top of four mounds 
that some 4,000 years ago probably formed a single unit but was later cut up by 
erosion. This single mound represented the topmost terrace of the Narmada; the 
river itself presumably was flowing at the foot of its northern extremity, though 
it now flows at a distance of about three furlongs to the north. The present 
village of the navdds is situated on a still younger terrace. 

Excavations on all the four mounds indicate that the entire pre-historic mound 
was occupied but that some of its parts might have been occupied later than 
others. For instance, it was revealed during the 1958-59 season that the northeast- 
ern extremity of Mound IV was not inhabited before the end of Period II within 
the chalcolithic. 

From the very beginning the inhabitants built round and square or rectangular 
huts. These houses were raised on thick wooden posts. Around these were put 
bamboo screens, which were then plastered with clay from outside and inside. 
The floor was also made of clay mixed with cow dung. Both were then given 
a thin coating of lime, so the house when first built must have looked spick and 
span. The size of the largest rectangular room was 20 X 40 feet. But, sometimes, 
a circular hut was only 3-4 feet in diameter, the largest being 8 feet in diameter. 
So it is doubtful that the small one was meant for habitation. Such small huts 
might have been used for storing grain or hay, as the writer recently saw in 
Kurnool, Andhra State. Normally in Period II, the size of a room was 10 X 8 
feet. How many persons lived in a room or a house can only be guessed, but 
possibly not more than four in a room of 8 X 10 feet. The settlement was so 
often rebuilt, as evidenced by house floors, that it is difficult to distinguish the 
house plans by mere occurrences of post holes. Judging from the modern village 
of Navdatoli, however, one may guess that the prehistoric village might have had 
about fifty to seventy-five huts, supporting a population of 200. 

In the middle of one house was found a well-made rectangular pit (7 ft. X 4 ft. 
6 ins.). Its sides are slightly beveled, and around it there are post holes. On 
either side at some distance is a pot-rest made in the ground, and possibly the 
remains of a single-mouthed hearth. Inside the pit were found two logs of wood, 
placed almost at right angles, and the remains of two unique pots. These have 
a high corrugated neck with everted rim, a ribbed ovalish body with one or two 
incised bands filled in with lime, and a high hollow base (which looks similar to 


the mouth, so that until we could reconstruct the pots from this pit we were not 

certain which was the mouth and which the base). 

These houses were built very close to each other. But between a row of four 
or five houses, there appears to have been an open space, like a Chowk (square). 
These houses were furnished (as is to be expected at this time, and as we find in 
a farmer's house even today) with small and large earthen pots for storing, cook- 
ing, and drinking. The large storage jars were strong and sturdy but generally 
decorated with an engraving along the neck. But what surprises us and delights 
our eye is their "table service," or dinner set. It is this which distinguishes these 
early Navdatolians from the modern primitives like Santals and other tribes in 
Chota Nagpur, for instance. The Navdatolians had a large number of pottery 
vessels, which, according to their fabric, shapes, and designs, fall into four dis- 
tinctive groups, each having certain shapes and designs associated with a particular 
period. The most common is a pale red slipped fabric with paintings in black over 
it. Since this occurs throughout Malwa (an old geographical name for parts of 
central India), it is called the "Malwa Ware." This occurs as a major pottery 
fabric right from the first occupation and runs through the entire chalcolithic 
habitation. However, in the earliest period only certain shapes and designs figure, 
both becoming more varied later. 

There is a sprinkling of black-and-red ware, with paintings in white, generally 
comprising bowls with gracefully inturned sides and cups. This fabric is confined 
only to Period I and seems definitely to be an import from the adjoining region 
of Rajputana, where at Ahar it occurs in profusion. 

The third important fabric is the white-slipped one, which is associated with 
only the first two periods and died out later. It has several gradations in slip and 
texture, but the finest is smooth, lustrous and slightly greenish- white. Though it 
copies some of the shapes of the Malwa ware, its own distinctive shapes are a 
shallow dish with broad, flat rim and stand and a high concave-walled cup with 
bulging bottom. An almost complete bowl of this in fine white slip recalls a 
similar vessel from the earliest period at Sialk, in Iran (Ghirshman, "Fouilles de 
Sialk," Vol. I, Frontispiece, 4). A band of running antelopes and dancing human 
figures seem to be characteristic designs in this fabric. 

In Period III occurs, for the first time, a new fabric called "Jorwe" after the 
"type site" in the Deccan. This has a well-baked core with a metallic ring and a 
matt red surface. Comparatively limited numbers of shapes and designs figure in 
this ware. It is also at this time that the most distinctive form of a vessel occurs, 
the teapot-like bowl in Malwa fabric. In the 1958-59 season we were lucky in 
getting a complete bowl, which leaves no doubt about its shape and function. It 
seems to have been a vessel with which ablutions were performed. Since it is with- 
out a handle, it must be held in the palms of both hands and the contents (liquid) 
poured slowly, as in a sacrifice or some such ritual. In order to control the flow 
of the liquid, a hole was sometimes made at the junction of the spout and the 


body of the vessel. A similar contrivance may be noticed in the channel-shaped 
bowls from western Asia. 

Besides this important change in pottery, there was another very significant 
change in the life of the people. For the first couple of hundred years, the inhabi- 
tants ate principally wheat. But now other grains— rice, lentil (Masur) (Lens 
esculenta), mung, peas (Visum Satiyum var. aryense), a kind of broad beans, and 
khesari (Lathy rus Sativus)— formed the regular diet of the people. 4 These are the 
grains that are grown and eaten in the Nimad District today. Our discovery, the 
first of its kind in India, shows that the food habits of a section of the people of 
Madhya Pradesh are at least 3,000 years old. Though wheat was known before 
from Mohenjodaro, these are the earliest examples of rice, gram, masur, mung, 
kulathi, and beans. And though we do not know how these grains were cultivated, 
for no plows have been found, a number of heavy stone rings that have been 
discovered may have been used as weights for digging sticks, as some primitive 
people still do in Orissa. Still, it is obvious that a people who ate so many types 
of grains and had such a variety of pots and pans, indicating varied needs and 
uses, were not so primitive as some tribes today. 

The stocks of the grains were probably cut with sickles set with stone teeth, 
since thousands of such stone tools have been found. The grain might not have 
been ground into flour but merely crushed, either dry or wet, in deep, basin- 
shaped stone patas, called "querns" in English, with the help of a pounder or 
rubber. The resultant bread will be unleavened, as it is even today in several parts 
of India. A number of these querns were found as they were left by their users, 
right on the kitchen floor, near chulhas or hearths. These again were quite large, 
made with clay and thinly plastered with lime. It is, however, not to be presumed 
that the inhabitants were strictly vegetarians. In the debris of their houses have 
been found remains of cattle, pig, sheep-goat, and deer. Except the last, all must 
have been domesticated and eaten. But, since the grains were varied and plentiful, 
they relied less on animal food, and hence their remains are comparatively few in 
number as compared to those from Nevasa. 

Economically, the early inhabitants of Navdatoli were fairly well off. They 
were essentially farmers or peasants. They did not yet know iron, they used 
copper, but sparingly, in the shape of simple, handleless axes, fishhooks, pins, and 
rings. In a later phase they possibly used daggers or swords with a midrib, as 
suggested by a fragment found in 1958-59. For their daily needs in cutting vege- 
tables, scraping leather, and piercing stone, they had to rely upon stone tools— 
with blades so small that we call them "microliths." These were hafted in bone 
and wooden handles, as we nowadays fix an iron blade into a penknife. Among 
ornaments, we have thousands of beads of sand coated with a glaze and called 
"faience," or chalk, and a few of semiprecious stone such as agate and carnelian. 

4. Another interesting grain is linseed. This is being studied in the palaeo botanical labora- 
tory in the Birbal Sahni Institute at Lucknow. 


These must have been strung into necklaces. Bangles and rings made of clay and 

copper were also worn. 

The earliest farmers in Madhya Pradesh lived, as we know from C 14 determi- 
nations, kindly supplied by the University of Pennsylvania, about 2000 B.C. and 
continued to live on, with three major destructions by fire, at least up to 700 
B.C., when an iron-using people from Ujjain and possibly farther north wiped 
out their existence and laid the foundation of a new economy in which iron, 
minted money, houses of bricks, and an altogether new pottery played a dominant 

The question of who were the first dwellers, whose remains are found all over 
Malwa, is not yet resolved. Probably they were a people from Iran, as their 
pottery shows. This is a very important and interesting clue. In that case, they 
might be a branch of the Aryans. This trail is to be followed up by further de- 
tective work across India and Pakistan up to eastern Iran. 

While Navdatoli illustrates the settlement pattern in central India, Nevasa helps 
us to understand the burial practices and their relation to the habitation in north- 
ern Maharashtra. Nevasa is the headquarters of a taluka of the same name in 
Ahmadnagar District. It is situated on both the banks of the river Pravara, a 
tributary of the Godavari, and about 110 miles northeast of Poona. 

Perhaps originally there was one large mound, which was later bisected by the 
river, giving birth to Nevasa Khurd (small) and Nevasa Budrunk (big), which 
overlook the river. The portion lying on the southern side (or the left bank) is 
nearly 1 1 / 2 furlongs long and l / 2 furlong wide. It is now called "Ladmod," and cut 
up into three smaller mounds by erosion and man. From the water level it is 
nearly 70 feet high, the top 30 feet or so containing the debris of four cultural 
periods from 1500-1000 b.c. to a.d. 1500. It is the first period that concerns us 

The earliest occupants settled on a thick layer of black soil by effecting an 
opening in the jungle with the help of copper and polished-stone axes. For the 
rest of the cutting and clearing activities they used short parallel-sided and Grav- 
ette-like blades and points of a limpid chalcedony. Of the earlier microlithic tra- 
dition, we find a sparing use of lunates and trapeze. True saws also occur in this 
assemblage. The technique by which blades were removed has been studied in 
great detail by Dr. Subbarao. It has been described as a crested ridge and fluted 
core technique and is a common feature of all the chalcolithic cultures mentioned 
above. Among the heavier tools, we have occasionally the macehead or weight 
for digging stick, small querns, mullers, rubbers, and large boat-shaped querns 
for crushing the grain. But the latter are comparatively very few. This is possibly 
because agriculture was in its infancy. Negatively, this is confirmed so far, 
by the absence of any grains, whereas a large amount of animal bones, among 
which those of cow-ox predominate, underlines the predominance of beef in the 
diet. Not only their food habits but their pottery is strikingly different from 
that of Navdatoli. It is generally matte with geometric paintings in black over a 


red surface. Wheel-made, it is so well baked that it gaves a metallic ring when 
struck. The shapes are again comparatively limited: carinated bowls of various 
sizes; vessels with tubular spout and flaring mouth and carinated belly, and vessels 
with globular body and high neck. Dishes are rare. Among the unpainted group 
there are sturdy storage jars with fingertip decoration, basins or troughs, and fine 
black slipped ware with red coating that vanishes on touch. 

The people who enjoyed such a material culture lived in mud huts that were 
generally square or rectangular. These were built with the help of uncut thick 
wooden posts. The floors were made with lime and clay but at times with a bed- 
ding of sand or gravel. The size of the rooms so far found is 9 x 7 feet. A more 
detailed picture of the alignment of the houses has not yet emerged. But what is 
remarkable is that the inhabitants buried the dead right in the floor of the houses. 
Three of four different burial methods were followed: the adults were at times 
laid right on the black soil, which was smeared with lime; or they were put in a 
long, large earthen jar, the outlines of the pit being marked with lime; or several 
jars (five) were used to cover the dead body. Children, as a rule, were interned 
in double, single, or at times treble wide-mouthed urns, after the remains were 
probably exposed. For in two cases, the skull is in two parts, and kept separately. 

So far an area of 80 x 40 feet and 25 x 200 feet has yielded over ninety skeletons, 
of which six are adults. Thus little doubt remains about the burial practices of 
this people. Since similar pottery and remains of urns are found over a large area 
from Khandesh in the north to Brahmagiri in northern Mysore in the south, a 
distance of over 500 miles, the extent of this Brahmagiri-Jorwe-Nevasa culture 
was certainly wide. Its east-west extension is not yet known, nor are its origins. 
Partly it is derived from the neolithic cultures of Andhra and Karnatak. These 
seem to have been the substratum over which the copper-knowing, painted-pot- 
tery, wheel-using people, slowly impinged from the north in about 1500 B.C. 
Who they could be, we shall discuss later on. Before that an idea of the neolithic 
cultures of Andhra-Karnatak is necessary. 

The region in which these cultures flourished is now shared by the states of 
Andhra and Karnatak. Since the raw material was a consideration, the remains 
of these cultures are found in areas with granatoid hills, with dykes, of fine- 
grained basalt, the latter being most suitable for polished axes. So far, only two 
or three sites are very partially excavated. None of these gives an idea of the 
houses, but it is inferred that the people lived under overhanging rocks and carried 
on a primitive agriculture in the plains below. By and large, however, they were 
pastoral and hunters. This has now been proved by the identification of the 
remains of large cinerary mounds as accumulated heaps of cow dung. Both short- 
horned and long-horned cattle (Indian buffalo) besides sheep-goat were do- 

The principal tools of this people were pointed butt polished stone axes, adzes, 
chisels, hammerstones, fabricators, and microliths. C 14 determinations from two 
sites, Piklihal and Utnoor, would place their culture around 2000 B.C. 



None of these cultures— whether the chalcolithic of Saurashtra, Rajputana, cen- 
tral India, or northern Deccan or the purely neolithic of southern Deccan— ever 
developed into an urban civilization. Around 800 B.C., another copper-using cul- 
ture, with an altogether different pottery tradition called the painted grey ware, 
spread over the entire Gangetic valley. Traces of it are found in Rajputana and 
central India. Since it occupies the same position as some of the traditional cities 
of the Mahabharata, like Hastinapura, Ahichchatra, and later Kosambi, it should 
be, at least in its chief cities, of an urban character. But owing to the smallness 
of the excavations, nothing can be said about the character of the culture. 

Within two or three centuries, however, possibly due to Iranian influence, from 
the Achaeminian empire, iron came to be introduced. Along with this, the pottery 
changed into a fine polished, lustrous black, grey, gold or silvery. Its principal 
center is the Gangetic valley. And here the first cities of the historical period 
arose, very soon to be followed at Ujjain and Maheshwar in central India, at 
Nasik and Paithan in northern Deccan, and possibly at Brahmagiri in Mysore. 
This happened in the wake of iron and a pottery, which is called "black-and-red" 
but may better be described to as "black-topped," according to the late Professor 

None of these early cities is excavated so that we can have an idea of their 
size. Mauryan Taxila was irregularly laid with very narrow streets. It is only with 
the.Indo-Greeks that the chessboard-like cities appeared at Charsadda and Taxila 
in the Punjab, and possibly later at Mathura, Kosambi, Pataliputra, and Ujjain. 
Thus it took nearly 2,500 years for an old concept to reassert itself in India. 


In India, thus, we witness almost the same stages of development from food- 
gathering stage to urbanization through the intermediate stages of food-producing 
with food-gathering and early peasant economy. At no one site or region are all 
the stages of development discernible. The picture is built from a scene here and 
a scene there. This unequal development might be due to geographical factors. 
But how was each particular stage of culture reached? 

Even the earliest— the hand-axe culture— is believed to have been introduced 
from Africa, where a well-attested development from a crude pebble culture is 
available. Looking to the geographical position of Africa and India, and the ab- 
sence of a stratigraphically earlier stage of hand-axe culture, one has to accept the 
present hypothesis. The Soan, as is well known, has a limited distribution and is 
connected with southeast Asia. 

The next paleolithic culture, characterized by points and scrapers and called 
"Nevasian" or middle paleolithic or stone age, has also a great affinity with some 
of the African cultures. But unless actual tools are available for a comparative 


study, further comments are unnecessary. From what the writer has seen, the 
tools seem to evolve after the late acheulian. This was first marked by my pupil 
and now colleague, Dr. K. D. Banerjee, in Karnatak. It is now being confirmed 
by our collections from north Deccan, Kurnool, and central India. So, for the 
advanced food-collecting stage, now witnessed over almost all India, no external 
influences are at present postulated, though one will have to account for the man's 
rejection of the old raw material. A different man and/or new ideas should have 
been on the scene. But whether he or the ideas belonged to India or came from 
outside requires much deeper studies based on planned explorations. 

The same is true of the various microlithic industries. They are believed to 
have evolved from the earlier blade and burin industries. The classical, well- 
documented regions are, however, known from outside India, for example, Pal- 
estine, and it has been said by writers that the stimulus might have been received 
from the peripheral area through Palestine. But without further research this 
remains a mere suggestion. 

This position dogs us when we enter the early pastoral and peasant-village stage. 
The early peasant villages of Sind, like Amri, are believed to have originated under 
Iranian influence, and later, under Sumerian or Mesopatanian impetus, they 
achieved a still better and highly efficient urban civilization. 

While this may be true, what happened to the early village cultures in the rest 
of India? Are they all indigenous or do they owe their birth to outside forces? 
According to one theory based on ceramic evidence from Rangpur in Saurashtra 
and Navdatoli in central India, we may postulate the existence of these cultures 
to the arrival of Aryan tribes from Iran. This explains the appearance of almost 
identical vessels, such as goblets, channel-spouted cups, and fine white-slipped 
ware, in such profusion at Navdatoli. While the shapes are very similar, the Indian 
fabrics are inferior. This may be due to the non-availability of the kind of clay 
found in Iran and elsewhere in central Asia. 

Some of the tribes with highly specialized pottery penetrated further south in 
the Deccan and brought about the Daimabad-Jorwe-Nevasa-Brahmagiri culture. 
A similar thing seems to have occurred in Saurashtra and Rajputana, where several 
local cultures came into being. 

While all these— Saurashtra, central Indian, and the Deccan tribes— might be 
thought to stem from one common stock, another Aryan tribe bearing the grey 
ware entered the Punjab and spread into the Gangetic valley. This pottery with 
typical Svastika design is traced in the west to Shahitump in southern Baluchistan, 
while the fabric and color reveal similar patterns in Thessaly. 

The theory of Aryan migration in two principal waves may accord with the 
once held view of Grierson and others of an "outer" and "inner" band of Aryans, 
the grey-ware people being the former, and the various painted pottery groups 
representing the "inner." There are, however, two serious weaknesses in this 
theory. First, if the "Aryans" or whoever the immigrants were, brought the pot- 
tery tradition with them, why could not even one of them transplant the ad- 
vanced metallurgical technology of the west? This argument applies against the 




































[SR. Ill] 

[SR. Ill] 

[sr. m] 
























Figure 1. From the food-gathering stage to the threshold 
of the pastoral stage in India. 













(C.400 BC) 
(C.400 BC) 


(C. 500-400 BC) 





(C.700 BC) 

(C.400 BC) 




m = 



(2125+137 BC) 







(2463+141 BC) 







DAMB '* 





(3500+31 0BC)I 

Figure 2. India, from the beginning of the pastoral stage. 












(C. 300 B.C.) 

(C. 500 B.C.) 

[(C. 300 B.C.) 



(C. 300 B.C.) 






JORWE — ■ 

(1 148 + 122 BC) 






Figure 3. India, to the threshold of urban civilization. 

Sumerian theory, the urbanization in Sind and the Punjab. For some reason the 
tools and weapons of the Indus, as well as the later village communities in India, 
remained of a simple, unsocketed type. It is only when they came into contact 
with the Indo-Greeks and the Romans, in the early centuries of the Christian Era 
and a little before, that socketed axes, arrowheads, spearheads, etc., were man- 

Second, in the absence of well-marked links between central India and Iran, 
the theory lacks confirmation. While we are trying to fill up the gap in India, 
it is the work in Pakistan and on the Indo-Pakistan-Iranian border that may help 
elucidate the problem. 

If we do not accept this Aryan or outside emigration theory for the birth of 
certain cultures in the Gangetic valley and central India as well as the Deccan, 
we must credit the known indigenous tribes— such as Kolis, Bhils, Nagas, Pulindas, 
Nishadas— for their authorship. 

This will to some extent nullify the view that India is a peripheral region, for 
we are postulating an independent origination of cultures. Much of this dilemma, 
I believe, is due to our ignorance. With planned work in Rajputana, in Saurashtra, 
and on the Indo-Pakistan-Iranian border, it is probable that a more definite solu- 
tion can be found. 



Banerjee, K. D. 

1957. "Middle Palaeolithic Cultures of the Deccan." (Ph.D thesis, Poona University, 
1957). (Deccan College and Poona University Library.) 

Burkitt, M. C, and L. A. Cammiade 

1930. "Fresh Light on the Stone Age of South-East India," Antiquity, 4:327-39. 
Fairservis, Walter A., Jr. 

1956. Excavations in the Quetta Valley, West Pakistan. ("Anthrop. Papers Amer. 
Mus. Nat. Hist.," 45:165-402.) 

1958. Archaeological Surveys in the Zhob and Loralai Districts, West Pakistan. 
("Anthrop. Papers Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.," 47:277-448.) 

Ghosh, A. (ed.) 

1953-59. Indian Archaeology: A Review, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1955-56, 1956-51, 1951- 

58, 1958-59. 
Gordon, D. H. 

1950. "The Stone Industries of the Holocene in India and Pakistan," Ancient India, 
No. 6, pp. 64-90. 

Hargreaves, H. 

1929. Excavations in Baluchistan, 1925, Sampur Mound, Mastung and Sohr Damb. 

("Nat. Mem. Archaeol. Surv. India," No. 35.) 
Krishnaswami, V. D. 

1951. "The Lithic Tool-Industries of the Singrauli Basin," Ancient India, No. 7, pp. 

Lal, B. B. 

1954-55. "Excavation at Hastinapur and other Explorations in the Upper Ganga and 
Sutlej Basins, 1950-52," Ancient India, Nos. 10 and 11, pp. 5-151. 
1958. "Birbhanpur, a Microlithic Site in the Damodar Valley, West Bengal," ibid., 
No. 14, pp. 4-48. 

Mackay, Ernest 

1937-38. Further Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro: Being an Official Account of Archae- 
ological Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro Carried Out by the Government of India 
between 1921 and 1931. 2 vols. New Delhi. 

1943. Chanhu-Daro Excavations. ("Amer. Orient. Ser.," Vol. 20.) New Haven: 
American Oriental Society. 

Marshall, John (Sir) 

1931. Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization: Being an Official Account of Archaeo- 
logical Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro Carried Out by the Government of India be- 
tween 1922 and 1921. 3 vols. London. 

Piggott, Stuart 

1950. Prehistoric India to 1000 B.C. (Penguin Books.) 
Ross, E. J. 

1946. "A Chalcolithic Site in Northern Baluchistan," J.N.E.S., 5:291-315. 
Sankalia, H. D. 

1956. "The Microlithic Industry of Langhnaj, Gujarat," /. Gujarat Res. Soc, 17:275- 



1956. "Animal Fossils and Palaeolithic Industries from the Pravara Basin, at Nevasa, 
District Ahmadnagar," Ancient India, No. 12, pp. 35-52. 

1958. "New Light on the Aryan 'Invasion' of India: Links with Iran of 1000 b.c. 
Discovered in Central India," Illustrated London News, September 20, 1958, pp. 478- 

1959. "Four-Thousand- Year-Old Links between Iran and Central India: New Ex- 
cavations at Navdatoli," ibid., September 5, 1959. 

Seshadri, M. 

1956. The Stone-using Cultures of Pre-historic and Proto-historic Mysore. London. 


1952. "Stone Age Industries near Giddalur, District Kurnool," Ancient India, No. 8, 

pp. 64 ff. 
Stein, Aurel 

1904-5. "Report on Archaeological Survey Work, N.W, Frontier and Baluchistan," 

Baluchistan District Gazetteer (Allahabad), 2:44-49. 

1929. An Archaeological Tour in Waziristan and Northern Baluchistan. ("Mem. 

Archaeol. Surv. India," No. 37.) 

1931. An Archaeological Tour in Gedrosia (Ibid., No. 43.) 
Subbarao, B. 

1948. Stone Age Cultures of Bellary. (Deccai College Diss. Ser., No. 7) Poona. 

1952. "Archaeological Explorations in the Mahi Valley," /. M. S. Univ. Baroda, 

1958. The Personality of India ("M. S. Univ. Archaeol. Ser.," No. 3.) 2d ed. Baroda. 
Thapar, B. K. 

1957. "Maski 1954: A Chalcolithic Site of the Southern Deccan," Ancient India, No. 
13, pp. 5-142. 

Todd, K. R. U. 

1948. "A Microlithic Industry in Eastern Mysore," Man, 48:28-30. 

1939. "Palaeolithic industries of Bombay," /. Roy. Anthrop. Inst. 69:257-72. 
Vats, Madho Swarup 

1940. Excavations at Harappa: Being an Account of the Archaeological Excavations 
at Harappa Carried Out between 1920-21 and 1933-34. 2 vols. Delhi. 

Wheeler, Mortimer (Sir) 

1953. Indus Civilization. (Suppl. vol. to the Cambridge History of India.) Cambridge, 

Wheeler, R. E. M. 

1947. "Harappa 1946: The Defence and Cemetery R.37," Ancient India, No. 3, pp. 

Zeuner, F. E. 

1950. Stone Age and Pleistocene Chronology in Gujarat. ("Deccan College Monog. 

Ser.," No. 6.) Poona. 
Zeuner, F. E., and Bridget Allchin 

1956. "The Microlithic Sites of Tinnevelly District, Madras State," Ancient India, 

No. 12, pp. 4-20. 




Mesoamerica includes the southern two-thirds of mainland Mexico, Guate- 
mala, British Honduras, a western strip of Honduras, Salvador, the 
Pacific coast of Nicaragua, and northwestern Costa Rica (Fig. 1). These 
geographical limits define a culture area that began to take form at the beginning 
of the Precolumbian agricultural era, at about 1500 B.C., and persisted until the 
Spanish conquest, at a.d. 1520. In this essay we are concerned with this span of 
time, during which the aboriginal peoples of this part of the New World passed 
from village agriculture to civilization. We are also concerned with the pre- 
history of the inhabitants of the same geographical area prior to the threshold of 
village agriculture. This earlier record goes back as far, perhaps, as 15,000 b.c 

Physiographic, climatic, and vegetational variability within Mesoamerica is 
tremendous, and almost every generalization may be marked by exceptions. Geo- 
logically, it is an area of relatively recent, and even continuing, vulcanism. Two 
great mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Ori- 
ental, run from north to south through northern Mexico to join a central high- 
land block in the general region of the Valley of Mexico. There are two other 
highland massifs, one in Oaxaca and another farther south and east in Chiapas 
and Guatemala. On the west, the Pacific coastal shelf is relatively narrow; on 
the Atlantic side there is a wide, low coastal plain. Depending upon altitude, 
temperature varies from lowland tropical to upland temperate; relating to lati- 
tude it changes gradually from temperate in the north to tropical in the south. 
In general, the north and west are dry lands with sparse vegetation, while the 
south and east have abundant rains and tropical forests and savannas. 

Human history in Mesoamerica may be divided into three major eras of sub- 
sistence technology (Fig. 2). The earliest of these eras, lasting from an unknown 
date up to about 7000 b.c, is designated that of the Early Hunters. These hunters 
pursued and killed big animal game, including large Pleistocene mammals now 
extinct. Between 7000 and 1500 b.c. is the era of the Food-Collectors and Incipient 
Cultivators. The peoples of this era subsisted by gathering wild seeds and plants, 
by hunting and snaring small game, and by the cultivation of food plants. Al- 
though cultivation was on the increase during this era, it did not assume primary 
importance as a means of food-getting until the next major era, that of the 




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Figure 1. Mesoamerica as a culture area with archeological sites and regions referred 

to in the text. (Area geographic definition follows Kirchhoff [1943] in general, although 

the northern frontier has been extended somewhat farther north and the southern 

boundary has been revised to include a portion of Honduras.) 



Agriculturists, which extended from 1500 b.c. to the entry of the Spanish into 
native America in a.d. 1520. 

EARLY HUNTERS (P-7000 b.c.) 

Man was present in Mesoamerica as early as the late Pleistocene, if not before. 
Glacial Lake Texcoco, in the Valley of Mexico, was the habitat of the mammoth, 
and remains of these animals have been found associated with flint projectile 
points and other human artifacts at two locations near Santa Isabel Iztapan. The 
discoveries were made in a geological stratum attributed to the last major 
pluvial period, the Upper Becerra formation. The projectile points are long, 
stemless forms, similar to the Scottsbluff and Angostura types of the North 
American Plains and to the Lerma type of northeast Mexico (Aveleyra Arroyo 
de Anda and Maldonado-Koerdell, 1953; Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, 1956; Worm- 
ington, 1957, pp. 91-99, 199-202). C 14 determinations for the Upper Becerra 
formation range from 14,000 to 9000 b.c. (Libby, 1955). Other early finds from 
the Valley of Mexico include the carved bone of an extinct llama, from Tequix- 
quiac, chipped-stone artifacts of the San Juan and Tepexpan series, and the hu- 

Ta m au I i pas 

Central Mexico 

S Veracruz-Tab 

Maya Lowlands 

Maya Highlands 8 Coast 



Classic e a 

Los Angeles San Antonio 
San Lorenzo 

Aztec n (Tenochtitlan) 
Aztec I-Tulo-Mazapan 

Monte Alban y 
Monte Albonlg 

Toltec Chichen 

La Salto 

Eslabones Palmillas 


Monte AlbonlUA 

Lower Upper 
Cerro las Tres 
Mesas II Zopotes 


Pamplona Cotzumalhuapa 


Chiapa 3ZH 


I J 

Tzocuolli I 

Monte Alban II 

Laguna La Florida 


Lower Middle 
Cerro Tres 
losMesosI Zopotes 

Monte Alban I 

Tres Zopotes 
LaVenta ? 

Yoxuna' Chicanel 

Miref lores Chiopa IV 

Las Choreas Chiapa H 


Chiapa I-Ocos 

Food Production ! 



/ FOOD- 




La Perro Ocampo 

Santa Marta 

Nogales Ocampo 

Chalco Aeyerado 

Incipient Cultivatic 


(Incipient Cultivation 



Figure 2. Mesoamerican subsistence eras, cultural periods, estimated darings, and 
arrangement of culture phases by regions and chronological positions. (Chronological 
placements of cultures follow MacNeish [1958]; Willey [ 1960a]; and Willey, Ekholm, 

and Millon [Ms, I960].) 


man skeleton known as "Tepexpan Man" (Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, 1950; De 
Terra, Romero, and Stewart, 1949; Wormington, 1957, pp. 238-41). Although 
the antiquity of some of these, particularly the latter, has been challenged, it is 
probable that they are all of considerable age. 

In northeastern Mesoamerica, in Tamaulipas, the Diablo complex may antedate 
10,000 B.C. The artifacts consist of crude bifacial knives and choppers and uni- 
facial side scrapers or knives. Associated animal bones and the small size of the 
occupation zones suggest small nomadic bands of hunters (MacNeish, 1958, p. 
152). The Lerma phase overlies the Diablo and is believed to date at about 8000- 
7000 b.c. 1 The most characteristic artifact is a lenticular or laurel-leaf-shaped 
projectile point. It was noted above that a Lerma-like point was found in associa- 
tion with one of the Iztapan mammoths. Besides the points, snubbed-nose and 
stemmed end scrapers, large planoconvex end and side scrapers, pebble choppers, 
and bifacial knives all relate to a hunting economy. Sites of the Lerma phase are 
small camp stations, including cave locations. Analysis of the refuse suggests that 
something over half the subsistence of the societies that occupied these sites was 
based upon game (MacNeish, 1958, pp. 152-53). 

A few other discoveries in A4esoamerica tend to substantiate the Valley of 
Mexico and the Tamaulipas finds in demonstrating that early hunting peoples 
once roamed the area (Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, 1950; Bosch-Gimpera, 1959; 
Coe, 1960a). None of these other data are as definitive in their geological contexts 
or associations as those of Iztapan, Diablo, and Lerma. 

It is noteworthy that almost no clues of the Early Hunters have been found 
in the lowland, tropical regions of Mesoamerica. Iztapan, Diablo, and Lerma are 
all in highland, somewhat semiarid regions that were once cooler and more moist 
than they are today. 

The time of the Mexican Early Hunters is believed to correspond to the Man- 
kato-Valders glacial maximum and to the still wet conditions of the Anatherm'al 
climatic stage that immediately followed it. This was the era of the specialized 
big-game hunters of the North American Plains and Eastern Woodlands, an era 
characterized, first, by fluted Clovis and Folsom dart points and, later, by those 
points of the Eden, Yuma, Scottsbluff, and Plainview traditions. Although the 
early Mesoamerican finds are typologically closer to these last-named North 
American points, they are found under conditions and with radiocarbon deter- 
minations more nearly approximating those of Clovis and Folsom. Data are still 
too few to resolve this contradiction. What is significant in the present context 
is that nomadic hunters of large grassland game occupied sections of Mesoamerica 
during and immediately after the close of the last glacial advance, and from what 
evidence they have left behind it is possible to say that these hunters followed 
the same pattern of life that characterizes similar groups in many areas of both 
North and South America at approximately the same time. Although early, this 
was a pattern of subsistence by no means simple or ineffective. Rather, it was an 

1. There is an associated radiocarbon determination of 7320 ± 500 B.C. (Crane and Griffin, 


adaptation of quite specialized equipment to quite special environmental circum- 
stances (Wormington, 1957; Willey, 1960#, b). 


Excavations in caves and open sites in two regions of interior Tamaulipas, on 
the northeastern periphery of the Mesoamerican area, reveal a long story of food- 
collecting and experimentation with cultivated plants. Archeological sequences 
have been developed in the Sierra de Tamaulipas and in the Sierra Madre. Both 
regions are mountainous, semiarid in part, and in part wooded. Both have fairly 
good potentials for hunting, plant-collecting, and farming. The Sierra de Tam- 
aulipas is, on the whole, somewhat more favorable for these activities than the 
drier, higher Sierra Madre country, but the archeological sequences from the two 
regions are closely related and will be presented together. 2 

The Infiernillo phase is the earliest of the Sierra Madre sequence. It is deter- 
mined, with the aid of radiocarbon, at 7000 to 5000 b.c. (Crane and Griffin, 
1958a). Presumably, it follows the Lerma phase of the Sierra de Tamaulipas in the 
chronology of the general Tamaulipas region, but Infiernillo displays a subsistence 
adjustment quite different from that of the Early Hunters. Infiernillo living refuse 
from dry caves contains vegetal food scraps, mostly from wild plants but with 
some remains of probable domesticated pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) and possible 
domesticated peppers {Capsicum frutesce?is). Associated, but definitely wild, 
plants are the agave, opuntia, and runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus). Infiernillo 
sites are small camps of seminomadic people who were part-time hunters but 
who settled down seasonally to exploit these plant resources. The chipped-stone 
implements of these early Food Collectors and Incipient Cultivators include dis- 
tinctive diamond-shaped or tear-shaped projectile points used with darts or spears, 
scraping planes, and flake choppers or scrapers. Found also in the caves are snail- 
shell beads, bird-bone awls, twilled and plaited mats, net-bags, and baskets with 
rod foundations. 

From 5000 to 3000 b.c. this Tamaulipas plant-collecting tradition is traced in 
the early Ocampo (Sierra A4adre) and Nogales (Sierra de Tamaulipas) phases. 3 
Subsistence estimates, based upon refuse analyses, are 70-80 per cent of diet from 
wild-plant collection and 5-8 per cent from domesticated plants. The remainder 
came from hunting. Yellow seed beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are added to the 
cultivated plant complex, and there are new varieties of pumpkins that were 
probably prized for their seeds rather than for their pulp. Sites are larger than 
those of Infiernillo, but it is still likely that they were occupied only seasonally. 
Some slight changes in projectile-point types over the preceding phase are noted; 

2. The discussion of these Tamaulipas sequences follows MacNeish (1958). I have also 
relied upon an unpublished manuscript by MacNeish (MS, 1959) in preparing this summary. 

3. Radiocarbon determinations for Ocampo are: 3700 ± 350 B.C., 3280 ± 350 b.c, and 
2630 ±350 b.c (Crane and Griffin, 1958a). 


there is a somewhat greater range of flint scrapers, choppers, and gouges; and 
stones used for seed-grinding appear. Baskets, nets, and mats are all present. 

In the La Perra and late Ocampo phases, ranging from 3000 to 2200 B.C., 4 
domesticated plants make up an estimated 10-15 per cent of total diet, wild plants 
70-75 per cent, and game the rest. Settlements are similar to early Ocampo and 
Nogales. Red beans (Phaseolns vulgaris) come into the sequence for the first 
time. Significantly, a primitive, but nevertheless cultivated, maize appears in the 
La Perra (Sierra de Tamaulipas) phase. Nogales and late Ocampo artifactual re- 
mains differ but little from the preceding phases. Points are still dart types, al- 
though there are new forms; mullers and manos are an important part of the 
artifact complex; and baskets of both twilled and multiple-stitched and warp 
types, mats, and full-turn coil nets are among the textile remains. 

The Flacco (Sierra Madre) and Almagre (Sierra de Tamaulipas) phases existed 
from 2200 to 1800 B.C. 5 Agriculture increased to perhaps 20 per cent of the total 
subsistence at the expense of plant-collecting, which drops to 65 per cent. The 
Bat Cave, or Chapalote, race of corn is found in Flacco sites. Two Almagre sites 
suggest greater stability of residence than anything previously seen in the se- 
quence. One shows wattle-and-daub house remains, while the other is an open- 
site location of village dimensions. New projectile-point types with these phases 
include stemmed and corner-notched forms, apparently used as dart or spear 
heads. Coiled, twined, and twilled baskets, nets, a large amount of cordage, cotton 
cloth, and metates and manos for seed-grinding are all present. 

The Guerra phase, 1800-1400 B.C., is known only from the Sierra Madre. 6 Both 
open and cave sites are represented. Another squash (Cucurbita moschata) is 
added to previously known plant domesticates. Cultivated plants are now esti- 
mated to have composed 30 per cent of the diet, wild plants 60 per cent, and 
animals 10 per cent. Projectile points and scrapers show no major innovations, 
nor do the varieties of baskets and nets. The earliest-known burials of the Tam- 
aulipas sequence are associated with this phase. These were of ordinary flexed 
form and had been covered with mats and accompanied with baskets. It is at 
about this point in the Tamaulipas story that incipient cultivation may be said 
to terminate. Succeeding phases, as will be mentioned farther along, cross the 
threshold into full village agriculture. 

Farther south in Mesoamerica are other, although less fully documented, in- 
stances of probable or definite incipient cultivation. In the Valley of Mexico a 
complex known as the Chalco is dated as about contemporaneous with Nogales 

4. La Perra date is from a radiocarbon determination of 2495 ± 280 b.c. (Libby, 1955). 

5. The Flacco radiocarbon determination is 1995 ±334 b.c. (Whitaker, Cutler, and Mac- 
Neish, 1957). Almagre probably lasts later than Flacco, possibly extending up to 1400 B.C. 
(MacNeish, MS, 1959). 

6. The radiocarbon determination of 2780 ± 300 B.C. for Guerra seems out of line and too 
early (Crane and Griffin, 1958a). The dating given here follows the stratigraphy and the 
other radiocarbon determinations of the sequence (MacNeish, MS, 1959). 


of the Tamaulipas sequence. 7 Chalco is associated with the hot, dry altithermal 
climatic stage in western North America. Most Chalco implements are of basalt, 
including long, leaf-shaped projectile points; grinding stones suggest the utiliza- 
tion of plant foods. Certain similarities have been pointed out between the Chalco 
artifacts and those of the Cochise complex of southern Arizona, a contemporane- 
ous seed-gathering, incipient cultivation, and hunting tradition of the southwest- 
ern United States desert (De Terra, Romero, and Stewart, 1949; also Haury, 
this volume). Very recent discoveries in southern Puebla, at Aeyerado Cave, 
reveal a non-ceramic complex of a typology similar to that of the Ocampo phase 
of Tamaulipas and, by inference, of the same general time period as Ocampo and 
Chalco (5000-2000 B.C.). In the lowest levels of Aeyerado Cave were ears of 
what appears to be an extremely primitive maize— possibly a wild maize. 8 It is 
indeed possible that this is the earliest complete maize find yet reported for the 
New World. 9 Significantly, the Puebla cave shows a stratigraphy of maize do- 
mestication and increasing hybridization leading up and into the first millennium 
B.C. Still farther south are possible clues to incipient-cultivation levels: the 
chipped-stone implements from Yanhuitlan, Oaxaca, taken from preceramic levels 
dating at 2000 b.c (Lorenzo, 1958); the preceramic shell mound deposits of 
Islona de Chantuto on the Chiapas coast (Drucker, 1948; Lorenzo, 1955); and 
a long preceramic sequence in the Santa Marta cave site in interior Chiapas. 10 
Farther afield than Mesoamerica we note that the food-collecting patterns of 
the Desert peoples of western North America are essentially similar to those 
from Tamaulipas and farther south. This North American "Desert Pattern" also 
has its origins as early as 7000 b.c. 11 and incipient cultivation was also an element 
within it, at least in some regions. Primitive domesticated maize is known from 
as far north as New Mexico (Mangelsdorf, 1958) and Colorado (Irwin and Irwin, 
1959) in the third millennium b.c, and it is found there in contexts comparable 
to those of the contemporaneous phases of the Tamaulipas caves. In brief, in 
those millennia between 7000 and 1500 b.c. the uplands of northern and central 
Mexico appear to have been a part of the much larger North American Desert 
culture area. It is uncertain as to how far south such "Desert" traditions may have 
reached. It seems unlikely that the early populations of such tropical regions as 
coastal Chiapas could be characterized as participating in a "Desert" subsistence 
pattern. These early inhabitants of the tropical lowlands were apparently food- 

7. Radiocarbon determination of 4440 b.c. ± 300 b.c. (Libby, 1955). 

8. Personal communication, R. S. MacNeish and P. C. Mangelsdorf, 1960. This cave has since 
been renamed "Coxcatlan Cave." 

9. If radiocarbon determinations (as yet not available) should prove to be in the range of 
5000-3000 b.c. The only exception to this would be the maize pollen, certainly wild, in the 
interglacial deposits of the Valley of Mexico (Barghoorn, Wolfe, and Clisby, 1954). 

10. Personal communication, R. S. MacNeish, 1959. 

11. Jennings and Norbeck, 1955. There is some evidence that the Desert plant-collecting 
pattern is even older in certain areas of North America. See Willey (1960a, b) for general 
discussions of this. 


collectors who utilized plants, shellfish, and small game, but there is insufficient 
information about them to know whether incipient cultivation was practiced. 

AGRICULTURISTS (1500 b.c-a.d.1520) 
Mesoamerica as a Culture Area 

With the transition from incipient to established cultivation— or to effective 
food production— at about 1500 b.c. Mesoamerica assumes a unity as a culture 
area (Kirchhoff, 1943). This unity is expressed in a basic agricultural complex of 
maize, beans, squash, and chili peppers, supplemented by cacao, sweet manioc, 
agave, and numerous fruits and vegetables and by the slash-and-burn shifting 
method of farming. It is also expressed in a tradition of massive public ceremonial 
structures, including platform mounds, which served as pedestals for temples or 
palaces and which were laid out around rectangular plazas or courts. Certain 
religious themes or deities characterize the area. Among these are the frequently 
depicted gods, Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl, lords of rain and cultural enlightenment. 
Closely related to religion is an emphasis on astronomy, the calendar, mathematics, 
and writing. Although there was regional variation in such matters, some ideas 
were area-wide. Among these is the year calculation of 18 months of 20 days 
each plus 5 extra days and the 260-day period resulting from the permutation 
of 13 and 20 numbers and names. xMarkets and merchandising are also a Meso- 
american specialty. From earliest agricultural times we have archeological evi- 
dence of interregional trade, and from the ethnohistoric accounts of the sixteenth 
century we know that one of the main functions of native cities was as trading 

In spite of this common sharing of cultural traditions Precolumbian society 
and culture in Mesoamerica was also diverse, and this diversity is expressed geo- 
graphically in several regional divisions. Individual regions are characterized by 
styles, such as the Maya polychrome style of pottery of the Maya lowlands or 
the Classic Veracruz style of stone sculpture of central Veracruz. Regions are 
also set apart by certain emphases in trait patterns. A good example would be 
the .preoccupation with and elaboration of astronomy, calendrics, and writing in 
the Maya lowlands or the strong tradition of large human figure-modeling in the 
ceramics of western Mexico. 

Three chronological periods generally are recognized within the agricultural 
era of Precolumbian Mesoamerica: the Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic (see 
chart, Fig. 2). Although these terms have carried developmental implications 
(Armillas, 1948; Brainerd, 1954, 1958; Morley and Brainerd, 1956; Willey and 
Phillips, 1958), they are used here in a strictly chronological sense. The most ob- 
jectively determined dates for any of these periods are those beginning the 
Classic period, for the close of that period, and for the entry of the Spanish into 
Mesoamerica at the end of the Postclassic period. This last date is a.d. 1520. The 
other two dates are fixed by the Maya native calendar of the Initial Series or 


long-count system. By this system the beginning of the Classic is set at a.d. 300, 
and its end is placed at a.d. 900. 12 Following this, the Postclassic period runs from 
a.d. 900 to a.d. 1520. Preclassic dates are based largely upon radiocarbon determina- 
nations. Unfortunately, these have not given uniform results. In the interpretation 
used here, the date 1500 b.c. marks the beginning of the Preclassic. However, 
some radiocarbon determinations suggest Preclassic beginnings nearer the 1000 
b.c. dateline. 13 

The Village Agricultural Threshold (Early Preclassic Period) 

Village agriculture is defined as sedentary community life based primarily 
upon plant cultivation. There were two types of village settlements: concen- 
trated and dispersed. In the former, dwellings composed a compact community; 
in the latter, households occurred at some distance from one another, individu- 
ally or in small hamlet clusters but with farming lands interspersed between 
them. The important thing, however, was that the locus of the village, whether 
concentrated or dispersed, was stable. 

The Sierra Madre sequence in southwestern Tamaulipas, in which we have 
already traced a series of culture phases in a stage of incipient cultivation, is one 
of the very few places in Mesoamerica where the archeologist may observe a 
continuous transition from incipient cultivation to village agriculture. The Mesa 
de Guaje of the early Preclassic period has its inception at about 1500 b.c, 14 and 
it is a direct development out of the preceding Guerra phase (MacNeish, 1958, 
pp. 168-69; MS, 1960). The food plants of Mesa de Guaje include hybridized, 
as well as Bat-Cave-type maize, yellow and red beans, squash, and pumpkins. 

12. The beginning of the Maya Classic period is placed at the Maya calendar katun ending 
date According to the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson calendrical correlation, this 
katun ending is a.d. 278, or, in round figures, a.d. 300. The close of the Classic period is 
placed at the katun ending of or, rendered as a.d. 889 and 909, respectively, 
or, in round figures, a.d. 900. In this presentation we follow the Goodman-Martinez -Thompson 
interpretation. Following the Spinden correlation of Mayan and Christian calendars, the be- 
ginning of the Classic would be put at about a.d. 50 and its close at a.d. 650. Recent radio- 
carbon tests run by the University of Pennsylvania strongly favor the Goodman-Martinez- 
Thompson (personal communication, Linton Satterthwaite, Jr., 1960). 

13. We cannot review all these determinations. "Early" determinations for the Preclassic 
include C-885, 886, 879, 884, 887 (Libby, 1955), all from Kaminaljuyu; C-196, 199, 202, 200, 
203 (Libby, Ibid.), all from the Valley of Mexico; and GRO-774, 1172, 1512, 1056, 1524, 
1525, 1589 (Dixon, 1959, p. 41), all from Chiapas. "Late" determinations for the Preclassic 
include Y-402, 401, 384, 390, 370, 374, 391, 382, 377, 406 (Deevey, Gralenski, and Hoffren, 
1959), all from Kaminaljuyu; and M-662, 612, 611, 664, 663 (Crane and Griffin, 1958a, 1959), 
Y-437 (Deevey, Gralenski, and Hoffren, 1959), all from the Valley of Mexico. A series of 
determinations from La Venta, Tabasco, could be interpreted as supporting either an "early" 
or a "late" dating of the Preclassic, M-535, 529, 534, 532, 531, 530, 528, 533, and 536 (Drucker, 
Heizer, and Squier, 1957). Two Oaxaca determinations favor the "early" interpretation 
(C-424, 425 [Libby, 1955]), as does one from Tamaulipas (M-505 [Whitaker, Cutler, and 
MacNeish, 1957]). 

14. Radiocarbon determinations of 1700 ± 250 b.c. and 1490 ± 250 b.c. (Crane and Griffin, 


These plant foods are estimated as having composed about half the total diet. 
Metates for corn-grinding are numerous. Pottery appears in the sequence for 
the first time. The vessel forms are simple (flat-bottomed jars and small-mouthed 
jars) and without ornamentation. There is a great variety of netting, matting, and 
basketry; and loom-made cotton cloth is present. Available information on set- 
tlement pattern suggests small village areas without special architecture. In brief, 
Mesa de Guaje appears poised on the basal threshold of effective food production 
and sedentary village life. 

In the Valley of Mexico such early Preclassic period phases as the Early Zaca- 
tenco presumably had some antecedents in the Chalco culture, but intervening 
developmental steps are missing. The Early Zacatenco site is an extensive and 
deep refuse bed. 15 Located on the shore of an old lake, the inhabitants supple- 
mented their agricultural diet with wild fowl from the marshes and deer from 
the surrounding mountains. Dwellings were wattle-and-daub huts, but there are 
no mounds or major constructions that can be interpreted as temple platforms 
or ceremonial constructions. Thousands of handmade female figurines imply a 
fertility cult, and pottery and other artifacts found with burials show a concern 
for the afterlife. Ceramics are of good quality and have variation in form and 
decoration (Vaillant, 1930). In general, pottery of Early Zacatenco is representa- 
tive of early Preclassic period pottery elsewhere in Mesoamerica. Monochromes, 
often polished, predominate, and frequently polished black ware has incised 
or engraved-line decoration with dry red pigment rubbed into these lines. Plain 
white and white-on-red vessels are also a diagnostic of the phase. The ollas and 
the composite silhouette bowls are the common forms, the latter sometimes hav- 
ing tripod legs. Jade, the precious commodity of ancient Mesoamerica, was 
already in use as ear ornaments. 

Other clues to sedentary agricultural village communities, apparently com- 
parable in character and type to Mesa de Guaje and Early Zacatenco, are found 
on the Gulf Coast, near Tampico, in the early-Preclassic-period Pavon, Ponce, 
and Aguilar phases (MacNeish, 1954). At the opposite end of Mesoamerica the 
Yarumela I phase of Honduras provides an example (Canby, 1951), as do the 
Chiapa I (Dixon, 1959; Lowe, 1959) and Mani (Brainerd, 1958) phases of 
Chiapas and Yucatan and, probably, the beginnings of the Mamom phase of 
Uaxactun of the Guatemalan Peten lowlands (A. L. Smith, 1950; R. E. Smith, 

In addition to those listed, certain phases that seem to be equally early in the 
early Preclassic period are represented by sedentary village sites plus cere- 
monial mounds. The Arevalo phase of Kaminaljuyu, in the Guatemalan high- 
lands, is a case in point, as may be Ocos, of the Guatemalan Pacific coast. 16 The 

15. We estimate an Early Zacatenco date of ca. 1500-1000 b.c. There is a radiocarbon deter- 
mination of 1360 ± 250 b.c. (Libby, 1955) and a conflicting determination of 500 ± 250 B.C. 
(Crane and Griffin, 1958*). 

16. Shook, 1951. Shook (personal communication, 1959) now places Arevalo as earlier than 
Las Charcas. Radiocarbon determinations on these phases show a wide chronological range 
(see Libby, 1955 [C-885] and Deevey, Gralenski, and Hoffren, 1959 [Y-401, 402, 384]). 


artificial mounds associated with these phases are not large and elaborate, but 
there can be little question but that they are intentional and special structures 
markedly different from ordinary house platforms. 

As yet we do not know where village agriculture originated in Mesoamerica. 
Some of the best documented discoveries of incipient cultivation, including 
maize finds, come from Tamaulipas; but Tamaulipas is at the northeastern peri- 
phery of Mesoamerica, and it seems more likely that the earliest agricultural 
villages are somewhere farther south. The early maize sequence from southern 
Puebla supports this, and the fact that the earliest ceremonial mounds are in 
southern Mesoamerica suggests that still earlier simple village levels may be 
found there. 

The Rise of the Temple Center (Middle and Late Preclassic Periods). 

The change from the simple sedentary village community to the community 
of villages-and-center was a significant turning point in Mesoamerican cultural 
and social history. It occurred over much of the area in the middle and late 
Preclassic periods, beginning as far back as 1000 B.C. While not as profound a 
change as that from food-collecting and incipient cultivation to established cul- 
tivation, nevertheless, it had far-reaching results. In a sense, it was the beginning 
of the change from simple to complex society. It is not yet clear from the 
archeological record as to where this change-over took place. In Tamaulipas, 
the Valley of Mexico, and other regions the temple center appears subsequent 
to a preceding level of undifferentiated agricultural villages. In highland Guate- 
mala, on the other hand, the temple center is there at the beginning of the 
agricultural sequence, at least insofar as the sequence is now known. 

It is almost certain that the process of the change from village to villages-and- 
center was accompanied by a general population increase, probably over most 
of Mesoamerica. Thus the process might be envisaged as the splitting-off of new 
village units from old ones as the latter become too large for the available sur- 
rounding farm lands. Certain villages then may have remained as the sacred 
centers of these expanding societies, and, in these, special constructions were put 
up as shrines, temples, and burial places. These temple or ceremonial centers 
eventually became the residences of priests and rulers, the seats of market places, 
and, as the resident leadership grew in power, the foci of art, crafts, and learning. 

We have noted the presence of small temple mounds in highland Guatemala in 
the early Preclassic, but by the end of the middle Preclassic Miranores phase, 
the site of Kaminaljuyu, in the Guatemala basin, had become a major ceremonial 
center. Not only do huge adobe platform mounds pertain to this phase, but the 
extent of the living refuse around the mounds suggests a population approaching 
urban proportions. The politicoreligious importance of Kaminaljuyu in the 
Miraflores phase is dramatized by rich burials of priests or chiefs in the mounds. 
In one instance hundreds of pottery and marble vessels and fine jades had been 
piled around the deceased. Another discovery at Kaminaljuyu not only under- 


lines the ceremonial significance of the site but symbolizes the dawn of civiliza- 
tion in artistic and intellectual achievement. This is a fragmentary carved-stone 
altar taken from a Miraflores context. The carvings are executed in a highly 
sophisticated style and include hieroglyphic inscriptions relating to those of the 
Classic period lowland Maya as well as to those of early Monte Alban in 
Oaxaca. 17 

Temple-center construction in middle and late Preclassic times is also a feature 
of other Mesoamerican regions. In Oaxaca, at Monte Alban, great mound archi- 
tecture is associated with hieroglyphics at this time (Caso, 1938); and La Venta, 
of lowland Tabasco, is known as the ceremonial center that served as a focus 
for the Preclassic "Olmec" art style. Several mound groups occur at the La 
Venta site, and the largest mound is 32 meters high. Other features are court- 
yards, stone cist graves covered by mounds, carved stelae and altars, and huge 
carved human heads. Temple-building is also known for the Maya lowland Pre- 
classic period. The temple of E-VII-sub, at Uaxactun, is a famous late Preclassic 
example (Ricketson and Ricketson, 1937), and in Yucatan there is a middle 
Preclassic mound of impressive size at Yaxuna (Brainerd, 1951). In the Tlatilco 
phase, which succeeds the Early Zacatenco in the Valley of Mexico, are hints of 
specialized architecture in plastered terraces and stairways (Porter, 1953; Covar- 
rubias, 1957, pp. 17-35), although the construction of large ceremonial mounds 
is somewhat later— in the Cuicuilco phase (Cummings, 1933; Heizer and Benny- 
hoff, 1958). Also in the Teotihuacan site zone a platform mound and plaza area 
have been discovered to date definitely from the late Preclassic Tzacualli phase; 
and the Tzacualli phase refuse is found over a large district, indicating the be- 
ginnings of urban development (Armillas, 1950; Millon, 1957a). 

Finally, it is of interest to return to the Tamaulipas sequence to observe the 
changes occurring there following the establishment of village agriculture in 
the Mesa de Guaje phase. La Florida succeeds Mesa de Guaje and is largely a 
development out of it, but it is also clear that by late Preclassic times Tamaulipas 
is the peripheral recipient of traits diffused from regions to the south. The agri- 
cultural complex of La Florida includes three races of hybridized maize, in ad- 
dition to other plants known previously. The Laguna phase, contemporaneous 
with La Florida (500 b.c.-a.d. 0) but in the Sierra de Tamaulipas rather than 
the Sierra Madre region, has settlements with numerous house platforms grouped 
around larger, presumably ceremonial, mounds or pyramids. These community 
nuclei are surrounded, at some distance, by smaller villages or hamlet clusters of 
house platforms. Pottery is found in a wide variety of forms, including tripod 
and effigy vessels; and handmade pottery figurines are a part of the complex. 
Ground-stone implements are better fashioned than previously and include not 
only manos and metates but celts, adzes, and barkbeaters (MacNeish, 1958). 

What sociopolitical and religious inferences may be drawn from the phenom- 
enon of the rise of the temple centers during the middle and late Preclassic 

17. Shook and Kidder, 1952; material in the National Museum, Guatemala City. 


period? First, the presence of more archeological sites, larger sites, and public 
works all imply an increase in general population from earlier periods. Second, 
we have clues to the beginning and increasing complexity of the social order in 
the ceremonial centers themselves, in the monumental arts and hieroglyphics, 
and in the signs of rank and status associated with richly furnished burials. 
Clearly, an aristocracy was being differentiated out of the general farming pop- 
ulation at this time. Third, relating again to the evidences in the temples, the 
representations of deities and the associations of calendrics and writing with 
these representations strongly suggest an organized religion and a specialized 
priesthood in charge of complex ritual and learning. Fourth, the material achieve- 
ments in arts and crafts during the middle and late Preclassic periods imply full- 
time craftsmen. Fifth, the raw materials and manufactured goods that are found 
at great distances from their places of origin indicate important patterns of trade 
linking together much of the Mesoamerican area. 

The Threshold of Urban Civilization (Preclassic to Classic Periods) 

Cities and civilization have been defined by the following criteria insofar as 
these may be inferred from archeological data: (1) extensive and densely popu- 
lated settlements, (2) specialization of crafts and labors, (3) concentration of 
capital wealth, (4) monumental public architecture, (5) a class-structured so- 
ciety, (6) writing and systems of notation, (7) the beginnings of true science, 
(8) great art styles, (9) long-distance trade, and (10) the formation of the state 
(Childe, 1950). It is difficult to determine the exact point in an archeological 
sequence at which such criteria may be said to make their first appearance. Some 
of these traits are as early as the iVlesoamerican middle Preclassic period; others 
are present in the late Preclassic or are in process of development during that 
period to climax later in the Classic. 

The conditions of urban living seem to have been attained more fully in the 
upland valleys of Mesoamerica than in any other type of environment. The 
basins of Guatemala, Oaxaca, and the Valley of Mexico are the outstanding ex- 
amples. Urban settlements appear early in these regions, and in the Valley of 
Adexico, at least, they persist throughout later Precolumbian times. In the Guate- 
mala basin the Kaminaljuyu site zone extended over several square kilometers 
during the late Preclassic period. This was also the time of greatest cultural vigor 
at Kaminaljuyu, and certainly the succeeding Classic period phases give no 
greater evidence of urbanism and civilization (Shook and ProskouriakofF, 1956). 
The urban maximum in the Guatemalan highlands thus comes relatively early in 
the sequence. Of the other criteria of civilization that we have enumerated, 
Kaminaljuyu of the late Preclassic would have met the greater part of them. 
For true science and state formation only are there no definite clues. 

Monte Alban, in the Valley of Oaxaca, reached its urban zenith at the begin- 
ning of the Classic period. 1S Although Monte Alban is known mainly as a mam- 

18. Caso, 1938. This was its III A phase. 


moth ceremonial center of pyramids and temples perched on top of a natural 
hill overlooking a fertile valley floor, it was almost certainly an urban center. 
Hundreds of small artificial house terraces dot the flanks of the main hill as well 
as all the nearby hills. 

The vast ruins of Teotihuacan, in the Valley of Aiexico, are the remains of 
what was once the largest city of native Mesoamerica. Even in the late Preclassic 
Tzacualli phase the site was extensive, and at the height of its power, in the 
Classic period Xolalpan-Tlamimilolpa phases, the residence zone of Teotihuacan 
was spread over ten square kilometers (Armillas, 1950; Millon, 1957a). One of 
the problems in connection with the site is how its sizable population, probably 
in excess of 50,000 persons (Sanders, 1956), was sustained. The immediate locale 
of the site is barren, cultivation is impossible today without irrigation, and there 
is no reason to believe that the environment and climate have changed within 
the last 2,000 to 3,000 years. We know that canal irrigation was in operation in 
the vicinity of Teotihuacan at the Spanish conquest and that chinampa, or "float- 
ing garden," intensive cultivation was also practiced at that time in the Valley 
of Mexico. Although secure evidence has not yet been adduced to demonstrate 
contemporaneity of either of these techniques with the Teotihuacan Classic 
period, it is a reasonable possibility that they did exist at that time in view of the 
demographic conditions of the region (iMillon, 1954, 1957a; Armillas, Palerm, 
and Wolf, 1956; Wolf and Palerm, 1955). 

The monuments of Teotihuacan qualify fully as "monumental." The largest 
pyramid at the site, built either at the close of the Preclassic or the beginning 
of the Classic period, is 64 meters high and 210 meters square at the base, easily 
one of the biggest man-made structures in the native New World. Social classes, 
division of labor, concentration of capital wealth, and great art styles are all 
inferable or evident. Furthermore, Teotihuacan was the center of one of the 
greatest networks of trade and influence in ancient Mesoamerica, and there are 
reasons to believe that some of the goods and cultural influences that radiated 
out of that site during the early Classic period were carried on waves of military 
expansion (Kidder, Jennings, and Shook, 1946). If so, Teotihuacan must be con- 
sidered a forerunner of the Mesoamerican conquest states of the Postclassic 
period. Those civilizational criteria that are rare or lacking at Teotihuacan are 
writing and evidences of astronomical science and calendrics, such as were de- 
veloped elsewhere in Mesoamerica. 

If the cities of the upland valleys of Mesoamerica are defined as "concentrated 
urban" settlements, the term "dispersed urban" might be applied to the great 
centers of the iMaya lowlands. Yet the term is a contradiction. To be dispersed is 
not to be urban in the sense of the true city. Perhaps the phase "civilization with- 
out cities" approximates more closely the settlement and sociopolitical qualities 
of the lowland Maya of the Classic period. 19 This settlement difference in the 
development of upland and lowland civilizations may have a natural environ- 

19. The term and concept of "civilization without cities" is borrowed from John Wilson, 
who applied it to ancient Egypt (see Kraeling and Adams [eds.], 1960). 


mental origin. Dense, close-packed settlement is, perhaps, more feasible in the 
uplands, with their deeper, richer soils and possibilities for intensive cultivation, 
while scattered and shifting settlement may be a correlate of the tropical forests 
and of "slash-and-burn" agriculture. There are other differences between the 
upland and lowland civilizations in Mesoamerica, although these are not easily 
derived from the natural settings. For instance, the great ceremonial centers of 
the Maya lowlands, such as Tikal, excelled in those very criteria of civilization 
that are rare or lacking in Teotihuacan: writing, calendrics, and astronomy. Con- 
versely, there is little in the Maya Classic remains to suggest the kind of state 
power and expansive force that characterizes Teotihuacan. 

The growth of the late Preclassic ceremonial centers and the ensuing attain- 
ments of Classic period civilization did not occur contemporaneously in all parts 
of Mesoamerica. The Valley of Mexico appears to be the northernmost boundary 
for civilization in Classic period times. The archeology of the west— Michoacan, 
Guanajuato, Colima, and Jalisco— is only beginning to be known; but, as yet, 
there are few indications of ceremonial-center construction or urban sites in these 
regions that can be dated with certainty as belonging to the Preclassic or Classic 
periods. This is also true of northwestern and northeastern Mexico. In the latter 
region, the Tamaulipas phases of the Classic period are clearly peripheral reflec- 
tions of events to the south and southeast. Similarly, in southern Mesoamerica 
the characteristics of civilization, as here defined, do not extend south and east 
beyond the Motagua and Chameleon drainages of eastern Guatemala and western 

The Postclassic Period 

The Mesoamerican Postclassic period takes us beyond the scope of our survey 
of events leading up to the "threshold of civilization." Civilization persisted in 
this period, and the phenomenon of the urban zone or city-type settlement be- 
came even more common. It was a time of unrest and large-scale migrations that 
has been referred to as an era of militarism (Armillas, 1950). Certain cities of the 
period, such as Tenochtitlan of the Aztecs, became the centers of empires. In 
this, it is possible that Tenochtitlan may have been repeating an earlier pattern 
set by Classic period Teotihuacan. One major event of the Postclassic period was 
the spread of many of the criteria of civilization to parts of Mesoamerica that 
had not been so influenced previously. Such expansion marked western and north- 
western Mexico, and in the far south influences penetrated into Central America 
to northwestern Costa Rica. 

Mesoamerica and the New World 

Cultural development in Mesoamerica did not remain isolated from the rest 
of the New World. We have referred to Mesoamerican territory as being a part 
of a larger geographical-cultural sphere in the preagricultural eras. This involve- 
ment with other areas of the New World continued in agricultural times. The 


village agricultural societies of Mesoamerica were interrelated with those of Peru, 
Ecuador, Colombia, and lower Central America; in fact, this whole vast zone of 
nuclear America, from northern Mexico to southern Peru and Bolivia, possessed 
food plants, ceramic technologies, and, almost certainly, religious and mytho- 
logical concepts in common (Willey, 1955). Beyond the threshold of village agri- 
culture, Mesoamerica and Peru took the lead in development of civilization. Diffu- 
sion and trade linked the areas of nuclear America during these developments. The 
spread of metallurgy from the Andes north into Mesoamerica is one of the best 
examples of such contact and interchange in later Precolumbian times. The cul- 
tural force of Mesoamerica was felt to the north, beyond the limits of the Meso- 
american area, in the North American Southwest and Southeast. Influences radiat- 
ing out of Mesoamerica had first impinged on these areas as early as the incipient- 
cultivation period. They continued during the Preclassic period and after. 


Let us summarize by turning to the questions proposed by this symposium. 

I. In the late glacial and early postglacial periods what major cultural events 
characterize your area? By what archeological traces are these expressed? 

In iMesoamerica these geological periods pertain to big-game hunters, whose 
artifactual remains have been found in the upland regions of central and north- 
eastern Mexico. These Early Hunters lived in a wetter and cooler climate than 
that of the present. The Early Hunters followed a nomadic or semisedentary life, 
and the only artifacts left behind are chipped-stone points, knives, and scrapers. 
Later the onset of aridity resulted in the disappearance of the great animals, such 
as the mammoth, on which they were dependent. In the early postglacial period, 
from 7000 to 5000 B.C., plant-collecting and small-game hunting replaced the 
earlier way of life, at least in the Mexican uplands. Even at this early time plant 
cultivation was probably a minor subsistence factor. 

II. Defijimg incipient cultivation {and/or animal domestication) as a minor 
or supplementary basis of total subsistence, when and how do such conditions 

In the Mesoamerican uplands the conditions of incipient cultivation appear in 
the context of food-collecting societies of the early and later postglacial era— 
a span of from 7000 to 1500 B.C. Over these several millennia there is a steady 
increase in domestication and utilization of food plants. The actual plant remains 
(found in dry caves) and the grinding stones for seed preparation attest to this 
increase. Paralleling these events is a trend toward larger and more permanent 
settlements, and the earliest semipermanent architecture of Mesoamerica— houses 
of wattle-and-daub construction— date from late in this food-collector and in- 
cipient-cultivator era. 

The food-collector and incipient-cultivator patterns are known from semiarid 
environments; almost nothing is reported of comparable cultures in the Meso- 
american lowland tropics. 


III. At what point in the cultural sequence of your area do you feel that you 
can identify effective food productio?i (pla?it cultivation a?id/or animal domesti- 
cation assuming a major subsistence role), and what are its artif actual expressions 
and social (directly inferred) consequences? 

At about 1500 B.C. the food-collecting and incipient-cultivating economies of 
Mesoamerica are replaced by those that are dependent to a major degree upon 
cultivation. Correlates of this change appear to be permanent village sites and 
pottery. At least, this is the course of events in certain regions of northern Meso- 
america where the transition from incipient cultivation to established cultivation 
is most clearly seen. It is possible— or even probable— that village-based agriculture 
was somewhat earlier than this in southern Mesoamerica. The geographical point 
of first cultivation of the most important Mesoamerican food plants— maize (Zea 
mays) and beans (Phase olus vulgaris)— -is uncertain, but probabilities favor south- 
ern Mexico and Guatemala. It is also likely that pottery appears first in the 
southern part of the Mesoamerican area. 

Mesoamerican arts and crafts of this village-agricultural or early Preclassic 
period are household goods— pottery, figurines, and objects of personal adornment. 
They are all quite competently made. 

A4ound construction, for temples or other public buildings, has its inception 
at this time; but it is not clear as to whether or not an area- wide stage of simple 
farming villages without public architecture antedates mound construction. 

From its beginnings, the early Preclassic period village-farming mode of life, 
with its effective food production, is found in both the upland and the tropical 
lowland regions of Mesoamerica. 

IV. Does effective food production appear as a part of an indigenous evolution, 
or does it (as revealed archeologically) suggest outside influence? To what ex- 
tent does the appearance of effective food production (either indigenous or im- 
ported) seem explosive ( u r evolutionary^)? 

Sequences in northern Mesoamerica (Tamaulipas) and also, now, farther south 
(southern Puebla) suggest an indigenous development of effective food produc- 
tion, through plant cultivation, within the Mesoamerican area. The several mil- 
lennia of incipient cultivation, the indigenous nature of the plants, and the nuclear 
position within the Americas all support this interpretation. Importations of 
domesticated plants from the South American lowlands and from Peru seem to 
have been relatively late in Precolumbian times and of only secondary importance. 

This revelation of the long incipient-cultivation history in Mesoamerica forces 
some revision in the concept of the agricultural threshold as a sudden "revolu- 
tion." Nevertheless, our reading of the Mesoamerican archeological record is 
still too tentative to rule out completely "revolutionary" or "explosive" effects 
of a village-agricultural way of life. Even in Tamaulipas, where the transition 
from cultivation incipience to established farming appears most gradual and most 
complete, the final arrival of a Mesoamerican-type, full agricultural status effects 
something of a break with the past. For the time being we would surmise that, 


during the long millennia of incipient cultivation, plants were being exchanged 
among the various regions of Mesoamerica until, finally, in some one region, or 
regions, village agriculture emerged as a reality. From this place, or places— most 
probably the southern portion of the Mesoamerican area— the full agricultural 
complex and certain associated traits, such as pottery, were diffused to and ac- 
cepted by the peoples of other regions rather rapidly. In this sense, then, the 
propagation of village agriculture could be described as sudden or "explosive." 

V. Could you, in your area, use the term "threshold of urbanization"? If so, 
what would you mean by it, and what is the evidence for its development? 

A concept of urbanization has been employed in Mesoamerica with particular 
reference to those large population agglomerations that once lived in upland 
basins, such as the Valley of Mexico. In addition to physical size of the com- 
munity and archeological evidences for close-packed city living, other cultural 
and social characteristics of civilization obtain for such communities. 

A related, but differing, concept of "civilization without cities" has also been 
suggested for lowland tropical forest environments of Mesoamerica, such as the 
Aiaya regions. Here the formal property of the densely settled urban zone seems 
lacking, but other achievements and criteria of civilization are present. 

Both these patterns of civilization appear in ancient Mesoamerican life— at least 
in certain regions— by the time of the late Preclassic period, although both be- 
came more pronounced in the Classic period. 

The trends leading from village farming to the threshold of urban life and/or 
to civilization are observed in the development of the ceremonial center. Such 
centers first appear, in a minor way, in the early Preclassic period. Presumably, 
they started as little more than tribal shrines. In the middle and late Preclassic 
they were elaborated, architecturally and artistically, into important temple and 
palace foci. It is assumed that their principal functions were political and religious. 
The degree to which, and the manner in which, such ceremonial centers may have 
become secularized is unknown; but one would suspect that secular and com- 
mercial functions were more important in a true urban zone, such as Teotihuacan, 
than in a Maya Classic period ceremonial center of the lowlands. 

Insofar as we can tell, urban life, and other qualities of civilization, arose in- 
digenously in southern and central Mesoamerica from antecedent patterns of 
village agriculture. Certain elements of urbanization and civilization then spread 
northward and westward in Mesoamerica in late Classic and Postclassic times. 



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Irwin, H. J. and C. C. 

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1943. "Mesoamerica," Acta Americana, 1:92-107. Mexico, D.F. 
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By long-standing usage among archeologists, the Southwest of the United 
States is defined as encompassing all the state of Arizona, all but the eastern 
third of New Mexico, the southwestern and far-western margin of Col- 
orado, the southern two-thirds of Utah, eastern and southern Nevada, and the 
states of Sonora and Chihuahua in northern Mexico. As Kroeber has aptly pointed 
out (1939, pp. 5-6), the geographical delineation of culture wholes is beset with 
numerous problems, one of which is that sharply drawn boundaries convey the 
impression of a cleavage that actually does not exist. Within the structure of 
the culture-area concept, boundaries are intended to indicate only some notion 
of the lateral spread of elements and through them our understanding of a way 
of life reaching out from centers of cultural florescence. If we recognize this 
limitation, the Southwest as noted above has some utility. 

For our purposes, it is pointless to consider at length the history of the de- 
velopment of the culture area concept per se and how it has been applied to the 
Southwest. Suffice it to say that the efforts of Mason (1896) focused on ethnic 
environments and that Wissler's (1922) work depended upon natural-cultural 
area relationships. Beals' studies (1932) represent essentially the analytical trait 
approach for a small part of continental America, and Kroeber's important con- 
tribution (1939) looks— as does Wissler's, but far more perceptively— at the nat- 
ural-cultural area correspondences. Kidder's (1924) analysis and, more recently, 
the Seminars in Archeology: 1955 (Wauchope (ed.), 1956) have been motivated 
by archeological considerations, the latter having concerned itself with areal and 
focal shifts on a multichronological basis. 

The foregoing delineations present us with an area too restricted for delving 
into the problem that confronts this symposium. A larger unit of study will 
provide us first with wider environmental and cultural ranges that, through com- 
parison, will yield more rewarding results than if the area were kept smaller. 
For this reason I wish to use as the basis for my remarks that portion of the 
western United States and northern Mexico characterized as the greater South- 
west by Kirchhoff (1954). Areally, this includes "Central, Southern, and Baja 
California, the great Basin, Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Coastal Texas, and 
Northern Mexico to the Sinaloa and Panuco River" (p. 533) (see Fig. 1). This 
constitutes a region from one-half to one-third the size of the Near East as out- 
lined by Braidwood (1958, p. 1419). 



Whether this geographical subdivision of North America is a true cultural 
entity or not rests on one's taxonomic precepts, a problem that does not concern 
us here. It is important, however, to note that, in a broad sense, the greater 
Southwest is a natural area that locally harbors limited habitats. These differ 
sharply from the main pattern of aridity and maximum sunshine that characterizes 
the region as a whole. 

l-o — r 1 



20 -\ 


Figure 1. Map illustrating the probable route over which maize was diffused 

from Mesoamerica to the southwestern archeological zone and 

its subsequent dispersal to other cultural areas. 


This large area supported varied culture types historically, and for some of 
these a long evolutionary record is demonstrable. 

It is also evident that different groups of peoples, living in similar environments, 
followed divergent paths and at variable speeds in the progression of their ways 
of life from the simple to the more complex. It is these facts that make the region 
an especially attractive one for reviewing the core problem of this symposium. 


Kroeber (1939) has done us a notable service in synthesizing the work of 
numerous botanists who have looked at the problem of vegetation areas. It is 
apparent immediately that the greater Southwest constitutes one of the most 
complex natural regions in all the New World, characterized by environmental 
ranges from extreme desert to high mountain forest. 

For our purposes it will be sufficient to point out some of the broad distinc- 
tions by vegetation type (after Shelford, 1926) and to identify the areas: 

1. Broad-leafed Evergreen Semidesert: south coast of California and north Pacific 
coast of Baja California. 

2. Extreme Desert: south interior California, southern Nevada, western Arizona, 

3. Desert: Great Basin, much of the Arizona plateau, most of Baja California, western 
Sonora, and Sinaloa. 

4. Succulent desert: central and southern Arizona stretching south into Sonora, Rio 
Grande Valley from central New Mexico to the Pecos confluence with the Rio 
Grande, eastern Chihuahua, and Durango. 

5. Dry Grassland: parts of western New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, northern 
Chihuahua, eastern New Mexico, isolates in eastern Durango, including a portion 
of western Coahuila and Zacatecas. 

6. Desert Coniferous Forest: eastern Utah, much of north- and east-central Arizona, 
west and east flanks of Sierra Madre Occidental. 

7. Moist and High Mountain Coniferous Forest: the backbone of the Sierra Madre 

It becomes apparent from the foregoing that no smooth transition from one 
environmental extreme to the other exists. On the contrary, the distribution of 
vegetation areas is spotty and dramatically changing. At the same time it is worth 
noting, as a possible favorable condition for south-to-north diffusion of cultural 
factors, that transits could have been made over long distances through either 
desertic or mountainous environments without radically departing from either of 

More important, however, is the fact that these vegetation areas provide the 
range of climate, terrain, and plant resources on which man could work out a 
variety of subsistence activities. The adaptive process in a nearly universally 
harsh environment was eased because of the varied resources. And somewhere 
within the area agricultural stimuli, as a prelude to the development of a higher 
societal order, should have found fertile ground. One of our problems is to de- 
termine where and when this took place. 


Except for coastal regions, diurnal temperature extremes are typical, and it is 
obvious that, as a function of the altitudinal extremes, mean temperatures also 
manifest a wide range. For most of the greater Southwest, rainfall comes in two 
seasons: the general storms of winter, bringing snow to the higher elevations 
and rain elsewhere, and the local intense thunderstorms of the summer. These 
are often separated by many months of intense heat and drought. In short, sharp 
variation in climate as between the dry and the wet season are the norm. 


We need to view the native peoples of historic times only in the most meager 
detail to give us some feeling for the spectrum of culture types. The range is 
as dramatic as was the ecological, from Seri fisherman to Zuni farmer. Some of 
these differences are attributable to the responses of people to habitat, and the 
present may be taken to mirror the past. 

For south coastal California, Baja California, and the coast of western Mexico, 
semimaritime cultures existed, drawing both upon the sea and the land for sub- 
sistence. They were non-agricultural, as were also some of the interior tribes. 
To exist under harsh living conditions and seasonal food sources, scattering and 
mobility were required. The nearest approach to sizable populations and perma- 
nent residences is met among the coastal groups, where the Gabrielino and Chu- 
mash reached a cultural climax (Kroeber, 1939, p. 44). Neither historically nor 
archeologically was food production a significant factor. These areas, thus, play 
no part in our problem except in helping to establish a primitive economic base 
over a wide geographical range. 

Moving eastward from California, we encounter immediately the Colorado 
River, which, like the Nile, is flanked in its lower reaches by desert and moun- 
tains. It was a slender lifeline for the Yuman tribes who farmed the bottom lands 
without benefit of rain or irrigation, depending on the ever present ground mois- 
ture arising from a high water table. 

East of the Yumans, the upper Pimas and Papagos, while living in villages, de- 
pended about evenly on natural resources and on farming. This is the giant 
cactus belt upon the fruits of which heavy reliance was placed. 

In northwestern Arizona, other Yuman tribes— the Yavapai, Walapai, and Hava- 
supai— had farming of sorts, but for at least half the year they were collectors, 
following the economy of other desert neighbors. 

To the north, the Great Basin, the southern part of which concerns us, by 
climate and vegetation belongs to the Southwest (Kroeber, 1939, p. 50). His- 
torically, its people, like the Paiutes, are characterized by a meagerness of cul- 
ture and collecting subsistence habits. 

Following the circuit clockwise, we next have the sedentary Pueblo farmers, 
whose towns contrast sharply with the mobile and scattered life of the adjacent 
Navajo and Apache. Here in the same environment we see two subsistence 
patterns that are poles apart. 


Finally, in the northern Sierra Madre are the mountain-dwelling Tarahumara. 
By geography, they should have benefited by and perhaps retained the higher 
cultural attributes from Mesoamerica. But this seems not to have been the case 
as far as food dependence is concerned, for their economy is little above the 
level of subsistence farming. To the west of them the Cahitans and Pimans farmed 
the rich bottom lands of a series of rivers that rise in the Sierra Madre and empty 
into the Gulf of California. 

The population density for the Southwest is given by Kroeber (1939, p. 143) 
as 10.7 per 100 square kilometers, exceeded only by the Northwest Coast and 
California in all North America north of Mexico. Yet, looking at the greater 
Southwest, the density range is from 2 to 5 in the Great Basin to more than 
75 per 100 square kilometers in the Pueblo area, which, except for a small part 
of California, is the highest value for native populations north of Mexico. Kroeber 
also rates high the culture intensity of the Pueblos as a concomitant, in this case, 
of population density (1939, Map 28), and comparably low intensities where the 
population was thin. Human resources in historic times thus match the extremes 
already noted for the natural setting of the greater Southwest. 


Geological studies in the greater Southwest bearing on terminal Pleistocene 
and Recent history have been late in getting started. It was the archeologists' 
interest in early human history and the perpetual need to develop water re- 
sources in an arid environment that stimulated much of the work that has been 
done. On the basis of this we conclude that within the last 15,000 years, in fact 
since mid-Pleistocene times, there have been no large-scale changes in surface 
relief. Although the region surely felt the fringe effects of the large ice masses 
far to the north, glaciation as such played no part in shaping the landscape save 
for a few isolated instances, such as the San Francisco Peaks. Stream terraces are 
discernible in many places, but these have not yet been convincingly correlated 
directly with the glacial and interglacial episodes. Climatic shifts from cool to 
warm and moist to dry, phenomena that do leave an imprint upon the land, have 
been attributed to the wide-ranging northern hemispheric climatic patterns. For 
our purposes it will be enough to note that within the time of the archeological 
record, conservatively 15,000 years, there has been progressive desiccation, in- 
tensified during the altithermal drought of about 4,500-7,000 years ago (Antevs, 
1955). Since 5,000 years ago essentially modern conditions have prevailed. 

The effects of vulcanism upon man were minimal because only localized ac- 
tivity is known. Sunset Crater, near Flagstaff, which erupted in the eleventh 
century a.d. is one, and its effects upon the region's residents have been studied 
(Colton, 1932). The Pinacate volcanic field in northwestern Sonora may have 
been active within the last 15,000 years, and some suspect that Capulin Mountain's 
eruptions were witnessed by Folsom man. I do not see vulcanism as a factor of 
any consequence. 


The principal forces at work were the epicycles of erosion and sedimentation, 
evidences of which are best preserved in the inner valleys of the major drainage 
systems. This was fortunate, for it was along the main drainages that man con- 
gregated by reason of richer natural resources, upon which he was dependent. 
The locally changing landscape, by alternate scouring and filling, provided the 
opportunity for the preservation of human traces, fires, camps, and remains of 
animals killed, often in a decipherable geological context. The recent erosion 
cycle, starting some seventy-five years ago, is now providentially exposing these 
often deeply buried evidences, the location of which could never be predicted. It is 
obvious, too, that unless knowing eyes are present at the moment of exposure 
the traces may forever be lost by the destructive force of the next flood. 

Detailed geochronological studies are only now well under way, and until these 
begin to produce meaningful results we must rest upon generalities in our efforts 
to relate man to nature on the incipient exploitative level. 


A hypothetical and simple approach to the problem of culture history is one 
in which a single pattern is recognized at the time of origin, or first appearance, 
out of which there emerged a complex of patterns, the product of diverse re- 
sponses to various forces. The evidence for the New World begins to hint that 
no such simplified scheme is supportable. Taking the chronological short view 
of 10,000-12,000 years as the base line, at least two culture types are already 
in evidence. These show up in the greater Southwest, which invites our attention 
to them. 

The readily identifiable elements of these two patterns are the stemmed and 
the lanceolate projectile point traditions. The former represents the Desert cul- 
ture as seen in Danger Cave occurring as early as 9,000 years ago (Jennings, 
1957, p. 265) and was associated with tools designed for seed-grinding and 
preparation of plant foods. This was a clear indication of an adaptation to wring 
the most out of an essentially arid environment. In all probability this pattern 
has a substantially greater antiquity than the dates presently indicate. It is pre- 
dictable, on the basis of the Great Basin and western distribution of the Desert 
culture, that the oldest manifestations will be found in the West. Old World 
ties are not establishable on the data now available, but one may speculate that 
the complex was related somehow to the chopping-tool tradition of eastern Asia. 
Gidding's recent Alaskan studies of beach ridges and associated cultural remains 
may provide a much needed connection, for his oldest complexes consist of 
chopping tools and stemmed points. 

The second pattern, that of the lanceolate blade, was used by the big-game 
hunter and was associated predominantly with meat and hide-dressing tools, as 
judged by the slim data now available. The distribution of this complex is wide, 
but chiefly east of the Rockies, with a southwesterly extension into the South- 
west. At best, the age for lanceolate blades does not appear to extend much 


beyond 12,000 years ago, but, as with the Desert culture, a greater age would 
ease some of the problems related to the distribution of the type. And when older 
occurrences are found, they should be east of the Rockies. Old World con- 
nections for the lanceolate blade are not easily demonstrable, but, if there was 
a link, it doubtless arose from a quite different tradition than did the stemmed 
point of the Desert culture. The fluting technique, as has already been noted 
by others, was undoubtedly a New World invention. 
The points relevant to our discussions are: 

1. Within the last 15,000 years, two culture types seem to have entered the New World 
deriving from different Old World patterns, and distributionally they converged 
in the greater Southwest. 

2. We see plant-food exploitation, on the one hand, and animal-food dependence, on 
the other, though obviously not to the complete exclusion of the opposite in either 

3. Irrespective of the precise temporal relationship of these two patterns, they must 
have impinged on each other. The question here arises as to what the consequences 

4. Central to our problem is an assessment of the survival potential of the two systems 
under conditions of increasing aridity. 

Retracing our steps somewhat now, we find that Desert-culture remains are 
infrequently found in association with extinct fauna, the Sulphur Spring stage 
of the Cochise culture being an exception. Taking the Desert culture of Danger 
Cave in the Great Basin as the expression best suiting our needs, the Pleistocene 
fauna of 10,000 years ago was already gone, whereas it was still extant to the 
east. Thus, if the Desert culture ever depended on big game, it was forced 
early to rely heavily on plant resources and to develop the appropriate tech- 
nologies. The long and intimate experience of a wide range of plant life 
undoubtedly saved them during adverse climatic shifts, for changing the de- 
pendency from desirable to less-desirable, and perhaps hardier, plants was made 
relatively easy. Under the conditions of marginal subsistence, with some fluctu- 
ations in the degree of impoverishment, florescence was unlikely, if not impos- 
sible. As a consequence, we see a truly phenomenal situation of a near-static 
way of life from a remote 10,000 years ago to the ethnological present, a 
classic example of man's tenacity in a little-changing and harsh environment. 
This is in specific reference to the Great Basin. 

The big-game hunters on the fringes of the greater Southwest were faced 
with a distinct hazard. Extinction of the game, brought on by increasing 
aridity, loss of forage, and by man's own cutting-down of the herds, demanded 
a shift in economic dependence if life and residence were to be maintained. 
The temporal relationship of the collector and the hunter now becomes im- 
portant in our speculative reconstruction, for if the collector was first, as has 
been held (Jennings, 1956, p. 72), then the hunter had a ready model to follow 
when he was forced to change his ways. The full transition from butchering 
to seed-grinding, as symbols of essential dependence, took time, and it is 
doubtful that the wrench was as severe as we would like to think. Hunters 


also collect, just as plant-collectors hunt, and the shift was therefore one of 

The urge to exploit vegetal resources possibly meant infiltration into previously 
unsettled or lightly populated areas, the higher altitudes, which may have been 
less desirable as haunts of big game and therefore had been bypassed by man. 
Extensions of habitat brought new challenges and gave societies experience in 
subsisting in environments ranging from desert to forest. This now established 
the broad base from which we must operate in assessing subsequent develop- 
ments. The time is roughly 7000 b.c. and later. 

Speaking of the Southwest proper, several points need to be noted: (1) On 
the local scene, the level of cultural achievement, a subsistence economy that 
required maximum energy from a maximum number of people, must have been 
receptive to the addition of any resource to the cultural inventory that would 
ease the quest for food. (2) The invention or acquisition of tools, the milling 
stones, and the mastery of their use in grinding native foods, certainly by 
8000 b.c. (Jennings, 1957, p. 285), demanded no major overhauling of food- 
preparation practices when a new plant became available. (3) On the foreign 
scene Mesoamerican societies were flourishing and were already in possession 
of maize, whose durable influence was soon to be felt in the frontiers to the 

The earliest appearance of maize in the greater Southwest, and here I assume- 
without detailing supporting arguments— that it came out of the south, has 
been determined in the order of 3000 B.C. by radiocarbon means. The places are 
Bat Cave (Mangelsdorf and Smith, 1949), Tularosa and Cordova caves (Martin 
et al., 1952) in New Mexico, all in altitudes over 6,000 feet; and at Point of 
Pines, Arizona (Ariz. W: 10: 112), in a valley floor geological context of first, 
possibly second, millennium b.c. age (Martin and Schoenwetter, 1960). The 
latter identification is based on pollen extracted from silts in a mountain 
valley at 6,000 feet above sea level. These stations are within a little more than 
a hundred miles of each other, a geographical clustering of the evidence that 
I believe to have significance. 

Maize— whether cob, plant, or pollen— of comparable age has not yet been 
found in the subarid desert, though it was a staple by the beginning of the 
Christian Era. For most of the Great Basin, Southern California, and presumably 
Baja California, maize was not accepted. We are left, then, with the inference 
that the earliest maize, probably a variety adjusted for higher altitudes, spread 
along the cordilleran spine of the greater Southwest and found lodging in 
east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico. Mangelsdorf and Lister 
(1956) conclude this to have been the case after a detailed review of the 
botanical evidence. 

As an early cultigen companion to maize we must also add squash and, by 
1000 b.c, the bean, thereby completing the conventional trinity of food plants 
that characterized so much of North America. We may think of this mountain 
region as nuclear in the sense that it represents the earliest seed-planting— 


involving a grass in process of domestication— anywhere in the northern part 
of the greater Southwest. We assume that equally early and even earlier 
stations may be found stretching southward into Mesoamerica. Maize without 
pottery, possibly as early as that from the Arizona-New Mexico frontier, has 
been reported from caves in the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua (Mangelsdorf and 
Lister, 1956), but it has not been radiocarbon determined. For this area, then, 
incipient cultivation may be set at a time from 2500 to 3000 B.C. 

The recipient people, the Cochise culture, a regional manifestation of the 
wider-spread Desert culture, are still imperfectly known. Their residence 
pattern and architectural forms, if any, have not been established, except that 
we know that caves were used for shelter where available and that, more 
commonly, settlements or camps in the open are deduced from implement and 
hearth concentrations in geological contexts exposed by recent erosion. The 
deep blanket of soil under which most of these remains occur has slowed the 
research on fuller definition of the culture. We know it chiefly through the 
stone implements that were geared to the collection and preparation of plant 
food, such as grinding stones and percussion-flaked choppers. These reflect 
typological stability over a long period of time. 

For at least 2,000 years the advent of the new cereal grain that ultimately was 
to shape societies left no measurable effect upon the recipients, either in the 
complexity of the culture or upon the speed with which it progressed. It is 
evident that effective food production was long in coming, a subject to which 
we will return later. 

Continuing now with our survey, some 2,000 years after the arrival of maize, 
a new craft reached the core of the greater Southwest, again a gift from nuclear 
Mesoamerica. This was the knowledge of pottery-making. The earliest dated 
pottery comes from within the area of oldest maize, from Tularosa Cave in 
west-central New Mexico (Martin et al., 1952, p. 483) with a radiocarbon 
determination of about 150 B.C. Clearly here, as well as elsewhere in the world, 
pottery was not a direct concomitant of agriculture, but after a.d. 1 both flourished 
as correlates. 

With this new trait, responsive in reflecting regional clay and mineral re- 
sources, susceptible to change through time, and a hallmark of cultural or tribal 
differences, the opportunity was enormously increased for eventual archeological 
analysis and identification. Before pottery, the relatively undifferentiated lithic 
typology of the far-flung Desert culture (Cochise) does not permit recognition 
of sharp or specific regional differences except over large areas and long stretches 
of time. After pottery, regional manifestations become evident not only in the 
pottery itself but in related attributes. As a consequence of this fact, the 
archeologist has recognized three main cultural streams: the Anasazi, centering 
in the plateau of the Four Corners area; the Hohokam of the Arizona desert; 
and the Mogollon of the mountain zone extending southward along the corridor 
far into Mexico. These are the so-called higher cultures of the Southwest. This 
is not the place to argue the ethnic separateness of these groups. We are 


interested, however, in cultural responses to the settling-down process in three 
strikingly different environments. These may be taken up as a series of problems. 

Settling Down 

As background for the cultural build-ups beginning roughly with the Chris- 
tian Era, we need to dip deeply again into the time of food-collectors. It is 
axiomatic that in the New World, except for some maritime groups, the set- 
tling-down process was a correlate of maize tillage. This concept, I believe, 
needs some modification, at least for the Southwest. Because of their special 
attraction, caves cannot be used as a test of stationary living. The evidence must 
be found in open sites. The vast accumulations of grinding stones in stations 
of the Cochise culture, as exemplified in the Cave Creek site (Sayles and Antevs, 
1941, p. 17), and the considerable accumulation of refuse strongly hint at 
localized and perhaps near-continuous residence. The extensive attrition of mill- 
ing stones and the subsurface storage pits occasionally seen favor this idea. Some 
of these sites are datable to pre-maize times; others are within the first and second 
millennia B.C. after the advent of corn, but we have no knowledge that maize 
was grown in these sites. 

It is not beyond probability that as early as 4000 B.C. the Cochise culture was 
engaged in deliberate plant cultivation of native species, as, for example, cheno- 
pods and amaranths. This experience with plants plus the possession of imple- 
ments for processing plant foods, as noted earlier, predisposed the people to 
accept maize culture easily. For a long time maize did nothing to alter the 
mode of living beyond what was already known, though it must have supplied 
a greater measure of security achieved by the storage of surpluses. 

We are still in the dark regarding the detailed nature of houses, their arrange- 
ment, or their number in a community during this period of incipient maize 
cultivation. Pit houses, with shallowly sunken floors, with dirt-covered beam 
and brush superstructures, and with entrance through the sides were probably 
the norm. This is predicated on architectural evidence of the first millennium B.C. 
(Sayles and Antevs, 1941, p. 27) and on the established architectural pattern 
observable in such villages as at Pine Lawn, the Vahki phase at Snaketown, and 
at Forestdale, dating near the time of Christ. All these are surely well up the 
ladder of architectural history. 

The important point to reiterate, however, is that over much of the greater 
Southwest some experience had already been gained in settled living before the 
arrival of maize and other seed crops. At least two thousand years were to 
pass before formalized communities arose. 

Which Subenvironment the Best for the Transformation? 

The greater Southwest, as already indicated, provided a wide variety of 
ecological systems in which food-getting advances could have been made. It 
is also evident that the achievements were not uniform over the area but, instead, 
were spotty. Polar differences, as between the Great Basin collectors and the 


Plateau planters, are found within the space of a few hundred miles. Is there 

anything to be learned by a closer inspection of this problem? 

Jennings states (1957, p. 286) that "the Basin provides the semi-arid climate 
regarded by many as prerequisite to the beginnings of plant domestication." 
Prerequisites and antecedents, however, did not appear to be enough because 
the record does not support plant domestication as a Basin achievement or yet 
even tillage to any extent. This holds true also for the Succulent Desert, where, 
in modern times, tribes like the Papago depended upon native plants for 50-60 
per cent of their food and agriculture at best was desultory (Castetter and 
Bell, 1942, p. 56). Sauer (1952, PI. II) shows the Southwest as a recipient 
rather than a donor area. 

Being on the receiving end of a diffusion pattern, three initial conditions 
were, I believe, primarily responsible in making the transition from collector 
to producer a reality. First was propinquity, the geographical closeness to the 
avenue through which elements were passing from nuclear Mesoamerica north- 
ward. The opportunity to acquire these had to be present. Second, the bio- 
geographical setting needed to be similar in kind to that of the donor area, 
and, third, an optimum cultural environment was needed, a willingness to accept, 
to modify, and to build. These three requisites were met in the Sierra Madre 
corridor and, for our purposes, in the northern extension thereof— the higher 
regions and mountains of the Arizona-New Mexico border country. 

For the most part, this was an open forested setting endowed with some 
natural clearings, with sufficient precipitation at the right times of the year 
for farming on a simple level without water-control devices. Both European and 
American scholars are holding the view that agriculture arose in wooded lands 
(Clark, 1946, pp. 57-71; Braidwood, 1948; Sauer, 1952, pp. 21-22), and it would 
seem logical that, during the initial dispersal of plant and technique, it would 
stick to this environment. At least the southwestern data support this view. 

Not until agriculture was well established here did it flow out into the 
less favorable environments as a secondary expansion to the arid plateau and 
the desert (Fig. 1). The harshest part of the Southwest in terms of water 
scarcity was the desert. Farming, except in river bottoms, was impossible 
without water control, and measures to control water took some time in 
developing. But, once gained, the desert was ripe for full exploitation. Perhaps 
not until the beginning of the Christian Era did maize cultivation become 
significant among the Hohokam of the desert, as a result of simple canal develop- 
ment. It appears to have been no earlier on the Plateau among the Anasazi, 
whose planting was limited to small plots situated where ground moisture was 
concentrated and held after floods. 

Kirchhoff's "Oasis America" (1954) centers in the "Great Sonoran Desert," 
a construct based on ethnology. But in a historical sense the desert appears to 
have been conquered late. 

I conclude that the initial transformation took place in the uplands, that the 
truly great advances in agriculture came in some of the more arid regions but 


not until the techniques of canal irrigation were learned. Other arid sections, 
as the Great Basin, did not experience the same course. The road to stability 
was not obligatory. 

Delayed Effects of Agriculture 

The earlier observation with respect to the retarded effects of agriculture 
bears further discussion because it stands in sharp contrast to the usually 
accepted opinion that rapid cultural evolution followed as a consequence of food 
production. Childe's use of "revolution" (1952) has perhaps influenced our 
thinking, although he is careful to point out (1950, p. 3) that "revolution" 
denotes the "culmination of a progressive change." Redfield's "transformation" 
(1953, p. 5) is better suited, it seems to me, to describe what actually happened. 

In any event, as previously noted, some two thousand years elapsed between 
the earliest record of maize in the Southwest and the appearance of village life 
and other concomitants signaling full sedentary living (Jennings, 1956, p. 76). 
A possible explanation for this may reside in the early knowledge and practice 
of seed-planting of non-domesticated forms. The addition of maize to the 
list of existing seed crops was valued as only one more. Early maize was also 
a primitive form— pod corn— and the yield was relatively small. Its introduction 
required no new tools for processing, thereby allowing the introduction to 
pass as a commonplace. 

Another factor, perhaps even more important than the foregoing, was the 
later evolutionary change of maize. Left alone, changes in a single race were 
gradual, but the introduction of new races of maize produced striking evolu- 
tionary spurts. Mangelsdorf and Lister (1956, pp. 172-73) have demonstrated a 
rapid change in maize in northwestern Mexico at about a.d. 750 ± 250, when, 
in a few centuries at the most, a primitive race was almost completely transformed 
by the introduction of two new entities. The date above is too recent for our 
situation, but, given a similar circumstance in the core area of the Southwest 
shortly before the time of Christ, one begins to sense the possibility of explosive 
changes. Improved strains meant increased yields. Larger harvests spelled sur- 
pluses. The principle of storage, in underground pits or even in baskets, was 
already known, so now the economy was shifting from mere subsistence to 
one of relative abundance. When this happened, there was undoubtedly a real 
premium attached to the acceptance of maize as something new and prized. As 
a postulate, I would say that, with this event, new diffusion took place. The 
northern reaches of the greater Southwest and the Sonoran Desert now came 
under its influence. Basketmaker (Anasazi) and Hohokam farming was becoming 
a reality. It is significant that the oldest villages yet recognized, Falls Creek 
in southwestern Colorado (Morris and Burgh, 1954), the Pine Lawn villages 
(Martin, 1940, 1943; Martin et al, 1947, 1949), the Bluff Site (Haury and Sayles, 
1947), and Snaketown (Gladwin et al, 1937), all date near the beginning of the 
Christian Era, following the postulated improvement in the races of maize. 
Furthermore, these villages represent the three main culture types— Anasazi, 


Mogollon, and Hohokam— a strong indication that the factor operating to 
stimulate the formation of village life cut freely across cultural boundaries. 
Maize and its related domesticates stand as the logical candidates for bringing 
this about. I know of nothing in the climatic history of the region, another 
force operating without respect to culture, that might be called upon to help 
explain the rise of villages. 

The full transformation, then, from collector to producer, was long in 
coming, attributable primarily to the primitive nature of maize. Its improvement, 
by introduction of new races, did produce the kind of revolutionary changes 
within a few centuries usually thought of as following the first farming. 

Animal Domesticates 

Unlike the Near East and other parts of the Old World, where domestication 
means both plant and animal, the North American problem is simple. Herd 
animals were never domesticated, and the only animal that clearly falls within 
this domesticated category was the dog. Archeological evidence indicates 
(Haury, 1950, p. 158) that the dog was already present several thousand years 
before Christ. The inference is indicated that the dog was not even domesticated 
here but was brought to the New World from the Old by its human masters. 

Of uncertain status in the greater Southwest was the turkey. Some argue 
that it was domesticated, while others hold to the idea that it was kept. Whatever 
the outcome, it will have little bearing on our problem, for we must conclude 
that the people of the Southwest were seed-planters and that they could not 
count domesticated animals as having any real economic importance among 
their, resources. 

The Village: Pattern, Size, and Longevity 

According to the previously stated postulate, the improvement in the race or 
races of maize, shortly before the time of Christ, greatly stimulated its planting 
in the core area and was responsible for its quick spread to all the greater South- 
west except the Far West. Close upon the heels of this advance we see for 
the first time what Braidwood has aptly called (1958, p. 1428) "village-farming 
communities." I see these as distinct from the earlier long-occupied camps of the 
Cochise culture, whether in caves or in the open, because of formalized architec- 
ture, perhaps a closer clustering of the houses, usually the presence of a larger, 
apparently non-domestic structure, and a greater complexity of the material 
possessions. Of whatever cultural identity, that is, Hohokam, Mogollon, or 
Anasazi, the house pits remaining reflect a solidity of construction and an 
investment of labor that would arise only from a need for prolonged residence. 
These were not temporary camps, evidenced particularly by the Bluff Site 
(Haury and Sayles, 1947), where house pits were scooped out of solid sandstone. 
Although direct evidence of maize is not available for all, it does exist for some, 
and for the others the inference that maize was the dependent crop may be 
drawn from the types of metate or milling tools present. 


In evaluating such factors as house distribution and size of community, we 
are seriously handicapped by the nature of the archeological digging. Few total 
villages have been cleared. Hence estimates must be based on what was dug 
and by extrapolation. A tacit assumption must also be made that, except where 
demonstrably different ages of houses can be established, all structures were 
simultaneously inhabited. Against these uncertainties let us examine a few test 
cases (Fig. 1). 


Bluff Site {Hanry and Sayles, 1941).— Occupies the sloping top of a bluff; 
about 6,600 feet above sea level; 22 of a probable 30 domestic houses excavated; 
one large communal or (?) ceremonial structure, near village's center; house 
distribution random, separated from each other 5-25 meters; several structures 
date later than main occupation. Assuming 20 houses to have been simultaneously 
inhabited, and an average family-size factor of 4-5, the village population was 
80-100 persons. Age of village: Mogollon I, ca. a.d. 300, by tree-ring dating. No 
direct evidence of domesticated plants, but maize cultivation is inferred. 

Crooked Ridge Village (Wheat, 1954).— Situated on a long, well-drained 
ridge, 6,200 feet above sea level; 24 of a probable 100 rooms excavated; two large 
ceremonial structures are near apparent center of village; house distribution 
random, nearest about 5 meters apart. Some difference in age of houses is 
indicated, so, assuming that 50 houses were simultaneously occupied and applying 
the family-size factor of 4-5, the population was 200-250. Age of village, oldest 
horizon: Mogollon I, Circle Prairie phase, estimated pre-A.D. 400 (Wheat 1955, 
p. 213). Charred maize present (Wheat, 1954, p. 164). 

SU Site (Marti??, 1940, 1943; Martin a?id Rinaldo, 1941). -Located on low 
flat-topped ridge at 6,440 feet above sea level; 28 of a probable 34 houses were 
dug, randomly scattered in two groups each with nearly central ceremonial 
house. If 20 houses were occupied at once, probable population was 80-100. 
Age: Mogollon I, Pine Lawn phase, estimated pre-A.D. 500 (Martin et al., 1949, 
p. 222). Maize inferred from presence in same time period at Tularosa Cave. 

San Simon Village (Sayles, 1945).— On low terrace at 3,600 feet above sea level; 
66 structures located, undetermined number remaining undug; no ceremonial 
structure. Architectural sequence greatly complicated by overbuilding during 
6 phases. Oldest houses number about 12, yielding population of 48-60. Age: 
Mogollon I, Penasco phase, estimated to be early centuries of Christian Era. 
No direct evidence of maize, but presence inferred. 


Talus Village (Morris and Burgh, 1954).— Houses terraced on 25° slope, 
Animas Valley, Colorado, at approximately 6,800 feet above sea level. A probable 
9 houses, floors cleared, closely spaced; indeterminate number not excavated. 
No ceremonial structure recognized. Population estimate not valid, but at best 
community was probably small, 75-100. Age: Basketmaker II, pre-A.D. 400, 


by tree rings. Maize and pumpkin or squash inferred from presence of same 

in nearby shelter of same age. 

Shabik : 'eshchee Village (Roberts, 1929).— On mesa top, about 6,600 feet above 
sea level; village completely dug, 18 houses and one ceremonial room; random 
distribution, 2-8 meters apart. Presumed population 75-90. Age: Basketmaker 
III, a.d. 400-700, dating by association. Maize culture inferred. 


Snaketovm (Gladwin et al., 1931).— Desert environment on terrace above Gila 
River at about 1,200 feet above sea level. A site of long occupation and only 2 
houses recognized representing oldest horizon; initial village probably small, no 
population estimate possible; house size suggests extended family use. Age: 
near a.d. 1, dating by stratigraphy and association. Maize agriculture inferred. 

In selecting the foregoing villages, I have concentrated on the earliest ones 
of which we have a record. It is evident that the data are woefully lacking and 
hardly comparable, especially for the Anasazi and Hohokam. Regardless, they 
may certainly be recognized as the Southwest's incipient villages, arising from 
the oldest architectural tradition for the whole of the area in late Cochise 
times (Sayles, 1945, pp. 1-3). 

While these villages cut across cultural and environmental boundaries, they 
were all roughly of the same age. This synchronous build-up supports the idea 
that the time of village-founding under differing circumstances was the true 
threshold of settled living. Similarity in village plan is evident, a random scattering 
of units, with a centrally located ceremonial structure (temple?), especially 
early in Mogollon villages and somewhat later in those of the Anasazi. This 
feature remains to be identified among the Hohokam. Village population, by 
our gross estimates, seems to have been a hundred souls or fewer on the 
average, though Crooked Ridge village appears to be an exception. The evidence 
for maize culture in all is good, and we can accept it as the key factor in 
accounting for the new phenomenon in settlement history. 

The volume of refuse and the lateral extent of it in late Cochise culture sites 
suggests a community size roughly comparable to that of the village-farming 
communities. One must agree, on our meager data, with Redfield (1953, p. 6) 
that the transition from food-collecting to food-producing was not accompanied 
by an immediate increase in community size. 

It may be an accident of more intensive excavation that the Mogollon villages 
appear somewhat more solidly established than do those of the other groups, 
but these also coincide in distribution with the area from which the earliest 
maize data and the earliest pottery have come and which was ecologically 
similar to the donor area of maize. No sites comparable to these villages are 
known elsewhere in the greater Southwest, though they may well exist to the 
south in the Cordilleras. The advance from camp to farming village here lagged 
behind the Near East by at least 4,000 years. 


The question of village longevity bids brief reference. Most of the afore- 
mentioned villages enjoyed a comparatively short life, at most through several 
developmental phases of the archeologist's time scale. The San Simon village, 
and especially Snaketown, had a demonstrably long life, 1,200 to 1,400 years for 
the latter, or 2,000 years if the historic Pima are admitted as the descendants 
of the Hohokam. Snaketown's is the outstanding stratigraphic record for a 
southwestern open site. I view village life span as the probable consequence of 
a particular advance in farming technology. This was water control by ditches. 
While our oldest readily supportable date for canalization at Snaketown is 
a.d. 700 (Haury, 1936), the sophistication of the canal of that date and the 
length of the ditch, more than 3 miles, presupposes a developmental period of 
considerable time. In view of the survival problem facing even a small com- 
munity in the desert without some form of water control, I do not find it 
difficult to believe that ditch irrigation in simple form was already known by 
a.d. 1. The enormous labor investment in canal construction rooted people to 
the spot. As the canals grew in length and complexity, bringing ever more 
acreage under cultivation, new villages would, as a matter of course, be estab- 
lished; but there would have been little reason to abandon the original settlement. 
So it grew, experiencing local shift in house sites, piling up ever deeper-layered 
deposits of refuse, and in the end giving the impression of maturity that only 
long occupancy supplies. 

As for the San Simon village, initially of Mogollon identity and later carrying 
a Hohokam veneer, the reason for longevity is less readily explained. Neither 
terrain nor water resources were such as to permit canal irrigation, so the 
reason must rest on presently unrecognized advantages of the site. While other 
villages of the Mogollon and Anasazi were frequently overbuilt by later peoples, 
there were hiatuses in the occupational sequence. Canal irrigation was not 
employed by them, although simple forms of water control were known. In 
short, from the slim data we have for the Southwest, village longevity appears 
to be directly related to the level of hydraulic advances. 

Subsequent histories of village and town development in the three areas 
took different paths. The Mogollon passed the scattered pit-house-living stage 
largely as the result of having come heavily under the Anasazi sphere of 
influence. Among the latter a new architectural form was emerging, rooms 
were joined to rooms, making a cellular structure, and rooms were built on 
top of one another, the ceiling of one becoming the floor of the next. The plaza 
or courtyard also puts in an appearance. Thus, Aiogollon and Anasazi settle- 
ments of later times, certainly classifiable as towns, were essentially the same 
in composition. 

The Hohokam, however, except for a short-lived intrusion of puebloid 
architecture into their domain in the fourteenth century, abided by the old 
tradition and lived in sprawling villages of shallow pit dwellings. This is all 
the more surprising because they had achieved a farming status not matched 
by the other societies. The reason obviously lies in cultural factors. One may 


guess that the security given by canal irrigation, a source of water for thirsty 
fields less capricious than rain, somehow must be taken into account. This 
dependability required fewer group efforts in formalized rain-making ceremonies 
and on religious structures per se. Also descent— patrilineal, if we may judge 
by the modern Pima analogy— and lack of emphasis on the extended family and 
clan may have been factors. Expertness in husbandry did not automatically 
determine the compactness or form of community development. 

Land Use and Irrigation 

The variety of environments in the greater Southwest into which agriculture 
eventually spread called for the adoption of various methods before effective 
farming could be established. These would have come only after long familiarity 
with the habitat. For the core area, the Alogollon, I would reason that there 
was ample time for this, in the order of 2,000 years. For the rest of the area 
it may be argued that some knowledge of method spread with material, so 
that adaptations dictated by the diverse environments were more quickly 
achieved. The flood-water farming described by Bryan (1929) undoubtedly 
mirrors the system employed literally from the beginning of planting in the 
plateau. For the mountains, where land was at a premium, some form of water 
run-off controls, such as low terraces and check dams, worked effectively to 
hold and spread the natural water that came as rain or snow (Woodbury, 
1961). This system, too, must be old. Dating the tangible remains is notoriously 
difficult because the plots were in use into late prehistoric times. But, without 
these conjectures, I do not see how the oldest villages described could have 
reached the permanency indicated. 

Irrigation by canal, however, is another matter. Here we must deal with a 
trait that, in developed form, required engineering skills and labor recruitment 
not demanded by the simpler systems. Since agriculture came out of the south, 
it is also tempting to attribute canal irrigation to the same source. I have been 
willing to accept this as probable, but recently serious doubts have arisen in my 
mind. Irrigation was only nominally practiced in Mesoamerica, with which 
most southwestern interconnections seem to have been established, and the 
antiquity has not yet been certainly determined beyond the Toltec era (Palerm, 
1955, pp. 35-36). Only in the Rio Balsas does one find systems comparable to 
Hohokam and, beyond that, northern Peru. If the germinal idea did come with 
maize, it would appear that the Hohokam, by the early centuries of the 
Christian Era, had seized it and, spurred by their favorable topographical en- 
vironment, achieved full mastery in quick order. The alternative is to enter- 
tain the thought that canals were spontaneous, inspired by the fingering-out of 
waters during flood stage in the Gila and Salt Rivers into numerous shallow 
channels on the flood plain. Nature's example would not have gone unnoticed, 
for before irrigation farming could have been only on flood plains. 

A unique outcome of canal irrigation was the removal of restrictions that 
dictated village location (Haury, 1956, p. 9). For farming communities in the 


Southwest two requirements ruled the place of residence: available water and 
land. Now with water control via ditch, naturally occurring water was no 
longer requisite, and, so long as the topography permitted it, canals could be 
made to reach out to farmlands far from rivers, with villages built adjacent. 
Actually, this emancipation of residence came late, not until the thirteenth 
or fourteenth century. 

The chief significance for us in the foregoing discussion is that different 
systems of land utilization arose among the three subcultures, required by 
varied habitats, and that these systems were sufficient to engender subsequent 

Elsewhere in the greater Southwest, especially in the northern and eastern 
perimeter, farming was little more than a subsistence activity. To the south, as 
one approaches Mesoamerica one infers intensification of planting where per- 
mitted by the environment. The irrigators of the lower Yaqui River in Sonora— 
because of the shallowness of archeological time and of what little is known 
of their historic relationships— may be presumed to have learned the art from 
the north. 

Other Consequences of Village Life 

The assessment of the kind and extent of cultural reorientation that followed 
full dependence on agriculture, beyond the more easily observed phenomena 
of architectural form and tool complexes, has not been undertaken. It is a 
difficult subject but one that begs attention, even though most of what can 
be said is still speculation. 

Systematic efforts to note the influence of sedentary living on trade have 
not been made. It may be observed, however, that trade during most of pre- 
history in the Southwest was seldom more than a nominal exchange of goods, 
far below the level of commerce, as evident in the early settlements of the 
Old World. The liveliest exchange for the longest time of which we have any 
record appears to have been in marine shell from the west. This began even in 
the early-man horizon (Sayles and Antevs, 1941, p. 67; Haury, 1950, pp. 189-90), 
but it did not reach its peak until after a.d. 1000. 

Exchange of pottery is the most readily identifiable evidence of trade, and 
this we know took place on the village-farming community level between 
neighboring tribes. Again, not until late in prehistory, however— in the fourteenth 
century— do we see this reaching significant proportions, that is, when the 
volume became large enough to make commerce in pottery appear as an in- 
stitutionalized activity. 

The initial appearance of maize, pottery, and the figurine complex from the 
south I regard as the product of diffusion. This continued through time, 
ultimately heavily affecting the Hohokam in particular. Direct importations 
of metal objects, notably copper bells, probably from Michoacan; the mosaic 
pyrites-encrusted plaques from still farther south; and the military macaw 
represent trade over the greatest distances. This long-range trade came, not 


as an antecedent to village and town development, but as a consequence of it. 
As far as the Southwest is concerned, it is my opinion that diffusion, principally 
of the stimulus category, was always more important in shaping the native 
societies than was direct commerce, the imposition of culture elements or 
patterns by minority immigrant groups or by large immigrant groups who 
initiated a life way de novo. 

Coming now to a brief consideration of religion, our ideas clearly must be 
based on a few tangible remains, and they may be wide of the mark. Mural 
pictography, usually associated on the early level with the sacred rather than 
the secular, does not help us. No art of this kind has been surely identified to 
be as old as the incipient village level. The oldest mural paintings in the 
Southwest are probably those of Basketmaker II (Anasazi), and the subjects 
do not reveal to us any clear religious motivation. 

Buildings are a somewhat surer base for making judgments. These are the 
"great houses" or "great kivas." They are major features in all Mogollon villages 
of pre-A.D. 400 age so far dug except the San Simon village (Wheat, 1955, p. 
213), and they usually occupy a central spot in the village. The consistency 
of their appearance at this early time, the greater engineering skill required to 
build them over that required to build domestic structures, and the community 
of effort their construction demanded certainly means that the trait was not 
new even at this time level. While the origin of the kiva in space and time 
remains obscure, one may look to the south for its source, where religious 
systems were already crystallized. From Mogollon, the great kiva went to 
the Anasazi, where by a.d. 600 it was firmly established. 

Curiously, the Hohokam, who were drawing on Mexico for cultural inspira- 
tion, especially by the end of the first millennium a.d., and who we know had 
also merged with the Mogollon in the overlapping frontier of the two groups, 
never seem to have acquired the great kiva. It is tempting at this point to re- 
evaluate the data from Snaketown (Gladwin et al., 1937, pp. 74-77), referring 
to two large Vahki-phase houses by identifying them as great kivas. Typo- 
logically, this is supportable, but it would leave the Vahki phase without any 
domestic structures. If structures 1:7H and 8 were houses in fact, then the place 
of the great kiva may have been taken by the ballcourt, the idea having come 
out of the south perhaps as early as a.d. 500-700. 

Reading backward in time from the modern pueblo analogy of the priesthood- 
kiva linkage, one may guess that a priesthood in its formative stages, or some 
kind of institutionalized religious leadership, was an associate of the oldest 
Mogollon kivas. Beyond this any assertions lose touch with reality. 

The idea of a "kingship" appears to have been foreign in all the greater South- 
west. At least there are no modern survivals among native peoples, and there is 
nothing in the archeological record to support it. Sociopolitical or socioreligious 
leadership, however, may be inferred. For Mogollon and Anasazi, the dispersal 
of houses around the great kiva hints the latter. For the Hohokam, no such 
distribution is observable. Here I would hold that the emphasis was on civil 


leadership, for this was more important in canal-building and maintenance than 
in organized ceremonialism oriented to producing rain. 

A still further suggestion of effective political leadership is seen in the multi- 
village service given by one canal. The welfare of a number of villages depended 
upon co-operative efforts, and some form of centralized authority must have 
existed (Haury, 1956, p. 8). But these achievements, along with concepts of 
water and land rights, are already far beyond the beginnings of village-farming 
settlements in time. They are to be reckoned among the consequences of the 
technological advances of a hydraulic society. 


We have now passed in quick review some of the major aspects of the culture 
build-ups in the American Southwest (Fig. 2). On the collector level, from about 
5000 to 3000 b.c, cultural uniformity characterized the region as a whole; but 
the subsequent routes were far from uniform. Progress was impressively unequal. 
Some tribes, as those in parts of Southern California, Baja California, and the 
Great Basin were essentially static, maintaining the old collector patterns for a 
probable 10,000 years. Others, starting from the same base, particularly the 
Hohokam, Mogollon, and Anasazi, reached the highest cultural evolution seen 
in the area. At any one time after a.d. 1 a cross section of economic patterns 
would have revealed a spectrum of all the variants ever present except the big- 
game hunter. In short, in only a part of the greater Southwest did the transition 
from food-collector to efficient food-producer become a reality (see map, 
Fig. 1). 

The dictates of environment were partly responsible. The shortage of rain, 
the high evaporation rate, and the absence of live streams in most of the varieties 
of desert previously listed kept large parts of it uncultivable. Land tenure was 
possible only under a simple subsistence economy except in the Succulent Desert, 
where natural conditions favored a higher development. It is observable that a 
correlation existed between the better-endowed areas and the higher cultural 
achievements, but under these circumstances the environment was permissive and 
not compulsive. Cultural initiative and determination must also be reckoned with 
as dominant factors. Intensification of food-producing came as a happy com- 
bination of ecology, cultural outlook, and availability of outside stimuli. 

In order of time, agricultural exploitation of the greater Southwest's sub- 
environments appears to have been oldest in the Desert Coniferous Forest, then 
spreading into the Dry Grassland, and the more favored parts of the Desert 
and the Succulent Desert as a nearly simultaneous expansion. 

Viewed as a cultural process, the achievement of food production on a high 
level was far from explosive and not entirely indigenous in nature. Rather, it 
resulted from a combination of, first, several millennia of experience with and 
dependence upon native plants and, second, the introduction from the outside 
of new plants with nutritional and yield potentials higher than any of those 











- 1500 


















p i 








- A. D. 1 







\ / 


MAIZE -*• 


- 1000 B.C. 






Uj l 



































- 5000 



o£ se / 











Figure 2. Synoptic chart of southwestern culture horizons and 
approximate timetable of advances leading to urbanism. 


in the local flora. Principal among these was maize from Mexico. Initially it was 
a primitive form, grown for perhaps 2,000 years by simple and desultory cul- 
tivation before its full capabilities were realized. In the Southwest, at least, the 
transition from incipient to advanced cultivation was a slow process. 

The reconstruction that I have proposed, briefly summarized, holds that the 
northern Sierra Madre and the mountain country of Arizona and New Mexico 
were the core area of the Southwest so far as the transition from food collection 
to food production was concerned. This is predicated on the presence of the 
oldest maize, the oldest villages with "temple" structures, the oldest pottery, 
and a geographical setting favorable for simple agriculture at the end of the 
corridor along which elements of higher culture traveled from Mesoamerica. 
Improvement of the primitive maize in the first millennium b.c. by the arrival 
of new races, or perhaps by teosinte introgression, accounted for a second dis- 
persal of the cereal to its ultimate limits in the greater Southwest. Then followed 
the development of agricultural techniques suited to differing eco-systems and 
the ultimate rise of the higher, more complex societies. It was not until these 
events occurred, at a time coinciding roughly with the beginning of the Christian 
Era, that we have reasons to consider effective food production a reality. Oddly, 
the climax areas, the riverine Hohokam of southern Arizona, and the plateau 
Anasazi of the Four Corners did not coincide with the original core area, where 
the mountain environment or cultural inertia seems to have had a suppressive 
effect in spite of having been congenial at the start. The Mogollon, although 
the initiators of what may be regarded as a good start toward the better life, 
lost their momentum and were eventually surpassed by their neighbors. 

In late prehistory after a.d. 1000, we recognize the existence of large Hohokam 
villages— for example Snaketown, with perhaps a thousand inhabitants (14 houses 
excavated, an estimated 5 per cent of those present)— and the towns of the 
Anasazi, like Pueblo Bonito, with an estimated population of 1,000 (Judd, 1954, 
p. 1). Settlement expansion from the hundred or so inhabitants of the village- 
farming community to the large village or town of a thousand or more souls 
was ten centuries in coming. With this increase we see also, especially among 
the Anasazi, formalized architecture, religious concepts made real to us by kiva 
architecture, expanding arts and crafts, with perhaps some specialists, some in- 
crease in trade, and public works in the Hohokam canals. At the root of these 
advances were, first, the food surplus, which permitted concentrated populations, 
and, second, what Childe (1950) refers to as the "social surplus," members of 
the society who were not needed for food production. This level of attainment 
was maintained for 300-400 years, whence began a substantial reorientation of 
the societies, which took the form of shrinking boundaries accompanied by an 
increase in town populations. The Point of Pines ruin had a probable population 
of between 2,000 and 3,000 in the fourteenth century. This trend continued until 
the advent of the Spanish in the sixteenth century. Actually, the pueblos 
(Anasazi) of historic times added little to the pattern that was not already 
established long before. The Hohokam seem to have suffered almost complete 


eclipse after a.d. 1400, and the glory of their culture is but faintly echoed by 
the modern Pima Indians. The reasons for the decline are not readily apparent 
and do not concern us at present except in one aspect. Because the decline was 
already under way before the Spanish conquest, we can say that both Anasazi 
and Hohokam had reached their cultural climax before this disrupting influence 
arrived. It is thus pointless to speculate whether greater heights would have been 
reached by the native peoples if the Europeans had not come. 

Turning to the final problem now, the evaluation of southwestern native 
cultural evolution against Childe's criteria for cities and civilized life (1950), the 
following brief observations may be made. The settlements of southwestern 
societies did not reach the status of cities, and their way of life fell short of 
civilization as defined, in spite of impressive accomplishments. Advances toward 
this state are seen in large aggregations of people, an increase by a factor of 10 
or more over the early village-farming communities and a beginning of the 
development of public works, the canals of the Hohokam, to a limited extent 
canals among the Anasazi, and possibly the great kiva. But this is about all that 
can be said on the positive side. On the negative side, we have no data that would 
hint at centralized wealth arising from taxation, no writing, no developed foreign 
trade for raw materials controlled by segments of the population, no truly de- 
veloped mercantile centers, no organized warfare, and no ruling class per se. 
Among the predictive sciences, only astronomy appears to lay claim to any 
recognition. The movements of the heavenly bodies and the equinoxes, important 
in modern Pueblo ceremonialism, undoubtedly stem from an old and deep-seated 
knowledge. But it was rudimentary at best and known principally by priests, 
who were the combined religious and political leaders. Archeology does not 
clearly tell us whether or not full-time specialists existed or what the rules of 
residence were. 

The most we can say for the greater Southwest is that in a part of it, roughly 
the geographical core area, the necessary foundation for achieving urbanization 
was laid in the first millennium b.c. and that the ensuing centuries witnessed sub- 
stantial advances. But innate cultural factors more than environmental restrictions 
set the boundaries of high accomplishments. Civilization as such, with its related 
cities and other attributes, was not to be. For the rest of the area the native people 
never rose above the level of a subsistence economy. 

A significant sidelight on the greater Southwest is the fact that its archeological 
record of human progress is exceptionally complete up to the point of city 
achievement. We cannot yet say with certainty that all the historical processes 
of cultural evolution manifested in the region were experienced by one and the 
same people; but, at least until late prehistory, this appears to be a likely pos- 



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Mangelsdorf, Paul C, and Robert H. Lister 

1956. "Archaeological Evidence on the Evolution of Maize in Northwestern Mexico," 

Bot. Mus. Leaflets (Harvard University), 17:151-78. 
Mangelsdorf, Paul C, and C. Earle Smith, Jr. 

1949. "New Archaeological Evidence on Evolution in Maize," Bot. Mus. Leaflets 

(Harvard University), 13:213-47. 
Martin, Paul Schultz, and James Schoenwetter 

1960. "Arizona's Oldest Cornfield," Science, 132:33-34. 
Martin, Paul Sidney 

1940. The SU Site: Excavations at a Mogollon Village, Western New Mexico, 1939. 
("Anthrop. Ser., Field Mus. Nat. Hist.," Vol. 32, No. 1.) Chicago. 

1943. The SU Site: Excavations at a Mogollon Village, Western New Mexico, 

Second Season, 1941. {Ibid., No. 2.) 
Martin, Paul Sidney, and John B. Rinaldo 

1947. The SU Site: Excavations at a Mogollon Village, Western New Mexico, Third 

Season, 1946 ("Anthrop. Ser., Field Mus. Nat. Hist.," Vol. 32, No. 3.) Chicago. 
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1952. Mogollon Cultural Continuity and Change: The Stratigraphic Analysis of 
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Mason, Otis T. 

1896. "Influence of Environment upon Human Industries or Arts," Smithsonian 

Institution, Annual Reports, 1895, pp. 639-65. Washington. 
Morris, Earl H., and Robert F. Burgh 

1954. Basket Maker II Sites near Durango, Colorado. (Carnegie Inst. Publ. 604.) 
Washington, D.C. 

Palerm, Angel 

1955. "The Agricultural Basis of Urban Civilization in Mesoamerica." In J. H. 
Steward (ed.), Irrigation Civilizations: A Comparative Study pp. 28-42. (Soc. Sci. 
Monogs., No. 1.) Washington, D.C: Pan American Union. 

Redfield, Robert 

1953. The Primitive World and Its Transformations. Ithaca: Cornell University 


Roberts, Frank H. H. Jr. 

1929. Shahik'eshchee Village: A Lake Basket Maker Site in the Chaco Canyon, 

New Mexico. (Smithsonian Institution, Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 92.) Washington. 
Sauer, Carl O. 

1952. Agricultural Origins and Dispersals. (Bowman Memorial Lectures, Ser. 2.) 

New York: American Geographical Society. 
Sayles, E. B. 

1945. The San Simon Branch, Excavations at Cave Creek and in the San Simon 

Valley. ("Medallion Papers," No. 34.) Globe, Ariz. 
Sayles, E. B., and Ernst Antevs 

1941. The Cochise Culture. ("Medallion Papers," No. 29.) Globe, Ariz. 
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Wauchope, Robert (ed.) 

1956. Seminars in Archaeology: 195 S. ("Mem. Soc. Amer. Archaeol.," No. 11.) 

Salt Lake City. 
Wheat, J. B. 

1954. Crooked Ridge Village. (Univ. Ariz. Bull, Vol. 25, No. 3; Soc. Sci. Bull., 
No. 24.) Tucson. 

1955. Mogollon Culture Prior to A.D. 1000. ("Mem. Soc. Amer. Archaeol.," No. 10.) 
Salt Lake City. 

Wissler, Clark 

1922. The American Indian. (2d ed.) New York: Oxford University Press. 

Woodbury, Richard B. 

1961. Prehistoric Agriculture at Point of Pines, Arizona. ("Mem. Soc. Amer. Ar- 
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The great basin made up of the drainage systems of such southwestern 
Asiatic rivers as the Euphrates, Tigris, Karun, and Karkheh lies beyond the 
coastal mountains of Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria. In fact, the Mediter- 
ranean coastal mountains form the western flank of a mountain crescent that arcs 
over the top of the basin (the Tauros range) and then runs in a southeasterly 
direction (the Zagros range) down beyond the head of the Persian Gulf (see map, 
Fig. 1). The major rivers spill into the Persian Gulf, while to the southwest the 
land rises gradually upward over the empty desert spaces of Arabia. North of the 
port town called Tripoli on the west, the mountains of the Syrian coast are very 
low, and over this "Syrian Saddle" flow the winter rain-bearing winds that water 
the Tauros and Zagros hill-flanks of the basin. 

A number of environmental zones exist within the basin and along its higher 
flanks. To oversimplify the case, we might describe the zones as follows: 

1. The alluvial Mesopotamian plain of the Tigris and Euphrates lies south of 
Baghdad and has its extensions into Iranian Khuzestan along the lower reaches of the 
Karun and Karkheh rivers. This is hot, dry country but very rewarding if water is 
brought to it. It does not appear to have had a role in the first development of food 
production, however. 

2. North and west of Baghdad comes the sterile desert steppe of the Syrian "Jazireh," 
scarcely inhabited save immediately along the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris or as 
the desert merges into the following zone. 

3. Bearing east and north of about the latitude of Kirkuk and passing west from 
about the latitude of Mosul along the Syro-Turkish border country to Aleppo, there 
is a rolling downland of grassy piedmont character that was the heartland of the 
Assyrian Empire. 

4. Arcing along the inward-facing flanks of the Tauros and Zagros lies a somewhat 
higher zone, characterized by intermontane valley plains, well watered by the winter 
rain-winds that break through to it from the Mediterranean over the Syrian Saddle. 
This is open mixed-oak woodland and grassland country, perhaps most characteris- 
tically manifested at ca. 1,000 meters in elevation, and it extends southeastward about 
as far as the city of Shiraz. It may be worth noting that this environmental zone is 
not characteristic of the eastward slopes of the Mediterranean coastal ranges, these 
slopes being within a rain shadow: Perrot (this volume) considers one possible cul- 
tural adjustment to the submarginal environmental zone that lies behind the coastal 




Figure 1. Map of southwestern Asia, showing location of the prehistoric sites 

considered. The position of Perrot's detailed map (p. 149) is indicated. 

(Base-map courtesy of the Scientific American.) 


5. Above ca. 1,800 meters to the north and east of the basin the higher Kurdish alpine 
country, with precipitation that may go above 40 inches (or 1,000 millimeters) an- 
nually, is important in that it contains the headwaters of the rivers, but it is probably 
of no great significance for our present problem. 

Above the rims of the Tauros and Zagros lie the plateaus of Anatolia and 
Iran, with their different climatic and vegetation patterns. 

The "hilly-flanks of the Fertile Crescent" country par excellence is our zone 4 
above. It appears to have been a natural habitat for that important constellation 
of plants and animals (wheat, barley; sheep, goat, pig, and cattle) which— in 
their domesticated forms— made up the important elements of the food-producing 
subsistence pattern of at least the westerly portions of the Old World. It is, 
however, also important to consider what may have been the role of the piedmont 
downlands of our zone 3 in the earlier phases of the village-farming community 
way of life. Further, it is still unclear as to whether the natural-habitat zone may 
not have extended some distance into the south central portions of the Anatolian 

In recent years we have made a concentrated effort to encourage the work 
of natural scientists in southwestern Asia, especially in the hilly-flanks in- 
termontane valley country of zone 4, and the downlands of zone 3; but vast 
tracts of this country (and of its adjoining zones) still await detailed study— both 
by prehistoric archeologists and by natural scientists. 


In its most completely oversimplified form, the general course of cultural 
development in prehistoric southwestern Asia runs— allowing for the incomplete- 
ness of our knowledge— about as follows. 

A. Food-gathering, with free-wandering hunting and earliest standardized 
tool-making traditions. 1 — By at least about 75,000 years ago (consciously ignoring 
what may lie earlier), the middle elevations of the highlands, the upper Syrian 
steppe, and the coastal zones supported a population of food-gatherers who 
produced flint tools of Acheulean type. These show considerable typological 
uniformity over the whole area. In the cases in which a fauna has been found 
associated with these tools, such large forms as elephas and rhinoceros are 
evidenced, forms no longer at home in the area. 

A naturally determined subsistence, involving food-gathering and the free- 
wandering hunting of the larger mammals, was beginning to be significantly 
determined culturally. Tools of the early standardized traditions of core bifaces, 
flakes, and the later pebble tools appear with broad distributions for given types. 

Finds of this stage discovered in the Zagros flanks in both Iraq and Iran are 

1. The subdivisions and suggested characterizations used in this outline are adapted from 
an exploratory attempt at the general classification of prehistoric subdivisions (Braidwood, 


very limited as yet but do not contradict this picture, which is based largely 
on materials from the western portion of the region. 

B. Food-gathering, with elemental restricted wandering, himting, and some 
variety in standardized tool forms within regions.— What followed here, perhaps 
by ca. 60,000 years ago, is suggested by further traces of food-gatherers and 
hunters who made flint-flake tools of Mousterian and, especially to the west, 
Levalloiso-Mousterian type. By this time somewhat more regional variety is 
apparent (on a typological basis), and— in Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan, at least- 
there was typological difference between the generally larger, coarser tools of 
the Mousterian of open-air sites and the smaller, more delicately made Mousterian 
of the caves, though perhaps this may be due to temporal or other factors. 
Caves were commonly occupied, where they existed, but there are also open-air 
scatters of artifacts. These last may be near water, or at commanding points 
on the landscape, or in various other localities of as yet undetermined significance. 

Beginning with this sub-era and from then onward, the evidence available for 
fauna in Kurdistan, at least, suggests a completely modern type. Both large and 
small mammal forms comprise the great bulk of the faunal remains found. 

C. Food-collecting, with selective himting and seasonal collecting patterns 
for restricted-wandering groups.— This is marked by the appearance of the 
blade-tool tradition, for which a beginning date in this region of ca. 35,000 B.C. 
may at least be suggested by the C u determinations of Shanidar C. By now the 
distinction between gathering and collecting, if it be valid (Braidwood, 1960) 
may begin to be noted as the blade-tool phases of Baradostian and Zarzian succeed 
one another. Certainly there is considerable typological variety, and there are 
"tools to make tools." One notes a rather marked regional restriction of any 
given industry, although the generalized blade-tool preparation tradition is 
widespread. The Baradostian of the Zagros flanks, now known from two localities, 
differs in a number of morphological and typological details from counterparts 
elsewhere in southwestern Asia and beyond. The same may be said, perhaps to 
an even greater degree, of the succeeding Zarzian. So far the generalized Zarzian 
industry is known only along the Zagros flanks, but blade tools do occur as well 
in hills north of Palmyra and near Adiyaman in the Turkish reaches of the 

From these facts we suspect that the trend was toward increasingly intensified 
utilization of the resources of ever more localized situations. Such regional 
specialization may also, of course, have fluctuated seasonally, with shifts in locale 
in summer and winter. In Kurdistan, the generalized Zarzian blade-tool industry 
of the upper drainage areas of the two Zabs (e.g., Shanidar B, Palegawra, and 
Zarzi itself) and of the Kermanshah valley system (e.g., Warwasi) was a gen- 
erically related affair but is different in details at individual sites located in each 
of these sub-areas. 

We also strongly suspect that there may have been both cave and open-air 
aspects of each of these varieties of the generalized Zarzian industry. Although 
there is nothing approaching the impressive scale of settlement and specialization 


revealed by Klima's excavations at the late upper paleolithic encampment of the 
mammoth killers at Doli Vistonice in Central Europe (Klima, this volume), there 
are, nevertheless, one or two small possible instances of open-air concentrations 
of Zarzian-type stone industry. Of course, the numerous clear-cut occupations of 
caves or rock shelters for the Zarzian stage indicate that these were still the living 
quarters of primary importance. 

Based on the C 14 determinations for Shanidar B, we suggest a possible end 
date for this generalized Zarzian phase of about 10,500 years ago. 

D. Suspected food-produci?ig—incipie?it ma?iipulation within the zone of 
potential plant and animal domesticates — The next fifteen hundred or two thou- 
sand years in all probability witnessed at least the culmination of, along the Zagros 
flanks in any case, events of considerable importance for what was to follow. The 
range includes the generalized Karim Shahirian industry, with its Zawi Chemi 
Shanidar, M'lefaat, and now possibly Asiab (near Kermanshah) variants, but may 
also include other industries not yet recovered or identified, perhaps preceding 
or following the Karim Shahirian. Typologically, the Karim Shahirian exhibits 
some sort of continuation and a certain recombination of the blade tools of the 
Zarzian tradition and a portion of its end-phase microlithic element, but a few 
ground-stone and even modeled-clay artifacts appear. The Karim Shahirian has 
not been noted in caves (with the possible exception of traces in the uppermost 
layer of Shanidar), and the open sites of its occurrence indicate the crude begin- 
nings of architecture for this region. Largely through hindsight (from what 
follows next) we suggest that this range may represent a time of incipient 
manipulation, if not of cultivation and animal domestication. We also suggest 
that it may be the last aspect of the long trend toward regional specialization and 
intensified utilization of the resources in restricted locales within our generalized 
environmental zone 4 (above), the hilly flanks of the Fertile Crescent, which in- 
cluded the potential plant and animal manipulates. 

Given the possibility of some sort of incipience of food production during the 
approximately 2,000 years of this sub-era— perhaps as one culmination of a long 
range of unconscious manipulation of the potential plant and animal domesticates 
—one still lacks any specific direct evidence for this manipulative development. 2 
Such primitive architectural traces as there are (close-set stone scatters at Karim 
Shahir; small circular or ovid excavated basins, suggesting possible semisubter- 
ranean structures, at Zawi Chemi Shanidar and M'lefaat; and a larger shallow 
excavated ovoid basin at Asiab) would seem to have no critical bearing on a link 
between the start of food production and sedentary living in the light of the 

2. In the spring of 1961, well after the above was written, we were informed by Dexter 
Perkins (personal communication), the zoologist on Solecki's staff at Shanidar and Zawi 
Chemi Shanidar in the 1960 season on these sites, that the domestication of sheep is attested 
at Zawi Chemi. Although the details are not yet available, this evidence would certainly 
appear to validate the case for human manipulation of the potential domesticates. It would 
also, as things now stand, make the domestication of animals appear to have been earlier 
than that of plants along the Zagros flanks, thus paralleling the apparent situation at Tell 
es-Sultan (cf. Perrot, this volume). 


late paleolithic clustering of hut remains at Dolni Vistonice, so clearly demonstrated 
by Klfma's excavations (see his essay, this volume). The potential animal 
domesticates are present at these sites in Kurdistan. 3 Hunting is still very much 
a part of the order of the day at all these sites, while at Asiab there is added an 
intensive collecting of fresh-water clams. Data on plant manipulates may come 
from the extensive categories of clay lumps and "coprolites" recently recovered 
at Asiab and now awaiting study. On the other hand, the limited study so far 
made of materials from Karim Shahir, Zawi Chemi Shanidar, and M'lefaat have 
yielded no hints of plant manipulation. 

Thus, one must at present depend entirely upon the indirect evidence to be 
drawn from the implements and other artifacts of stone or other materials at 
these sites for any indication of food production. Moreover, these would cast 
light only on the manipulation of plant foods, not of animals. 

Artifacts found at this group of sites for which a reasonable interpretation 
(but certainly not the only possible interpretation) would point to manipulated 
plant foods include: (1) flint "sickles" with edge sheen; (2) milling stones, 
rubbers, mortars, pestles; and (3) chipped celts (hoes?). At present we see no 
reason to attempt— by a higher degree of abstraction— an interpretation of the 
clay figurines, ground-stone decorative objects, etc., from these sites, as hinting 
at a food supply from either animal or food-plant manipulation. 

E. Food-producing and the appearance of the primary village-farming com- 
munity .—By about the first quarter of the seventh millennium (e.g., ca. 6750 B.C.) — 
if our assessment of the conflicting C 14 determinations for the site of Jarmo is 
valid (Braidwood, 1959)— the basic level of the effective village-farming com- 
munity had already been achieved. But, while there is a degree of typological 
continuity within certain categories of artifacts (especially in the flints of both 
normal blade and microlithic size) between the Karim Shahirian phase and the 
Jarmoan phase, we suspect that a phase (or phases) will yet be found calling for 
intercalation between these two (Braidwood and Howe et ah, 1960). 

Our in-the-field impression of the Asiab materials suggests a typological posi- 
tioning of them somewhere between the Karim Shahirian and the Jarmoan phases. 
On the other hand, we are also sensitive to the fact that there is sufficient 
regional variation between the archeological materials of the Kermanshah and the 
Jarmo-Karim Shahir regions, so the matter may not be quite this simple. Our 
radioactive carbon samples from the sites of the Kermanshah region, of course, 
still await determination. 

In the same sense, Tepe Sarab, another new site near Kermanshah, yields arche- 
ological materials that— on the basis of an in-the-field typological assessment— seem 
slightly more developed than do those of the Jarmoan phase proper, but also it 
need not follow directly that the Sarab assemblage is thus later than that of Jarmo. 

3. As the study of the animal remains advances (May, 1961), there is the increasing sug- 
gestion that the frequencies of the different forms correspond roughly to the several sites. 
Thus, onager bones- predominate in sites on or overlooking valley floors, goat bones in sites 
situated in the rocky ridges. 


For our present purposes, the following observations would seem to be of 
significance for understanding an early phase of the sub-era of the primary 
village-farming community, as Jarmo exhibits this phase: 

1. It does yield positive traces of a village-farming community way of life; several- 
roomed rectangular houses within villages of some degree of permanence; the remains 
of at least domesticated wheat, barley, probably the dog and the goat, and possibly 
even the sheep, with the pig appearing in the upper levels; the conventional artifactual 
traits of the "neolithic," with pottery appearing before the phase is completed. As 
they pertain— by reasonable but not absolutely guaranteed interpretations— to food 
production, these artifacts are querns and rubbing stones, mortars and pestles, flint 
sickle blades with sheen, occasional subfloor storage pits, a peculiar form of oven, 
possibly for the parching of grain, a few large celts (hoes?), and an occasional large 
pierced stone ball (digging stick weight?). Overwhelmingly, however, it is the 
demonstrated presence of the plant and animal domesticates and the apparent year- 
round permanence of a village of perhaps twenty-five well-built houses that make 
Jarmo impressive for our present purposes. It should remain clear, however, that a 
very significant portion of the Jarmo subsistence pattern still depended upon collected 

2. Jarmo does indicate firm traces of longer-range trade, especially evidenced by the 
great bulk of obsidian (closest natural flow near Lake Van in Anatolia) in its chipped- 
stone category. We suggest that this first indication of a bulk carrying trade— with its 
implications of attendant exchanges of ideas— may well presage a reversal of the 
above-mentioned trend toward regional specialization and localized intensification. 

3. There is now some evidence (Braidwood and Howe et al., 1960, p. 49) to suggest 
that the Jarmoan phase may not have been absolutely restricted to the intermontane 
valley zone of the Zagros but may also appear along the edge of the downlands of 
our zone 3 near Kirkuk. If our theoretical reasoning is correct, a pre -Jarmoan phase 
of this sub-era must still await discovery in the intermontane valley hilly-flanks zone of 
the natural habitat, and, in fact, we believe that it will have been restricted to this 
zone (cf. Haury's upland corridor, this volume). 

Our in-the-field assessment of the yield from Tepe Sarab near Kermanshah 
calls for a bit more comment. In such categories as pottery and clay figurines, 
the Sarab assemblage would appear to be typologically advanced over that of 
Jarmo, while the flint and obsidian industry of Sarab is slightly less varied than 
is that of Jarmo. On the other hand, our exposures at Sarab did not yield traces 
of mud-walled houses. The Sarab settlement seems to have consisted of shallow 
pit-dwellings— perhaps with some sort of reed roofing— and has little of the 
appearance of architectural permanence of Jarmo. Detailed laboratory analysis 
of the Sarab plant and animal remains is only now beginning; there were no 
obvious caches of carbonized kernels of wheat or barley, although the presence 
of at least some of the animal domesticates does seem assured. The most significant 
evidence for the grains at Jarmo came as impressions in clay lumps; many clay 
lumps are available at Sarab, but their contents await laboratory study. Again, as 
at Jarmo, significant quantities of collected food (e.g., land snails, wild pistachio 
nuts) are evidenced at Sarab. Our minds are open to the proposition that Sarab 
may yet prove to have been a seasonally occupied site. 


Unfortunately, we still know very little about the general broad distribution 
of assemblages of the Jarmo or Sarab type. The hilly-flanks zone in the upper 
Tigris and Euphrates basin regions of Turkey is, unfortunately, completely 
unknown for this range of time. This is the more exasperating since modern 
problem-oriented prehistoric research in this area could contribute much to our 
general understanding. We cannot, as yet, quite grasp how the preceramic 
village materials of Khirokitia on Cyprus (Dikaios, 1953) or of the Thessalian 
plain in Greece (Milojcic, 1956; Theocharis, 1958) fit into the general picture. 
Radioactive carbon determinations are available for the pertinent level of 
Khirokitia, that is, 5635 b.c. ± 100 (St-415/415, average). Also to be fitted into 
the general picture— although possibly in part with our next sub-era, F, below— 
are the early village materials excavated by Mellaart (1960) in the southwesterly 
portion of the Anatolian plateau. For one of the early levels of Mellaart's Hacilar 
site there is a determination of 5590 ±180 years b.c. In our own opinion, none of 
these materials can be understood properly until the general developmental se- 
quence in southern Turkey becomes known. 4 

F. Food-producing and the developing village-farming community .— It is now 
known (Braidwood and Howe et ah, 1960) that the Jarmoan materials are 
stratigraphically overlayed by those of Hassunan-Samarran type at Tell Shimshara 
in the higher Lesser Zab drainage. Otherwise, the Hassunan assemblage appears 
to characterize the Assyrian downlands of the Tigris about Mosul and perhaps 
stretches into the upper Syrian Jazireh (again we know nothing of Turkey save 
the possible pertinence of the lower levels of Hacilar [cf. above]). We do not 
yet know the antecedents of the Hassunan assemblage— it may share some simpler 
elements of its ceramic tradition with the Jarmoan, but the typologically wretched 
Hassunan flint industry is not derived from the Jarmoan. The Hassunan assemblage 
suggests a now well-stabilized village-farming community way of life (Braidwood, 
1952) following ca. 6000 b.c, and it is probably significant that the domesticates 
were now certainly flourishing at altitudes lower than those of their natural 
habitat. We must also note a variety of doubtless approximately contemporary 
counterparts for the Hassunan, in our general area, most of which are assemblages 
with complexions of their own. 

1. In the western portion of the upper Syrian Jazireh (e.g., from at least Ras al-Ain 
westward) there are hints that elements of the Hassunan assemblage may co-exist with 
elements of the Amouq A-B or Syro-Cilician dark-faced burnished-ware assemblage. 
This is underscored by the traces of exchange between Amouq B and Hassunan II-V 
themselves (cf. Perrot, this volume). 

2. The Samarran painted pottery style need not occur only within the matrix of a 

4. Toward the end of his last season at Hacilar in the late summer of 1960, Mellaart ex- 
posed preceramic levels of the site, well below that of the 5590 ± 180 years b.c determina- 
tion (Mellaart, 1961). As the details of assemblage of these early levels become known, either 
we may find evidence to suggest the extension of the native habitat zone to southwest- 
central Anatolia or we may discover that Hacilar represents a first step beyond this zone to 
the northwest. 


Hassunan assemblage, as the sites of Baghouz, on the middle Euphrates, and Samarra, 
on the middle Tigris, show (Braidwood and Howe et al., 1960, p. 37). Braidwood 
(1952) once suggested that these sites may hint at a first fingering of the village- 
farmers down on the mud-flats of the great rivers toward the alluvial plains of classic 
southern Mesopotamia. 

3. The Sialk I assemblage of the Iranian plateau doubtless needs consideration here 
on grounds of its generalized typological similarity (although not in specific detail) 
to the Hassunan. Although the presence of metal in Sialk I may or may not be a 
disturbing element, it makes us somewhat diffident about suggesting very exact 
chronological contemporaneity for Sialk I with the basic Hassunan assemblage. 

4. The probability of a counterpart for the Hassunan assemblage along the Zagros 
flanks of Iran was examined by the Iranian Prehistoric Project in early 1960. At 
least it is clear that we are not dealing here with anything strictly Hassunan or 
Samarran in character. We did not, in fact, satisfy ourselves that any of our sondages 
in the post-Sarab range yielded materials that might fit into the Hassunan block of 
time and can make this judgment solely on the basis of surface collections. Our earliest 
excavated post-Sarab materials, from a site called Tepe Siabid, probably were 
approximately contemporary with the Halafian and earliest Ubaidian phases. 

It should not, however, be assumed that the old trend toward regional 
specialization and intensification has been revived. Men everywhere in the general 
area were achieving stable adjustments to the new food-producing economy, 
although significant portions of their diets were of course still derived from 
collection; the several assemblages noted above do suggest differences in cultural 
complexion, subarea by subarea, but there are also firm hints of exchange of 
raw materials, of habits in the preparation of certain artifacts (if not of the exact 
artifacts themselves), and of the exchange of ideas. The basic elements of the 
food-producing pattern were certainly held in common. 

G. Food-producing; further development and diffusion of the village-farming 
contmunity way of life.— It is downright difficult for us to compose a free-flowing 
picture of what happened next. The most familiarly known assemblage name in 
the phase following the Hassunan (and its generalized typological and roughly 
contemporaneous counterparts, as described above) is the Halafian. The Halafian 
certainly also had at least some generalized typological and roughly contemporary 
counterparts (e.g., see Tepe Siabid, above), but it has been our misfortune— east 
of the Euphrates— that all these assemblages included rather spectacular painted- 
pottery styles. In the milieu of archeological interest up to World War II little 
was taken to be of importance save these painted-pottery styles. To mix a 
metaphor, we often cannot see the woods for the motifs. Therefore we restrict 
our observations here to two suggestions: 

1. It was probably at this time that an effective food-producing way of life was first 
established in classic southern Mesopotamia, although Adams (1960, p. 25) very 
reasonably suspects that there were riverine-oriented food-collectors there before- 
hand. The new start in the south is hinted at in the basal levels of Eridu, and was 
soon to crystallize into the Ubaidian achievement. We await with considerable interest 
detailed news of the new British excavations of David Stronach, which are reported 
to deal with a site of this immediately pre-Ubaidian range in the area south of 


2. The countertrend away from regional specialization was now further accelerated, 
if we may follow certain hints (e.g., the Halafian painted style reaches the Medi- 
terranean coast) and hindsight from what was to happen next. 

H. Food-producing; incipient urbanization as suggested by towns with temples 
and with ancillary smaller settlements -How 'ever misty the vista may still be, 
the Ubaidian "period" (ca. 4250-3750 ± ??) suggests the earliest of the great 
oikoumenes of the ancient Near East. It is not improper to speak of painted 
pottery of Ubaidian type from highland Iran, or from parts of highland Turkey 
(Malatya), or along the Syrian coast, or even into the Dead Sea valley (Ghassul, 
cf. Perrot, this volume), but the focus of the Ubaidian achievement was in classic 
southern Mesopotamia. Here, proper towns of many acres in area are evidenced, 
with temple structures of some degree of monumentality. Surface surveys suggest 
that there may well have been smaller settlements ancillary to the large Ubaidian 
towns (although in fact this has not been tested by excavation). 5 

The Ubaidian is already up to, if not upon, the threshold of urban civilization 
and presents problems for the culture historian that have quite new dimensions 
(Adams, 1960). Once again, we resort to post facto judgment in our own 
assessment of the general cultural level that the Ubaidian must represent. Positive 
urban establishments do follow soon after the Ubaidian in the Mespotamian 
record, and there are significant artifactual elements (especially in architecture) 
that were established in Ubaidian times and carry over into Protoliterate and 
Dynastic times. 

The completely oversimplified picture given above of the cultural history of 
southwestern Asia east of the Euphrates (especially from ca. 15,000 to ca. 
4000 B.C.) might suggest to us at least five generalizations of particular relevance 
to the interests of this symposium. 

1. There was from the beginning, throughout the late glacial and earliest postglacial 
period, 6 an increasing trend toward regionality and intensified extraction of food 

5. It is probably worth saying— for those readers who normally see only secondary sources 
on Near Eastern archeology— that the number of excavated Ubaidian sites from the southern 
Mesopotamia area reaches hardly a dozen. The actual excavated exposures that have been 
made on these sites are startlingly small in most cases. The assessment of the original size of a 
settlement is usually by extrapolation from a very restricted exposure of the material in situ 
to the impressive stretches on the surfaces of the great mounds over which Ubaidian pottery 
may be scattered. But in most cases these mounds had later occupations as well, and area 
of surface scatter may be an uncertain guarantee of subsurface architecture and positive 

If the words "Hassunan," "Samarran," or "Halafian" are substituted for the word "Ubai- 
dian" in the generalization made above, the warning is just as valid— or more so! 

6. If one relies on the extensive and largely consistent structure of absolute dating now 
provided by C 14 age determinations from different latitudes and geographical regions of 
Europe and Asia, one may lessen the dilemma of comparing data from glaciated areas with 
those from essentially non-comparable unglaciated ones. 


resources from ever more localized environments. This appears to have been entirely 
on hunting, gathering, and collecting levels and at no point to have reached the degree 
of sedentism recorded, for instance, for Central Europe at Dolni Vistonice by Klima 
(this volume). The shift away from the bigger game animals, as the result of as yet 
undetermined natural or cultural factors, seems to run very broadly parallel to a shift 
toward smaller, more specialized tools and, ultimately, even composite tools (some of 
which were geometric in form and microlithic in size). 

2. Over some undetermined period, ten or twelve thousand or more years ago, this 
trend also came to involve the manipulation of certain plants and animals within their 
natural habitats, a process that culminated eventually in domestication. There is as 
yet no direct evidence for such tentative or advanced manipulation, but the pre- 
requisite forms, albeit still equivocal, occur in both artifactual and non-artifactual 
categories at a number of open-air sites. Thus it is strongly suspected that, in view of 
what is already well under way in the succeeding known archeological horizon, the 
foundations for the food-producing economy and the village-farming community way 
of life were already being laid. 

3. As the village-farming community way of life became effective, and moved out of 
the natural habitat zone, the old trend toward regional specialization and intensification 
was— in general terms— reversed, one result being the spread of the boundaries of the 
known world and an increasing commonality in the new ways of life. 

4. While it may seem to us quite probable— with the occurrence of such necessarily 
postulated mutations or introgressive hydridizations as would have allowed the 
domesticates to (a) be utilized more effectively as food sources and (b) be moved 
outside the bounds of their natural-habitat zone— that there would have been a rather 
explosive acceleration in cultural activity, we do not yet have evidence to quantify 
this acceleration in any detail. It is a thing about which we must keep our eyes open 
as field research proceeds. 

5. The way to urban life did not lie within exactly the same environmental zone as that 
in which the village-farming community made its first appearance. 


We may now turn to consideration of what might be suggested— from the 
evidence we now have— concerning how all this came about. 

In the first place, we do not believe that the answers will lie within the realms 
of environmental determinism in any direct or strict sense. In an interim report 
on the work of the Iraq Jarmo Project (Braidwood and Howe et al., 1960) w T e 
and our natural-science colleagues reviewed the evidence for possibly pertinent 
fluctuations of climate and of plant and animal distributions or morphologies 
and convinced ourselves that there is no such evidence now available. At a recent 
seminar in the Institute of Archeology of the University of Tehran (Braidwood, 
Howe, and Negahban, 1960), with an essentially different cast of natural scientists, 
there was again agreement that no evidence exists for such changes in the natural 
environment (in the pertinent parts of southwestern Asia of ca. 12,000-8,000 
years ago) as might be of sufficient impact to have predetermined the shift to 
food production. 

Examination of the two sources cited above will underscore the point. Ganji 
sees no evidence for significant climatic change, and Wright— as an experienced 


Pleistocene geologist in the area— hands the problem directly back to the 
archeologists. Helbaek (cf. also 1959) and Pabot agree on the general distribution 
of the wild wheats and barleys, on the nature of wheat as a plant of the uplands 
(Pabot claims never to have seen it below ca. 1,000 meters, from Iran to Palestine) 
and of disturbed soil conditions; both agree on the break in the distribution of 
wheats in the country of the Syrian Saddle and south to the Beirut-Damascus 
road. Reed (cf. also 1959) remarks that the patterns of social behavior of the 
potential animal domesticates had pre-adapted them for domestication some 
hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of years ago. Reed also rejects any idea 
of climatic change as of pertinence and looks for the development of a necessary 
but unspecified level of cultural achievement as the requisite for domestication. 
Interestingly, both Pabot and Reed independently suggest that the transition to 
effective domestication may have taken about two thousand years (and it is 
perhaps of some further interest that both Chang and Haury (see their essays, 
this volume) independently suggest the same approximate duration). It is far 
from clear in our area, however, whether this two thousand years (from ca. 
11,000 to ca. 9,000 years ago) was the entire time span of man's manipulation of 
the potential plant and animal domesticates. 

The only environmental determinative our natural-science advisers will allow 
us is the presence, within the hilly-flanks intermontane valley environmental zone, 
of the classic constellation of the potential plant and animal domesticates at the 
pertinent time. This includes specific rejection of the lush and low-lying coastal 
strips of the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Caspian. At the same time, our 
natural-science advisers frankly admit ignorance of much of the Anatolian plateau 
and of the north and east of Iran and beyond into Turkmania and the Afghan- 
Pakistan area. A final interesting observation is our botanical and zoological col- 
leagues' convictions that the plant and animal domesticates are artifacts— that 
they did not domesticate themselves. 

This then does appear to force primarily back upon the culture historian the 
problem of how food production and the village-farming community way of 
life was achieved. There are possibly one or two points calling for comment in 
this connection. We grow increasingly disinclined to countenance Carleton 
Coon's (1954) suggestions for an incipience of food production on the Caspian 
coastal plain. With the possibility of an incipience of food production in 
Palestine, the case is more complicated. While traces of domesticated grain have 
not yet been reported from the earlier levels of Tell es-Sultan (Jericho), and 
Zeuner's (1958) claim for wild wheat in the lower elevations of the Jordan valley 
would appear to need rechecking, he seems reticent (in the same paper) to claim 
a fully effective agriculture at Tell es-Sultan. Perrot (this volume), although 
realizing that grain itself has not yet been reported from Tell es-Sultan, finds it 
impossible to conceive of the cultural complexity of the site without an effective 
cereal agriculture (cf. Caldwell, this volume) and makes the very interesting 
point that here we may be seeing the first moment of impact of cereals now 
freed from their native habitat by permissive mutations or introgressive hy- 


bridizations. Reed (1959) agrees that the evidence for domesticated dogs and 
goats does seem acceptable at Tell es-Sultan. However, none of our own 
advisers in the natural sciences will subscribe to "the oasis theory" of agricultural 
origins. They (as does Perrot) would look to the Judean Hill country as being 
more a part of the natural habitat, in considering any role that Tell es-Sultan may 
have had in the general story. 

If the case for an incipience of effective food production and the appearance 
of a village-farming community way of life is to be made in Palestine, we 
believe that the evidence is much more likely to come from more upland sites 
of the type of Perrot's Abou Gosh. And in Palestine, as in our own area, the 
distinction between what is evidence of food production proper and of a highly 
intensified level of food collection must be examined with great care. Ambigu- 
ously labeling the Palestinian materials as "mesolithic," "protoneolithic," and 
"prepottery neolithic" will not lead to clarity in understanding. 

On the whole— as regards all southwestern Asia— our own inclination is not 
to look for only one "center" as the scene either for the incipience of cultivation 
or for the appearance of effective food production. We are convinced that the 
scene was the natural zone of the hilly flanks of the Fertile Crescent of perhaps 
some 2,000 kilometers in extent! We have made the point that we believe in a 
natural zone— not a restricted "center"— often, but there still seems to be some 
tendency to overlook it. Even granting the gap in the known distribution of 
wild wheats between the Syrian Saddle and the Beirut-Damascus road, we dislike 
the idea of two entirely separated "centers." For lack of better evidence we 
might reluctantly grant that such completely generalized traits as the start of 
the domestication of some one plant or animal species, the use of flint blades as 
sickles, the invention of mud-walled houses and, eventually, pottery, etc., 
occurred twice within one general area. But, to our minds, such a thing as the 
broad distribution of obsidian over the whole area at the pertinent time would 
remain to plague a double-origin theory. We cannot conceive of the wide 
distribution of obsidian— to consider only this one clue— without an attendant 
distribution of ideas in general as well. 

We ourselves strongly incline toward the implications of our point 3 on 
page 142. Given an incipience of food production during the ca. two thousand 
years of our sub-era D— perhaps as the culmination of a longer range of un- 
conscious manipulations of the potential domesticates— we suspect that the trend 
toward regional intensification and regional specialization began then to reverse 
itself. The entire constellation of elements of this incipience, we believe, need not 
have been achieved at only one spot along the natural-habitat zone on the hilly 
flanks— in fact we hardly conceive of a "center" at all. 

Since the Jarmo versus Jericho discussion has mainly simmered down to who 
has faith in which radioactive carbon counter, or the best personal judgment in 
matters of comparative artif actual stratigraphy (Kenyon, 1959, and cf. Perrot, 
this volume) we have little else to say as to which segment of the whole arc 
of the hilly-flanks zone we believe to be most fruitful for examining the first 


phases of agricultural incipience. Our first draft of this paper was written in 
a further promising segment, the valley system of Kermanshah, on the western 
flanks of the Zagros, in Iran. If the interpretation of the Turkish antiquities law 
ever makes modern prehistoric research rewarding in that country, we should be 
just as anxious to see work done there. 

Whatever the case may have been for the locale of the first village-farming 
communities, we believe that the incipience of towns (in any meaningful sense of 
that word) was achieved in classic southern Mesopotamia in the Ubaidian 
"period." This happened following a series of developing phases of village- 
farming community life, for each of which the web of diffusionary interactions 
appears to have become more complicated and more widespread. 

Thus we very consciously end this paper on a note of diffusion and spread. 
What were the cultural mechanics that assured this diffusion and spread of a 
new way of life over vast areas of the Old World, areas that were already 
populated by successful food-collectors who might either reject or accept as 
they pleased any element of this mode of life? We are certain that the word 
"diffusion" alone has too heavy a load of meanings for the time with which we 
are dealing; we are not even sure how aptly the notation of "stimulus diffusion" 
may apply. Indeed, a very great deal of evidence, both artifactual and chrono- 
logical, must be in hand before even a very modest diffusionist stance may be 
maintained; but we think that the prospects are not hopeless and that they hold 
much of interest for the general culture historian. In the consideration of even 
very low levels of diffusionary influence from the Near East to Europe, for 
example, we would maintain that two factors must be borne clearly in mind: 

1. There was a succession of sub-eras of development in the Near East, and 
it is important that thought be given to which of these is under discussion in 
any consideration of diffusion. 

2. ". . . the peoples of the west were not slavish imitators; they adopted the 
gifts of the East . . . into a new and organic whole capable of developing on its 
own original lines" (Childe, 1925, p. xiii). 


Adams, Robert, M. 

1960. "Factors Influencing the Rise of Civilization in the Alluvium: Illustrated by 
Mesopotamia," and "Early Civilizations, Subsistence, and Environment." In Kraeling, 
Carl H., and Robert M. Adams (eds.), City Invincible, pp. 24—34, 269-95. Chicago. 

Braidwood, Robert J. 

1952. The Near East and the Foundations for Civilization. Eugene, Ore. 
1959. "Uber die Anwendung der Radiokarbon-Chronologie fur das Verstandnis der 
ersten Dorfkultur-Gemeinschaften in Sudwestasien," Osterreichische Akademie der 
Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, Anzeiger, ]ahrgang 1958, 95:249-59. 


1960. "Levels in Prehistory: A Model for the Consideration of the Evidence." In 

Sol Tax (ed.), Evolution after Darwin: The Evolution of Man, 2:143-51. Chicago. 
Braidwood, Robert J., Bruce Howe, et al. 

1960. Prehistoric hwestigations in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Oriental Institute "Studies in 

Ancient Oriental Civilizations," No. 31.) Chicago. 
Braidwood, Robert J.,. Bruce Howe, and Ezat O. Negahban 

1960. "Near Eastern Prehistory," Science, 131:1536-41. 
Childe, V. Gordon 

1925. The Daivn of European Civilization. London. 
Coon, Carleton S. 

1954. The Story of Man. New York. 


1953. Khirokitia. London. 
Helbaek, Hans 

1959. "Domestication of Food Plants in the Old World," Science, 130:365-72. 
Ken yon, Kathleen M. 

1959. "Some Observations on the Beginnings of Settlement in the Near East," 
/. Roy. Anthrop. Inst. Great Britain and Ireland (London), 89:35-43. 

Mellaart, James 

1960. "Excavations at Hacilar: Third Preliminary Report, 1959," Anatolian Studies 
(London), 10: 83-104. 

1961. "Two Thousand Years of Hacilar— Starting from Over Nine Thousand Years 
Ago: Excavations in Turkey which Throw Light on the Earliest Anatolia," 
Illustrated London Neves, 238:588-91. 

Milojcic, Vladimir 

1956. "Die erste prakeramische bauerliche Siedlung der Jungsteinzeit in Europa," 

Germania, 34:208-10. 
Reed, Charles A. 

1959. "Animal Domestication in the Prehistoric Near East," Science, 130:1629-39. 
Theocharis, D. 

1958. "Pre-ceramic Thessaly," Thessalika (Volo), 1:70-86. (In Greek.) 
Zeuner, F. E. 

1958. "Dog and Cat in the Neolithic of Jericho," Palestine Explor. Quart., (London), 

pp. 52-55. 




This study 1 is confined to Palestine on the two sides of the Jordan, to the 
Lebanese-Syrian littoral, and to Cilicia. This area is bounded on the south by 
a natural barrier, the desert, stretching from the Sinai Peninsula through 
southern Palestine into the heart of southwestern Asia. On the north we are 
limited not by nature itself but by the scarcity of evidence. While in Palestine 
the archeological sequence is nearly uninterrupted, in Syria and Cilicia we still 
have everything to learn about the periods preceding the appearance of pottery. 
This deficiency is particularly regrettable since the sequence present in Palestine 
shows a general similarity to that observed in the Kurdistan-Zagros region 
(Braidwood and Howe, this volume). Investigations in the hills of southern 
Turkey could help to establish a relationship between the two areas. 

Unaffected by any appreciable climatic changes, at least from the end of 
Pleistocene times, the region under study, in spite of its limited area, presents a 
great diversity of ecological conditions. The principal natural zones of most of 
southwestern Asia (Mediterranean, semiarid, arid) are represented here in the 
west on a smaller scale, and, in addition, the general picture is complicated by 
accidents of topography (e.g., the Jordan Rift). 

1. The Mediterranean zone is represented here by the western slopes of the 
Judean and Samarian hills, Mount Carmel, the Galilean mountains and the upper 
Jordan Valley, the lower slopes of the Lebanon range, the hills of the Syrian 
littoral, and the Hatay region up to the foot of the Taurus and the Kurdistan 

1. I am very much indebted for criticisms and suggestions to the colleagues with whom I 
was able to discuss questions connected with this paper after the symposium; in particular, 
to Miss K. Kenyon and to Mr. J. d'A. Waechter, who kindly gave me the opportunity 
to look again at the Jericho and Ksar Akil materials; to Professor F. E. Zeuner; to Dr. G. 
Kurth and to Mile. D. Ferembach, who communicated to me the latest results of their studies 
of the Palestinian anthropological material; and to Professor M. Stekelis, who gave me 
essential data on the unpublished Wadi Fallah material and helped me with his wide knowledge 
of the Palestinian evidence. I am very grateful to Miss D. Kirkbride for communicating 
unpublished documentation on the Beida excavations, and to Mr. J. Cauvin for his expose of 
the extremenly important results of his and Mr. M. Dunand's work in the neolithic level of 
Byblos. In Paris, Mr. Claude Schaeffer gave me access to the earliest Ras Shamra material. 
Dr. J. Kaplan and Mr. M. Prausnitz kindly showed me the material from their excavations 
at Teluliot Batashi and Sheikh Ali. For all this aid, I am most grateful. 



foothills. Certain hot and humid sections of the narrow coastal plain, especially 
where interruptions by dunes and marshes occur, never offered favorable condi- 
tions for settlement, even in historic times. On the other hand, the hills and the 
mountains above them offered the shelter of their caves and Mediterranean-type 
vegetation; wild wheat and barley are found today in this area, which was also 
rich in potentially domesticable animals. 

2. The semiarid zone. East of the Syro-Palestinian mountains, stretching 
parallel to the coast, one finds a semiarid region with a steppe vegetation that 
becomes increasingly desert-like toward the south and the east (i.e., toward the 
Syro-Arabian desert, southern Negev, and Sinai). 

3. The arid zone. The deserts noted above seal the passage to Africa. From 
Middle Pleistocene times (as evidenced by the stone industries) until the third 
millennium B.C., Palestine was a cul-de-sac open only to Eurasian influences. 

The semiarid zone of the Middle East extends mainly to the north and east of 
the Syro-Arabian desert to the upper Tigris and Euphrates basin. It is repre- 
sented in Palestine only by a very narrow strip extending from Gaza, on the 
Mediterranean coast, and the northern Negev, to the Transjordanian and Syrian 
plateaus (see map, Fig. I, where the three natural zones— Mediterranean, semiarid, 
and arid— are delineated). Moreover, the semiarid zone contains topographical 
accidents such as the Dead Sea and Jordan Rift, where near-desert conditions 
give way to subtropical conditions, as in the case of the Jericho oasis and on the 
river banks. The Jordan valley never presented an obstacle to communication 
between the two sides. The western edge of the Transjordan plateau is well 
watered, presenting as far south as the Red Sea general conditions of life similar 
to those of the Mediterranean zone of central Palestine: cultural development in 
Cisjordan has always been paralleled in Transjordan. 

This ecological diversity is reflected in the history of human development. A 
high degree of particularism is frequent, and we cannot, therefore, expect the 
Palestinian sequence to be always typical of the human development of south- 
western Asia as a whole. 


1. From Food-Collecting to Incipient Cultivation 

a) If the middle upper paleolithic is relatively well known in Palestine and 
Syria, with Aurignacian-like industries in the caves of Mount Carmel, the Judean 
desert, or the Lebanon range, we cannot say the same of the following period, 
just before the appearance of the Natufian. 

At el-Wad, Kebara, and el-Khiam, intermediate layers have yielded poorly 
represented industries (Atlithian [Garrod, 1937], Kebaran [Turville Petre, 1932], 
el-Khiam layers D-E [Neuville, 1951, p. 134]) characterized by the appearance of 
some microliths (obliquely truncated backed bladelets). That the complete 
stratigraphical and typological sequence must be more complex is suggested by 





\ Sew - Ar/p 

Figure 1. Map of the coastal portions of southwestern Asia, west 

of the Euphrates River. Note three general climatic zones: 

Mediterranean, semiarid, and arid. 

the six layers in the 2.5-meter thickness of deposits at Jabrud (Rust, 1950) from 
Aurignacian to Natufian, and the more than 3.0-meter thickness of deposits at 
Ksar Akil (Ewing, 1947) from middle Aurignacian (Antelian) to Kebarian. No 
C 14 determination is available for these post-Aurignacian horizons, although a 


single determination, on shells in the Aurignacian range of Ksar Akil (7.5-6.0 
meters yields 28,500 b.p. ±380 (GRO 2195). 

From an increase in the number of known sites, most of them open-air sites— 
in the coastal plain (Kfar Vitkin, Umm el Khalid [Stekelis, 1938]) and on the 
Transjordan plateau (Wadi Dhobai [Waechter, 1938], Petra [Kirkbride, 1960, 
p. 239])— we may surmise a slight increase in the population of the country. 
From the appearance of microliths, we may infer a first use of composite weapons 
indicating perhaps an intensification of hunting. 

b) The late or epipaleolithic industries are succeeded (at el- Wad, Kebara, el- 
Khiam, Jabrud) by a typologically new industry, the Natufian. The Natufian, 
like the preceding industries, makes its first appearance in all parts of Palestine, 
in particular in the caves and terraces of el- Wad (Garrod, 1937), Wadi Fallah, 
that is, Nahal Oren (Stekelis, 1960), Kebara (Turville Petre, 1932), Shuqba (Gar- 
rod, 1932), Erq el Ahmar, Abu Sif, el-Khiam (Neuville, 1934, 1951), etc., in the 
Judean and Carmel mountains. It also occurs in the open at Ain Mallaha or Eynan 
(Perrot, 1960), Jericho (Kenyon, 1959), Beida (Kirkbride, 1960), and Nahal 
Rimon (Stekelis, personal communication). These sites are shown on our map 
(Fig. 1). 

The Natufian layer of Jericho has a C 14 determination of 7800 b.c. This date 
is perhaps too high but is not unacceptable in view of the determinations for the 
Kurdistan-Zarzian sequence (10,000 b.c. [Shanidar B2] and 8650 b.c. [Shanidar 
Bl]), which is not unlike the Kebaran industries. The total duration of the Natu- 
fian is unknown; it could be estimated from one to two thousand years and its 
beginning put somewhere around 9000 b.c, but this date cannot be considered 
as well established. 

A subdivision of the Natufian will have to await the completion of the new 
evidence coming from Wadi Fallah and Ain Mallaha. The typological classifica- 
tions proposed by Garrod and Neuville will perhaps give way to regional differ- 
entiations and new subdivisions that aim at expressing the increasing trend toward 
specialization and adaptation to the various environmental conditions. 

The most significant flint tools of the Natufian assemblage are geometric micro- 
liths (but probably not in a proportion as high as found at el-Wad), sickle blades 
with sheen (sometimes found still mounted on bone hafts with ornamented 
handles) and a few heavy bifacial core tools, such as those called "picks." Other 
stone implements include basalt pestles, grinding and polishing stones, net weights, 
hammer stones of various sizes, and a few querns. Bone tools comprise skewers, 
needles, awls, harpoons, and fishhooks. 

This assemblage conveys the impression of an economy still essentially based 
on hunting and fishing and, by comparison with the preceding assemblages, on 
the intensified collection and consumption of seeds (including probably wild 
wheat and barley). We have no clear evidence of cultivation, but, from the sub- 
sequent development in Jericho, it is not unreasonable to infer that the economy 
of late Natufian times was already oriented toward the cultivation of cereals in 
the zone of their natural habitat. 


The Natufian settlements seem to correspond to numerically more important 
groups: the Ain Mallaha settlement extends over more than 2,000 square meters. 
A certain continuity in settlement had also been achieved, as is suggested by the 
cemeteries discovered on the terraces of the el-Wad and Shuqba caves and at Ain 
Mallaha. Since Ain Mallaha is situated in what must have been exceptionally 
favorable conditions on the shores of the Huleh lake, fishing could have permitted 
even a complete stability of settlement. 

The appearance and development in the Natufian of a crude architecture may 
be interpreted as another indication in the same direction of settlement stability. 
Impressive walls were built in Wadi Fallah to support a graded succession of 
occupational floors on the terrace. In Ain Mallaha, where no good natural shelter 
was available, circular stone houses, seven meters in diameter, were built surround- 
ing an area into which plastered bell-shaped pits had been dug. 

Natufian art, the first to appear in Palestine, includes naturalistic representa- 
tions of animals, sometimes reminiscent of the Magdalenian IV of France. But 
in some of its manifestation it shows also a tendency to more schematic or geo- 
metric expression. 

2. Trends to Specialization and Adaptation to a Particular Environment 

The trends that can already be traced near the end of the Natufian express 
themselves more clearly in the following phase. At Wadi Fallah, at Jericho, and 
at el-Khiam, the Natufian is followed stratigraphically, typologically, and cul- 
turally by what is sometimes called the "Tahunian." It would be better, however, 
to discard this appellation altogether, or to reserve it to the development of the 
Natufian in the semiarid zone only. It might be confusing to continue its use in 
designating the different developments of the Natufian, in each of the different 
natural zones of Palestine. Hence I propose to restrict the use of "Tahunian" to 
post-Natufian developments in the semiarid zone alone. 

a) On the Wadi Fallah terrace (Mount Carmel), above the Natufian layers, 
round stone houses were built, similar to, although smaller (2-5 meters in diame- 
ter) than, the Ain Mallaha structures and also featuring a central stone-lined 
fireplace. Sickle blades, tranchets, picks, flaked-stone axes, rare arrowheads, lime- 
stone vessels and polishing stones, etc., seem to suggest a mixed economy in 
lightly wooded country, in continuation of the development of the preceding 
phase in the Mediterranean zone. The Abu Suwan industry near Jerash (Kirk- 
bride, 1958) on the Transjordan plateau, seems to belong to the same stage and 
type of development. 

b) The broad terrace of el-Khiam in the Judean mountains was probably oc- 
cupied by a settlement of some importance, but the evidence from a few trenches 
is too scanty to allow a definition of the material culture. Nevertheless, we are 
struck by the relative importance of the typical arrowhead group (Perrot, 1952b) 
and by the rarity of the sickle blades, as if the emphasis were more on hunting. 
Domestication of animals is still not clearly evidenced at el-Khiam— no more so 
than in the rest of the country (Reed, 1959). 


c) The most spectacular development is certainly the one we may observe in 
the Jericho oasis with the sudden appearance of a settlement (Prepottery Neo- 
lithic A, abbreviated "PPNA") extending over more than 36,000 square meters 
(Kenyon, 1959). A C 14 count for charcoal found on the floor of a building of 
the third stratum (in a long succession of houses built one on top of the other) 
gave a determination of ca. 6840 B.C.; the beginning of the settlement is reckoned 
as "going back at least to 7000 B.C." The settlement was surrounded by a stone 
wall 1.75 meters wide, surviving at some points to a height of 3.60 meters and 
flanked on the inner side by a circular tower, still standing, 8.15 meters high, 
with an inner staircase giving access to its top. The houses are of brick, of the 
same circular plan as those of the Wadi Fallah terrace, the origin of which can 
be traced to Ain Mallaha in the preceding phase. The flint industry includes 
sickle blades, typical tranchets, borers, rare arrowheads, and rare scrapers. 2 The 
stone industry includes pestles and basalt axes (round in section), rubbers, polish- 
ing stones, bowls, etc. Bone tools consist principally of picks. 

To understand this development and its particular significance, it is first neces- 
sary to recall the extraordinary conditions of Jericho, in a well-watered oasis, 
isolated on an arid and desolate high terrace of the lower Jordan, 200 meters 
under sea level, at the foot of the 1,000-meter wall formed by the eastern slopes 
of the Judean hills. No other oasis of the lower Jordan valley or around the 
Dead Sea can be compared to the Jericho oasis. Direct evidence of wheat and 
barley has not been reported from the PPNA settlement. On the other hand, it 
is difficult to conceive of a settlement of such extent and importance without a 
reasonable level of food production having been attained, either through the 
domestication of animals— which is not yet evidenced— or also, and principally, 
through the cultivation of cereals. 3 

Cultivation did not originate in the oasis. Even if the presence of contemporary 
wild wheat can in the future be demonstrated in the lower elevations of the 
Jordan valley, the archeological evidence of the Jericho "nucleus tell" does not 
give any indication of early attempts at cultivation or even consumption of seeds 
or cereals, such as those we may observe at the same time on the Natufian sites 
of the Mediterranean zone. 

The sudden modification in the type and extent of the Jericho settlement re- 
flects a marked change in the history of the site's economic development. This 

2. The flint industry of the PPNA could have been called Tahunian in the old sense, 
although not the industry of the PPNB settlement. But Miss Kenyon and Dr. Waechter now 
agree with the author (conversations in London, 1960) that it would be better to drop this 
appellation altogether. 

3. In Professor Zeuner's opinion, the economy of the PPNA settlement is only an in- 
tensified form of food collection in the oasis and its periphery, with agriculture and 
domestication of animals having been introduced only by the PPNB settlers. If such had 
been the case, we would expect more marked differences between the PPNA and PPNB 
settlements and a softer transition between the Natufian or "nucleus tell"— the primitive 
stage of which corresponds well to the natural resources of the oasis— and the PPNA 


change can be better interpreted as the result of external influence, that is, the 
introduction into the oasis of cultivation techniques. There is no break in the 
Natufian tradition between the underlying "nucleus tell" and Jericho PPNA. 
There is no essential difference between Jericho PPNA and the sites of the Medi- 
terranean zone: Jericho PPNA is closely linked to the post-Natufian (round- 
house layer) of Wadi Fallah. But, whereas the Wadi Fallah settlement may be 
considered as a continuation of the Natufian tradition in a Mediterranean type 
of environment, it is in Jericho PPNA, under its exceptional conditions, that we 
witness an exceptional development. Here we see the first economic and social 
results of the preceding attempts at cultivation in the Mediterranean zone. In 
our opinion, the foundation of the PPNA settlement can be interpreted as the 
first evidence in Palestine that domestication of cereals is an accomplished fact, 
as it is most probably also at the same time in the hilly zone of the entire 
Middle East. 


From this time, around 7000-6500 B.C., cereals could be introduced by cultiva- 
tion from the zone of their natural habitat into new areas, including the coastal 
plain and parts of the semiarid area. The cultural horizon of Palestine opened 
up; the appearance of obsidian is the first evidence of contacts as far north as 

We know nothing of Syria and Syro-Cilicia in the period of time we have 
just reviewed in Palestine, and we know almost nothing until a still later time 
when pottery makes its first appearance. But we may expect to find in northern 
Syria a development parallel to that of the Natufian in Palestine. First indication 
of such a Syrian co-tradition is already found in the prepottery layers at Ras 
Shamra (Schaeffer, 1960) and also in the material from some Syrian surface sites 
that may be attributed on typological grounds to phases of development con- 
temporary to the Natufian. The Syrian tradition is characterized by a particular 
blade technique, by particular types of arrowheads, blades, sickle blades, polished 
adzes, querns, stone bowls, and, in architecture, rectangular houses with plastered 

The Syrian tradition ultimately overrides the Natufian tradition in Palestine. 
The new assemblage of the Jericho Prepottery Neolithic B (abbreviated "PPNB") 
settlement appears to be of Syrian origin. True, we need more comparative ma- 
terial from Syria on the same horizon, but in the next phase of development (with 
pottery) the same assemblage appears well at home in Syro-Cilicia (Braidwood, 
1959, p. 501). 

An explanation for the two parallel archeological traditions in Syria and Pal- 
estine in Natufian times could be found in the break observed by Helbaek and 
Pabot in the distribution of wild wheats in central Syria and south to the Beirut- 
Damascus road (Braidwood and Howe, this volume). The Natufian tradition 
would appear to have been a particular development linked to the southern area 


of distribution, while the Syrian one (necessarily still largely a postulate until 
more field work is done) would appear to have been linked to the northern- 
northeastern area. The contact between the two traditions would perhaps have 
been established only at the time of the first extension of cultivation beyond the 
limits of the two natural zones of distribution of the cereals. The Syrian tradition 
appears to have been the stronger. Palestine, which may have seen its general 
progress slowed down by its natural poverty, will have assumed from this time 
onward a more modest role; it seems no longer to have been a center of develop- 
ment but rather became marginal to the new centers of northern Syria and 

The Syrian tradition was not, I believe, essentially different from the Palestinian 
one. The two probably had the same origin and may have been less differentiated 
in very early Natufian times. At Jericho, even if we see some spectacular changes 
in architecture and to a lesser degree in the stone industries of the PPNA and 
the PPNB settlements, there is no break or even significant change in the economic 

1. The architecture of the Jericho PPNB settlement is characterized by "well 
built houses, with large rectangular rooms, rectilinear and vertical walls and wide 
doorways. . . . Walls and floors are covered by a continuous coat of fine plaster, 
cream or pinkish in colour, and burnished to a high finish" (Kenyon, 1959b, p. 38). 
A partially excavated building, 6x4 meters, with curious curved annexes, is in- 
terpreted as a temple. 

The extent of the settlement is approximately equivalent to the preceding one 
of PPNA. Its duration was even more considerable. In some places, as many as 
twenty-six superimposed floors were distinguished. At a stage midway in the 
life of the settlement (ca. 5850 b.c.) "a massive defensive wall was built . . . but 
it cannot be said if it is a tower wall or a citadel wall." In the ruins of this 
settlement, ten skulls were found "with the features restored in plaster. . . . Frag- 
ments of painted plaster statues portraying the human form have also been re- 
covered from the highest surviving level." In the upper levels appears a new type 
of burial in extended position (Kurth, personal communication), the anthro- 
pological type being more evolue than the typical Natufian type found in 
crouched burials of the PPNA settlement. 4 

2. In the Mediterranean zone a more normal development is found at Abu 
Ghosh (Perrot, 1952), on the west slope of the Judean hills near Jerusalem. The 
settlement may extend over about 1,000-1,500 square meters; traces of plastered 
floors have been found with a stone industry that shows— accidentally ?— a mixing 
of Syrian and Palestinian types. Animal figurines in unbaked clay appear. At 
the Wadi Fallah an upper level with a rectangular house probably belongs to the 

4. The extended skeletons are often without skulls. Crouched burials do not disappear 
completely, but their frequency diminishes in the upper layers of the PPNB settlement. They 
are found still later in one of the "Proto-Urban" tombs. Dr. Kurth's study covers about 350 
individuals for the prepottery levels and hundreds for the "Proto-Urban" period. 


same phase. At Beida, near Petra, on the western Transjordan plateau, Miss D. 
Kirkbride (1960, p. 236, and personal communication) has excavated "a most 
curious building, well built, dry stone walling . . . composed so far of two parallel 
corridors with small rooms opening off each side of them" and "little absidal 
rooms at the end of the corridors." Building and associated finds constitute for 
Miss Kirkbride "a definite link with Jericho PPNB" and "a near relation to Abu 
Ghosh. The flint artifacts . . . the ground stone tools, rubbers and querns are 
very close to Jericho." 

Since all these sites are known only by soundings, we do not have indications 
of the extent of the settlements or precise information on the character of their 
economy; from the general picture, however, we may reasonably assume that by 
that time the stage of an effective village-farming community had been reached 
in the area as a whole. New settlements were founded, such as Sheikh Ali or 
Tell Eli (Prausnitz, 1959) on the low terrace of the Jordan south of the Tiberias 
Lake, and Hagoshrim north of Lake Huleh, at the foot of Mount Hermon. 
Numerous surface stations can also be attributed to this phase. 

From Syria, comparative material is available at Ras Shamra, at the base of 
the 1955 sounding by Dr. Kushke (Schaeffer, 1960). Plastered-floor houses 
are found associated with a flint industry similar to that of Jericho PPNB 
and Abu Ghosh. Pottery was still unknown to the inhabitants of these basal levels 
of Ras Shamra. The availability of three new C 14 determinations from the pre- 
ceramic levels of Khirokitia on Cyprus (St. 414, 415, 416; average ca. 7600 B.P. 
±150,=ca. 5650 b.c.) poses further problems for consideration in this general 
connection, although it is not yet clear how the Khirokitia materials bear, com- 
paratively, on the preceramic materials of mainland southwestern Asia. 

The prepottery layers of Jarmo in Iraqi Kurdistan (Braid wood and Howe, this 
volume) seem to offer an upland equivalent of the "Mediterranean" type of 
settlement of this general stage rather than of the particular "oasis" type. In my 
opinion, a comparison between prepottery Jarmo and sites of the Abu Ghosh, 
Hagoshrim, and Beida type would be more promising than that between Jarmo 
and Jericho. This does not exclude the possibility of finding some Jericho-like 
pre-Hassunan assemblage in the Mesopotamian lowlands near the river banks. 

3. There is practically no information on what one must suppose to have been 
the nomadic or seminomadic population of the semiarid area of Palestine in this 
general range of time. Hunting was probably still the basis of the economy of 
the population of southern Negev (surface stations of the Nitzana area), but 
the domestication of animals seems in progress at Kilwa in southern Transjordan 
(Rhotert, 1938, where rock drawings depict scenes of trapped animals or early 
domestication), and the cultivation of cereals could from this time onward as- 
sume at least a minor subsistence role. 



The use of pottery characterizes the beginning of a new phase of development 
of the early village-farming communities. Numerous new settlements appear in 
the record, seeming to indicate a growing population. Unfortunately, however, 
the archeological evidence is scanty, most of these settlements being known only 
from surface collection or limited soundings. 

A dark-faced burnished ware is the familiar hallmark of the Syro-Cilician as- 
semblage, which also includes, as in prepottery times (Ras Shamra), rectilinear 
structures with plastered and burnished walls and floors, a chipped- and flaked- 
stone industry, fully ground celts, and stone bowls. It has been recognized (Braid- 
wood, 1959) in the basal level (Phase A) of the Amuq sites, of Yiimiik Tepe 
(Mersin), Gozlu Kule (Tarsus), Ras Shamra V, Hama, and, somewhat later 
(= Amuq B), at Tabbat el-Hammam (Hole, 1959) and Byblos "Neolithique 
Ancien." The flint industry of the south-Syrian sites shows more specific con- 
nections with Palestine. 

The dark-faced burnished ware also appears in Palestine, but only a few sherds 
have been found, mixed with the painted pottery of the Jericho AB horizon 
(i.e., the post-PPNB levels; cf. Amuq Phase D), at Kfar Giladi (Kaplan, 1959) 
near the Lebanese border, at Sheikh Ali (Prausnitz, 1959), and at Tell Batashi 
(Kaplan, 1958) near Tel-Aviv. These occurrences are a good illustration of the 
slow diffusion of the ware from its Syro-Cilician center. This dark-faced burn- 
ished ware, however, is not the first to appear in Palestine; it is preceded at Shaar 
Hagolan (Stekelis, 1950) by a pottery with incised decoration also found with 
other classes of impressed or combed ware in basal Byblos— Neolithique Ancien 
(Dunand, 1950)— where it is associated with the dark-faced burnished ware. Al- 
though more evidence is needed, particularly from Palestine on the Shaar Hagolan 
horizon, we feel that the "cardial" wares could be part of a Palestinian and south- 
Syrian assemblage parallel to the Syro-Cilician assemblage of the dark-faced burn- 
ished ware. 

No general impression of settlement size or complexity is yet available at this 
stage for Syro-Cilicia or Palestine. Byblos is the only settlement excavated to 
any extent (about 1000 square meters). Small (4x2.5 meters) rectangular houses 
with plastered floors, of the prepottery Jericho and Ras Shamra type, rebuilt 
five to six times one on top of the other, are a reasonable indication of the perma- 
nence of the settlement; C 14 determinations of ca. 5000 b.c. for the earliest houses 
and ca. 4600 b.c. for the upper stratum are available. Hints of a similar duration 
and permanence of settlement are also given by the study of the stratigraphy of 
other Syro-Cilician sites, such as Mersin or Ras Shamra. Wheat and barley were 
cultivated; animal bones indicate pig, sheep, and cattle. Although a solid base is 
still lacking for a general cultural interpretation, we may consider that a stage 
of development has been generally attained permitting the establishment of 
permanent villages of some size. 


The sudden appearance of pottery at this stage is surprising. In the present 

state of our knowledge, its first use cannot be linked to sedentary living or 

to a particular level of food production or to a higher degree of technological 



In post-Natufian and later times up to the end of the fifth millennium B.C., 
we have almost no traces of the nomadic populations of the semiarid area. The 
Kilwa rock drawings in south Transjordan are doubtful evidence of first attempts 
by nomads at the domestication of animals. But from subsequent evidence we may 
infer that the peoples of the semiarid zone had made some progress on the road 
to pastoralism and to a more settled way of life. Cereals were probably known 
to them and cultivated in certain areas, constituting at least a small complement 
to their diet. 

Wandering with their flocks on the periphery of the Syro-Arabian desert, 
these nomadic or seminomadic populations may have been in contact to the east 
and north with iMesopotamia and the Anatolian plateau, and to the south with 
the Arabian coast and Africa. We can consider them as even having taken some 
part in the diffusion of cultivated cereals and their introduction into Egypt and 
the Nile Valley in the first part of the fifth millennium. Their mobility made 
them the best instrument of diffusion of Mesopotamian and eastern influences 
into the Syrian and Palestinian provinces to the west. Perhaps it is not too rash 
to attribute to them the introduction of the eastern tradition of pot-painting to 
the Mediterranean littoral region and also some of the new cultural traits that 
one finds appearing simultaneously in the Amuq (D), at Ras Shamra (IV), at 
Byblos (Neo. Moyen), and at Jericho AB. 

Jericho, abandoned after PPNB, was indeed resettled by the newcomers (in 
A and B, the first pottery-bearing layers), 5 who introduce a new architecture— 
bun-shaped bricks on stone foundations— and a new pattern of settlement. The 
dwellings, some of them subterranean, extend freely down the slopes of the pre- 
pottery neolithic tell and around it. 

Further penetration in Palestine during the fourth millennium B.C. is best evi- 
denced in those parts of the country around the Dead Sea, in the northern Negev 
and along the coast in regions that were not settled at that time and had never 
before known a sedentary occupation. 

Although evidence is still scanty, we have to look to the Transjordan plateau 

5. According to Miss Kenyon, the distinction between A and B is based for the time being 
on typological grounds only. The pottery of A and B was found together in the same 
pits. The pottery of A and B types also appears similarly associated at Batashi and Sheikh Ali 
and thus may well be of the same age. In any case, it will be difficult to distinguish between 
local tradition and "foreign" influence. 


for the immediate origin of the newcomers and also for the formative phase of 
their culture, the Ghassulian. 6 

The Ghassulian (from Teleilat el-Ghassul, northeast of the Dead Sea), (Mallon, 
1934; Perrot, 1955a) presents a mixed economy, with stock-breeding making up 
the better part of it, and cultivation of wheat, barley, and lentils serving only as 
a complement but being sufficient to permit an almost sedentary life. In fact, 
the Ghassulian may be described as an attempt by an originally seminomad popu- 
lation at a more permanent settlement. 

By the time they appear in Palestine, these people had reached a very high level 
of food production. In Beersheba, in north-central Negev, bones of hunted ani- 
mals account for less than 5 per cent of the animal bones— 65 per cent sheep and 
goat; ox, dog, and rare pig accounting for the rest (Josien, 1955). There are 
no arrowheads. 

Metallurgy, in pure copper, is fully developed, with casting of axes, chisels, 
hammers, points, and hollow maceheads, implying a high degree of technological 
skill. The metallurgical activities were concentrated in one of the small settlements 
of the Beersheba group (Abu Matar), the copper ore— malachite— having been 
extracted 100 kilometers to the east, in Transjordan. 

Hard stones like basalt, hematite, and volcanic rocks were imported from the 
same region, east of the Dead Sea, for the manufacture of maceheads, palettes, 
and hollow-footed vessels. The drill was known. Local limestone was used for 
mortars, loom-weights, figurines, etc. The flint industry includes a high proportion 
of tools made on pebbles (chopping tools, picks, scrapers, knives); also tranchets 
(in continuation of the post-Natufian el-Khiam type tradition?), sickle blades, 
borers, and gravers. Bone tools include skewers and needles, wool-combs, picks, 
and sickles. 

Pottery was handmade, the only exception being certain small bowls that ex- 
hibit wheel marks and string-cut bases. Characteristic forms of pottery vessels in- 
clude imitations of skin containers, common among nomads. Painted decoration 
in red (bands, arcs, lattices) is usual. 

Taste for personal ornament (beads, pendants, pins) is developed; artistic and 
religious feeling finds its expression in ivory male or female figurines and statuettes, 
probably in relation with some fertility cult. 

In the Beersheba group dwellings are completely subterranean at first and are 
sometimes dug 5 meters deep into the sandy deposits of the terraces. At Safadi 
they are distributed around a 10 X 3 meter hall, which could have been some 
sort of ceremonial or communal center. The settlement comprises 15-20 dwellings; 
the population probably did not exceed 200. The total population of the six 
settlements of the Beersheba group, extending over a few kilometers on the two 
banks of the wadi, could have been from 500 to 1,000. Each agglomeration shows 
a certain degree of industrial specialization (metallurgy at Abu Matar, soft stone 
and ivory carving at Safadi); the group as a whole apparently formed an inde- 
pendent economic and social unit. 

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The same general disposition lasted to the end of the short-lived occupation 
(about 200-300 years; the middle layer has C 14 determinations of 3460 ±350 
[M 864a] and 3310 ± 300 [M 864b] B.C.). The subterranean dwellings were then 
replaced by rectangular houses built of wood and mud brick on stone foundations. 
This same architectural technique, first seen at Jericho AB, also characterizes 
the village of Ghassul, where the plastered walls of the houses were sometimes 
covered with frescoes (schematic figures of animals and geometrical motives). 
Some idea of the houses of that period may be obtained from the house-shaped 
ossuaries of pottery found on a number of contemporary sites along the coast. 

At this stage of development, the Ghassulian culture came to an abrupt end. 
The Ghassul and Beersheba villages were abandoned, and all traces of sedentary 
life disappear in the semiarid zone. One explanation could be the deterioration 
of the security situation in Syria and Palestine, compelling the populations to 
choose naturally protected sites in the proximity of an adequate water supply. 
This is the time when Gezer, Megiddo, Beth Shan, Farah, etc., were founded in 
the hills. As for the population of the semiarid regions, we may suppose that, 
unable to adapt themselves to the new conditions, they turned back to a more 
fully pastoral seminomadic type of subsistence pattern, perhaps something like 
the type we can see later evidenced in historic times by the Amorites. 


The Palestinian archeological sequence from the Natufian caves or open-air 
sites to the upper strata of prepottery Jericho, as incomplete and unsatisfactory 
as it may seem, nevertheless gives an idea of the general evolution from the 
food-collecting stage to the threshold of food production and village life. For 
later times, however, the incompleteness of the archeological record does not 
permit such a comparable general evolutionary interpretation. We can say only 
that the development from village to urban life took a much longer time in 
Palestine than in some other parts of southwestern Asia, and that the marginal 
character of Palestine becomes more and more apparent in contrast (for example) 
with the lowlands of Mesopotamia. 

The phase following the appearance of pottery at Shaar Hagolan is represented, 
other than in Jericho AB, only by the material of a few soundings at Tell Batashi 
and at Kfar Giladi (Kaplan, 1959) and at Sheikh Ali (Prausnitz, 1959). On this 
last site burnished red pottery (including bow-rim jars) and red painted pottery 
with reserved spaces covered with incised or combed motifs, characteristic of 
this horizon, are associated with a rectangular building of considerable dimensions 
with a pebble-paved courtyard and plastered-floor rooms. The same pottery 
occurs also in the Neolithique Moyen of Byblos (Cauvin, personal communica- 

We could consider this pottery as a continuation of the Syro-Palestinian 
tradition of the preceding phase, now marked by the first influence of the eastern 


(Ubaidian) painted techniques and repertoire upon the Mediterranean coastal 
zone. This same influence manifests itself in the Syro-Cilician sites (Amuq Phase 
D) where the repertoire includes the bow rims and hole-mouth jars, the small 
triangular-sectioned jar handles, the pierced pedestal bases, the red wash, etc. 
(Braidwood, 1960, p. 510). 

We still lack clear stratigraphical sequence in Palestine between this phase 
and the following one represented by the basal layers of such Mediterranean zone 
hill-country sites as, for example, A4egiddo, Beth Shan, Farah, and Gezer. No 
information is available on the extent or organization of these settlements. The 
impact of the contemporary Ghassulian culture of the semiarid zone is felt on 
their pottery, sometimes as imports, more often as imitations (e.g., a gray 
burnished ware imitates the basalt vessels), but the Ghassulian ceramic does not 
seem to affect the essentially indigenous Mediterranean tradition. The influence 
of the eastern nomads is evidenced in the Neolithique Recent of Byblos, lessening 
in the following Efieolithique, which also corresponds to the basal layers of the 
Palestinian settlements mentioned above. 

Byblos (Dunand, 1950) is at this time the only site that can give evidence 
toward urbanization. The Eneolithique settlement (ca. 3500-3200 b.c.) covers 
the entire acropolis; rectangular, round, then apsidal houses were sometimes 
connected by paved paths inside the settlement. Copper, gold, and silver were in 
use. Pottery was still handmade. 

The following stage (ca. 3200-3050 b.c.) is represented by long houses in- 
ternally divided, grouped sometimes in enclosures. Metal was by now commonly 
used. Burials were made outside the agglomeration. 

Then, around 3000 b.c, appeared what is called a "premiere installation nrbaine r '; 
multiroomed rectangular houses, sanctuaries, paved streets, and sewers; pottery 
was mass produced; cylinder seals of Jemdet Nasr type were in use, implying 
long-distance contacts with Mesopotamia. Trade relations by sea also existed 
with Egypt. 

We are probably nearer the "threshold of urbanization" with the next phase 
of Byblos settlement two centuries later; rectangular houses were built on well- 
dressed stone foundations; monumental temples (Baalat Gebal temple, oval 
temple) appeared, and the agglomeration was surrounded by a huge rampart. 
A parallel development may be expected in Syro-Cilicia. 

In Palestine, from the scanty evidence from Megiddo, Beth Yerah, Beth Shan, 
Farah-Gezer, Jericho, etc., we can say only that with the beginning of the third 
millennium we certainly enter into a phase of cultural and social acceleration 
pointing toward urbanization. Whether they were walled or not, we see the 
appearance of permanent settlements of some considerable size and density; 
there was the building of communal granaries (Beth Yerah), craft specialization 
was by now assured, and industrialization was in progress. The first temples and 
monumental buildings are another indication that the swing toward the social 
order of the urban type was under way. We have no assurance, however, that a 
stage of urban life similar to that of early dynastic times in lower Mesopotamia 


was really achieved in Palestine proper at the beginning of the third millennium 
or even before the second millennium B.C. 


In post-Pleistocene times, we can observe in the Syrian and Palestinian 
regions two parallel cultural developments. 

The first development, originating in the Mediterranean zone, leads us, 
through a still insufficiently documented phase of incipient cultivation (the 
Natufian), to a point at which it had become possible to cultivate cereals beyond 
the limits of their natural zone, thus making effective food production possible, 
at least as a supplementary basis of total subsistence. We see the first clear social 
and economic results of this achievement in the Jericho oasis around 7000 B.C. 

The second development, which took place in the semiarid zone, is not 
archeologically evidenced before 3500 b.c. (i.e., the Ghassulian). By then, how- 
ever, produced food (from sheep- and cattle-breeding, supplemented by the 
cultivation of cereals) represented such a large proportion of the diet that we 
feel justified in pushing back the beginnings of this development (the first 
attempts at the domestication of animals) by at least one thousand years. This 
does not exclude earlier attempts at domestication in the Mediterranean zone and 
in the Jericho oasis. 

The nature of the archeological record and the existence in Palestine and 
southern Syria of a natural-habitat zone for cereals and potentially domesticable 
animals give reason for considering that food production in its two aspects 
(plant cultivation and animal domestication) appeared there, as in Syro-Cilicia 
and in the Kurdistan-Zagros foothills, as an indigenous evolution. This slow but 
regular progress can be opposed to what we can see in the Nile Valley, where 
the sudden and late (around 4500 b.c.) appearance of the first villages seems to 
give to the emergence there of food production an explosive, "revolutionary," 

Pottery makes an independent appearance along the Mediterranean coastal 
zone around 5000 b.c with two apparent foci: "cardial" wares in Palestine and 
southern Syria and dark-faced burnished ware in Syro-Cilicia and the region 
immediately to the east. 

From that moment and for some time thereafter, the incompleteness of arche- 
ological evidence makes general cultural interpretation extremely difficult. We 
can recognize during the fourth millennium in the semiarid area the short-lived 
attempt by the pastoral populations at a more sedentary life— as seen in the 
Ghassulian. Their settlements stopped short, however, of any urban character. 

Incipient urbanization can be detected around 3000 b.c in Palestine and Syria, 
but the process appears to have been slowed down, particularly in Palestine, by 
limited natural resources, an increasingly restrictive factor for a growing popula- 
tion. The "threshold of urbanization" was reached later in Palestine than in 
lower Mesopotamia. 



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1957. Excavations at Meser, 1956," Israel Explor. J., Vol. 7, No. 4. 


1950. "Chronologie des plus anciennes installations de Byblos," Revue biblique, 

1955. "Rapport preliminaire sur les fouilles de Byblos," Bull. Musee Beyrouth, 

Ewing, F. J. 

1947. "Preliminary Note on the Excavations at the Palaeolithic Site of Ksar Akil, 

Republic of Lebanon," Antiquity, 84:186-95. 
Garrod, D. A. E. 

1932. "A New Mesolithic Industry: The Natufian of Palestine," /. Roy. Anthrop. 

Inst., 62:257-69. 

1937. The Stone Age of Mount C arm el, 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 

1957. "The Natufian Culture: The Life and Economy of a Mesolithic People in 
the Near East: Albert Reckitt Archaeological Lecture, British Academy," Proc. 
Brit. Acad., Vol. 43. 

Hole, F. 

1959. "A Reanalysis of Basal Tabbat al-Hammam, Syria," Syria, 36:149-83. 
Josien, Th. 

1955. "La faune chalcolithique des gisements palestiniens de Bir Es-Safadi et Bir 

Abou Matar," Israel Explor. J., 5:246-57. 
Kaplan, J. 

1958. "The Excavations at Telulyot Batashi in the Vale of Sorek," Eretz Israel, 
5:9-24, 83-84. 

1959. "The Neolithic Pottery of Palestine," Bull. Amer. Sch. Oriental Res., 156:15-21. 
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1959a. "Earliest Jericho," Antiquity, 33:5-9. 

1959b. "Some Observations on the Beginnings of Settlement in the Near East," 

/. Roy. Anthrop. Inst., 89:35-43. 


1958. "Notes on a Survey of the Pre -Roman Archaeological Sites near Jerash," 
Bull. Inst. Archaeol. (Univ. London), 1:9-20. 

1959. "Short Notes on Some Hitherto Unrecorded Prehistoric Sites in Transjordan," 
Palestine Explor. Quart., 91:52-54. 

1960. "Chronique archeologique," Revue biblique, 67:230-39. 
Mallon, A. 

1934. Teleilat Ghassul I. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute. 
Neuville, R. 

1934. "Le prehistorique de Palestine," Revue biblique, 43:237-59. 

1951. Le paleolithique et le mesolithique du Desert de Judee. ("Arch. Inst. Paleontol. 
Humaine," Mem. 24). Paris. 


Perrot, J. 

1952a. "Le neolithique d'Abou Gosh," Syria, 29:120-45. 

1952b. "Tetes de fleches du Natoufien et du Tahounien (Palestine)," Bull. Soc. 

Prehist. Prang., 49:439-49. 

1955a. "The Excavations at Tell Abu Matar, near Beersheba," Israel Explor. ]., 


1955b. "Les fouilles d'Abou Matar," Syria, 34:1-38. 

1957. "Le mesolithique de Palestine et les recentes decouvertes a Eynan (Ain 
Mallaha)," Antiquity and Survival, 2:91-110. 

1960. "Excavations at 'Eynan (Ain Mallaha), 1959 Season: Preliminary Report," 
Israel Explor. J., 10:14-22. 
Prausnitz, M. W. 

1958. "Khirbet Sheikh 'Ali," Revue biblique, 65:414. 

1959. "The First Agricultural Settlements in Galilee," Israel Explor. J., 9:166-74. 

Reed, C. A. 

1959. "Animal Domestication in the Prehistoric Near East," Science, 130:1629-39. 

Rhotert, H. 

1938. Transjordanien-Vorgeschichtliche Forschungen. Stuttgart. 

Rust, A. 

1950. Die Hohlenfunde von Jabrud (Syrien). Neumunster: Karl Wacholtz. 


1960. Ugaritica 4. Paris: Geuthner. 

Stekelis, M. 

1938. "Contribution to the Study of the Premesolithic Age in Palestine." In Magnes 

Anniversary Book, pp. 461-64. (In Hebrew.) Jerusalem. 

1950-51. "A New Neolithic Industry: The Yarmukian of Palestine." Israel Explor. 

J., 1:3-20. 

1960. "Wadi Fallah (Nahal Oren)," ibid., Vol. 10, notes. 
Turville-Petre, F. 

1932. "Excavations in the Mugharet el-Kebarah," /. Roy. Anthrop. Inst., 62:271-76. 
Waechter, J. d'A., et al. 

1938. "The Excavations at Wadi Dhobai, 1937-38, and the Dhobaian Industry," /. 

Palestine Oriental Soc, 18:172-86, 292-98. 




The area under consideration includes the coast and highland of Peru and 
the adjoining Titicaca basin in Bolivia (Fig. 1). This stretch of the Andes 
contained a major native areal culture with time depth, which Bennett has 
called the "Peruvian Co-tradition" (Kroeber, 1944, p. Ill; Bennett, 1948). 

The narrow coastal region is an extremely arid but temperate desert cut 
transversely at intervals by mountain-fed rivers that form oasis valleys. The 
highland consists of intermontane valleys and basins separated by lofty plateaus 
and high mountain passes. In the coastal valleys intensive agriculture is dependent 
on irrigation, although small-scale cultivation is possible without irrigation in 
the moist areas at valley mouths close to the sea. In the mountain valleys irrigation 
is less vital, but everywhere it increases crop yields. In spite of differences between 
coast and highland, there are certain major uniformities. Both regions have large 
cultivable areas with rich soils not covered with resistant grasses or forest 
and with water available for irrigation. Temperature and other contrasts due 
to differences in altitude are minimized by the cold Peru current and proximity to 
the equator. The Peru current also accounts for an exceptionally rich marine 
fauna, which amply compensates for the barrenness of the coastal desert. Both 
coastal and highland valleys are geographically isolated but close enough to other 
valleys for trade and cultural interchange. 

Native history in the Central Andes may be divided into three major stages 
of subsistence. These are a largely inferred early hunting stage (about 8000 B.C. 
until an unknown date), a stage of food-collecting and incipient cultivation 
(2500-750 B.C.), and a stage of agriculture (750 b.c.-a.d. 1532). The incipient 
cultivation stage includes two major periods: the earlier Preceramic, which lacked 
both ceramics and maize, and the later Initial Ceramic, which included pottery- 
making and the cultivation of maize (Fig. 2). The agricultural stage is divisible 
into an earlier substage of established agriculture 1 (Formative period) and a later 
substage of intensive agriculture (Classic and Postclassic periods). 

In a previous paper on the development of agriculture in Peru (Collier, n.d.) 
the Initial Ceramic was included as the first subperiod of the Formative, but I 

1. The term "established agriculture" was introduced by Willey (1960). 





Figure 1. The Central Andes 

pointed out that in terms of subsistence patterns it should be grouped with the 
Preceramic in a stage of incipient agriculture. The Initial Ceramic could well be 
set apart as a transitional stage between the stages of incipient cultivation and 
established agriculture. 









on — 

• North Coast 

North Central Central South 

Highland Coast Highland South Coast Highland 


















Early Inca 





Late Chan cay 
Late Ancon 

Late D 



B.W. R Geom 




B.W.R Geom 


Huari Lucre 

Middle lea 
Huari Pacheco 




t t 

Mochico Go Hi 

Recuay B 
Recuay A 




i \ 

Pucara Tiahuan- 

a u 
uj a: 



10 15 
UJ < 






Huaraz W-on-R 

Play a Grande 
Banos de Bozo 



Pucara Tiahuanaco 


Kuntur Wasi 

de Huantar 

Curayacu 2 
(Early Ancon) 



1- o 


O H 
Z -1 

— 3 

Middle Guanape 

Early Aldas 

Curayacu 1 





Huaca Cerro 
Prieta Prieto 

Aspero Rio 

Asia Otuma 

Figure 2. Cultural periods in the Central Andes 


As yet, evidence of the early hunting stage in the Central Andes is minimal. 
Heavy, pressure-flaked, stemmed and/or lanceolate projectile points have been 
found on the coast in Chicama Valley, at San Nicolas south of Nazca, in the 
highland in caves near Huancayo, and in a surface deposit at Viscachani south of 
La Paz, Bolivia (Bird, 1948, p. 27; Larco Hoyle, 1948, pp. 11-12; Strong, 1957, 
pp. 8-11; Tschopik, 1946; Menghin, 1953-54). Although typologically these finds 
appear early, there is no evidence linking them with extinct Pleistocene mammals, 
and both geological and absolute dates are lacking. But the presence of early 
hunting cultures at the southern tip of the continent shortly after 7000 B.C. 
(Bird, 1938; 1946; 1951, pp. 44-46), and the recent discovery of an apparently 
early lithic assemblage near Quito, Ecuador (Bell and iMayer-Oakes, 1960), 
strengthen the probability that the Central Andean finds pertain to the early 
hunters. Until additional geological and archeological investigations are made, 
nothing reliable can be said about the environment and the ecological adaptations 
of these post-Pleistocene hunters. 13 

la. Since this was written, Kardich (1960, pp. 107-14) has published a brief description of an 
early lithic sequence in caves at Lauricocha, Department of Huanuco, Peru. The earliest of 
three preceramic horizons (Lauricocha I) contained crude flake tools (scrapers and perforators 
but no projectile points), animal bones, and human skeletons. Carbon samples from this hori- 
zon have yielded a date of 7566 ± 250 B.C. 



At present there is a hiatus between the inferential early hunting stage in the 
Central Andes and the beginning of incipient cultivation about 2500 B.C. This 
gap may have been occupied by a food-collecting stage, during which a culture 
similar to the shell fishhook culture of northern Chile (Bird, 1943) existed along 
the Peruvian coast, but as yet no remains of this hypothetical fishing culture 
have been recognized. 

More than forty habitation sites of the incipient cultivation stage, called the 
Preceramic in Peruvian archeology, are known from the Peruvian coast (Bird, 
1948; Engel, 1957 a, b, 1958). The earliest of these seems not to have been occupied 
before 2500 B.C. These sites are located near the sea at the mouths of rivers or on 
the shores of coastal lagoons. Subsistence of these people, as revealed by plant 
and animal remains recovered from refuse deposits, was based on collecting wild 
fruits and tubers, gathering shellfish, catching fish by net and line, taking sea lion 
and porpoise by unknown methods, and cultivating squash, chili peppers, jack 
beans (Canavalia), lima beans, 2 and achira tubers. They also cultivated gourds, 
which were used for containers and net floats, and cotton, which they made into 
cordage, nets, twined and looped textiles, and, rarely, woven textiles. This first 
cultivation was carried out without irrigation in the moist areas at the mouths 
of valleys, which were the natural habitat of some of the wild plants gathered 
for food. 

The surprisingly crude stone tools of these people were roughly chipped 
flakes, cores, and hammerstones. Pressure flaking was absent on the north coast 
but seems to have been practiced by the Preceramic peoples on the central 
and south coasts. Fishhooks were of shell. Stone projectile points were not made 
except on the south coast. Cooking was done with heated stones, thousands of 
burned fragments of which are found mixed with the shells in the refuse deposits. 
Houses were small rectangular or oval structures of beach cobbles, rough stone, 
adobe, or wattle-and-daub construction, with roofs supported by beams of wood 
or whalebone. Settlements consisted of a few to a dozen houses scattered at 
random on the refuse deposits. At two of the sites there are specialized structures 
that may be the first shrines or community buildings. 

Toward the end of the Preceramic, woven textiles appear at most sites, and 
at the very end of the period, probably between 1400 and 1200 B.C., the first 
maize is found. The evidence consists of a few maize cobs in the upper levels 
of four Preceramic sites (Lanning, 1959, p. 48; personal communication, 1959). 
The first pottery appears about 1200 B.C., marking the beginning of the Initial 
Ceramic period (Bird, 1948; Strong and Evans, 1952; Lanning, 1959). The first 
pottery was simple in form and undecorated; color was variable because of lack 
of control in firing. Later, burnishing and incising were added. These early 
pottery-makers cultivated peanuts and maize in addition to the plants of the 

2. Lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus) occurred in the earliest levels at Huaca Prieta (M. A. 
Towle, personal communication, 1960). 


Preceramic period. In spite of the use of these new food plants, there was no 
immediate shift in subsistence pattern, and settlements were still close to the sea. 
Probably there was a progressive increase in dependence on cultivated plants, but 
evidence for this is lacking. There was a gradual shift from twined to woven 
textiles, and jet mirrors, which may have had ritual uses, were made for the first 
time. Some of the Initial Ceramic settlements were larger than those of the 
Preceramic and contained small temple centers. The most impressive of these is 
the terrace-pyramid-sunken-court complex built of rough basalt blocks at the 
Aldas site on the north-central coast (Engel, \951b; Lanning, 1959). 

In contrast to the coastal region, there is no evidence bearing on the presence 
and nature of human occupation of the highland during the Preceramic and 
Initial Ceramic periods. 

Formative Period 

During the Formative period full-time agriculture was achieved and many of 
the basic traditions or trends were established in Central Andean technology, 
religion, and art. 

The Formative began with the appearance of loom weaving, 3 the Chavin style 
of ceramics and stone carving, the use of gold for ornaments, and at least three 
new plants— warty squash, sweet manioc, and avocados. Although there is no 
direct evidence of canal irrigation at this time, the shift from seaside to inland 
settlements, the size of some settlements, and the magnitude of some of the 
ceremonial centers they supported suggest that water control had advanced 
beyond simple flood-water irrigation. 

The community consisted of several villages of stone or adobe houses clustered 
about a ceremonial nucleus. In some valleys the ceremonial centers were small, 
simple platform structures of stone or adobe. In others they were large stepped 
platforms of stone or adobe with sculptured, incised, or painted decorations. The 
most elaborate center, at Chavin de Huantar in the north highland, was composed 
of a sunken court flanked by stone-faced platforms and a terrace surmounted 
by a massive temple of dressed stone containing a honeycomb of interior galleries. 
The temple and other buildings were ornamented with stone sculpture and low- 
relief carving on stelae and flat slabs. 

The Chavin style and associated religious cult, which was centered around 
jaguar and serpent deities, spread widely and rapidly over much but not all of 
the Central Andes. But there is no evidence of wide political control or organized 
warfare. Probably the villages supporting a ceremonial center were integrated by 
priestly leadership. 

The later Formative was a time of regional development and experimentation. 
It was characterized by the following important new traits and developments: 
expanding canal irrigation; agricultural terracing; kidney beans, pepino fruits, and 

3. It is not clear whether the loom was already in use in the initial ceramic period. 


quinoa; domesticated llama, 4 alpaca, and guinea pig; coca-chewing; positive and 
negative painting on pottery; and ornaments of copper and copper-gold alloy. 
Wool was used in textiles, and weaving techniques were elaborated. Weavers 
produced turbans, headbands, shirts, shawls, breechcloths, and girdles, which 
together comprised the basic Peruvian clothing pattern from this time onward. 
The number of villages greatly increased, but they remained small. Groups 
of villages were clustered around pyramid mounds of stone or adobe. Elaborate 
hilltop fortifications of stone were constructed, probably for defense against 
intervalley raids. Variations in the richness of burial offerings suggest differences 
in wealth and social status. 

Classic Period 

The full utilization in the Classic period of the Formative technologies empha- 
sized the geographical differences of size and fertility of regions, and these differ- 
ences played a part in the development of marked regional specialization. Of 
particular significance are the following Classic traits and complexes: intensive 
agriculture based on trans valley irrigation systems and use of fertilizer; marked 
population increase; craft specialization and production of luxury goods; the 
construction of enormous temple mounds of adobe bricks; ornaments of gold, 
copper, silver, and their alloys; copper tools and weapons; class-structured so- 
cieties; state control under the leadership of priest kings; and organized warfare. 
Villages became larger, and a few towns, clustered around the temple pyramids, 
grew by accretion until they contained a thousand or more closely packed 

Postclassic Period 

The Postclassic period is characterized by increased warfare, progressive urban- 
ization, mass production of goods, and final political unification of the Central 
Andes under the Inca empire. Planned urban centers laid out on a rectangular 
grid and enclosed by defense walls appeared at the beginning of the period and 
reached a climax in Chanchan, the Chimu capital, which had a population esti- 
mated at 50,000. The growth of cities coincided with the development of inter- 
valley irrigation systems. Mold-made domestic pottery was mass produced, and 
bronze was used for the first time. 


Owing to a gap in our knowledge of Andean prehistory, it is not possible to 
assess the degree and nature of the intensification of food-collecting prior to 
the emergence of incipient cultivation in the area. When initially observable, 
about 2500 B.C., the first cultivated plants, playing together a minor subsistence 
role, fitted neatly into a well-diversified system of exploitation of wild food 

4. The llama may have been domesticated in the early Formative or toward the end of 
the Initial Ceramic. 


plants and marine fauna. The moist areas at valley mouths that were most favor- 
able for initial cultivation were also the habitat of the most useful wild food 
plants, and these places were convenient to the marine food supply. This con- 
gruence of the loci of food resources accounts for the concentration of settlements 
in such locations throughout the stage of incipient cultivation in the coastal 
zone. It is noteworthy that two of the cultivated plants, the gourd and cotton, 
were of no immediate food value but were important in net fishing. 

The first maize, which probably appeared about 1400 B.C., one or two centuries 
before pottery, was a primitive and not very productive variety. It seems to 
have been of minor importance in subsistence throughout the Initial Ceramic 
period. Only in the early Formative (Chavin) subperiod, five or six hundred 
years after the first maize, did this plant assume a major role. At this time an 
improved form of maize was introduced, and warty squash, sweet manioc, and 
avocados were added to the earlier cultivated plants. Effective food production 
(established agriculture) can be said to have begun (Fig. 2). But even before 
this, in the Initial Ceramic period, plant cultivation seems to have had a cumulative 
effect, for it was already possible for small ceremonial centers to develop. Thus, 
in the Central Andes, in contrast with Mesoamerica, the ceremonial center had 
its beginning before full food production. 

It is not at present possible to identify the effects of expanded cultivation in 
terms of changes in the tools of food production and preparation, but the in- 
ventory of food remains in refuse, and the location and size of settlements do 
reflect the new pattern. There was a progressive shift of settlements away from 
the sea, marine foods diminished in importance, and villages became larger. 
These shifts seem to have resulted from the increasing productivity of plant cul- 
tivation and the inadequacy of the valley mouths for the expanding agriculture. 
The ability to build and maintain large ceremonial centers at this time and the 
development of elaborate stone architecture and sculpture also suggest the effec- 
tiveness of food production. The extent of canal irrigation, which was well 
developed in the following subperiod (late Formative), is still uncertain. 

The problem of the origin of the patterns of incipient cultivation and of 
effective food production in the Central Andes is extremely complex, and it is 
not possible to review here the revelant botanical and cultural evidence. It is 
probable that both patterns were stimulated at least in part by diffusion of plants 
and ideas from Mesoamerica. Specimens of maize in both the Preceramic and 
the Chavin period include varieties that are related to Mexican races that have 
greater antiquity in the north (Mangelsdorf, 1959; personal communication, 
1960). Effective agriculture, including improved varieties of maize, began spread- 
ing southward from Mesoamerica shortly before 1000 b.c. (Mangelsdorf, Mac- 
Neish, and Willey, n.d.), and the beginning of established agriculture in Peru 
about 750 b.c. at the start of the Chavin period appears to be a reflection of this 
diffusion. This conclusion is strengthened by other cultural evidence. For ex- 
ample, a number of ceramic traits of Chavin are found in various pottery com- 
plexes of the middle Formative period in Mesoamerica (Porter, 1953; Coe, 1960), 


and a connecting link is found in the ceramics of the Chorrera period on the 
coast of Ecuador (Meggers and Evans, 1957). There seems little doubt that 
these traits diffused from north to south. 

On the other hand, the presence in Peru of non-Mesoamerican maize and 
bean varieties of considerable antiquity suggests the possibility that there were 
primary or secondary centers of plant domestication in the Central Andes (or 
neighboring areas), as well as in Mesoamerica. Furthermore, the highland complex 
of Central Andean root crops, which appears to be very old and to have been 
largely independent of maize cultivation until the Postclassic period (Sauer, 1950, 
pp. 513-19; Murra, 1956, pp. 13-31), may well have developed quite inde- 
pendently of Mesoamerican influence. The connection between this complex 
and Sauer's suggested center of root-crop domestication in northeastern South 
America (Sauer, 1953, pp. 40-73) is an important but, at the moment, completely 
speculative question. 

In the Central Andes the establishment of effective food production had a 
markedly explosive effective. In the brief span of 750 years, which comprised the 
Formative period as used in this paper, the culture of the coast of Peru developed 
from a simple, relatively uniform level to the complexity of the regionally 
differentiated Classic cultures, which were on the threshold of civilization. This 
rapid evolution contrasts sharply with the slow development in the preceding 
stage of incipient cultivation, during which culture changed relatively little, in 
spite of the introduction of maize and ceramics. If, as it appears, Formative 
development was more rapid in the Central Andes than in Mesoamerica, the 
explanation probably lies in the fact that Peruvian village-farming culture was 
initially established at a more complex level than in Mesoamerica as a result of 
strong cultural influence from the latter area. 

I have shown in Figure 3 the general time of appearance in the Central Andes 
of various aspects of urban life. The first ten characteristics are Childe's criteria 
of the city (Childe, 1950), arranged in the order of their appearance. Two of 
these— large settlements and writing— have been subdivided to bring out the 
special situation in Peru. Highways have been added as an additional important 
characteristic of urbanization. 

It is seen that half these urban characteristics were developed during the 
Formative period and that by the early part of the Classic the only essential traits 
lacking were really large settlements and some form of notation. In the Post- 
classic, large, planned cities were built, state control was vastly extended, a 
highway system was developed, and there was a system of numerical notation 
(the quipu); but writing was completely absent. There was a notable lack of 
development in mathematics, astronomy, and calendrics; undoubtedly these lacks 
were related to the absence of writing. And yet the Incas were able to maintain 
a governmental bureaucracy, to construct elaborate public works (roads, bridges, 
canals, and terrace systems), and to carry out social and economic planning (city 
planning, "valley authorities," and resettlement projects). The quipu was evi- 
dently adequate for keeping track of statistical and fiscal matters— census figures, 



Monumental architecture 

Great art 
(Full-time artists) 

Capital in the form of 
food surplus 

Full-time craft specialists 
"Foreign" trade 
Class-structured society 

Formation of the state 

Settlements of more than 
5,000 persons 

Planned, grid-pattern cities 

Numerical notation 

Predictive science 

Highway and communication 


50 B.C. 

A.D. 800 1532 









Figure 3. The time of appearance of aspects of urbanism in the Central Andes. 

army statistics, stocks in government storehouses, the size of llama herds, and 
the like. But it could not be extended beyond these functions, and the valuable 
economic and demographic data recorded on the Inca quipus were lost to us 
with the passing of their professional keepers, the qitipu-camayoc, after the 
Spanish conquest. 5 

5. It was asserted by a few chroniclers that the quipu was used to record history, but 
there is no evidence to confirm this and it seems improbable. 


In terms of Central Andean data the most essential preconditions of urbanization 
appear to be (a) an intensified food production capable of producing substantial 
surpluses, (b)' i high population density, and (c) an economically and socially 
differentiated society. All these were found in Peru by the end of the Formative. 
Of the three, a dense population seems to be the most essential. On the Peruvian 
coast maximum density was on the order of twenty-five times that of the density 
during the Chavin (early Formative). 6 This maximum was achieved by the 
Middle Classic in some valleys (e.g., Viru, Chicama) but not until the Postclassic 
in others (Lambayeque, Casma, Rimac). 7 The situation in these coastal valleys 
suggests a correlation, which needs much more substantiation, between the first 
really large settlements and near-maximum population density. 

In the Central Andes, as apparently in other areas that developed cities, 
urbanization tended to intensify further the characteristics mentioned above as 
preconditions. For this reason it is extremely difficult to distinguish cause from 
effect in the process of urbanization. The more precise determination, both 
qualitative and quantitative, of these preconditions and investigation of the 
varieties of urbanization itself appear to be the two most fruitful approaches to 
an understanding of the urbanization process. 

6. This estimate is based on Viru valley data (Willey, 1953). 

7. Available data (Collier, n.d.; Kosok, 1959; Schaedel, 1951; Stumer, 1954; Willey, 1953) 
point to this conclusion, but much more supporting evidence is needed. 


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1957. Paracas, Nazca, and Tiahuanacoid Cultural Relationships in South Coastal Pent. 
("Mem. Soc. Amer. Archaeol.," No. 13.) Salt Lake City. 

Strong, William Duncan, and Clifford Evans, Jr. 

1952. Ctdtural Stratigraphy in the Viru Valley, Peru: The Formative and Florescent 
Epochs. ("Columbia Studies in Archael. and Ethnol.," Vol. 4.) New York. 

Stumer, Louis M. 

1954. "Population Centers of the Rimac Valley, Peru," Amer. Antiq., 20:130-48. 
Tschopik, Harry, Jr. 

1946. "Some Notes on Rock Shelter Sites near Huancayo, Peru," A?ner. Antiq., 12: 
Willey, Gordon R. 

1953. Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the Viru Valley, Peru (Smithsonian Inst., 
Bur. Amer. Ethnol., Bull. 155.) Washington, D.C. 

1960. "Historical Patterns and Evolution in Native New World Cultures." In Sol 
Tax (ed.), Evolution after Darwin, Vol. 2: The Evolution of Man, pp. 89-118. 

Willey, Gordon R., and John M. Corbett 

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Ethnol.," Vol. 3.) New York. 



In China, prehistoric archeology is only just beginning. It may be said to have 
started in 1920 with the discovery of a neolithic site at Yang-shao-ts'un, in 
Mien-ch'ih Hsien, Honan Province, by J. G. Andersson, and a paleolithic 
implement near Chao-chia-chai, in Ch'ing-yang Hsien, Kansu, by Pere Emile 
Licent. During the subsequent decade and a half, through the efforts of Chinese 
and Western scientists, information concerning the stone ages and the initial 
bronze age began to accumulate at a moderate rate, until 1937, when the outbreak 
of the Sino-Japanese War put a stop to the scientific field researches in China. 
Systematic archeological field work in this part of the world was not resumed 
until 1949, when Communist archeologists began to unearth materials with be- 
wildering rapidity. Thus, what scientific information we have on the formative 
stage of Chinese civilization was gathered during a mere twenty-seven years ( 1920— 
37, 1949-59). The brevity of this period of work, the shifting personal, national, 
and ideological biases of the Chinese, Western, and Communist workers during 
its various stages, and the complete absence (with a handful of exceptions) of col- 
laboration with natural scientists, all help to explain the tentativeness of the in- 
terpretation of the formation of the Chinese civilization that is to follow. 

It is apparent that a complete areal coverage of China, as large in area as the 
whole of Europe or most of either of the Americas, with ecological zones no 
less varying, is next to impossible to achieve in a short essay. We shall therefore 
focus our attention here upon the area where Chinese cultural tradition emerged 
and developed, the area of the middle and lower Huangho (or the Yellow River). 
The northern peripheries of the area in Mongolia and A4anchuria and, to the 
south, the part of the Huaiho, the Yangtze, and the Pearl River valleys into which 
the Chinese civilization and its formative phases radiated will also be briefly 

The temporal coverage of our subject matter is, on the other hand, not difficult 
to define. Since our interest, in this symposium, lies mainly in the process and 
mechanism of cultural and social development, suffice it here to delineate our 
time range, simply on the basis of developmental concepts, as stretching from the 
terminal stage of the paleolithic food-gathering cultures to the emergence of 
urban life in China. This time span, furthermore, can be pinned down in absolute 
dates. In spite of the fact that in China none of the modern techniques of dating 
have so far been utilized, we can date the termination of our developmental se- 
quence in the nuclear area of Chinese culture to the middle part of the second 



millennium B.C., when historic records began with the emergence of urban life, 
and place its commencement at the late glacial period, which probably is syn- 
chronous with the Wiirm glacial in Europe in geological terms. 


After the stage of Choukoutien sedimentation, on the eroded surface of the 
reddish clay (terra rossa) in north China (Chingshui erosion of Barbour), a 
variety of zonal loessic facies accumulated during the climatic interval that has 
been correlated with the fourth Glaciation of the Himalayas (Movius, 1944) and 
the Wiirm glacial in Europe (W. C. Pei, 1939). The climate over north China 
during the loessic stage was cool and dry— continental— with a prevailing wind 
from the northwest, though neither cooling nor desiccation is regarded as having 
then reached a higher peak than now exists in northeastern Asia (Teilhard de 
Chardin, 1941, pp. 35-36). The various regional facies of the loess in north China 
have been grouped by Pere Teilhard de Chardin into two distinct subcycles: A, 
the true Malan loess with slope deposits dominant; and B, the Mongolian-Man- 
churian Sands with lake or nor deposits dominant (Teilhard de Chardin, 1941, 
p. 37). 

The human industry of subcycle A is represented by the paleolithic assemblage 
at the site of Shui-tung-kou in northwest Ordos in the province of Ninghsia, and 
that of subcycle B by the finds at Sjara-osso-gol in the southernmost part of 
Suiyuan (Boule, Breuil, Licent, and Teilhard de Chardin, 1928). "The geological 
and palaeontological evidence shows that broadly speaking the two sites are con- 
temporary, although Shui-tung-kou may be slightly older than Sjara-osso-gol" 
(Movius, 1955, p. 279). Both assemblages are characterized by a blade-and-flake 
tradition and were presumably hunting cultures, as judged from the associated 
fauna (wild ass, rhinoceros, bison, ostrich, elephants, antelope, horse) and the 
presence of projectile points. But unlike Shui-tung-kou, which is a blade industry 
par excellence (blade cores, blades, burins, end scrapers) with a high percentage 
of "Mousterian" flakes (perforators, points, side scrapers), the Sjara-osso-gol as- 
semblage is, above all, characterized by the predominance of a microblade tradi- 
tion, 1 which, together with the abundance of bone and antler implements and 
the apparent increase of the microfauna (insect-eaters, rodents, birds), seems to 
indicate that, on the one hand, in addition to the hunting of big game the small- 
game collecting pattern also played an important role and, on the other, the im- 
portance of the composite tools apparently increased. 

Subsequent to the loessic facies in north China began the recent period, which 
started with a land movement (and Panchiao erosion) and a climatic amelioration 
that intensified the lacustrine-riverine facies of the loessic stage and extended it 
to all north China. In other words, the post-Pleistocene started off there with the 
extinction of the Pleistocene fauna, a rise in temperature and precipitation, an 

1. This, however, may in part be due to the paucity of raw materials for stone manufacture 
(cf. Movius, 1955, p. 279). 


increase of vegetation cover, and a gradual continental uplift and stage of general 
erosion. This was a moist and warm period, well covered by forests in the loessic 
highlands in western north China and Manchuria ("the Black Earth stratum") 
and by nors, swamps, marshes, and lakes in the eastern alluvial plains. The woods 
were inhabited by a variety of animals (including many southern and warm- 
climate species), but deer were the predominant inhabitants. 

If the beginning of the Recent period intensified the lacustrine-riverine facies 
of the loessic landscape and witnessed its distribution all over north China, it did 
the same thing with the culture of this interval— the mesolithic stage of north 
China in general witnessed a general spread and upsurge of the microblade tradi- 
tion 2 and of composite tool manufacture. But the stage did not spread all over 
north China. Remains of the early post-Pleistocene hunter-fishers are found only 
in Mongolia (along the oases where they primarily fished) and in Manchuria and 
the eastern fringes of the western north China highlands (in the woods and by 
the water where they hunted and fished; e.g., the Upper Cave of Choukoutien 
and the Sha-yuan assemblages in central Shensi and northern Shansi). Such re- 
mains are not noted in the eastern plains, which may possibly have been too wet to 
be habitable at that time. The environment chosen by the post-Pleistocene 
hunter-fishers was a favorable one, and their culture was fairly intensified, special- 
ized, and elaborated. Aside from these broad generalizations, we are ill-informed 
concerning these terminal food-gatherers as regards the other aspects of their 


We have little evidence on which to base a conclusion about the earliest dates 
of food production in China. Speculation is rife in the matter, but the paucity of 
reliable data forces us to refrain from commenting on the origin of food pro- 
duction in this part of the Old World in any positive manner. We do not even 
know whether it was spontaneously invented or introduced from the outside as 
the result of stimulus diffusion. The available archeological record, furthermore, 
is regrettably lacking in evidence on the transitional stage from food-gathering 
to food-producing, and as yet we are substantially ignorant of the when, the 
where, and the how of this important event in China. 

We can, however, legitimately make some well-grounded guesses. If the im- 
portant event that Gordon Childe has termed the "neolithic revolution" took 
place in China at all, it probably did so in the region that I have tentatively called 
the "north China nuclear area," that is, the region around the confluences of the 
three great rivers, Huangho, Fenho, and Weishui, or the joining place of the 
three provinces Honan, Shansi, and Shensi (K. C. Chang, 1959a). The north China 

2. The microblade tradition in China, also known as the Chinese microlithic culture, is 
characterized, above all, by small blade cores; retouched or unretouched small bladelets; and 
the technique of pressure-flaking. It lacks the geometric forms of the microliths, made by the so- 
called microburin technique, which characterize many microlithic assemblages in western and 
northern Europe. 


nuclear area is in fact a small basin encircled on the north, west, and south by the 
Shansi plateau, the Shensi-Kansu loessic plateau, and the Tsinling Mountains, but 
open to the eastern plains. The speculative role of this region as a cradle for the 
food-producing cultures of north China has been based on a number of considera- 
tions. In the first place, as described above, during the "climatic optimum," the 
nuclear area was located on the border between the wooded western highlands 
and the swampy eastern lowlands, and thus it had both the "hilly flanks" and 
the habitat for the sedentary waterside fishermen that Robert Braidwood (1952) 
and Carl Sauer (1948) consider, respectively, as the birthplace of farmers and 
herders. It had, first, rain and warmth enough to be comfortably off and herds 
of game and fish shoals enough to sustain its inhabitants. It was also conveniently 
located at the intersection of natural avenues of communication. Second, it is in 
the nuclear area that the only Huangho basin mesolithic assemblage was found 
in the Sha-yiian (sand-dune) region in Chao-i and Ta-li Counties in eastern Shensi 
of the lower Wei-shui valley (K. C. Chang, 1958, pp. 51-55). Third, the only 
stratigraphically suggested pre-Yangshao neolithic evidence was found in Pao-chi 
Hsien in the middle Wei-shui valley, peripheral to the nuclear area (T. K. Cheng, 
1959, p. 68). In the fourth place, the importance of fishing, as shown during the 
subsequent Yangshao stage in this area, is highly suggestive (N. Hsia, 1957). In 
the fifth place, archeological evidence is ample to demonstrate that the nuclear 
area played a leading role in the transition from the Yangshao to the Lungshan 
(K. C. Chang, 1959a; C. M. An, 1959). Finally, during most of the four thousand 
years of historic China, the nuclear area had always been one of the strategically 
vital regions that have controlled the destiny of the entire Empire to a consider- 
able extent (c. f. Lattimore, 1951, pp. 27-33). 

It is thus conceivable that at a few millennia B.C. the terminal food-gatherers 
in the nuclear area, having possibly already settled down and having a well- 
developed culture, switched to food production by inventing or adopting plant 
cultivation and animal domestication. Although in the subsequent neolithic stages 
there were still a handful of items of a mesolithic woodland heritage (e.g., pres- 
sure-flaked projectile points and arrowheads, chipped-stone discs, microblades, 
prismatic arrowheads, semisubterranean dwellings, and semilunar and rectangular 
stone knives), and the possibility cannot yet be entirely ruled out that the first 
idea of food production was introduced rather than invented, yet— from what 
we know of it— Chinese neolithic culture assumed a distinctive pattern from the 
very beginning that shows independence and originality. The following traits, 
considered either singly or totally, have been enumerated as being characteristic 
of the Chinese neolithic culture tradition (K. C. Chang, 1959#). 

1. The cultivation of millet, rice, and kaoliang (and possibly the soybean) 

2. The domestication of pig, cattle, sheep, dog, chicken, and possibly horse 

3. The hang-i'u (stamped earth) structures and the lime-plastered house floors 

4. The domestication of silkworms and the loom (? ) -weaving of silk and hemp 

5. Possible use of tailored garments 

6. Pottery with cord-mat-basket designs 

7. Pottery tripods (especially ting and li) and pottery steamers (tseng and yen) and 
the possible use of chopsticks 


8. Semilunar and rectangular stone knives 

9. The great development of ceremonial vessels 

10. The elaborate complex of jade artifacts; a possible wood-carving complex 

11. Scapulimancy 

In addition to these, the Chinese language presumably had a neolithic basis. Such 
a cultural tradition was not accumulated overnight, but of its initial stages there 
is as yet scarcely any evidence in the archeological record. That the earliest 
ceramic phases in north China were probably characterized by the cord-mat- 
basket-marked wares (Shengwen horizon; see K. C. Chang, 1959a) has been spec- 
ulated upon, on the ground of geographic distribution (Ward, 1954), and is 
meagerly substantiated by some stratigraphical evidence (T. K. Cheng, 1959, p. 
68). But of the general cultural configuration of the earliest ceramic phases we 
know next to nothing. An era of incipient cultivation has been assumed on the 
ground of necessity (K. C. Chang, 1959tf); whether this era can be equated with 
the Shengwen horizon is a big question. 

From this point on we are on surer ground (cf. K. C. Chang, 1959a, T. K. Cheng, 
1959; G. D. Wu, 1938; Andersson, 1943; Teilhard de Chardin and Pei, 1944). 
From a small part of north China, the part with the nuclear area as a center and 
including northern and western Honan, southern and central Shansi, southwestern 
Hopei, central Shensi, and eastern Kansu, still largely confined within the drain- 
ages of the middle Huangho, Fenho, and Wei-shui, there have been found hun- 
dreds of prehistoric sites that are grouped together by their similar stratigraphic 
position and by the presence of a number of common distinctive horizon markers 
—painted pottery, some pottery forms (pointed-bottomed jars, flat- and round- 
based cups and bowls, thin-necked and big-belly jars, and possibly //-tripods), 
and some characteristic stone forms (rectangular knives and round axes, mostly 
symmetrically edged). In terms of cultural style this was the Yangshao horizon 
—which as a horizon had a solid functional basis, as will be presently seen— and 
in terms of ecosocial development this was the stage of the establishment of the 
farming villages and effective food production. 

Archeological remains of the Yangshao horizon indicate the appearance of 
moderate-sized (200-300 meters to a side) nucleated villages. Approximately a 
dozen round or rectangular semisubterranean dwellings, or sometimes a few long, 
partitioned communal houses, comprised the village, which, according to the 
community patterning, might have sheltered one or several lineages or clans. The 
inhabitants engaged in farming, cultivating millet (Setaria and Panicum), kao- 
liang (Andropogon), and rice (Oryza), and in animal husbandry (dog, pig, and 
possibly sheep-goat and cattle). The cultivating implements included the hoe, 
spade, digging stick, and weeding knife. According to the shifting and repetitive 
pattern of settlement— indicated by the multiple components of the sites and the 
brevity of occupation of each component— it seems reasonable to assume that 
these early farmers engaged in slash-and-burn cultivation. Stone axes with a 
round or lentoid cross section and a symmetrical edge were manufactured, pre- 
sumably for clearing fields in the woods. Stone implements were chipped, pecked, 
or ground, and pottery of a variety of paste was manufactured, by hand (often 


coiled) or with the aid of a mold. A4ost of the ceramic wares were of a domestic 
nature, cooking pots, water jars, storage jars, and bowls and cups; some of them 
(especially the cooking pots) were impressed with cord-mat-basket patterns, and 
others were beautifully painted in monochromic or bichromic decorations. Hunt- 
ing and fishing took place, sometimes on a considerable scale, but these activities 
remained of a supplementary nature. The bow and arrow, harpoons, spears, and 
fishhooks were among the principal implements. Silkworms were raised, and hemp 
was possibly cultivated; the fabrics were spun (spindle-whorls), woven (loom?), 
and sewed (eyed needles). 

Each village of Yangshao farmers was apparently a self-contained "little com- 
munity," consisting of a dwelling area, an incorporated or separate quarter with 
kilns, and a village cemetery. Considering that the decorative art was focused 
upon domestic activities, that the evidence of a religious nature points to a 
fecundity cult and a fertility ritual that was presumably performed on behalf of 
the whole community rather than for a selected portion of the inhabitants, and 
that the community pattern shows no symbolic orientation of outstandingly 
privileged personnel, one tends to conclude that the internal status-and-role differ- 
entiation of the village inhabitants was not significantly developed; presumably, 
such distinctions as existed were based on age, sex, and personal achievement. The 
tenor of life seems to have been peaceful in the main, since evidence of both de- 
fensive measures and offensive weapons is scanty. 

Presumably during this stage the Yangshao farmers were only beginning to 
become established, and the process of their expansion, within the limited region 
of the nuclear area and its peripheral surroundings, was largely confined to the 
gradual reclamation of immediately accessible and cultivable land by the descend- 
ant villages, which had split from their relatively overpopulated parent villages. 
Evidence from the Pan-shan hills in eastern Kansu and from a group of settle- 
ments in Hua Hsien in eastern Shensi shows that several neighboring villages 
shared a common cemetery, and this can best be interpreted in terms of the split- 
village situation rather than in terms of the formation of alliances of many 
discrete villages. The argument for this kind of expansion is also supported by 
the uniformity of style over the entire area of distribution of the Yangshao 
horizon. Though there were minor regional variations and two possible micro- 
horizons (Honan and Kansu), the stage shows striking stylistic uniformity over 
a wide area, as compared with the stage that was to follow. 


Since the transition from food-gathering to food-producing is not documented 
in the archeological record of north China, the consequences of the emergence 
of food production in the Huangho basin are not directly observable in the brief 
account we have presented so far; but from what followed, one is able to ex- 
trapolate and examine certain highly probable consequences. 


The rate of growth of productivity brought about by the introduction of 
agriculture and animal husbandry can hardly be exaggerated. Two immediate 
consequences were the growth of population density and the potentiality for 
the elaboration of culture owing to the reserve energy released by surplus. Further 
consequences consisted of the fixity of settlements, the internal status-and-role 
specialization of communities, the frequency of warfare, the general spread of 
farming villages into the hitherto unexplored and underexplored areas, and the 
formation of a number of regional traditions that were synchronized in a wide- 
spread Lungshanoid horizon. Let us examine each of these phenomena in turn (cf. 
K. C. Chang, 1959*, b; T. K. Cheng, 1959; S. Y. Liang, 1939; C. Li et al, 1934; 
Andersson, 1943, 1947). 

The Lungshanoid settlements were spread over most of China proper, but they 
can be grouped together on the basis of stratigraphy and a horizon style that was 
distinctive of this stage. These horizon-markers include the following: 

1. A great variety of pottery forms, particularly tripods (li, ting, chia, kui) 
and ring-footed vessels (tsun, p'o, and tou or fruit-stand). These forms character- 
ize not only the Lungshanoid of north China but also areas far beyond it, and they 
may, together with scapulimancy, reflect the complexity of rituals in this stage. 

2. A distinctive ceramic style. One of the most striking features of the pottery 
of this horizon is the sharpness of the curves on every part of the body, in great 
contrast to the "roundness" of the pottery shapes of the Yangshao horizon. 

3. The perforated-ring feet of fruit-stands and other forms of vessels. 

4. The decline of the art of ceramic painting, the increase of incisions and 
combed marks and the appearance of checker impressions. 

5. Certain edged tools of stone, which are often square or rectangular in cross 
section and which have assymmetrical edges. 

The ecosocial basis of these stylistic expressions is not hard to find. The 
Lungshanoid settlements were considerably larger than the Yangshao ones in areal 
dimensions and were often of longer duration. The repetitive settlement occupa- 
tion pattern had given way to settled, permanent villages, as indicated by the 
conditions of continuous deposition, the permanent earthen village walls, the pre- 
dominance of adzes and chisels (woodworking complex) over axes (for forest- 
clearance primarily), and the general configuration of the settlement culture, 
among other things. Besides noting some basis in ecology (the wet and fertile 
land provided by the eastern low countries into which the farmers had expanded), 
we are still uncertain as to the basic factors that brought about the tendency toward 
permanent settlement in north China as a whole. Irrigation, the use of fertilizer, 
the fallowing of fields, and the improvement of cultivating implements and 
techniques are all possible innovations of this stage, but we have no substantial 
evidence of any one of them. Metals might have been used to a small extent (a 
few metal objects have been found from a Lungshan-stage site in Kansu and 
from one in Hopei, and the sharp curves of pottery are suggestive of a metallic 
fashion), but it seems extremely unlikely that metal was used for making 
agricultural implements at this time. In fact, metal does not seem to have been 


widely employed for this purpose in ancient China until iron came into use in 
the middle first millennium b.c. From the little we do know about status-and-role 
differentiation and the presence of public works (the village wall), it is not 
altogether unreasonable to assume that the fixity of settlements during this stage 
resulted, to a certain extent, from a kind of organized management of manpower 
that could have achieved a greater efficiency than heretofore. But there is a 
good deal of speculation in this statement. 

In the Huaiho valley, remains of rice and wheat grains were found in a 
Lungshanoid context, but it seems proper to assume that millet remained a leading 
staple in the north. Hoes, spades, digging-sticks, and sickles are the principal 
farming tools that are known archeologically; and stone, clay, bone and antler, 
shell and presumably wood constituted the raw materials of artifact manufacture. 
Livestock varieties remained unchanged, but cattle and sheep-goats may have 
gained in importance, and the horse may have been added at this time. Hunting 
and fishing were locally important. In a word, the basic technology does not 
seem to have undergone any considerable improvement during this stage, and 
the growing productivity can be accounted for only in terms of social organiza- 
tion and management. The significant novelty of this stage seems to lie in its 
increasing population density and the growth of internal specialization and dif- 
ferentiation among the populace. 

The internal specialization and differentiation of the villages are shown by 
a number of indications. In several of the Lungshan traditions the potter's wheel 
was now in use. This, plus the fact that some of the black pottery was extremely 
finely and delicately manufactured, points to the fact that by this time pottery- 
making was already a full-time job. Metallurgy, as was suggested above, may 
have begun in this stage; what metallurgy implies in terms of craft specialization 
is common knowledge. 

There is also some evidence of a differentiation of personnel in other terms 
at this stage. At the Liang-ch'eng-chen site in Jih-chao on the coastal Shantung, 
there was one spot where finely made jade objects were concentrated. Also at 
this settlement and at a site at Ta-ch'eng-shan near T'ang-shan in Hopei, the 
burials were both face up and prone, a sure indication of status differentiation, 
according to the Yin-Shang mode of interment. Furthermore, during this stage 
the art of scapulimancy appeared, seen all over north and central China in Hopei, 
Shantung, Honan, Shansi, Shensi, Kansu, Anhwei, and Kiangsu, which was 
presumably handled by a specialized class of shamans or priests. In this regard, 
the prevalence and variety of ceremonial vessels is highly suggestive. Taken 
together, such indications support the conclusion that in the Lungshanoid settle- 
ments there were specialized craftsmen, full-time administrators, and priest- 
shamans, and that there were also a theocratic art and a theocratically vested 
ceremonial pattern, which, no longer the common property of the entire village, 
was focused upon a selected portion of the villagers. From what we know of the 
later (Yin-Shang) practices, the basis of selection might have been founded on 


Each of the Lungshanoid villages, however, seems to remain self-contained in 
the basic ecosocial and religious affairs, as indicated by the completeness of the 
functional network of the settlement culture. Relationships among settlements 
might have been more frequent than previously, but not infrequently the rela- 
tionship was rather hostile and took the form of warfare. The earth walls of the 
Lungshanoid settlements at Hou-kang in northern Honan and at Ch'eng-tzu-yai in 
central Shantung appear too high and too thick to have served as decorations 
or boundary markers in time of peace. Arrowheads, daggers, spears, halberds, 
and clubs were among the offensive weapons. Skeletons were found at a site 
near Han-tan, Hopei, that show evidence of violent death, some having even 
been beheaded or scalped. This is hardly unexpected, for as population grew, 
taxing the land's capacity, people either reclaimed more land or fought for the 
field that was already available. 

The transition from the Yangshao stage to the Lungshan stage seems to have 
started somewhere in the nuclear area (K. C. Chang, 1959#.) There are some 
two dozen sites now where the Lungshan-over-Yangshao-with-a-break-in-be- 
tween stratigraphy has been observed, sites distributed all over the middle 
Huangho valley, from Kansu to northern Honan. On the other hand, in the 
nuclear area, in western Honan, southern Shansi, and eastern central Shensi, there 
are a number of sites of the transitional stage that show a mixture of the markers 
of both horizons, although the Yangshao markers predominate in quantity in 
the lower portions of the deposit, as the Lungshanoid ones do in the upper. The 
famed site at Yang-shao-ts'un itself, for instance, belongs to this transitional 
category, though for the sake of convenience the name Yangshao has been 
temporarily maintained for the horizon stage that preceded the Lungshan. More- 
over, it is in the nuclear area that an early form of the Lungshan-stage horizon 
has been found (C. M. An, 1959) that seems to be the prototype from which 
the other peripheral Lungshanoid traditions radiated. 

Following the lead of the nuclear area, the Lungshan settlers gradually de- 
veloped upon the basis of the Yankshao shifting-farmer level into the entire 
area on the western highlands of north China. Population pressure, among other 
factors, might have been responsible for causing the north China farmers to 
spread into the formerly unexplored or underexplored riverine, lacustrine, wooded 
and hilly regions in the east, north, and south. The distribution of Yangshao 
sites indicates that the eastern plains, the Huaiho valley, and the Shantung uplands 
were not at this time significantly occupied by the farmers, if at all, possibly 
owing to the swampy environment. The Lungshan settlers, however, began to 
penetrate into this area and build earth mounds on which village sites were 
located. To the north, agricultural settlements began to appear in the southern 
fringes of the Jehol mountains, the Liao-Sungari plains, and the southeastern 
Manchurian uplands. Remains of these settlements show a clear mixture of the 
Lungshanoid elements and the woodland and maritime mesolithic and sub- 
neolithic hunting-fishing inventories. 

South of the Tsinling mountains and the Huaiho valley, insofar as we know 


at present, evidence of agriculture and animal husbandry begins with the wide- 
spread appearance of the Lungshanoid horizon (K. C. Chang, 1959b). Prior to 
this horizon, the evidence indicates that only the southwestern portion of south 
China was inhabited by mesolithic food-collectors, whom some scholars have 
labeled the "Hoabinhian" because of the similarity of their cultural inventory 
to that of their Indochinese contemporaries. Subsequent to the nonceramic phase 
of this sheet of culture and prior to the appearance of the Lungshanoid farmers 
there was probably an intermediate ceramic stage, characterized by the appearance 
of cord-marked pottery and some polished-stone implements. These remains 
have been located in scatters in the southwest, on the coasts of Kwangtung, and 
on the island of Formosa. But evidence of both agriculture and its cultural 
affinities is still wanting. At any rate, the extensive exploration— at an early 
agricultural level— of the central and south China jungles, hills, and swampy 
valleys was the achievement of the Lungshanoid farmers spreading from the 
north. When these farmers had moved into a new ecological zone, they were 
forced to perform a series of important adaptive changes, which led to the 
predominance of rice and presumably fruit-and-root crops over millet, and the 
abandonment of stamped-earth structures and of lime-plastered floors. Mounds 
or pile-dwellings were built along the eastern coasts, and there is a generally 
pioneer aspect to their settlement and culture. These southern Lungshanoid 
farmers then began to settle down and, after receiving considerable stimulation 
(primarily in connection with metallurgy and decorative patterns) from the 
urban civilization subsequently developed in the north, a southern geometric 
horizon developed that was assimilated shortly before the time of Christ by 
the Ch'in and Han empires. 

On account of the wide expanse of the area; the great environmental differences 
that the settlers encountered in moving into it; the hostility between settlements, 
with a resultant semi-isolation; and the different groups of hunter-fishers assimi- 
lated by the settlers in the new environment, the Lungshanoid horizon— although 
unified by its constituents' common heritage, by their similar developmental 
situation, and by far-reaching trade— was divided into a number of regional 
stylistic traditions. The most easily distinguished of these are the Honan, the 
Shansi-Shensi, the Kansu, the Shantung, the southern Manchurian, the Huaiho, 
the Hanshui, and the southeastern coastal traditions. It was with one of these 
regional Lungshanoid traditions (Honan, Shensi-Shansi, or Hanshui, according 
to different advocates) as a base that the first Chinese civilization eventually 
came into being. 


The Lungshan horizon of the formative stage of ancient Chinese culture in 
the alluvial plains of the lower and middle Huangho valley and in the Huaiho 
valley, in the provinces of Honan, western Shantung, southwestern Hopei, 
eastern Shensi, northern Anhwei, and northern Kiangsu, was followed by the 
first civilization in Chinese history that has been amply substantiated by archeology. 


the Yin-Shang Dynasty (cf. C. Li, 1957; T. K. Cheng, 1957). The Yin-Shang 
civilization has all the essential ingredients that a civilization is supposed to 
contain— writing, a fully developed bronze metallurgy, palaces and temples, 
science and the calendar, chariots and squads of warriors, a political and re- 
ligious hierarchy of a royal house, class differentiation, far-reaching trade, 
a centralized management and redistribution of agricultural produce and other 
scarce goods, and a great artistic tradition. There are two settlement groups of 
this period that are relatively well known archeologically, Anyang and Cheng- 
chow, both in northern Honan. Each was composed of a number of small farming 
and handicrafting communities, whose close ties are indicated by their clustering 
within eye-sight distances and their sharing of a common administrative and 
ceremonial center. This was Hsiao-t'un in the case of Anyang and an earth-walled 
town in the case of Chengchow. 

The emergence of such a highly developed civilization in the Huangho basin 
appears to have been in itself relatively sudden and new, and most archeologists 
believe that there must have been a transitional period between the Lungshan 
and the Yin-Shang horizons. It must be stressed, however, that from the neo- 
lithic Lungshan to the bronze-age Yin-Shang there was a developmental con- 
tinuation rather than a cultural break. The accompanying chart shows in a 
preliminary manner the neolithic heritage of the Yin-Shang bronze-age culture 
and its innovations (cf. S. Y. Liang, 1939; C. Li, 1957). 



A. Formation of village aggregates 

B. Raids and warfare 

C. Status differentiation and prone burials 

D. The elaborate ceremonial complex 
(more lineage-ancestral than commun- 
ity-agricultural ) 

Cultivation of millet, rice, kaoliang, 
wheat, hemp 

Use of domesticated dog, pig, cattle, 
sheep, horse, chicken 
Stamped-earth structures 
Semisubterranean houses and lime- 
plastered floors 
Industrial specialization 

K. Some pottery forms (especially ritual 
forms with ring-feet and lids) 

L. The Shengwen (corded ware) tradi- 

M. Some decorative motifs 

N. Some stone implements and weapons 

O. Shell and bone craft 

P. Silk 

Q. The jade complex 

R. Language (?) 





a) Mature urbanism and related institu- 
tions (especially the formation of dif- 
ferentiated groups) 

b) Class differentiation 

c) New government and economic pat- 
terns (conquest, tribute, redistribution) 

d) Wider trade, currency 

e) New war patterns (capture of slaves 
and use of the chariot) 

f ) Chamber burials and human sacrifice 

g) Domestication of water buffalo; pos- 
sible use of wooden plow 

h) Highly developed bronze metallurgy 

i) Writing 

j) Advanced stone carvings 

k) New pottery forms 


From the mere enumeration given in the chart it becomes apparent that in 
the past the "suddenness" of the emergence of the Yin-Shang civilization has 
been unduly exaggerated. Even the new items in the right-hand column mostly 
indicate a process of intensification and a change in degree. It is apparent, how- 
ever, that civilization in China started with the Yin-Shang and not, as is 
sometimes asserted, with the Lungshan stage and that these two are decisively 
different. First of all, the Yin-Shang witnessed the intensifications of all aspects 
of Chinese culture— more advanced technology, greater population density, more 
intensified status-and-role differentiation, greater centralization of government 
and economy, more frequent warfare, and more institutionalized communication 
in the form of writing and trade. 

The developmental change of society culture during the Yin-Shang is, further- 
more, most distinctively marked off by the formation of the differentiated settle- 
ment groups and the specialization of the various settlements in a settlement 
group in ecosocial functions. The Lungshan communities, as previously stated, 
were self-contained "little communities," in spite of their sometimes large size 
and some degree of internal specialization and differentiation. But the Yin-Shang 
settlements had become specialized externally in ecosocial functions. Each com- 
munity no longer worked only for its own survival and wealth, but worked 
for other communities and was worked for by others as well. The new horizon 
was marked by the appearance of centers of administration, redistribution, and 
ceremony, which one may call towns or cities, where officials and priests 
managed rather than labored. There were also farming and handicrafting ham- 
lets, the inhabitants of which engaged in organized labor co-ordinated under 
a central control. This phenomenon, the ecosocial interdependence among spe- 
cialized communities, is to this author one of the most decisive criteria of 
urbanization, which in turn was brought about by a change of the total social- 
cultural structure. Insofar as one can see from the archeological record of this 
part of the world, no single factor alone makes a civilization appear. 


The foregoing discussion can be summarized, in a simplified fashion (Figs. 
1 and 2), in stratigraphical-typological profiles cutting through most of China 
longitudinally and perpendicularly, respectively. 

The tentative nature of the foregoing synthesis is most readily admitted. Indeed, 
it will be astonishing if, within a decade, new information that is now accumulating 
does not force an amplification and amendment of our scheme— perhaps even its 
drastic alteration. At the present time the scheme given above is the most we 
can do, but this is an attempt that has to be made if a world-wide consideration 
of cultural alternatives is to be made. Alfred Whitehead once observed that 
China "forms the largest volume of civilisation which the world has seen." Any 
consideration of the nature of civilization's growth in general cannot afford to 
leave China out, and China must be dealt with in the theoretical terms that 

















— CHOU — 




s m, I states, 









(e ^nsion "of toe "village "farmers) 







. s h. 




<es *fiaK 

iS ^enF*- 7^-- tillage f* 

I I 


incipient-, cultivation- 


Figure 1. Formative cultures in China: west-east section 

anthropologists all over the globe are at home with. These theoretical terms are 
not those of the traditional doctrine in Chinese archeology. It is the traditional 
viewpoint that in neolithic China (and, for some obscure reason, only in a late 
aspect of it) there were two (or possibly three) distinctive cultural strains. The 


Yangshao (or "Painted Pottery") and the Lungshan (or "Black Pottery") are 
the main suggested strains, the former in the west and the latter along the 
eastern coast. Yin-Shang civilization was derived— the traditional viewpoint holds 
—from a third strain, which came to China fully developed from some source 
not yet fully specified. It is only now that, equipped with a good deal more data, 
we can begin to consider some of the major premises afresh and adopt a holistic, 






1100 . 




e W 





s m,. 


~-— states, 


? - 

°t -. 

■-- the. 


_^ at 




c --oi the- -village - 


" inc Jpie nf -- -cultWati° ni "" 



Figure 2. Formative cultures in China: north-south section 

configurational, and functional approach that a new and probably truer picture 
has emerged. The prehistoric cultures in China are no longer regarded as a 
conglomeration of indigenous and exotic traits each of which had a separate 
history of development. Rather, the structural covariations and efficient causes 
are being stressed in terms of social mechanism and cultural pattern. 

In the same manner, the problems regarding the "origins" of cultural elements 
in ancient China, which were the focusing point of many archeologists and 
sinologues, have also received some basically fresh reappraisal. The origin and 
history of the development of various and sundry objects are highly interesting 


and instructive matters, no doubt; but it is becoming clear that the basic issues 
of cultural and social growth do not necessarily rely upon their solutions. It is 
this writer's profound conviction that ancient China owed much of her riches 
to loans from the outside, just as many outsiders owed their riches to loans 
from her. But, to the writer, the important issue lies primarily in the functional 
context of the development sequence itself, without an understanding of which 
one will never understand how and why China received outside help at a certain 
point of time and how and why she had such things to offer in return. 


Note: For the sake of readers who do not read Chinese, the writer has 
given mainly references in Western languages, even though many of them 
are second- or thirdhand. Original sources can be located through the 
bibliographies of these works, particularly Loehr, Beardsley, and Chang, 1959. 

An, Chih-min 

1959. "Shih lun Huang-ho Liu-yu Hsin-shih-ch'i-shih-tai wen-hua" ("On the Neo- 
lithic Cultures of the Huangho Valley"). K'ao-ku, 1959: 10:559-65. Peiping. 

Andersson, J. G. 

1943. "Researches into the Prehistory of the Chinese,'" Bull. Mus. Far Easter?! 

Antiquities, No. 15. Stockholm. 

1947. "Prehistoric Sites in Honan," ibid., No. 19. 

Boule, M., H. Breuil, E. Licent, and P. Teilhard de Chardin 

1928. Le paleolithique de la Chine. (Arch. Inst. Paleontol. Humain, Mem. 4.) Paris. 

Braidwood, Robert J. 

1952. The Near East and the Foundation for Civilization. Eugene, Ore. 

Chang, Kwang-chih 

1958. "New Light on Early Man in China," Asian Perspectives, 2:41-61. Hong Kong. 
1959a. "Chung-kuo Hsin-shih-ch'i-shih-tai wen-hua tuan-tai" ("Dating the Neo- 
lithic Cultures in China"), Bull. Inst. Hist, and Philol, Acad. Sinica, 30:259-309. 

1959b. "A Working Hypothesis for the Early Cultural History of South China," 
Bull. Inst. Ethnol., Acad. Sinica, 7:43-103. Taipei. 
Cheng, Te-kun 

1957. "The Origin and Development of Shang Culture," Asia Major, n.s., 6:80-98. 

1959. Archaeology in China, I: Prehistoric China. Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons. 
Hsia, Nai 

1957. Our Neolithic Ancestors, Archaeology, 10:181-87. 
Lattimore, Owen 

1951. Inner Asian Frontiers of China. ("Amer. Geog. Soc, Res. Ser.," No. 21.) 

2d ed. New York. 
Li, Chi 

1957. The Begi?inings of Chinese Civilizatio?i. Seattle: Washington University Press. 


Li, Chi, et al. 

1934. Ch'eng-tzu-yai. Kenneth Starr (trans.). ("Yale Univ. Pubis, in Anthrop.," 

No. 52.) New Haven. 
Liang, Ssu-yung 

1939. "The Lungshan Culture: A Prehistoric Phase of Chinese Civilization," Proc. 

6th Pacific Set. Cong., 4:69-79. 
Loehr, Max, Richard K. Beardsley, and Kwang-chih Chang 

1959. COW A Bibliography, Area 11 -Far East, No. 1. Cambridge: Council for Old 

World Archaeology. 
Movius, Hallam L., Jr. 

1944. Early Man and Pleistocene Stratigraphy in Southern and Eastern Asia. (Papers 

Peabody Mus., Harvard Univ., No. 19.) Cambridge. 

1955. "Palaeolithic Archaeology in Southern and Eastern Asia, Exclusive of India," 

Cahiers d'Histoire Mondiale, 2:257-82, 520-53. Neuchatel. 
Pei, Wen-chung 

1939. An Attempted Correlation of Quarternary Geology, Palaeontology and Pre- 
history in Europe and China. ("Inst. Archaeol., Univ. London, Occ. Papers," 

No. 2.) Geochronological Table No. 1, pp. 3-16. 
Sauer, Carl O. 

1948. "Environment and Culture during the Last Deglaciation," Proc. Amer. Phil. 

Soc, 92:65-77. 
Teilhard de Chardin, P. 

1941. Early Man in China. (Inst. Geo-Biol., Pekin, Publ. 7.) 
Teilhard de Chardin, P., and Wen-chung Pei 

1944. Le Neolithique de la Chine. (Inst. Geo-Biol., Pekin, Publ. 10.) 
Ward, Lauristan 

1954. The Relative Chronology of China through the Han Period. In R. W. Ehrich 

(ed.), Relative Chronologies in Old World Archaeology. Chicago: University of 

Chicago Press. 
Wu, G. D. 

1938. Prehistoric Pottery in China. London: Kegan Paul. 





The problems chosen for discussion by the 1960 symposium sponsored by 
the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research are of great 
concern for many investigators interested in the remotest history of man 
and human society. These problems may be subsumed under the single question: 
What is prehistoric archeology able to tell us about the origin and genesis of 
urban civilizations? The specialized literature actually only hints at such con- 
siderations, although new finds and many excavations of recent years would 
seem to present deeper understanding and perhaps broader generalizations con- 
cerning some part of the problem. These hints are only partial because they stem, 
on the one hand, from the hesitation of some investigators to publish such 
evaluations, though new material is at their disposal; or, on the other hand, from 
the fact that other authors feel the need to answer such questions, even on the 
basis of preliminary and fragmentary publications, but are not able to utilize such 
sources to the necessary extent without the direct and thorough knowledge that 
proved evidence would offer. We may assume with justification that these were 
the considerations that not only urged taking into account the latest discoveries 
and opinions, so that a new general historical idea of the period under study 
might be formed, but, further, made apparent the need for direct and open 
exchange of ideas as well as general discussion. In view of these facts, we must 
express our gratitude to the originators and organizers of this symposium. 

The archeologists of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic have been dealing 
with these questions for a considerable length of time. Up to now, the investiga- 
tions have been performed less along theoretical lines than by excavations. Ex- 
cavations constitute the major part of the first task in the long-range scientific 
planning of investigations by the Archeological Institute of the Czechoslovak 
Academy of Sciences in its search for the "transition from the non-productive 
to the productive form of economy" as laid down by Jaroslav Bohm. We propose 
to concentrate on the deeper understanding of the highest non-productive forms 
of economy in order to elicit the motivations and conditions that initiated the 
transitions from hunting and gathering economies in the upper paleolithic to the 
oldest forms of agricultural production during the neolithic, that is, to productive 
economy. For some years now, our field surveys have been oriented toward these 
problems, and we may point to a certain amount of success in this area. Credit 
for this success must go especially to the proper directives and assumptions of 



Bohm, who foresaw the future development of a specialized profession, attesting 
not only its useful possibilities but also the actual demand and need for planned 
excavation and scientific effort. It is, however, necessary to provide an exact 
and theoretical evaluation of the results of the sites studied so far, and this con- 
tribution will attempt to give an outline for such considerations. 

This paper differs from the other essays to a certain extent, especially since it 
does not offer a survey of social development in the Czechoslovakian region. In 
that respect, it will be restricted to a few observations and to a table of changes 
of settlement patterns. Basically, it will not differ very much from the paper that 
Pittioni has prepared for this occasion. As far as Pittioni deals with the questions 
of the neolithic in Central Europe, he agrees basically with conclusions drawn 
by Tichy from his most recent excavations at Mohelnice and Zopy in Moravia 
showing spiral-meander and Moravian-style painted pottery. Pittioni also agrees 
with the insights gained by Soudsky from the extensive excavations at Bylany 
near Prague and, to a degree, with the ideas of Neustupny. The latter studies 
assume an earlier date for the beginning of the neolithic and have the support 
of radiocarbon determinations. The genetic interconnections and the many gaps 
in the development have, however, not yet been explained. With regard to the 
origin of our oldest spiral-meander pottery, most of our scientists tend to assume 
a southeastern European provenance. To date, however, they lack sufficient 
indications to prove a graded development from a mesolithic base. Only a few 
indications point toward autochthonous development in our area, such as, for 
instance, the flint industry of Zopy, which was found with spiral-meander 
pottery in one of the oldest phases. 

Also connected with the earliest spiral-meander ware is the appearance of 
productive economy, that is, agriculture and animal husbandry. Nevertheless, 
we may observe in the late paleolithic assemblages that greater attention was 
already given to the vegetal portion of the environment, and we may assume 
a large proportion of vegetal food in the nutrition of man. Neolithic settlements, 
supervening in considerable density over the sporadic ones of the mesolithic, must 
be considered revolutionary. 

Quite remarkable insight has been gained during the last few years in 
Czechoslovakia concerning the mesolithic period. Even shortly after World 
War II we possessed no reliable evidence of mesolithic settlements. Only through 
extensive exploration of the terrain have we recovered finds of microlithic in- 
dustries of this mesolithic level. Those known up to now are, however, mere 
hints as to the actual incidence of settlement and cannot, therefore, be made a 
base for broad conclusions as yet. Some facts, however, as indicated by Mazalek 
and Zebera, as well as by Pittioni ( this volume), make it apparent that it will be 
possible to trace a development from a magdalenoid Gravettian milieu and to 
demonstrate contemporaneity— in the late phase— of geometric microlithic in- 
dustries with the earliest phases of the ceramic neolithic. 

It will certainly be relevant to the solution of problems concerning the origins 
of urban civilization if we direct our attention to the upper paleolithic, that is, 


as much as 10,000 years before the major time focus of this symposium. The 
reason is that in settlements of this period we can already find traces and first 
indications of certain settlement plans, their total configuration, and— in favorable 
cases— even the in situ connection and relationship between the artifacts them- 
selves and the surrounding settlement setting. 

There are in Czechoslovakia some exceedingly important stations of the late 
paleolithic, which— by their geographical location alone— occupy a key position 
for the geological-stratigraphic, anthropogeographical, and archeological syn- 
chronism between western and eastern Europe. Thus these sites have become 
objects of systematic excavation and concentrated attention. Their contribution 
to the given theme lies chiefly in showing the forms, manner of construction, and 
interior arrangement of houses and huts, as well as the over-all arrangement of 
the settlement. We shall occupy ourselves primarily with considerations of this 

The earliest discovery of a paleolithic settlement in the foregoing sense in 
central Europe was reported by Zotz in 1942, at Moravany near Piestany; but as 
early as 1932 Bohm had investigated a distinct hut outline on the Gravettian 
station of Lubna near Rakovnik— for which there is a detailed report in the 
archives of the Archeological Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences 
in Prague. Finally, a few remaining traces of the cultural layers at Dolni Vestonice, 
as well as dispersed finds, hearths, and other circumstances, all attest to the fact 
that at this site, in the 1920's, Absolon was actually investigating the remnants 
and contents of such a hut settlement. However, since the residue of the roofs 
of these huts was destroyed and the whole situation poorly preserved, he was 
unable to distinguish reliably their foundations. 

Extensive excavations have been carried on at different sites since 1948 within 
the framework of the general plan. The plan itself had immediately led to 
some notable discoveries of habitation sites at several locations. Besides fixed 
encampments, such as Razice and Derava jeskyne in Bohemia, as well as Tibava, 
Barca, and Sena in Slovakia, there were the localities of Petfkovice, Gottwaldov, 
and, especially, Pavlov and Dolni Vestonice. The results of the latest work at 
the well-known encampment of late paleolithic mammoth-hunters in the Pollau 
Mountains at Dolni Vestonice in southern Moravia have already been so 
thoroughly studied that we may discuss them in some detail. 

Systematic excavations at this important late paleolithic station enable us 
especially to solve the problems of the total configuration of the settlement, which 
formerly in great measure was attributed to one unified cultural level. Intensive 
study of a sizable number of profiles at various locations within the investigated 
area resulted in the establishment of three main phases of slippage, when larger 
or smaller sections of the ground shifted on the slope within the station. In 
connection with these earth movements, four characteristic main settlement 
phases could be defined. These settlements seemed to be gradually moved upward 
along the hillside, apparently because of changed locations of the water supply. 

Within the loess layers of the station at Dolni Vestonice there are, then, 


several encampments to be found— that is, at least four separate settlements, 
which are connected by common development. To this may be added other 
encampments in the Pollau Mountains, of which only the settlements at Milovice 
in the brickyard near Dolni Vestonice and, more particularly, the notable settle- 
ment at Pavlov could be verified and explored by excavation. The occupation of 

Figure 1. Plan of the upper paleolithic settlement in 
the upper part of the station at Dolni Vestonice. 1, 
Bone deposits; 2, water course; 3, remains of the liv- 
ing settlement with hearths (black) and lines of the 
hut-plan borders; 4, edge of the solifluxed soil layer. 

the hillsides of the Pollau Mountains thus was of considerable duration, as proved 
also by stratigraphic evidence: it extended from the beginning of the Interstadial 
W 2-3 into the period of turbulent solifluction at the base of the youngest loess 
(Wiirm 3). Recently, the duration of the settlement has also been expressed in an 
absolute number of years— 29,000-24,000 years, as determined by radiocarbon. 


Gro 2598 Dolni Vestonice— western wall of brickyard 28,900 ±350 

Gro 2092 Dolni Vestonice-eastern wall of brickyard 28,000 ± 380 

Gro 1286 Dolni Vestonice upper part of station 25,600 ± 170 

Gro 1325 Pavlov paleolithic station 24,800 ± 150 

Geological and economic conditions obviously enforced a change of camp 
location upon the inhabitants after a given length of time. It is likely that this 
change of location took place within relatively short distances and remained 
within the same natural setting; although this does not preclude the idea that 
the matrilinial kin groups may have left the flanks of the Pollau Mountains for 
grave reasons (unknown to us), only to return after a given time to light their 
hearths once again. The character of the settlement strata excludes the possibility 
of seasonal nomadism in connection with game migration. 

Settlement was, then, basically continuous. Within its enclosed geographical 
boundaries this development constitutes a localized Gravettian grouping that in 
certain traits and individual and characteristic elements differs from the nearby 
eastern Gravettian, although the local Gravettian must be counted within the 
generalized eastern sphere. For these reasons it would be possible to propose a 
separate designation for this independent group. The auxiliary working term 
"Pavlovian" may be suggested, since the essential development in all its manifold 
expressions may be traced particularly in the Pollau Mountain settlements and, 
especially, at the station of Pavlov. 

The material culture of the Pavlovian is characterized by a rich, highly developed 
lithic industry tending in the direction of the microlithic and having geometrically 
regular forms and composite tools. The industry is uncommonly rich and 
principally derived from narrow blades. It shows a marked florescence of 
Gravettian elements, especially in various blades with blunted backs, as well as 
in notched and denticulated blades; in addition, there are small triangles, numerous 
sickles of different kinds, chisels, points, and other tools, rarely also with surface 
retouch at the base; besides this, there is a rich, coarse industry. Tools and hunting 
implements of bone or mammoth ivory also attain remarkable perfection. These 
appear in the form of awls, needles, punches, knives, smaller or larger points 
or javelin heads, pointed mammoth ribs for lances, powerful mace heads, and 
shovel-shaped tools and hoes of reindeer antler. This brief inventory of working 
implements is complemented by numerous finds that may be classified as orna- 
mental but that also have deeper significance in connection with primitive 
religious concepts. Among these are a number of pendants and composite neck- 
laces (animal teeth, shells, pebbles, etc.), clasps and headbands of mammoth ivory 
with incised ornamental patterns, and, finally, artistic expressions— especially in 
the form of animal figures, among which relief carvings in mammoth-ivory and 
small figurines of baked clay are particularly noteworthy. 

In the most recent excavations the greatest attention was devoted to the higher 
portions, that is, the latest settlement phases within the area of the Dolni Vestonice 
site. This is precisely the portion pictured by Absolon in three reports concerning 


the results of the first excavations in 1924-26, which up to now have conveyed the 

idea of a basically uniform paleolithic settlement. 

The new excavations were executed by the surface removal method, and this 
made possible, as early as 1947-49, the discovery and investigation of the first 
hut plan of the settlement. Its remarkably large ground plan (9 X 15 meters), the 
modest remains of the structure that were to be found within the limits of the 
excavation, and numerous pieces of limestone indicate that we are dealing with 
a tent-like, roofless summer hut. We assume that the base was of post-and-rubble 
construction. The walls were formed of animal skins, which in places may have 
continued on up to form a roof. The ground plan of the hut contained five 
hearths in regular distribution. This also speaks against a continuous roof 
structure. The enclosed lenticular cultural layer was restricted to the interior 
area of the hut plan and faded out beyond its confines. Since this area contained 
a significant quantity of implements of production, tools and weapons of stone, 
bone, and mammoth ivory, as well as ornamental objects, one may view these 
remains as truly those of an actual habitation and working site. 

An extensive deposit of mammoth bones extended in close to the hut. Probes 
and a series of drillings established this to be a shallow, moist depression in the 
open terrain where discarded, unutilized bones were swallowed up by the mud 
A stream flowed through the center of the space. At their densest, the bones were 
packed and piled up to the extent of 12 X 45 meters. The contents of this as- 
semblage, judged by the quantity of bone found over the excavated area, has 
been estimated to represent the remains of about one hundred, mostly young, 
mammoths. From this concentration we gain a certain idea of the extent and 
duration of the settlement. At the same time, we may accept it as eloquent evi- 
dence of the productivity of collective, well-organized hunting, as well as of 
the fact that the inhabitants of this encampment must have formed an economic 
entity, an organization for collective production. 

Close scrutiny of the bone deposits proved that similar aggregations of animal 
bones accumulated as large waste heaps in direct relationship with and proximity 
to habitations. Smaller deposits of selected kinds of bones within the settlement 
area proper constitute building materials and fuel or are remnants of separate 
habitations. They may also be the remains of protective walls at the outer mar- 
gin of the settlement. More often, we find, entirely within the bone heaps, 
remains of fires not contained by the prepared hearths but lit at ground level and 
fed chiefly by bone fuel. It seems likely that they had a purely defensive function 
against the predatory animals that were certain to have scavenged discarded food 
remnants on the bone heaps. Most of the bones were piled up within the swampy 
bottom of a depression in the terrain, which was readily filled up by flooding 
and solifluction. In higher locations, at the rim of the depression, bone is found 
that has been broken into small fragments and splinters. This was certainly done 
for the purpose of extracting marrow. But it is very probable that many more 
of the bones were broken open in connection with various magical customs— 


seemingly to assure success in the hunt— than were broken for the removal of 

In 1951 we investigated a second hut, located up higher on the slope. The 
well-preserved remains and grading of the circular ground plan, 6 meters in 
diameter, permitted us to form a very exact conception of the complete room 
construction. The floor was dug into the slope at one side, where it was re- 
tained by means of a wall of large pieces of limestone, especially selected and 
laid in regular courses. In this wall stones also formed the sheathing of vertical 
post holes; the roof structure spanned the distance from the slope to the posts. 
This habitation may be regarded as a well-built earth lodge with a sunken en- 
tranceway, belonging to the category of so-called "winter houses." It differs 
from similar ones particularly by the complete and well-preserved construction, 
as well as by the unique assemblage found within. In the interior of the hut we 
located only a minor quantity of the usual artifacts and hunting weapons or 
other means of production, which— in considerable quantity— occurred only out- 
side this space and even then in smaller quantity than was usual at Vestonice. 
In the interior we discovered some transversely cut, hollow bones— possibly 
musical instruments. Furthermore, in the center of the hut a most unusual bake 
oven appeared. This oven was made of hard, marly soil mixed with ground lime- 
stone (similar to the wall-like ring around the hut) in such a way that the raised 
body of the oven reached around the dug-out hearth, even overhanging it like 
a dome on one side. Its sooty deposit, which attests complete combustion, con- 
tained more than 2,300 small fired lumps of clay, which could be sorted into 
groups of numerous small heads, feet, and other fragments of animal figurines, 
small lumps of various shapes, and even some that retained the imprint of the 
papillary ridges of the fingers and hands of their creators. Their state of preserva- 
tion did not, however, permit a more precise classification. Thus was discovered 
in the paleolithic stratum a bake-oven-like shape, a predecessor of later potters' 
kilns, which served for the hardening and firing of the oldest known ceramic 
productions of man. This is a distinctive feature of the settlements of mammoth- 
hunters at the foot of the Pollau Mountains. One cannot deny the impression 
that this second unit within the settlement has a special significance. 

While in recent years we uncovered some isolated huts and considered these 
finds and their conscientious study a great success, Soviet scientists have out- 
distanced us by far. At the same time that we were receiving sporadic reports 
about the habitation sites at Fourneau-du-Diable and that the earth lodge of Lang- 
mannersdorf was being discovered, Soviet scientists surprised us with the dis- 
covery of huts at the stations of Gagarino, Kostjenki, and Buret, while at the 
same time they were also engaged in the excavation and investigation of whole 
settlement sites. They were, indeed, able to offer the first complete picture of 
entire hunting encampments at Kostjenki I (upper stratum) and Avdejevo, be- 
sides other complete houses from the lower stratum of Kostjenki IV. And 
recently even very numerous remnants of separate huts with almost entirely 


preserved and quite unmistakable remains of roof construction have appeared 
(Mezin). All this is available not only from the upper paleolithic but even from 
the far older Molodovo V-Mousterian. 

We should not like to let this opportunity go by without attempting the 
reconstruction of such a settlement in our milieu. The knowledge that we gained 
at our most recent excavations in the Pollau Mountains, and more specifically 
at the settlement of Pavlov, explains in a reliable manner circumstances obtaining 
at earlier investigations near Dolni Vestonice. When we combine these elements 
as they are reconstructed from Absolon's published reports with the results of 
our excavations in the upper portions of the paleolithic site at Dolni Vestonice, 
we achieve a well-rounded and vivid impression of an "urgemeinschaftlichen" 
settlement with many accompanying articles and manifestations. 

The upper part of the site of Dolni Vestonice constitutes an independent unit 
of settlement, which is situated on a projecting tongue of land. Its boundary 
utilizes the morphology of the terrain, which was notably unaffected by sec- 
ondary movements, such as short-range slippage. The axis of the settlement is 
formed by a stream bed that widens out into an elongated depression with quiet 
water in a very swampy environment. This also forms one margin of the settled 
area; the second boundary is formed by a rise that also extends in the longi- 
tudinal direction of the slope, separating this settlement unit from the earlier 
locations and settled places at the lower portion of the site. In the lower portion, 
also, a broader valley and fan-shaped earth movements are indicated, which had 
destroyed and dispersed the extinguished hearths and ruined habitations. The 
upper part of the station lies on a ridge that gives a good view over the valley 
and the entire scene, which in that climatically cold period may have resembled 
a tundra and cold steppe. 

On the basis of published documentary material we may make the serious 
assumption that the massive remains of the cultural layers and, at times, the 
gentle depressions with two hearths in the sectors investigated by Absolon in- 
dicate the tent-huts of the settlements of matrilineal kin groups of the Puskari 
type. The great fire in the space between the two perhaps constitutes a common 
central fire maintained in an open place by the primal community. The ashes 
of this fireplace attain a depth of 100 centimeters. In these ashes was found the 
well-known female figurine, the Venus of Wisternitz (Vestonice), the symbol 
of the "urmutter," preserver of the kin group and protectress of the common 
economic existence. 

The winter huts seemed to be complemented by and alternated with larger 
ones— that is, summer habitations with several hearths— which were, however, not 
provided with roofs. The first settlement, uncovered in 1947-49, belongs in this 
category. However, one cannot suppose that reconstruction took place with 
seasonal regularity; rather, the roof constructions collapsed and were replaced 
by new ones. In their collapse the hut remains were covered over, the cultural 
layer grew, and the superseding horizon disturbed the lower layers in the founda- 


tion. Hence it has previously been impossible to ascertain and circumscribe the 
exact ground plan. 

The margin of the settled area is covered by mammoth bones, which are 
spread over a considerable area. Groups of sorted bones constitute building 
materials; others store fuel. In places mammoth tusks were rammed into the 
ground to form— in conjunction with brush fill— simple defensive walls, beyond 
which all signs of habitation are absent. The circular deposit that encircles the 
cultural layer diverges from the margin line of the western part of the settle- 
ment area and seems to be built up of the remains of a collapsed and abandoned 
hut. Smaller concentrations of bones and a coarse industry by the edge of the 
stream suggest places where game was dissected into large pieces and where the 
skins were worked. In the swampy basin the primal community of hunters 
gradually built up over the duration of the long settlement the extensive ac- 
cumulation mentioned above. 

Such observations, even if they be in part reconstruction, lead inevitably to 
reflections concerning the social order and its structure. Through convincing 
arguments and especially on the basis of ethnographic material, we may assume 
that one of our hut types was the habitation of a consanguineally interrelated 
social-territorial unit: the matrilineal kin group. Five or six such related matri- 
lineal kin groups formed the primal community of the settlement. With this in 
mind, we might consider that the mass grave at Pfedmosti may represent the 
members of such a matrilineal kin group. Second, considering ethnographic paral- 
lels and the quantity of game represented in our settlement, we arrive at the 
conclusion that a hut housed 20-25 persons and that the primal community num- 
bered about 100-120 members. 

All the members of the primal community formed a single indivisible economic 
unit, a common production organization. Only this type of formation would 
have been capable of assembling a group sufficiently numerous and strong, given 
the then available means of production, to secure the enormous hunting yield 
attested by the vast bone accumulation. The formation is also attested by the 
very fact that a mighty pachyderm like the mammoth could be conquered at 
all and that its dissected parts could be transported to the settlement. This ex- 
planation, derived from an interpretation of the upper portions of the station 
at Dolni Vestonice, essentially agrees with the generally accepted image of the 
life in the permanent settlements of the upper paleolithic. 

The interpretation of our particular site is, however, somewhat complicated 
by the existence of the second hut type, mentioned above. This is so not only 
because of its advanced type of construction or its cultural contents but, espe- 
cially, because of its unusual and strange location in the settlement complex. 
The single example of the second hut type was completely isolated from the 
remainder of the settled area and had been erected 80 meters higher up the 
slope, adjacent to the inlet at the upper end of the flooded depression. In view 
of the previous description of the finds (see above), this habitation cannot be 


considered as the usual settlement unit or residential building. It must rather be 
regarded as a place where small animal figurines were manufactured of baked 
clay, that is, a workshop for the production of objects for magical practices and 
the home of a specialized craftsman and his kin group. 

But, whose hut was this that was so differentiated from all the other huts? 
Who produced the religious objects that bespeak a well-developed sense of ob- 
servation, dexterity in the working of clay, and artistic expression? Who was 
this person, and why did he withdraw into solitude and seclusion? An answer 
would be very simple if such a situation were discovered in a much more recent 
settlement, where under certain socioeconomic conditions the existence of a 
shaman or other specialized manipulator of primitive religious rites might be 
demonstrated within an advanced productive system and on a higher develop- 
mental step of religious concepts. In earlier phases of kin-group communities 
such a function could, apparently— according to some authors— be exercised by 
the chief of a maternal kin group, although only on the occasion of the most 
important ceremonies and feasts that were communally celebrated. Normal ac- 
tivities and everyday magical customs and sorcery were practiced by each for 

Conclusions of this kind come to us most usually from ethnography. Occasion- 
ally, however, we encounter archeological material in which human forms are 
depicted garbed in animal skins and in masks— thus in such garments as are used 
by shamans and sorcerers of backward peoples. It is customary to interpret such 
archeological material along ethnographic lines. Possibly we can interpret our 
own finds in such a way that our second hut type in the settlement of Vestonice 
would be the dwelling of the older selected members of the kin group or of 
the chief of the primal community. Or perhaps it was, rather, the home of the 
predecessor of later sorcerers— a person who possessed the power to perform 
certain actions and had attained considerable dexterity in the course of their 
execution. In the course of magical practices he threw broken animal figurines 
and the results of abortive attempts at clay sculpture into the bake-oven-like 
structure at the center of the hut. The more successful figurines served religious 
purposes for an extended time. At dry, raised locations within the area of the 
deposits, he, jointly with other members of the community, performed magical 
ceremonies for the benefit of the hunt, as they were also performed, according 
to the opinion of Boriskovskij, at a similar deposit of bones of the European 
aurochs at the site of Amvrosievka. These ceremonies were probably not too 
different from those performed before the animal pictures and other artistic 
forms in the caves of western Europe. Single bones representing entire animals 
seem to have been intentionally broken at these ceremonies. 

The latest excavations produced some problematical evidence about a certain 
practice at the primitive religious ceremonies. In 1948 we discovered in the first 
hut a human face engraved on a small tablet of mammoth ivory that was totally 
different in technique of production as well as in representational expression 
from the small female head (sculptured in perfect three-dimensional form) 


found by Absolon in 1936 at Dolni Vestonice. Our find follows a simple scheme 
and gives the impression of a caricature or mask as it might be used at cultic 
ceremonies. Both objects have, however, one thing in common. The asymmetrical 
left facial halves, reminiscent of slack features, may be thought to be indications of 
total debility of the menetic muscles and a clear evidence of a peripheral paralysis 
of the left facial nerve. This had already been pointed out by Keith (1937) 
when he described Absolon's find. 

It is therefore quite remarkable that the female whose strongly flexed gracile 
skeleton we found in 1949 under two mammoth scapulae, below the level of the 
cultural stratum near the edge of the first settlement unit, also showed a defect 
of the left half of the face. Her head and chest had been sprinkled with red 
ocher; in her fist she held canines of a polar fox and a skeletal portion of the 
same animal; and near her head was a flint point— a typical example of funerary 
rites of religious character in the upper paleolithic. Physical anthropologists agree 
that pathological processes that involve the left maxillary joint could cause 
peripheral paralysis of the nerves of the cheek, thereby producing deformation 
of the entire left half of the skull and apparently also of the facial morphology. 

Could these three seemingly disconnected finds be connected with an actual 
person? Three such expressive and quite explicit elements tend, to a certain 
extent, to rule out coincidence. On the other hand, it is possible and necessary 
to engage in deeper considerations. It seems that in both representations the artist 
was endeavoring to capture the physiognomy of an actual person. For fuller 
understanding we strengthen this explanation by comparison with a similar burial 
at Brno noted by Francouzska in 1891, where only a caricaturized male figurine 
was added. Both instances apparently constitute graves of important members 
of a society who engaged in magical rituals. In any event, the woman interred 
in the grave at Dolni Vestonice (DV-III-1949) was of small stature, and her 
delicate appearance was certainly in contrast with the representation of the 
pregnant female and "urmutter." On the other hand, however, the disfigured 
face of the woman in the grave marked her for ritual practices as if she had 
been "born" for them. 

If the woman in the grave filled an important role in the cultic activities of 
the community, she was a direct participant in religious practices. We may also 
suppose that she would be symbolically represented, as were the protagonists in 
the woman-cult of the female leaders of the kin group. Her faithful depiction 
was achieved by one of her contemporaries of the settlement represented by the 
lower portion of the site (which includes the burial below the spot where we 
encountered the first hut). Some generations later, in the upper part of the 
settlement, she was depicted a second time but now in an entirely different 
manner (as she was now known only in traditional memory) as a ritual mask 
for ceremonies. She might also (in life) have functioned as a ceremonial practi- 
tioner or assistant, who gave explanations of everyday occurrences through 
mimicry, gestures, or vocal utterances. 

We may therefore assume that in the open sites of the upper paleolithic there 


took place the same complex religious ceremonials that were performed before 
the excellent paintings, engravings, and animal sculptures of the western Euro- 
pean caves. Selected individuals of the primal communities seem to have dedicated 
themselves to such ceremonials. Some of the established facts, furthermore, raise 
the question whether or not the finds at Dolni Vestonice represent a first indica- 
tion of social differentiation that in later times led to the specialization of inde- 
pendent sorcerers, who lived at the expense of other members of the settlement. 
It is, of course, possible that, as with the Chukchi— where women were better 
acquainted with all ceremonial concerns and cults than were men— women as- 
sumed as "guardians of the fire" the care for sanctified objects. Furthermore, the 
domestic magic of women was credited with greater power and force than were 
the hunting efforts of the men on the tundra. At the lower phases of economic 
and social development, cultic concerns were also women's tasks. 

It is natural that we should be able to discern, in the optimal conditions of this 
natural setting of prehistoric development, an ever accelerating expansion and 
perfection of the implements of production. This trend is also quite regularly 
reflected in finds representing the spiritual plane. These generally valid facts 
attain special significance in the upper paleolithic. In certain regions there always 
arises a concentration of settlement, whether at one specific locality or within an 
entire area of settlement, where developments outdistance their surroundings. 
Quantitative elements accrue and predispose toward a qualitative jump. But even 
this cannot occur so rapidly that it would prevent tracing the gradual changes, 
which are surely accompanied by a series of contradictions. And is it not exactly 
the coherent settlement on the slopes of the Pollau Mountains that allows one 
to recognize direct manifestations and primitive beginnings of such a gradual 
qualitative transformation. A variety of important experiences may be observed 
here. Among these are sedentism; evidence of the construction and arrangement 
of well-built semisubterranean habitations; certain very effective weapons and 
tools, as w T ell as implements for working the ground, which tell of increasing 
contributions to the diet through collecting activities; and the knowledge of 
modeling and of firing clay, as well as the grinding of stone. All these were im- 
portant experiences and conditions, which we were here able to observe at a 
very early time. However, they showed little further development and only 
much later pointed directly toward the cultivation of grain, and so signified the 
way to the transition to productive agriculture. Under the conditions of the cold 
period that accompanied the end of the last glaciation these forces were not 
capable of gaining the ascendancy and became effective only when climatic cir- 
cumstances had become much more favorable, and so made possible the earliest 

As early as the upper paleolithic we meet with open-air sites in the loess regions, 
where life had been governed and directed by regularized custom and strict 
organization of a highly developed hunting and collecting economy and where 
are shown some economic and social traits foreshadowing later forms of existence 
in the settlements of the early agriculturalists. Larger settlements, with more 


numerous inhabitants, could grow, however, only under conditions of further 
increased productivity and yield, at which time more explicit and defined tribal 
organizations resulted. We can perhaps take the indications and early origins 
of the latter as the attributes that could have led to the delimitation of independent 
cultural entities in the late paleolithic. 

Southern Moravia is, without doubt, one of the important regions where such 
a rapid advance and progress in the culture of the primal community took place. 
We thus assign to it a characteristic position and, for this reason, evoke the 

Figure 2. Engraving of a plant 
on a small rod of mammoth ivory, 
Pekarna cave near Brno, Scale 1:1. 


special designation "Pavlovian." It cannot be doubted that this advanced cultural 
grouping played an important role in the great historical transformation from a 
non-productive to a productive economy as well as in the shaping of further de- 
velopments of man in Europe. 

We have attempted to offer some findings and ideas as a Czechoslovakian con- 
tribution to the open discussion of the seminar concerning what prehistoric arche- 
ology can, at this juncture, say about the development and origins of urban 
civilization, in the sense that constitutes the subject matter of the symposium. If 
we considered this on a broader basis, we might be able to move away from some 
of the, up to now, rather rigid views and interpretations. We shall, however, 
have to await further results; our later work at the sites, especially those at the 
foot of the Pollau Mountains, gives cause for expectation and will, it is hoped, 
prove productive. 



This contribution is restricted, as a survey of social development in the area 
of the CSSR, to a listing of changes in the forms of settlements. Otherwise it 
would not be very different from Pittioni's paper. To the extent that Pittioni 
deals with questions of the neolithic in central Europe, his conclusions agree 
with those of the Czechoslovakian investigators who, in their most recent work, 
have assumed an earlier dating for the beginnings of the neolithic on the basis 
of radiocarbon determinations. However, many genetic relationships and gaps 
in development are not yet clarified. Regarding the origin of the oldest spiral- 
meander pottery, most of the Czechoslovakian scientists prefer to assume a south- 
east European provenance. To date, specific evidence is lacking that would indi- 
cate a continuous development on a mesolithic basis. The appearance of food 
production, agriculture, and animal husbandry is tied to the oldest spiral-meander 
pottery. Nevertheless, even in the late paleolithic we may observe that increased 
attention was being paid to the flora and may assume a greater share of vegetal 
food in the diet of man. Since neolithic settlements appear in considerable density, 
in comparison with the sporadic distribution of mesolithic ones, we may regard 
the change as revolutionary. Only in recent years has reliable evidence been gath- 
ered for the mesolithic period. These finds of microlithic industries constitute, 
however, no more than the faint traces of the actual sites of settlement and hence 
cannot yet be made the foundation for broader conclusions. Some facts show, 
nevertheless, that it will apparently be possible to trace their development from 
a Magdalenian-Gravettian milieu and, in later phases, to demonstrate the simul- 
taneity of geometric microlithic industries with the earliest phases of the ceramic 

Besides isolated remnants of older hut constructions, excavations of paleolithic 
sites during recent years have produced the first ground plans of complete settle- 
ments. These, in conjunction with recognized connections and relationships be- 
tween various living units, can certainly lead to understanding important for the 
reconstruction of economic situations and the structured organization of the pri- 
mal community. In some especially favorable cases, they may lead even to the 
understanding of specific magical ceremonies. Thus, it would be of interest, for the 
solution of problems concerning the beginnings of urban civilization, if we would 
direct our attention more closely to this time period. 

In this respect the most recent investigations at Dolni Vestonice have led to 
very important understandings. Through extensive study of the stratigraphic 
situation, the character of the over-all layout of the site could be established. 
Solifluction caused here a gradual relocation of the settlements upslope. Four 
clearly defined phases were outlined here, representing independent settlements, 
which, however, were related by common development, although differing some- 
what in time and stratigraphic content. Together with other known encampments 
of this period, these exemplify continuous and permanent settlement and consti- 
tute a locally characteristic group of the eastern Gravettian-Pavlovian. 


During our latest work the greatest attention has been given to the most recent 
phases in the upper portion of the site. Here, on the basis of newer understandings, 
we were able to interpret findings of Absolon's earlier excavations. The upper 
portion of the station is situated on solifluxed ground, the axis of which forms a 
watercourse. On the left flank of this shallow depression were erected tent-like 
huts of oval ground plan with two hearths built along the longitudinal axis. These 
huts were complemented by summer huts when necessary. In the center of the 
settlement was the large central hearth in which, in 1925, the well-known female 
statuette of the Venus of Vestonice was discovered. Since, during the span of 
the settlement, the habitations had been rebuilt many times and their traces as 
well as the ground plan had been disturbed, it had formerly been impossible to 
differentiate between them. 

The swampy depression (12 X 45 meters) was filled with extensive accumula- 
tions of mammoth bones, coming from more than one hundred predominantly 
young animals. This dump heap indicates great productivity, by means of well- 
organized collective hunting, and also shows that the inhabitants of the settle- 
ment must have formed a communal production organization— the primal com- 
munity. Smaller groupings of arranged bones represent structural remains of huts 
and fuel stores. The extensive deposits at the periphery of the settled area repre- 
sent the remnants of simple ramparts, which apparently served the same protective 
function as the simple fire locations at the edge of the large dumps— that is, de- 
fense against wild animals. 

Such findings also force us, with the aid of ethnographic materials, to give 
some thought to the organization and composition of the society. It may be as- 
sumed that each hut was the home of a social unit, a matrilineal kin group of 
about 20-25 members. If 5-6 huts were built in the settlement at one given time, 
the primal community may have reached a population of 100-120. This picture 
agrees essentially with the generally accepted views concerning life in the hunt- 
ing encampments of the upper paleolithic. 

In 1951 and 1952 we studied the well-preserved remains of a circular hut, 
about 6 meters in diameter. Its floor was sunk into the hillside and bounded on 
the opposite side by a stone retaining wall. By its advanced construction, by its 
contents, as well as by its isolated position— that is, 80 meters from the main 
settlement area— it differed materially from the other units. It yielded only a few 
implements of production, but in a bake-oven-like structure in the center of the 
hut a great quantity of baked lumps of clay was found. Among these there were 
several small modeled lumps, heads, numerous feet, and other fragments of animal 
figurines and even some that showed the impression of the fingers and hands of 
the artist. The hut seemed to be a workshop for the devising of magical articles. 
It was doubtless also the quarters of their producer, who was perhaps even the 
protagonist of common religious rites of the primal community and some sort 
of precursor of the later shamans. The magical ceremonies, which were centered 
in the hunting cult, were probably performed on raised portions of the massive 
deposits in a manner similar to that at the station of Amvrosievka. At these cere- 


monies separate bones, representing entire animals, were broken into small frag- 

The problem of primitive religious rites presents itself in the form of artifacts. 
From the first hut came a small tablet of mammoth ivory bearing an engraved 
human face. It created the impression of a ceremonial mask and was essentially 
quite different from the small female head of 1936. Both objects, however, have 
asymmetrical left facial halves, reminiscent of slack features and indicative of 
peripheral paralysis of the left facial nerve. It is therefore definitely worth noting 
that the strongly flexed and remarkably gracile female skeleton that we dis- 
covered in 1949 under two mammoth scapulae showed the defective left half of 
the skull as well as, apparently, the deformed soft portions of the face consequent 
upon a pathological process. This agreement of the three finds almost necessitates 
the conclusion that all referred to the same person: a delicate woman with a 
deformed face, an immediate participant at ritual ceremonies. 

This sketch of the integrated unity of the paleolithic station at Dolni Vestonice 
clearly shows that as early as this period we find an advanced hunting and col- 
lecting life, with economic and social features that remind us of life so much 
later in the settlements of the earliest agriculturalists. The Pavlovian, as a de- 
veloped cultural group, certainly played an important role in the later phases of 




























Male Hradisko 

u Plumlova 






Lausitz Urnfield 

Aunjetitz culture 

Obrany u Brna 

Biskupin in 


Barca u Kosic 




















painted pottery 


Spiral -meander 



Bylana u 









Figure 3. Steps in the development of settlement types within the CSSR 


the upper paleolithic as well as in the incipient transformation from non-produc- 
tive to productive forms of economy and, beyond this, in the further development 
of European man. Perhaps further excavation at the settlement of Pavlov— which 
promises to give us additional undisturbed and complete ground plans of the 
entire settlement of this primal hunting community— will allow us to say more 
on the validity of this presentation. 


Absolon, K. 

1945. "Die Erforschung der diluvialen Mammutjager-station von Unter-Wisternitz 
an den Pollauer Bergen in Mahren," Arbeitsbericht iiber das dritte Jahr 1926. Brno. 

Bayer, J. 

1921. Der Mammutjagerhalt der Aurignaczeit bei Lang-Mannersdorf an der Per- 

schling, Nieder-Osterreich. Mannus XIII. 
Bohm, J. 

1946. Nase nejstarsi mesta. Praha. 
Boriskovskij, P. J. 

1953. "Paleolit Ukraijny," Materialy i issledovanija po archeologii SSSR, 15:40. 
Cernys, A. P. 

1959. "Paleolit srednevo Pridnestrovja," Trudy Komissii po izuceniju cetverticnovo 

perioda, Moskva. 
Gerasimov, M. M. 

1935. "Raskopki paleoliticeskoj stojanki v sele Malta," Paleolit SSSR. Moskva. 
Jefimenko, P. P. 

1953. Pervobytnoje obscestvo. Kiev. 

1958. Kostjenki I. Izdatelstvo AN SSSR. Moskva-Leningrad. 
Jelnek, J. 

1954. "Nalez fosilniho cloveka Dolni Vestonice III." Anthropozoikum, 3. Praha. 
Keith, A. 

1937. New Discoveries Relating to the Antiquity of Man, 3:24. London. 
Klima, B. 

1954. "Palaeolithic Huts at Dolni Vestonice, Czechoslovakia," Antiquity, 109:4-14. 

1955. "Beitrag der neuen palaolithischen Station in Pavlov zur Problematik der 
altesten landwirtschaftlichen Gerate," Pamatky archeologicke, Vol. 46. Praha. 
1957. "Ubersicht iiber die jungsten palaolithischen Forschungen in Mahren," Quartar, 

1959. "Zur Problematik des Aurignacien und Gravettien in Mittel-Europa," Archeol. 
Austriaca, 26. Wien. 

Makowsky, A. 

1892. "Der diluviale Mensch im Loss von Brunn," MAG Vol. 22. Wien. 

Mazajlek, M. 

1953. "Tfeti rok vyzkumu paleo-mesoliticke oblasti u Razic," Archeol. rozhledy, 
5. Praha. 


Nahodil, O. 

1954. O puvodu ndbolenstvi. Orbis-Praha. 
Neustupny, J. 

1951. "Neoliticka opevnena osada v Hlubokych Masuukach," Casopis Ndrodmho 
musea, 117-19. Praha. 

Neustupny, E. F. 

1956. "The Linear Pottery and Vinca," Chronol. preh. de la Tchecoslovaquie, pp. 
40-43. Praha. 


1956. "Beitrag zu den chronologischen Beziehungen des Friihneolithikums in der 
Tschechoslowakei," Chronol. preh. de la Tchecoslovaquie. Praha. 

Prosek, F 

1961. "Mladopaleoliticka obydli v Ceskoslovensku," Anthropozoikum, 10. Praha. 
Rogacev, A. N. 

1953. "Issledovanije ostatkov pervobytno-obscinovo poselenija verchnepaleoliceskovo 

vremeni u s. Avdejevo na r. Sejm v 1949 g," Materialy i issledovanija po archeologii 

SSSR, 39. 

1955. "Kostjenki IV— poselenije drevnekamennovo veka na Donu," Materialy i issle- 
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Soudsky, B. 

1960. "Station neolithique de Bylany," Historica II. Praha. 
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TlCHY, R. 

1961. "Einige Bemerkungen zum Neolithikum in der Tschechoslowakei," Forschungs- 
berichte zur Ur- und Friihgeschichte. Wien. 

Vlcek, E. 

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Anthropolog. spolecnosti, 4. Brno. 

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The title of our symposium is interesting and promising. In choosing it, our 
two colleagues evidently started from a geographical core-area concept that 
permitted such wording, for example, from the zone that, years ago, Braid- 
wood (1957, p. 125) had designated as the flanks of the "Fertile Crescent" and 
which I augmented (1950) by extension to the so-called "neural zone" of Syria 
and Palestine as well as North Africa. These regions offer special conditions, 
primarily related to the environmental configuration provided by the natural 
setting. This made possible the further steps of transformation by man. 

The question now arises whether the point of view derived from the Fertile 
Crescent of Mesopotamia and its Kurdistani margin, or the secondarily derived 
questions and basic orientations expressed in the title of the symposium, possess 
general validity. Is it factually possible to generalize this regionally oriented point 
of view, and the problems connected with it, so that a common overview of 
different cultural areas may be gained from it? For this reason, I shall begin with 
some general remarks of a basic nature. 

The period indicated by the title begins with an absolute date and ends with 
a relative one. What was it like in the Old World about 15,000 B.C.? 

Considering Europe, this was— drawing on the applicable radiocarbon deter- 
minations as a basis of judgment— the late phase of Wurm III, to name a chrono- 
logical concept of some currency. We cannot enter here into the detailed prob- 
lems that are connected with the Wurm chronology. Relating the date of 15,000 
b.c. with late Wurm III is the result of C 14 determinations that permit us to fix 
the Allerod fluctuation from about 10,000 to 8500 or 8000 b.c. 

This term of absolute chronology may therefore be used for comparisons within 
the various Lebensraume. However, the fixed time point is juxtaposed to a con- 
cept of relative chronology, the beginning of urban civilization. This latter is a 
beginning that differs for the several cultural regions. For this reason, it is im- 
possible to make comparisons among them. 

Since a term of absolute chronology and one of relative chronology cannot be 
brought into relationship with each other, it would seem desirable to revise our 
working title. It is easy to make such a proposal if we start from [Mesopotamia 
and from Egypt. Here, urban civilization set in about 3000 b.c.I Our working 



title could then have the following formulation: "Between 15,000 and 3000 B.C.: 
A world-wide Survey of the Cultural Texture oFThis PeriooVj 

Thus, one may ask what occurred during these 12,000 years in the various 
cultural regions and how their inhabitants related to each other. 

The following sectors stand out: 

a) The historical events from 15,000 to about 8000 B.C., i.e., from late Wiirm III 
to the younger Dryas, inclusive 

b) The historical events from about 8000 to about 5000 B.C., i.e., during the Pre- 
boreal and the Boreal 

c) The historical events from about 5000 to 2500 B.C., i.e., during the Atlantic 

and these, generally speaking, span the above-mentioned absolute boundary dates. 
[Viewed from the standpoint of cultural morphology, the indicated time span 
of roughly 12,000 years subsumes the historical contr asts between hunters and 
gatherers, on the one hand, and farmers, on the other/] 

In this connection I should like to say a few woTTts concerning the idea of a 
" neolithic revolution ," which has enjoyed some popularity in recent years. 1 This 
phrase means to underscore, in contrast to the hunting and gathering way of life 
o f the p aleolithic , the newly arisen form of economy and the general cultural 
changes connected with it. Without a doubt this is justified. But there is the 
question of whether it is justifiable to designate the so-called "progress of neo- 
lithization" as a revolution. Usually, we think of a revolution as a spontaneous 
event, an action or a chain of actions tending to cause basic changes in the his- 
torical situation within a very brief span of time. The idea of revolution is cus- 
tomarily associated with politico-historical events, so application of the term to 
other sectors of human action submerges its original meaning. If we retain it, 
however, in connection with the "neolithic revolution," the question arises 
whether or not this contrast between food-gatherers and food-producers (in 
Braidwood's understanding of the village-farming community way of life) _did 
indeed occur so suddenly, so dynamically, that there was a distinct break in 
historical traditi on and continuity^ In advancing this question, I have no intention 
of speaking in favor of any evolutionistic tendencies, of which, as a historian, 1 
do not generally think very highly, since they only too often seek support in 
a priori-isms. As a historian, however, I must ask myself about the manner in 
which this contrast developed, analyzing the heuristic burden of the situation 
that is conducive to such understanding. And this must be done, not only at one 
location or in one zone, but quite generally for the historical events in all the 
known investigated cultural regions. 

Here then— if I have correctly understood the goals of our symposium— is the 

1. Coined by Childe (1936) and elaborated in 1958; Cole (1959) has recently given a lucid 
exposition of the events connected with the process of neolithization. She advocates the idea 
of a primary farming culture in the Near East and its gradual expansion from there over 
Europe, without taking the results of the most recent research projects into account. Not 
enough stress, therefore, is given to the historical aspects of the neolithic (cf. Pittioni, 1953, 
pp. 105 ff., in which the considerations and directions regarding method are still valid today). 


center of gravity of our discussion, which, in all likelihood, will elicit very widely 
divergent opinions. 

If I may briefly define at this point my own attitude toward the notion of a 
"neolithic rev olution," I shou ld say that, in my opinion, it is inapplicable to th e 
main problem that we propose to treat here. There are several essentials to the 
form of economy of agriculturalists and cattle-raisers: these are the ir sedentism, 
their striving to remove themselves from the conditioning factors of nature by 
interference with its web, and their efforts to support this. s triving by the utiliza - 
tion of new tools, w hich are the visible evidence of their intention. The w ell- 
known pairs of opposed-couple concepts; paleolithic-neolithic, pe riods of chipped- 
st one versus polished-stone tools, and food-gatherers versus food -producers* 
a ttempt to circumscribe this heuristicallv attested contrast with greater or l ess 

If these contrasts are subjected to closer scrutiny, it will be found that they 
can, at best, be called upon for rough and ready characterization of the paleolithic 
and the neolithic. Actually, the situations during both periods are far more com- 
plex. The criteria adduced for the neolithic have rudimentary antecedents in the 
paleolithic and mesolithic. In recent times, investigations of the paleolithic have 
demonstrated with increasing clarity the existence of settlement forms tied to 
specific locations, which thus endured for extended periods of time. Our col- 
league Klfma, the excavator of Pollau near Nikolsburg, can give a far better 
account of this than I can. The contrast between chipped- and polished-stone 
artifacts loses significance. The polishing of stone has already been shown for 
Wiirm II in the middle Gravettian of eastern and Central Europe, as is proved 
by Kostjenki and Willendorf. When, at that time, slate and plates of marl were 
utilized for the purpose, this was only showing a preference for a relatively easily 
worked mineral. The flat maces of Pfedmost, however, attest the use of harder 
stones, not to speak of the Maglemosian stone maces. We see that this type of 
raw material for ground or polished tools had been known even before 15,000 
b.c. Though it is true that silicious minerals (i.e., chipped flint) were then pre- 
ferred, it is likewise true that this preference was never generally discarded during 
the neolithic. Wherever flinty materials constituted the essential source of raw 
material, they were utilized to a significant extent during the neolithic and, in 
some areas, even during the bronze age. The "period of chipped stone" is not 
a specific term identifying the paleolithic but is, at best, a most general designa- 
tion, without value as a historical marker. Finally, it i s sufficiently well known 
that the domestication of wild anima ls must be placed in the mesolithic, after 
whi ch it undergoes an intensification that takes its character entirely from region - 
ally differentiated conditions. 

Thus, as early a s the paleolithic and mes olithic periods, certain potentials are 
realized within human ac tivity whose i ntensification is determined by the 
physical factors of nature and the physical factors of man as thepo ssessor of. 
t hese potentials. .. This reciprocity contains the historical dynamism that con- 
stitutes the essence of the neolithic, in its nascence, its florescence, and its 


metamorphis into new historical manifestations. Whether the realization of the 
potential is associated with individuals or with complex structures is in itself 
immaterial where its effectiveness as a historical agent is concerned. But the 
realized potentials must find responses. First, within the community in which 
they originate, but then also in the physical prerequisites of nature. Time and 
space are therefore the primary determining factors for the reciprocal relation- 
ship of forces and thei r achi evements during the neolithic within the various 
cultural regions. 

In connection with these general remarks, I shall now embark upon a brief 
characterization of the cultural conditions in southern Central and southeastern 
Europe between 15,000 and 3000 b.c. 

fjTSTORI CAT, EVENTS BETWEEN 15.000 AND 8000 b.c . 

The culture type associated with Wiirm III is the central-European Gravettian. 
The basis for its recognition is the material found at Pollau in Czechoslovakia, 2 
to which we may probably add Kamegg in lower Austria (Brandtner, 1954-55, 
pp. Iff.). Pollau is a settlement of considerable permanence, while the character 
of the Kamegg establishment is less clearly recognizable. For Hungary, we may 
mention here the settlement at Pilismarot (Gabori, 1960, pp. 57 ff.), while 
Sagvar can be connected with Pollau only in a very general sense. Observations 
to the same effect come from Romania (Nicolaescu-Plop§or, 1958, pp. 383 ff.). 
On the strength of recovered material, Klima has established the Pavlovian as 
a comprehensive designation for the late Gravettian of Wiirm III. The eastern 
expansion of the Magdalenian falls in the same period, although it has left no 
traces in the Danubian regions or in southeastern Europe. In this area all cultural 
configur ations, a ir rr^tH i n -the late G r avettian. The late Gravettian conta ins 
two el ejn pnt £- tW a re decisive for its later modification: acquaintance with 
comb ustible synthe tics (bake d-clay figu rines, etc.) and the production of flj nt_ 
micro implements. W e do not know yet whether this synthetic has been used at 
stations other than Pollau. Kamegg, however— just as Pollau— has produced 
evidence of microimplements. The tendency toward geometric forms, which 
becomes apparent herein, points toward a future, fundamental orientation. 

We cannot demonstrate for our area anything comparable to the metamor- 
phosis of the late Magdalenian base into the Federmesser groups (in the sense 
of Schwabedissen) characteristic of the Allerod fluctuation in northwestern 
Europe, with its regional variants of Tjonger, Rissen, and Wehlen. There is, 
as yet, no possibility in this area of dating sites by palynological methods. Also, 
we have too little information concerning the Allerod period to have much 
light shed on its forest history. A clue is offered in the peat marsh at Roggendorf 
near Melk in Lower Austria 3 (Brandtner, 1949, pp. 5 ff.); another comes from 

2. Cf., for this as well as for the general cultural situation in Central Europe, Klima, 1959, 
pp. 35 ff. 

3. Giving a radiocarbon determination of 9450 ± 90 b.c. (Gro-1198). 


Bad Tatzmannsdorf in Burgenland. The Roggendorf marsh has shown that the 
forest conditions of the Allerod resembled those of the Atlantic to a certain 
extent. To be able to study how the climatic improvement of this period has 
expressed itself in the various latitudes upon the forest inventory, it would, 
however, be necessary to correlate all the Allerod profiles known to date accord- 
ing to their regional order. Stress would need to be given here to the various 
latitudes. For, just as the entire Quarternary phenomenon must be considered 
world-wide and fundamentally simultaneous, we must also apply this latitudinal 
consideration to the Allerod fluctuation that is linked with the Quarternary 
cycle. Taken in terms of absolute chronology, the Allerod fluctuation may have 
begun somewhat earlier in the southern latitudes. The mutual interinfluencing 
among the various latitudes, which has recently been made clear by Wundt 
(1958-59, pp. 15 ff.)— for the phenomenon of the Quarternary in general— may 
be taken into account to show this. The Kebaran and the early Natufian are 
culture-historically associated with this period in the Mediterranean area. 

Kamegg accentuates an orientation in the heuristic inventory of Central 
Europe, which later on emerges more clearly in the Hamburgian of northwest 
Germany; it is the use of reindeer a ntler in the manufacture of points. On the 
basis of its radiocarbon determinations (Pittioni, 1957, pp. 357 ff.; 1959, pp. 
200 ff.), the Hamburgian is related to the latest Wurm III and to the late 
Magdalenian associated with it, which— in its own right— has produced evidence 
for this method of manufacturing points. The Hamburgian, however, is marked 
by certain flint implements. Its Stielspitze shows a certain relationship to the 
east-European Swiderian, which may be regarded as probably belonging to 
the Allerod period. It might not be completely wrong to see the cultural 
foundations of the Swiderian in the late Gravettian. The Swiderian reaches from 
Poland into Romania. A lack of pertinent archeological data makes it nearly 
impossible to give a detailed account of events in this area. The brief younger 
Dryas should, however, hardly have caused major changes. 

We might enumerate the following as givin g a general c haracterization of 
the late Gravettian: settlement at preferred and favorable locations; systematic 
hunting of large mammals; knowledge of how to polish flint, marble, slate, and 
marl; thp Gr^t indications of microlithic tool-making; and, during the Swiderian , 
further trap <; f r>rrn nti on in t hp dic tion of Stielspitzen (as specialize d weapons?). 4 

There is a clear regional differentiation between the Azilian of western Europe 
and the typical Capsian of northern Africa. 


As the previous paragr aphs have indicated, certain potentials begin t o be 
outlined during the period from 15,000 to 8000 b.c. to which we can hardly 
deny the attributes of fundamental innovations. These potentials rest upon the 

4. This already anticipates the answer to the first question asked at the symposium: In the 
late glacial and early postglacial periods what major cultural events characterize your area? 


experience of the Gravettian. The next epoch, which encompasses about 3 .,00 
years, is a consequence of the indi cated new orientation, supported a nd augmented 
by the reaction of these liberated potentials with the physical factors of nature 
then obt ai ning. 

With respect to the forest and climatic history, the natural factors are subsumed 
under the Preboreal and Boreal, that is, in pollen zones IV and V (Firbas, 1949). 
Their transliteration into absolute chronology by means of radiocarbon de- 
terminations applies, with its corresponding evidence, to Central Europe. The 
confinement of these factors to certain latitudinal zones must, however, be 
stressed. In this respect the Mediterranean lands and the Near East offer nothing, 
since the natural prerequisites for the formation of such palynological elements 
is lacking. This is not to say that the climatological events necessary for their 
formation have occurred only in Central Europe. The basic uniformity of the 
Quarternary also presupposes that— similar to the Allerod fluctuation— these early 
postglacial manifestations have shaped the conditions of the ecological environ- 
ment in the Mediterranean region as in the Near East, in northern Africa, or on 
the high plateau of Iran. Corresponding to the different latitudes (and altitudes), 
the Preboreal will, in all likelihood, have begun somewhat earlier in the lower 
latitudes than in the higher ones. A morphology— shaped by Wiirm III, the 
Allerod period, and the younger Dryas— is decisive for its ultimate effectiveness. 
This morphological state is one of the most important preconditions for the 
vegetal cover of these soils. Only climatological history and the related 
paleoecology can provide factual information concerning such problems. Repre- 
sentatives of these specializations would therefore be most welcome. If pre- 
historians now declare that the mesolithic, which sets in with the Preboreal, was 
determined by the changes in floral and faunal inventory of the early post- 
glacial, they can be supported with some references to their own source 
materials (Pittioni, 1954b, pp. 367 ff.). Understanding of the total structural 
change over this span of time will probably be gained only by way of 
climatology, which illuminates the preconditions of the bios of plants and 
animals. Such questions are, of course, neither simple nor easily answered. A 
comparison with today's climatic conditions would be deceptive, since terminal 
Quarternary factors were still operative during the Preboreal and Boreal. Con- 
sideration of the earliest neolithic cultural remains in the Sahara and of the 
inventory of large mammals and aquatic animals (crocodile, water buffalo) shows 
clearly enough how long the over-all climatic situation may have been code- 
termined by late Quarternary formations. 

If we go along with the radiocarbon determinations (in conformity with 
the most recent arguments of our colleague Waterbolk [this volume]), we will 
not be surprised, after what has been said above, if the oldest evidence in the 
Near East of a cultural constellation— which can only be called neolithic— proves 
to be contemporary with the transitional period between the central-European 
Preboreal and Boreal. In this connection I should like to point to Braidwood's 
(1958, pp. 249 ff.) interesting discussion concerning the absolute chronological 


ordering of his Jarmo material. From the viewpoint of climatological history 
it signifies an early active growth of the flora/faunal changes through the 
Preboreal and Boreal. 

Returning to our Central European region, we have to draw attention to a 
disagreeable hiatus in the investigative record. It consists, in the first place, of 
the lack of even a single stratigraphic cultural clue; second, in the absence of 
palynologically related information (a great deficiency when compared with 
Star Carr and northwestern Europe); and finally in the paucity of the entire 
heuristic inventory. 

Evaluation of the cultural situation during this period is t herefore pos sible 
only through the typological change s within the stone tools. From this st and- 
point, three phases may be distinguished within the 3. 000-vea r time sp an. The 
first may possibly be correlated with the western-European Sauveterre an, the 
s econd is characterized by semilunar and triangular microliths, and the third is 
clearly defined by semilunar, triangular^ and trapezoidal microliths (Pittioni, 
1954a, pp. Ill ff.; 1956, pp. 370 ff.; Table 4, col. 5). 

For the first phase— which I designated years ago as the Gratkorn group 
(after Gratkorn in Styria)— there is an evident but not yet clearly expressed 
tendency toward microliths. The stone implements show a certain imbalance; 
among the geometric forms is the lunate, which we already know from the 
Pavlovian. The bone industry, which has harpoons and fishhooks of designs 
characteristic of the Maglemosian, is important. Although it is demonstrated 
in Styria, we do not yet know how wide a distribution we may assign to this 
oldest mesolithic. Whether it occurs in the Balkans, in Romania, and in Hungary 
in the same form or whether it is replaced by a continuation of the Swiderian 
remains to be discovered. Here, therefore, is a regrettable gap in our knowledge. 

I have given the name of "Limberg group" to the second phase. The generally 
mesolithic tendency toward microlithic forms appears strengthened in this 
phase. Lunates and triangles (isosceles as well as scalene) exist here parallel 
to western Europe. Dispersed finds in Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania (Nico- 
laescu-Plop§or, 1959, pp. 221 ff.) possess a more or less general uniformity. A 
more exact characterization is, however, not yet possible. 

That material that in western Europe is subsumed under the name Tardenoisian 
belongs to the third phase. I do, however, have misgivings in applying this 
name to our material. Tardenoisian should, perhaps, cover only that typological 
entity which is built upon the Sauveterrean and which therefore permits us to 
discern regional ties. The trapeze— demonstrable, along with lunates and triangles, 
in this third phase— would by itself hardly be enough to justify transferring to 
Central and southeastern Europe a term that is associated with western Europe. 
It is to be regretted that the tendency toward modification that becomes 
apparent here is not yet clear enough to formulate. There are as yet no 
systematic investigations of settlement forms, although special work of this sort 
would especially in richly stratified caves, produce a foundation. We can create 
an approximation of the true picture only by connecting occasional pieces of the 


mosaic. It shows that the then colonizable terrain was occupied and that, as good 
evidence for this third phase, distribution of the trapeze from lower Austria to 
Romania had been established. 

Thus it is hardly possible at this time to compile a set of general characteristics 
f or this second epoch between 8000 and 5000 b.c . We may, however, adhere 
to the assumption that the Gravettian-Swiderian constituted the basis for the 
new configurations. A definite genetic-historical orientation of our mesolithic— 
quite different from those in other cultural regions— becomes visible in it. 
Regional peculiarities assert themselves despite a general mesolithic tendency 
toward geometric microliths. 

The present state of discovery in the regions of the middle and lower Danube 
(the very center of the European loess zone) hinders discussion of questions 
concerning the faunal inventory that was at the disposal of the hunters of that 
period. This inventory constituted, at the same time, the natural reservoir from 
which motivation for domestication could arise. It is probably only a gap in 
investigations that demonstrates the occurrence of the dog only in the north 
and in the Near East. Because we lack appropriate palynological investigations, 
we know hardly anything about the distribution of the floral pattern, although 
the loess zone does have fundamental significance in relation to a question con- 
cerning the inventory of wild grasses— the basis for future agriculture. We thus 
arrive at very concrete formulations of questions to be asked of paleontology 
and paleobotany; the answers will be decisive for a deeper treatment of problems 
germane to the third epoch. 5 


The determination of the beginning of this epoch comes as a result of radio- 
carbon determinations for the onset of the main Atlantic phase and of the 
heuristically demonstrated connection of the neolithic with this climatic period 
on the strength of palynological tests. A further indication for this beginning is 
offered by radiocarbon determinations for the Danubian neolithic (Linearkeramik) 
from eastern Belgium by way of southern Germany to central Germany. None 
are as yet available for the middle and lower reaches of the Danube; Vinca A 
(late), with an inventory comparable to the Linearkeramik has, according to 
Waterbolk, a determination of 4010 ± 85 b.c. and thus agrees with the dates 
for the Linearkeramik. The lack of determinations for the Hungarian-Romanian 
Koros-Cris culture (Petrescu-Dimbovitsa, 1958, pp. 53 ff.; Dumitrescu, 1960, pp. 
116 ff.) is regrettable, for it impresses one as the oldest neolithic culture in the 
Danubian region. However, the process of internal integration of the Koros 
culture is still too little known completely to justify its often claimed equating 

5. This is the answer to the second question asked at the Symposium: Defining incipient 
cultivation and/or animal domestication as a minor or supplementary basis of total subsistence, 
when and how do such conditions appear? 


with that of Starcevo in Yugoslavia. One has the impression that Starcevo is a 
late Koros. This also accords with a radiocarbon determination of 4440 ±75 b.c. 
for Starcevo material from Gonja Tuzla in northeastern Bosnia, if one keeps 
in mind that in the middle and lower Danubian region Koros is older than the 
Linearkeramik. From this we gather that the formation of the Koros complex 
is to be moved back to the beginning of the fifth millennium b.c. and that the 
Linearkeramik was formed simultaneously alongside it. 

Both were preceded by a very early neolithic, about which we are rudi- 
mentarily informed through Crvena Stijena in Bosnia (Benac) and the Thessalian 
tell disclosures (Milojcic and Theokaris) (Berciu, 1958, pp. 99 ff.; 1960, pp. 15 ff.). 
Thessaly produced a very old neolithic without pottery (as well as a prepottery 
phase such as Jericho) and in addition a coarse ware with fingernail impressions, 
which formed the starting point for the Sesklo sequence. As yet, no radiocarbon 
determination exists for this, although one would anticipate the end of the sixth 
millennium for it. Such a conclusion derives from the Crvena stijena, where- 
as in the Arene Candide (Liguria)— the fingernail-ornamented ware rests upon 
a late mesolithic stratum and where we can perceive this tradition in the in- 
ventory of stone implements. In Thessaly also we may note the microlithic 
tendency, and the same may be said for the Linearkeramik (from Belgium to 
Hungary). Here we are supposedly dealing with internal, genetic relationships 
between the late mesolithic and the early neolithic. But the last word concerning 
this has not yet been spoken. We shall require many more radiocarbon determina- 
tions for the Koros and Linearkeramik cultures. The border regions between 
Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary will be of great significance, for it is here 
that we expect to find the origins of the Linearkeramik.^ From this area it 
spread along the northern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains by way of 
southern Poland as far as Romania (Walachia) and formed there the basis for 
Cucuteni A. The C 14 determinations for Habaesti (Cucuteni A) of 3130 ± 80 
b.c. corroborate the findings of Romanian investigations that were founded on 
cultural-stratigraphic studies. 

In this manner, the notion— which, even without the aid of radiocarbon de- 
terminations, I had maintained as early as 1954— of a relatively great age for the 
neolithic in the middle and lower reaches of the Danube is now attested more 
and more clearly. I shall allude only briefly here to the important questions 
connected with its genesis. 

In his report on the Radiocarbon Meeting at Groningen Waterbolk raised 

6. Quitta, 1960, pp. 1 ff. Since there is no culture-stratigraphic evidence in central Europe 
for a closed sequence from mesolithic through an early neolithic to Linearkeramik, the oldest 
Linearkeramik can be described only with the aid of typological criteria, especially those re- 
ferring to the system of decorations. This offers too large a source of error to permit defini- 
tive statements. However, Quitta shows a distinct component trait, characterized by the use 
of fingernail indentation, in the material that he ascribes to central Germany and that has 
been regarded as the oldest Bandkeramik. Perhaps we have here a certain relationship with 
manifestations indicated by proto-Sesklo and Korbs-Cris. 


the question whether we may have faith in the determinations pertaining to the 
neolithic. For a fruitful discussion we must start from a common reference 
point; in what follows I shall therefore utilize radiocarbon determinations known 
to me at this time. 

The subject of this discussion is the question whether the European neolithic 
should be regarded as an offshoot of the Near Eastern neolithic— thus being of 
a relatively young age. 

To assume an opposing point of view was formerly— in the absence of radio- 
carbon determinations— rather difficult. One could only advance a general line 
of reasoning and point to the Atlantic as an instigating factor in the economic 
transformation. Today, however, radiocarbon determinations demonstrate that 
the Linearkeramik had already reached the loess zone of eastern Holland by 
the end of the fifth millennium (Sittard 4250, 4150; Geleen 4180). The pottery 
found at these sites cannot be assigned to the earliest Linearkeramik since it is 
somewhat younger— such, at least, is the preliminary opinion concerning these 
finds. The same applies to Wittislingen in Bavaria and to Westeregeln near 
Magdeburg (4080, 4250). Neither of these sites has produced the classic spiral- 
meander pottery that is agreed to stand at the beginning of this range of 
decoration. If this agreed-to proposition is correct, this would also result in 
moving back the Linearkeramik to at least the middle of the fifth millennium. 
In any event, the later Notenkopfkeramik (note-headed pottery) bears such a 
characteristic stamp that it is recognizable on even the smallest fragment. It 
thereby establishes a very close union. 

The same may be said about the Koros-Starcevo material. Crvena stijena has 
indicated its roots, so the C 14 determination of Gonja Tuzla comes as no 
surprise. This is also true for Vinca A, whose unique character will be dis- 
cussed later. 

So far, there are no radiocarbon determinations from Thessaly or Greece; 
one for Khirokitia on Cyprus yields 5685 ± 100 B.C. and confirms the asumptions 
made for Thessaly and the Balkans. 7 

If we compare these chronological data with those from the Near East, we 
arrive at the first third of the seventh millennium for Jarmo, and at the first 
half and end of the sixth millennium for Hassuna. I know of no radiocarbon 
determination for the Halafian period; but, on the basis of its stratigraphic 
position, it should be assigned to 5000-4500 or 4300 B.C., especially when com- 
pared to the early Obaid of 4120 b.c. 

It is well known that the advocates of diffusion credit especially the Halafian 
forms with great significance in the transmission of cultural values from the 
Near East to southeastern Europe and thence to Central Europe. This is possible 
theoretically because the Halafian was certainly sufficiently integrated internally 
that it could share its cultural substance (potential) with its surroundings. Since 

7. This date offers corroboration, having been published only after the conclusion of this 
symposium (Radiocarbon Supplement 2 [1960], pp. 193 ff.) Khirokitia is a very early neolithic, 
perhaps best compared with the prepottery neolithic B of Jericho. 


there is no plausible reason to deny a diffusionary tendency to the Halaf style 
a priori and since we cannot yet say with which neighboring cultures Halaf 
maintained actual contact, it might be possible to derive from it certain mani- 
festations of the southeastern European neolithic, above all for Thessaly. But, 
was central and southeastern Europe actually free of neolithic manifestations at 
that time? The answer is provided by the radiocarbon determinations cited 
above, which show that at the same time as Matarrah VI/4 and Hassuna V (i.e., 
during the sixth millennium) new types had their beginning that seem indicated 
by Crvena stijena and preceramic Thessaly. If Starcevo-Koros is to be assigned 
to the middle of the fifth millennium, then it is probably also contemporary 
with the Halafian and is— no less than the Halafian— a thoroughly integrated 
cultural form. 

It should now be possible to see the intention of my remarks. They seek only 
to point out that the present state of the discipline hardly permits us to think 
of a transmittal of the neolithic from the Near East to Europe. It is much easier 
to assume indigenous, local origins for southeastern Europe and the Danubian 
region. (For radiocarbon determinations cited, see Fig. 1). 

To this we must add a theoretical reflection. It deals with this question: At 
what stage of cultural development does contact with nearby or distant neighbor- 
ing areas become possible? If I am correctly informed, we know nothing of 
contacts between Mesopotamia, or Palestine, on the one hand, and Egypt, on 
the other, during predynastic times. I am thinking of the discussions about the 
wavy-handled jars of the Maadi period and their connection with those of the 
Ghassulian, as well as of the contacts between Egypt and the Near East that 
have been stressed by Kantor. They closely precede the unification of Egypt. 
Such relationships, then, occur relatively late between two regions of vigorous 
cultural potential. I have no knowledge that there was any contact at the time 
of the Fayum-Merimdian, in the middle of the fifth millennium, with any 
contemporary cultures (apparently not even with Upper Egypt). From this we 
must apparently learn that only an integrated cultural form that has command over 
a sufficient reservoir of capacities can move outside its own proper region to share 
these capacities with its nearer or farther surroundings. One could maintain a dif- 
ferent opinion if it became possible to document the expansion of the Linearker- 
amik into the Padana or even into western France. As far as my knowledge of 
Europe goes, I consider such a possibility too Utopian for serious consideration. A 
culture requires a certain amount of time in order to gather and consolidate 
itself, for— being the product of man— it can be fully realized only through a 
process of integration in which time acts as a formative factor. I therefore see 
little promise in assuming far-reaching contacts of any kind for so early a period 
as the sixth and fifth millennia B.C. It is not even permissible to speak of stimulus 
diffusion, for even the transmittal of ideas presupposes close relationships between 
consolidated communities. 

Thus I arrive at the conclusion that the neolithic in the lands of the middle 
and lower Danube, as well as in southeastern Europe, must be viewed as sets 


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of manifestations that arose indigenously within the several cultural regions not 
merel y in their general but also in their particular characteris tics. 8 They may 
be considered equivalent to— and, in part, also contemporary with— all others in 
the Near East or Egypt. I would rather think of the process as one of historical 
convergences than as one of diffusion.. 9 

If I adhere to the terminus ad quern that I proposed in the introduction, I 
have actually reached the end of my observations. However, two remarks by 
our colleague Braidwood contained in a letter to me cause me to add a few 
words. One of his remarks refers to the reciprocal interinfluencing of neolithic 
village cultures; the other asks whether it was merely an accident that both 
Childe and Hawkes conclude their presentation of the prehistory of Europe 
at about 1500 B.C. 

About the first point I should like to say that, keeping in mind the terminus 
ad quern that I have proposed, the neolithic cultures of the middle and lower 
Danube regions and of southeastern Europe have produced hardly anything that 
would point to such interinfluencing. Could it be that one might interpret the 
sequence K6r6s-Linearkera??iik-Cucuteni, which has been demonstrated for 
Romanian Wallachia, in this sense, and could it be that one might also intend 
to stress that the Linearkeramik appears to have been stronger than the Koros, 
which, in Hungary too, was replaced by the Linearkeramik? I do not know 
which reasons were operative here. However, these discernible changes and 
reciprocal influences in the region discussed by me occur only in the third 
millennium, thus being later than my self-imposed temporal boundaries. 

Concerning the second point, I can only stress that, in my opinion, this is 
an arbitrary limitation, seemingly formed under the impression that Mycenae 
actually represents an urban culture. However, the Mycenae of the shaft and 
tholoi graves can hardly be classified as an urban culture and therefore is 
structured differently from Crete. Anything resembling an urban culture was 
not formed on the Greek mainland before the Mycenean Koine. If we accept 

8. This opinion also takes in an answer to the third question asked during the course of 
the symposium: At what point in the cultural sequence of your area do you feel that you 
can identify effective food production (plant cultivation and/or animal domestication 
assuming a major subsistence role), and what are the artifactual expressions and social 
(directly inferred) consequences? For heuristic evidence of effective food production we 
may point to the generally known inventory of objects; the respective material for the stone 
implements of Danubian culture has recently been assembled by Vend (1960, pp. 1 ff.). The 
arguments of Waterbolk presented before the symposium regarding settlement forms should 
be mentioned here; likewise, in complementation, those of Felgenhauer (1960, pp. 1 ff.). 

9. This also answers the fourth question with respect to our region: Does effective food 
production appear as part of an indigenous evolution, or does it (as revealed archeologically) 
suggest outside influences? To what extent does the appearance of effective food production 
(either indigenous or imported) seem explosive ("revolutionary")? Regarding the German 
version of the question, it should be noted that "explosive" is not the same as umivalzend , but 
serves to indicate rapid change. The changes in structure that occurred between mesolithic 
and neolithic were, without doubt, umivalzend, since they formed the foundations for the 


the palaces of this period and the Linear B writing that was encountered here 
as pertinent indications, they may also be interpreted in this sense— as may the 
far-flung commercial relations that prevailed at that time. Childe had, if I judge 
correctly, a most subjective attitude when he spoke of Mycenean capitalism, 
making it responsible for the florescence of Central-European copper-mining— 
heuristically this is not provable. 

All Europe during the second and first millennia (except Greece, beginning 

about 900, and Italy from 700 to 400 b.c.) has a village-culture orientation and 
offers no signs of any process that would lead to the threshold of urban culture ; 
Urbanism can scarcely be proved conclusively for the Celtic oppida. I cannot 
even conceive that the urban cultures had impresse d themselves at all intensively 
on the village cultures of Europe. Not even classical Greece of the sixth century 
B.C. initiated the formati on of cities in the Thraciaq hinterland; neither ronlH 
the Etruscan cities cause a transportatio n of their farming environment. There 
is no need to adduce further negative examples. 10 

10. The fifth question asked during the symposium was: Could you in your area use the 
term "threshold of urbanization"? If so, what would you mean by it, and what is the 
evidence of its development? We have already indicated that for our area the answer must 
be negative. But it must be stressed that the definition of the constituent elements of an 
urban culture is the task of the historian and that a final decision can come only from an 
evaluation of his arguments concerning prehistory. For this reason I should like to add some 
remarks about the arguments of Childe (1950, pp. 3 ff.). Using examples drawn from the 
Near East, he attempted to define ten elements of urban culture (i.e., civilization) without 
considering that here— as in Egypt or Mesoamerica— we are always dealing with discrete, 
unique manifestations. Hardly a single one of his constituent elements is decisive. The first 
one (i.e., the earliest cities must have been more extensive and more densely settled than any 
prior settlements) is contradicted by bronze-age Biskupin and the large settlements of the 
late Latene period. The second element (differentiation between rural and urban population 
according to composition and function) is likewise untenable in view of the occupational 
specialization within populations that have been demonstrated for bronze-age Europe. The 
third element (relinquishing the surplus of farm produce to a deity or a divine king) cannot, 
in this particular form, be documented for Europe, although this need not mean that such 
tributes did not exist merely because they cannot be archeologically proved. Element four 
(truly monumental structures as symbols of the concentration of society's surplus) is attested 
for Europe by Stonehenge, Avebury, Karnak, the Nuraghen, and others, to the extent that 
they were built of stone and managed to survive. The existence of monumental timber 
structures cannot be demonstrated because of the lack of telling remains. It can scarcely 
be doubted, however, that the named examples have come about only through an institution 
that Childe has called "social surplus." Element five (the maintenance of all people not 
engaged in agriculture by means of the agrarian surplus) is sensibly applicable in Europe 
in the context of industrial facilities for mining. Otherwise, it would hardly have been 
possible to support the large labor forces that can be calculated for the Alpine copper- 
mining establishments. Elements six and seven (invention of writing and the exact sciences 
by individuals excluded from subsistence production) are not criteria for urban culture, 
since this observation holds true equally well for the comprehensive chemical (i.e., also exact) 
knowledge of the earliest metallurgists. Furthermore, it must be mentioned that the miners 
of the Urnen period had developed a system of signs, which probably served for communica- 
tion, although it cannot be called writing. Here, in the area of mining technology, knowledge 
in the exact sciences developed sooner than writing, so writing does not constitute a 
prerequisite for such knowledge. Element eight (a particular art style practiced by specialists) 


I think, then, that it is best to conclude with a date of 3000 b.c. and thereby 
make clear the process of formation that produced the rise of closed village 
cultures in the middle and lower Danubian regions and the Balkans. I am, of 
course, aware that this will make a difficult situation for those colleagues who 
are to discuss north Germany and Scandinavia; but such an absolute date may 
be especially suited for bringing to the fore the historical contrasts between the 
various cultural regions, thus gaining a point of reference for questions con- 
cerning the temporal and genetic relationship between northern, western, and 
southern Europe and the ecological area that we have here considered. 

is largely vitiated by a reference to the Nordic bronze-age art or to that of the Latene 
culture. At best, it might be said that an urban culture has monumental art of individual 
character; but even here caution is indicated, considering the art of the paleolithic. Element 
nine (purchase of imported objects with the agrarian surpluses and other interchange through 
far-reaching commerce) loses significance in view of the neolithic long-distance trade in 
obsidian, amber, and spondylus, or the bronze-age trade in copper. From this, it finally 
follows that element ten (supplying of raw materials to the specialists and security within 
a state organization) cannot be a criterion of urban culture either. What Childe thought 
possible of enumeration found manifold expression in late neolithic and bronze-age Europe 
without permitting us to think of urban culture. It does not happen to be possible for one 
sociological-economical mechanism to contain such complex and variegated historical events 
as those leading here and there to urban culture. 


Berciu, D. 

1958. "Neolithique preceramique dans les Balkans," Studi si cercetari di istorie 

veche, 9:99 ff. 

1960. "Asupra protoneoliticului europei sud-estice," Omagiu Daicoviciu, pp. 15 ff. 
Braid wood, R. J. 

1952. The Near East and the Foundations for Civilization. Eugene: University of 

Oregon Press. 

1957. Prehistoric Men. Chicago: Chicago Natural History Museum. 

1958. "Uber die Anwendung der Radiokarbon-Chronologie fur das Verstandnis der 
ersten Dorfkulturgemeinschaften in Siidwestasien," Anzeiger der osterreichischen 
Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, 95:249 ff. 

Brandtner, F. 

1949. "Die bisherigen Ergebnisse der stratigraphisch-pollenanalytischen Unter- 
suchung eines jungeiszeitlichen Moores von interstadialem Charakter aus der Umge- 
bung von Melk a.d. Donau, N6," Archaeol. Austriaca, 2:5 ff. 

1954-55. "Kamegg, eine Freilandstation des spateren Palaolithikums in Niederoster- 
reich," Mitteilungen der Prdhistorischen Kommission, 7:1 ff. 
Childe, V. G. 

1936. Man Makes Himself. London: Watts. 

1950, "The Urban Revolution," Town Planning Review, 21:3 ff. 
1958. The Prehistory of European Society. (Pelican Books, A415.) 


Cole, S. 

1959. The Neolithic Revolution. London. 
Dumitrescu, W. 

1960. "O descoperire en ceramica cri§ §i en ceramica Liniara in Transilvania de 
Sud-Est," Omagiu Daicoviciu, p. 161 ff. 

Felgenhauer, F. 

1960. "Bandkeramische Groszbauten aus Mannsworth bei Wien," Archaeol. Austri- 
aca, 27:1 ff. 


1949. Spat- und nacheiszeitliche Waldgeschichte Mitteleuropas nordlich der Alpen, 
Vol. I. 

Gabori, M. 

1960. "Der heutige Stand der Palaolithforschung in Ungarn," Archeol. Austraica, 

27:57 ff. 
Klima, B. 

1959. "Zur Problematik des Aurignacien und Gravettien in Mitteleuropa," Archaeol. 

Austriaca, 26:35 ff. 

1957. "tibersicht iiber die jiingsten palaolithischen Forschungen in Mahren," Quartdr, 
26:35 ff. 

Nicolaescu-Plopsor, C. S. 

1958. "Les phenomenes periglaciaires et la geochronologie du paleolithique superieur 
de terrasse en Roumanie," Dacia, n.s., 2:383 ff. 

1959. "Discussions autour du paleolithique finissant et du neolithique en Roumanie," 
Studi si cercetari di istorie veche. 10:221 ff. 

Petrescu-Dimbovitsa, M. 

1958. "Contributions au probleme de la culture Cri§ en Moldavie," Acta Archaeol. 
Acad. Hung. Scient., 9:53 ff. 


1950. "Beitrage zur Geschichte des Keramikums in Afrika und im Nahen Osten," 
Prahist. Forschungen, Vol. 2. 

1953. "Altweltliches Keramikum als historisches Problem," Archaeol. Austriaca, 
13:105 ff. 

1954a. Urgeschichte des osterreichischen Raumes. Wien. 

1954b. "Spateste Steinzeit und Lebensraum," Anz. Osterr. Akad. Wissenschaften, 
phil.-hist. Klasse, 91:367 ff. 

1956. "Zur Chronologie des Lithikums," Forschungen und Fortschritte, 30:370 ff. 

1957, 1959. (Ed. and comp. Der Beitrag der Radiokarbon-Methode zur absolutely 
Datierung urzeitlicher Quellen. Parts I and II, Forschungen und Fortschritte (1957), 
31:357 ff.; (1959) 33: 200 ff. 

QuiTTA, H. 

1960. "Zur Frage der altesten Bandkeramik in Mitteleuropa," Frdhistor. Zeitschr., 
38:1 ff. 

Vencl, S. 

1960. "Kamenne nastroje prvnich zemedelcu ve stredni Evrope," Sbornik Narodniho 
Muse a v Praze, Ser. A, 14:1 ff. 


1958-59. "Die Penck'sche Eiszeitgliederung und die Strahlungskurve," Quartdr, 
10-11:15 ff. 




Early developments in food production took place in such river valleys 
as the Nile, the Tigris-Euphrates, and the Indus. These rivers may have 
played an important if not decisive part in the cultural development that 
is the theme of this conference. It may therefore be useful to consider the 
prehistory of other river valleys of the same order of magnitude in different 
climatic regions. Of European rivers, the Danube and the Rhine would serve 
this purpose. 

The Rhine, with its main course flowing northward, would seem to be an 
especially suitable instance for study. By way of its tributaries, the Neckar and 
Main, there are easy connections with the Danube, and by way of the Porta 
Burgondica with the Rhone. The Rhine valley was thus directly open to in- 
fluences from both the eastern and the western Mediterranean. 

At present the lower Rhine valley is rather short. From Bonn to the Dutch 
coast the distance is only 300 kilometers. During the last ice age, however, its 
mouth lay at least 500 kilometers farther to the north. At that time, the river 
Thames was a left tributary of the Rhine. This situation persisted throughout 
the greater part of the period with which we are now concerned. After the 
separation of the British Isles from the Continent (roughly 5000 B.C.), the Rhine 
delta in its present position remained an important starting point for cultural 
influences into Britain, just as it was a bridgehead for reflected currents of 
influence (de Laet and Glasbergen, 1959). 

Traffic along the Atlantic coasts appears to have been important for thousands 
of years. The Rhine delta was thus also open to influence from Iberia and 
Brittany on one side, and from the western Baltic on the other. 

Finally, we may note that the valleys of the Maas and Scheldt connected the 
delta with the French mainland, including the Paris basin, and that to the east 
the way to the great European plain north of the German Mittelgebirge, was 
not seriously barred by the rivers Weser, Elbe, Oder, and Vistula. 

Besides the Rhine, a few other rivers contribute to the same delta: the Scheldt, 
the Maas, the Ijssel, the Vecht, and the Ems. 

More closely defined, the area under consideration corresponds to the present 
Dutch territory, adjacent parts of Germany, including parts of the Rhineland, 



Westphalia, and Lower Saxony, Belgium (north of the Alaas and Sambre), and 

France (north of the Artois downs). 

The area can roughly be divided into three zones: (a) the loess-covered hills, 
(b) the sandy plain, dissected by river and brook valleys and covered at places 
by large raised bogs, and (c) the alluvial area, partly lying below sea level. 
As a fourth zone, the now submerged parts of the late-glacial landscape in the 
North Sea can be considered. 

Figure 1. General geography, rivers, raised bog areas (stippled), 
and 180 m. contour, lower Rhine basin. 

The Riss glaciation left a more or less continuous sheet of boulder clay in 
the subsoil north of the river Vecht. The outer limit of this glaciation coincides 
more or less with the course of the Rhine and of the Lippe. 

Having geographicallly defined the lower Rhine basin, we may now proceed 
to a short survey of the prehistory of this area (de Laet and Glasbergen, 1959), 
against the background of the sequence of climatic periods (Waterbolk, 1954). 
For another special feature of the Rhine delta area is the great change in 
climate, both in temperature and degree of oceanity, that took place during 
the last 15,000 years as a direct or indirect result of the last ice age. We shall 
try to discover how man behaved under these varying circumstances of cultural 
influences and climatic changes, and to determine the type of food economy 
in the different periods. Emphasis will be laid on evidence obtained in the area 



Around 15,000 b.c. the Low Countries were still strongly influenced by the 
ice age. Snow storms swept the barren tundras. No organic remains have so far 
been found from this early period; vegetation must have been poor (van der 
Hammen, 1952). In the plain, the Riss and early Wiirm topography was flattened 
out by the deposition of the older cover-sand, and on the hills the fine material 
from the same sources was deposited as loess; pingos (frost mounds) were a 
common local feature (Maarleveld and van den Toorn, 1955). No human life 
was possible in this pleniglacial period. 

But soon the climate improved. Sand deposition ceased. The ice cores of the 
pingos melted away, leaving round, deep depressions as their trace, in which 
lakes formed. The pollen content of the sediments of these lakes gives a clear 
and vivid picture of plant life. 

In the beginning, trees were still completely lacking, but the herbaceous 
cover was luxurious and rich in species. The late-glacial vegetation contained 
not only arctic-alpine plants but also steppe elements, showing that the summer 
temperature was fairly high (Iversen, 1954). Among these plants were some 
that reappeared as weeds in cultivated fields (e.g., Centaur ea cyanus, Plantago 

Steppe elements have also been recognized in the rich fauna, which of course 
had in general a distinctly arctic character. 

The first clear climatic improvement is called the Boiling oscillation, in which 
birch trees became rather frequent. In the Rhine delta a C 14 age of 10,500 b.c. 
is found, but earlier determinations are obtained more to the south. 

A short-lived deterioration of the climate (around 10,000 b.c), in which 
tundra conditions again prevailed must be contemporaneous throughout the 
area. The next improvement of climate is the well-known Allerod oscillation, 
which in our area can be neatly divided into two parts, a birch and a birch-pine 
stage. Especially in the latter, the forest must have been fairly dense, since, in 
the pollen diagram herb percentages show only very low values. 

Then the Wiirm ice age produced its last, very cold stage (the upper Dryas 
period). Over a period of some 1,000 years, the forest dwindled again. The 
pine trees died; and, although the birches continued to grow locally, they did 
not prevent the sand from starting to blow again. The younger cover-sand was 
deposited often at the expense of the older cover-sand. New topographical 
features were added, for the younger cover-sand was often deposited in the 
form of ridges. Locally, even actual dunes were formed. 

The enormous expanses of dead pinewood that remained were easily set on 
fire. A single lightning bolt or a careless human act or volcanic activity in the 
Eifel might have caused enormous forest fires. What we find in the cover-sand 
region is that the buried soil profile of the Allerod period ("Usselo layer"), is 
everywhere rich in charcoal, dating from the transition of the Allerod period 
to the upper Dryas period at ca. 9000 b.c (de Vries, Barendsen, and Waterbolk, 


Through all these different stages the plant and animal life was relatively 
rich compared with what may be observed in the present-day circumpolar 
region. This fact is essential for the understanding of the human activity of 
this period. 

The Hamburgian reindeer-hunters were probably the first to enter the delta. 
Their beautiful flint industries have been found only in the northeastern part 
of the area (Bohmers, 1956). A few radiocarbon determinations suggest an age 
of about 11,000 B.C. On typological grounds, two stages may be distinguished. 
The well-known investigations of Rust and his co-workers at the classic sites 
of Meiendorf and Stellmoor near Hamburg are our main source of informa- 
tion about the way of life of these specialized reindeer-hunter communities 
(Schwantes, 1958). 

On pollen-analytical grounds, the sites near Hamburg seem to have been 
occupied well before the optimum of the Boiling oscillation. So far, no finds 
can be attributed with certainty to the Boiling oscillation proper or to the cold 
phase following it. There are present in the area, however, a few upper 
paleolithic flint assemblages of a different type that might fall into these periods; 
i.e., the Cheddarian and the Creswellian. The first term has recently been coined 
for a small group of surface sites in the Netherlands with flint industries identical 
to those of some caves in the Cheddar Gorge near Bristol in England. Both 
cultures illustrate the existence of a land bridge between Britain and the 
Continent. It should be repeated, however, that the geological age is still 

Scattered all over the sandy eastern and southern parts of the area are sites 
belonging to the Tjongerian culture (Bohmers, 1956). Together with the 
Creswellian, this culture can be considered as part of the "Federmesserzivilisation" 
of Schwabedissen (1944&). At a few places the culture layer is situated in the 
Allerod soil-profile. A recent excavation of a site on the shore of a former 
lake has shown that the site dates from the birch phase of the Allerod period 
(Bohmers and van Zeist, unpublished). A number of varieties of the Tjongerian 
culture can be distinguished on the basis of flint typology, but it is not yet 
certain whether they reflect chronological stages or different hunting groups. 

Gravette points are characteristic for the Tjongerians. That they were actually 
points was recently nicely illustrated by the finding of a jawbone of a giant 
Irish deer in which the top part of a Gravettian point was found embedded. 

The Tjongerians must have been hunters. They lived in an environment in 
which the forest already played an important part. Animals of a different kind 
had now appeared (e.g., elk, beaver, and bear), and the large herds of reindeer 
had probably moved northward. But our knowledge of the Tjongerian food 
economy is still insufficient. We need a site like Meiendorf or Stellmoor really 
to illustrate the Tjongerian culture, but on the dry and acid cover-sands, con- 
ditions for the preservation of bone and antler materials are very poor. 

Sites of the type of the Tjongerian and related cultures do not occur north of 
Hamburg. This may have been due to a climatic factor or to a limit of some 


essential food factor, but, also, it may have been due to the presence farther 
north of the Bromme-Lyngby people. The southern limit of the Lyngby points 
coincides with the northern limit of the Tjongerian culture. The now submerged 
parts of the North Sea may have been inhabited by the Bromme-Lyngby people. 
The single find of a Lyngby point in the northern Netherlands might be taken 
to point in this direction. 

jgj Ahrensburgian 

Figure 2. Distribution of the Hamburgian, Tjongerian, 
and Ahrensburgian materials, lower Rhine basin. 

We do not know what happened to the Tjongerians in the following cold 
period, the upper Dryas time. The forest fires and climatic deterioriation sud- 
denly caused a great change in the environment for man. 

Finds from the upper Dryas period are restricted to the southern part of the 
area. At the foot of the loess-covered hills on both sides of the river Maas a 
fair number of sites have been found that pertain to the Ahrensburg reindeer- 
hunter culture, again described so well by Rust in the Hamburg area. Possibly 
the reindeer herds, for unknown reasons, followed a more southerly course on 
their annual wanderings through the plain. At one site, a habitation layer of 
Ahrensburgian type was found within the younger cover-sand. 

A few typical Ahrensburgian bone implements have been dug up from the 
beds of the A4aas by suction dredgers. So far, however, no bone industries have 
been found in situ. 



About 8000 B.C. the climate again improved suddenly. The glaciers quickly 
withdrew northward. Birchwoods grew dense again (the Preboreal), and in not 
more than a few centuries pine reached dominance (the Boreal). For some 3,000 
years this tree characterized the vegetation in the lower Rhine basin. During 
the course of the Boreal period, warmth-loving trees successively appeared, first 
hazel, then elm and oak, and finally lime, alder, and ash. 

The sea level rose, precipitation increased, and lakes were formed in de- 
pressions in the cover-sand topography. Britain was still, however, attached to 
the Continent. Summer temperatures soon rose to present-day heights, but 
winters remained cold. 

Northern European pine woods are not normally very dense, and the sunlight 
reaching the soil will always be more abundant than in deciduous forests. 
Grasses and other herbs may thrive in such circumstances, and there will be 
plenty of food for game of different kinds. If we consider that there were still 
many lakes present in this period (although small and shallow ones), with their 
fish and waterfowl, we must conclude that the Boreal environment was very 
suitable for man. 

Once again, we must rely in great part on evidence obtained in other areas 
to get full insight into the circumstances of life in those days. Nevertheless, the 
mesolithic has been intensively studied in the Low Countries during the last 
ten years, and interesting facts have come to light (Bohmers, 1956). 

Wherever the younger cover-sand in the sandy zone forms ridges or hills 
a few meters high, one finds at least a few flints of mesolithic character. Very 
often sand dunes have formed on such places in more recent times, and the flints 
are then found at the bottom of the blown-out valleys, where they may have 
taken on a secondary luster as the result of wind polish. Such is the case in the 
Hulshorst dunes in the Veluwe and in many other inland dune areas. During 
the last few years some sites have been excavated where flints were found more 
or less in situ, affected only by soil formation and the activity of animals and 

At Haule, Siegerswoude, and other places, Bohmers (unpublished) found- 
apart from numerous flints— dwelling pits with circular or oval outline (diameters, 
2.0-3.0 meters) and small pits (diameters, 0.5 meters) full of charcoal, some- 
times with a few burned flints and broken stones of fist size. These fireplaces 
occur both inside and outside the larger pits. 

Fireplaces of this type are frequently met with, and a number of C 14 de- 
terminations have been obtained from them. The surprising result is that all 
of them fall within the late Boreal period (de Vries and Waterbolk, 1958), 
even though the flint industries show fairly broad differences— for example, in 
the presence of such items as trapezoidal arrowheads and surface-retouch. 
Whether these differences represent minor differences in age, or different 
hunting groups, or both remains uncertain for the time being. 


Only one group of sites is probably exceptional. Because of their typological 
affinities to the Ahrensburgian culture, these sites are probably somewhat older 
than the others (Preboreal or early Boreal). 

There is, however, other evidence pointing to the presence of hunting groups 
in this early period. First, the dugout canoe of Pesse (early Boreal; C 14 age, 
6500 b.c.) can be mentioned (van Zeist, 1957). This canoe (length 3.0 meters) 
was made from a pine trunk and hollowed out by fire. Its prow and stern ends 
could be distinguished. It was found near the center of a small peat-filled 
depression at a depth of 2.0 meters, in layers containing pollen of such plants as 
water lily and Potamogeton, indicating a last stage of open water. 

Second, a curious phenomenon should be mentioned. At a neolithic site 
near Anlo, some thirteen horseshoe-shaped depressions (length, 3.0 meters; 
breadth, 2.5 meters) were found (Waterbolk, 1960, and in press), without 
characteristic identifying finds but so vaguely outlined that a high age was 
probable. Radiocarbon determinations for the site, including one pit with neo- 
lithic finds, gave ages of more than 6000 B.C., showing the presence of early 
mesolithic charcoal at the site. Although hardly any mesolithic flints were 
found, it seems probable that these horseshoe-shaped depressions were dug by 
mesolithic people, probably for some types of hut. The depressions remind us 
of some structures found by Rust (1958) on the Pinnberg. 

Pits of this type seem to occur fairly regularly. At another site such a pit 
was found to be cut through by a mesolithic fire-place of the ordinary type. 

All the mesolithic sites can be assigned to the western group of Schwabedissen 
(1944), occurring west of the Elbe. They are found on both sides of the Rhine. 
True microliths of many different types occur in large numbers, but there 
are no core and flake axes, so characteristic for Schwabedissen's northern group. 

A number of bone and antler harpoons with one row of barbs, found along 
the Scheldt and its tributaries, are generally attributed to the Maglemosian 
culture. Other harpoons have been dredged up by fishermen from the bottom 
of the North Sea. It is clear that the now submerged parts of the North Sea 
were inhabitated in Boreal times, and the people living in these swampy regions 
may well have belonged to the Duvensee or Maglemosian cultures of the 
northern group. 

The hunting of game of different kinds (red deer, roe deer, pig, oxen), as well 
as fishing, must have played an important part in the economy of these cultures, 
and one may assume that the collecting of plant food was important as well. 
But there is no direct evidence for this or for any cultivation. Pollen analysis has 
so far only shown a slight increase of Chenopodiaceae, but these plants may 
have settled spontaneously on the organic refuse of the settlements. There are 
no mortars, pestles, or any stone implements other than such items as flint points 
and scrapers to suggest the exploitation of plants. 

It is a curious feature that no bog sites are known comparable to such as 
those of Maglemose, Star Carr (Clark, 1954), and Pinnberg. Perhaps the in- 
habitants of the sandy plain relied less on fish and waterfowl than did their 


northern neighbors, who always kept to the lake and river sides. Even on the 
Veluwe, where lakes have always been very rare, mesolithic sites are common. 
Although sites are numerous, the actual population was probably very small. 
Large quantities of flint artifacts are seldom found. Most sites yield only a few 
worked objects. The absence of lakes of any importance compared with the 
"Jungmoraine" landscape of northern Germany may have caused a more in- 
tensive wandering than was necessary for the northern mesolithic groups. 

The Boreal was followed about 5500 b.c. by the Atlantic period. The sea 
invaded the greater part of the Rhine delta and the climate acquired a definitely 
oceanic character. Pine lost its dominance, and varied types of deciduous woods 
covered the area. On wet places alder and ash played an important part. 
Elsewhere the oak dominated, with birch on poorer soils and elm and lime on 
better soils. 

The increasing precipitation led to raised bog formation wherever lakes had 
become full or water stagnated in the woods in broad river valleys. Pollen 
analysis has shown that the greater part of the late-glacial and Boreal lakes 
changed into raised bogs. Some remaining ponds lost their eutrophic character 
and became oligotrophic. It is clear that this new environment of dense woods 
and huge raised bogs was much less suitable for man. It cannot be an accident 
that in this period no finds have been made in those areas that were generally 
inhabitable in Boreal times. 

One site must be singled out. It is situated on a sandy promontory at the shore 
of a relatively large depression, de Leijen, in Friesland, which, according to 
pollen analysis, was still a lake in early Atlantic times (van Zeist, unpublished). 
As a result of recent peat digging, it is now again a lake. In the culture layers, 
quantities of charcoal were found, including the remains of hazelnuts and spikes 
of Trapa fruits. The flint industry must be attributed to the northern mesolithic 
(Bohmers, unpublished). No bone or antler remains came to light. The radio- 
carbon determinations suggest an early Atlantic age (5000 B.C.). 

A site with a related flint inventory was found along the Maas in Dutch 
Limburg, but no date is available so far. It may also fall within the Atlantic 
period, but this would hardly affect our observation that there is a great contrast 
in habitation density between the Boreal and the Atlantic periods. 


When neolithic men appeared in the area, they thus found a practically 
uninhabited landscape, covered by dense woods, interrupted only by raised 
bogs (varying in size from a few acres to many square miles) and by stream 
valleys with their marshy winter beds. The coastal area showed a complicated 
and ever changing pattern of open water, salt marshes, sand banks, creeks, and 
raised bogs on poorly drained areas (Pons and Wiggers, 1959-60). 

One feature in the coastal area soon became fairly constant, a system of parallel 


ridges or sand banks, on which dunes were formed. It was behind these dunes 
that the Rhine delta gradually acquired its present shape, but the continuous 
sedimentation, the rising of the sea level, and the subsidence of the land remained 
to cause great changes in the delta pattern. 

Neither these newly formed alluvial areas nor the sandy plains witnessed 
the first neolithic settlers, however, but rather the loess-covered middle terraces 
of the Rhine and the Maas in the southeastern part of our area. Here a vegetation 
formed in which lime and elm played an important role and which was just as 
dense as all other oak woods in the area and certainly was not attractive for 
neolithic man through inherent openness, as has often been thought. 

In recent years the Bandkeramik in the Netherlands has been the subject of 
intensive investigation, as a glance at the journal Palaeohistoria (e.g., 1959) will 
indicate. At three sites, areas of more than three acres each were excavated 
(Sittard, Geleen, Elslo) with the result that as many as six stages can now be 
distinguished, on the basis both of house typology and pottery development. 
A cemetery was also found. The sites of Sittard and Elslo were permanently 
inhabited. This is clear from consideration of the gradual changes in house 
types and pottery styles. There is no reason at all to assume breaks in the 
habitation. Reconsideration of the evidence obtained at the classical site of 
Koln-Lindenthal (Buttler and Haberey, 1936), in the light of the new facts, also 
does not support the old theory of a Wander bauerntum. 

The houses of Sittard and Elslo were always built of wood. A kind of floor 
may have been made of loam dug out of irregular pits alongside the houses, but 
these were not burnt as in the Tripolye settlements. Nor, apparently, were the 
wattle-and-daub walls burnt. The climate would not permit the utilization of 
mud bricks. This, in combination with the dissolving and oxydizing effects of the 
high precipitation in this area, may be the main reason that no tells were formed, 
as is the case in southeastern Europe and beyond. 

The houses of the older phase were all equally large (28.0-36.0 meters long) 
and show a familiar subdivision into three different parts, each of which probably 
had its own function. In the younger phases, however, houses with the same sub- 
division were present, but besides these "complete" houses we find houses in 
which one or two functional parts are reduced or lacking. This points to a certain 
differentiation within the settlement, and in this respect a distinct step toward 
urbanization can be observed. Near one of the "reduced" houses so much flint was 
found that one might assume the house to have been the flintworker's house. In 
the very youngest stage the obvious threefold division of the buildings seems to 
be lost. The central part of the houses is always present. When occurring alone, 
it has a plan resembling the megaron type. 

Throughout all the phases, contacts with other parts of the Bandkeramik area 
persisted. At first no difference at all can be observed between the Dutch and the 
Moravian sites, but gradually local styles were developed. Nevertheless, in the 
shapes of the pots, in the occurrence of Notenkopfe (or punctate decoration on 
the pottery) in various familiar ways, and in a few imports, among other things, 


features common to the whole of the Bandkeramik manifestation can be observed. 

A striking feature is the fact that the flint industry was well developed in the 
Netherlands, while flint artifacts are less common in middle Europe. In that area, 
however, shoe-last celts and their fragments are far more frequently found than 
in the west. The rocks from which shoe-last celts were made are alien to our 
area. Was there an exchange of flint for the celt adzes? If so, we may reckon 
with the possibility that exploitation of the Maastrichtian flint at Ryckholt (see 
below) could go back to this period. 

A remarkable fact is that every settlement contains one house that is some- 
what larger than the rest, built according to the same principles of internal sub- 
division, but with a much heavier wall. There is one example at Geleen, two at 
Sittard (one of the earlier type and one of a later type), one at Elslo, one at 
Arnsbach, two at Koln-Lindenthal Nordring, and one at Koln-Lindenthal Sudring. 
The wall construction of these houses conforms everywhere to the type of that 
of the northwestern part of the ordinary houses (i.e., the foundation trench with 
posts, no parallel loam pits). 

It looks as if these buildings had a special function, perhaps a ritual one, and in 
that case one might assume that the similarly built part of the ordinary buildings 
had a function of the same kind. Since soil conditions do not permit us to find 
floors with hearths, altars, etc., no proof of this assumption can be given. 

Dutch Bandkeramik settlements occur in a circle along the edge of a loess 
plateau of fifteen square miles at such short distances that it seems rather im- 
probable that we should find all six stages everywhere, if the old Wanderbauern- 
tum theory were the correct one. One does observe a gradual displacement of 
the settlement at Sittard and Elslo. At Geleen the shift seems to have amounted 
to one mile. In this respect Koln-Lindenthal shows the opposite: here the settle- 
ment seems always to have been at the same place. But not even here was a 
building intersected by a later one more than once. Apparently, in general, new 
houses were built between existing buildings. 

At Sittard traces of a fence belonging, as in Koln-Lindenthal, to the middle 
phase of the settlement have been found. Inside the fences there was room for 
about fifteen houses. 

Radiocarbon determinations do not yet allow an estimation of the duration of 
the settlements, but one might assume some 300 years (for example 4200-3900 
B.C.). The Belgian sites west of the Maas have a predominantly young character. 

Although typically continental and bound to the loess soils, the distribution 
pattern of the Bandkeramik shows the great importance of such rivers as the 
Rhine, Danube, and Elbe for the diffusion of the culture and for its internal 
connections. Often a predilection for riverside sites can be observed within a 
broad expanse of loess. 

It is regrettable that the deeply decalcified loess of the area has only rarely 
preserved bones and other organic material. Some Belgian sites have yielded 
remains of cow, sheep, goat, and pig, as well as deer, boar, birds, and fish. Our 
picture of the ecology of the Bandkeramik settlements thus remains incomplete. 


Still, I believe that sufficient evidence is being brought forward to ask for a 
reappraisal of the Bandkeramik manifestation. 

The permanent character of the settlements, the long-range trade, the flint 
exploitation and industry, the functional differentiation of the buildings, and the 
presence of one large building per settlement are important features, which show 
that the Bandkeramik peasants were well on the way toward urbanism. In the 
opinion of the author the Bandkeramik settlements in the Low Countries exhibit 
a level of barbarism higher than that which followed it. This higher level was 
only regained late in the iron age. 

At first glance it seems surprising that the very oldest phase of the Bandkeramik 
(i.e., the alter e Linienbandkeramik, without Notenkopfe) is present at the extreme 
northwest of its area of distribution. This fact does not agree with the commonly 
accepted theory that Bandkeramik farmers spread from a center in southeastern 
Europe. A better explanation would be the assumption of a pre-Bandkeramik phase 
in middle Europe (Quitta, 1960). Radiocarbon determinations for the Starcevo 
culture in Yugoslavia give us at least 700 years for the establishment of such a 
phase (Waterbolk, 1960). In the Starcevo culture those elements of plastic decora- 
tion occur that we find in the Bandkeramik, besides the dominant incised linear 
motifs so uniquely characteristic of this culture. 

An essential precondition of the explosive expansion of the Bandkeramik must 
have been the culture's adaptation to a forest environment. If we realize that the 
forest-adapted Bandkeramik and the tell-building culture of Vinca both devel- 
oped on the same or at least a related substratum (the Starcevo-Koros complex), 
it seems reasonable to suppose that this adaptation to the forest took place some- 
where in the area of the Starcevo-Koros complex. It may have happened early in 
the fifth millennium b.c. or even before. 

This cultural complex occurs far to the southeast. A direct influence from the 
other side of the Dardanelles would even seem possible. However, Milojcic's 
(1959) recent excavation of a prepottery neolithic culture in Thessaly suggests 
other interesting possibilities for the origins of food production in Europe. 

Nothing of the Bandkeramik culture survived directly in our loess area. Whether 
the climate, the soil, or the technique of agriculture prevented the establishment 
here of an equilibrium between man and his environment such as was achieved in 
the Balkans is a problem common to large parts of the area of the Bandkeramik, 
and no solution is so far evident. 

Quite unexpectedly, the Bandkeramik does not seem to have been of much 
direct importance for the neolithization of the lowlands north of the loess belt. 
A northward spread could not have happened in our area, since the sandy plain 
seems to have been completely depopulated by 4000 b.c. But even in Schleswig- 
Holstein and Denmark, where the early Atlantic Oldesloe-Gudenaa culture pre- 
ceded the Ellerbek-Ertebolle culture, Bandkeramik influences were restricted to 
a few doubtful shoe-last celts. Schwabedissen (this volume) has been able to 
show that incipient cultivation and stock-breeding in these areas were accom- 


panied by pottery types with convincingly clear western affinities. Schwabedissen 
shares Troels-Smith's (1953) view that the classical Ertebolle culture was semi- 

Of special interest for us are Schwabedissen's finds from Bad Zwischenahn and 
the Diimmer in Oldenburg, at the eastern boundary of our area. So far, only 
one Dutch pottery find can probably be added; a vessel from Eibergen, already 
referred to by Liiudik-Kaelas (1955). 

ill Rossen 
• Early Western Pottery 

Figure 3. Distribution of the Bandkeramik and Rossen materials, 
and of early western pottery, lower Rhine basin. 

At the southern border of our area, on the hills just south of the loess area, 
remnants have been found of the Campignian (Nougier, 1950), including the 
Pre campignian. This culture occupies large parts of France and Belgium. The 
flint industry has many traits in common with that of the Ellerbek-Ertebolle cul- 
ture (e.g., flake axes, triangular tools). Sometimes potsherds are found, but the 
association is never certain. Radiocarbon determinations are not available, so until 
now the chronological position of the Campignian may be determined only by 
referring to the Ertebolle resemblances. 

Although many things have still to be cleared up by new excavations, it now 
seems probable that the Campignian played an important role in the transmission 
of new ideas, derived probably from the Cardium culture of southern France. 

Whether the gap between the Campignian and the Ellerbek-Ertebolle culture 
will ever be bridged in the well-investigated sandy plain seems doubtful. One 
could think either of the hills along the edges of the Mittelgebirge or of the 


submerged parts of the coastal area as holding the answer to this problem. 

Many Bandkeramik traditions were continued by the Rossen culture. No 
certain finds of this culture have so far been recognized in the Netherlands and 
Belgium, but they do occur sporadically in the adjacent parts of Germany. 

The flint and stone industry, so uniform in the Danube area, connects the 
Rossen culture with the Bandkeramik, but the pottery has a distinct character 
of its own— in fabric, shape, and decoration. Characteristic are the trapeze-shaped 
houses, which have many features in common with the later Bandkeramik houses. 
A single radiocarbon determination supports the assumption that the Rossen 
culture is a younger derivative of the Bandkeramik. 

The Rossen culture has played an important part in the development of 
advanced neolithic groups in the plains (Behrens, 1959). Its pottery has many 
traits in common with the northwest German-Dutch province of the funnel- 
beaker culture (see below). 

For the period between 3200 and 2400 b.c. there is a great difference between 
the area north of the Rhine and that south of it. The funnel-beaker culture 
occupied the area north of the Rhine, with only a single outpost in the Dutch 
province of North Brabant. Concentrations can be noted in the Humling, just 
over the river Ems, and in eastern Drenthe. Characteristic of this culture are its 
megalithic grave monuments. 

This culture occupies large parts of northern and eastern Germany and the 
Baltic. It must have originated, according to Schwabedissen, locally in northern 
Germany and Denmark under influences from the east. Within this culture the 
Drenthe-Emsland group occupies a special position. Recently evidence has been 
brought forward (Liiudik-Kaelas, 1955) that suggests that this group might not 
be as late as has hitherto been generally assumed. The beginning would fall 
within the Scandinavian early neolithic C group. 

As early as 3200 b.c. distinct traces of cultivation of cereals can be observed 
in the pollen diagrams (van Zeist, 1959), but a radiocarbon determination for a 
flat grave below the mound of a megalithic monument of the ordinary type 
yielded only 2700 b.c. 

There is thus an interesting pre-megalithic period at 3200-2700 b.c, in which 
incipient cultivation may have taken place but which cannot yet be illustrated 
by corresponding archeological material. In any case, it starts much later than 
in northern Germany, and this would suggest that a slow diffusion took place 
from that area. In this respect it is interesting to note also that the Dutch 
megaliths are of later age than are those in the apparently more nuclear northern 

The variety of pottery styles found in the megalithic tombs points to a long 
use of these monuments. At first glance one might suppose that the settlements, 
too, should have had a permanent character, but this does not seem to have been 
the case. For, at the few known settlement sites in our area, the pottery belongs to 
one style only. The megalithic tombs, therefore, seem to have been the ritual 
centers for communities that might have shifted their actual settlements just as 


often as their presumed slash-and-burn economy made necessary. A site at Anlo 
(Waterbolk, 1960) was stripped off carefully over an area of three acres. Many 
pits were found, but no traces of post holes could be observed. Houses cannot, 
therefore, have been of the same type as those of the Bandkeramik settlements. 
Perhaps they were of the same small size as the huts found at Dummerlohausen in 
Oldenburg (ca. 4.0 X 5.0 meters) and were not founded deeply (Reinerth, 1939). 

Besides agriculture (emmer, wheat, and barley) and cattle-raising, hunting, 
fishing, and fruit-collecting were of great importance, as is shown by the Diimmer 
finds. According to pollen analysis of the old surface below the megalithic 
mounds (Waterbolk, 1956), the surrounding landscape had an open character, 
with many herbs of different kinds, bracken, and heather— in short, a vegetation 
that might be expected on deserted fields. Locally, a heather podsol profile was 
developed. No indications were found for permanent cattle-grazing as with 
later cultures (see below). 

In the pollen diagrams of the bogs in the inhabited area, human influence can 
be detected only by counting large numbers of pollen grains. This means that 
the funnel-beaker people made only few and small clearings in the forest. 

An interesting point is the decline of elm, which can be observed at the same 
pollen level at which the first traces of agriculture appear. In the discussion 
on the interpretation of this phenomenon, Van Zeist (1959) was able to endorse 
Troels-Smith's anthropogenic explanation. Elm leaves must have been the main 
fodder for the cattle. 

Trade is attested by a few copper spirals from Silesia, amber beads, British jet 
beads, and probably also Baltic flint axes. 

Meager though this evidence is, it tends to suggest that the funnel-beaker 
culture did not surpass the cultural level of that of the Bandkeramik. The 
megalithic monuments and the pottery attest a great skill in many respects, but 
so far nothing points to a labor differentiation within the communities. 

Around 2400 B.C., when new peoples invaded the area, the funnel-beaker culture 
suddenly came to an end. Hardly any of its many distinctive features seem to 
have survived into the later periods. 

In the southern part of the Rhine delta we meet a completely different situation. 
Mainly along the Middle Rhine, but also along the Saale, Weser, and Elbe, as 
far as they flow through the Mittelgebirge, the Michelsberg culture of undisputed 
Western origin is present. A number of regional groups can be distinguished 
(Scollar, 1959). The Belgian sites form one of these groups. 

A remarkable feature in the Belgian Michelsberg culture is the flint mines, as at 
Spiennes. Exported pieces have been found as far away as Coblenz. It is very 
probable that the flint mines at Ryckholt in the Netherlands were also exploited 
by the Michelsberg people, but so far only little pottery has been found. A 
reinvestigation of this important site will take place in the coming years. 

The finds of Lommel, occuring on the cover-sand plain, show that at least the 
Belgian group did leave the main river valleys and the Mittelgebirge. The peoples 
of this group might have occupied the Campine, which in the middle neolithic 
elsewhere would seem to be unoccupied. In brook valleys in this area, finds of 


antler or bone artifacts have been made fairly often, and in the older literature 
these have been attributed to the Robenhausian. In reality, it is quite possible 
that the artifacts were made by the Michelsberg people. 

Figure 4. Distribution of Michelsberg, funnel-beaker, 
and coastal materials, lower Rhine basin. 

The absolute age of the Michelsberg culture would, on the basis of existing 
radiocarbon determinations, seem to be at the beginning of the third millennium 
B.C., but Schwabedissen (1960) assumes that the manifestation started a few 
centuries earlier. 

The fact is interesting that Campignian influences have been seen in the 
Michelsberg flint industry. This, too, points to the importance of the Campignian 
as a substratum for the neolithization of western Europe. 

Recent finds have shown the presence of a third culture in the Rhine delta 
around the middle of the third millennium b.c. These finds occur not in the 
actual dune district but on sand flats or sandy creek banks in the lee of the 
dunes. The finds are often covered by younger sediments and lie below present- 
day sea level. They consist of the habitation places of a people who until recently 
were difficult to place in a European context. The number of sites is small, 
distinctive pottery types are scarce, and there seem to be fairly large differences 
among them. Relationships have been sought in both a northern and a southern 
direction, but recently, at Vlaardingen, Glasbergen was able to point to distinct 


Chassey B affinities on the basis of rich pottery finds. Ecologically, this provi- 
sionally named coastal culture (de Laet and Glasbergen, 1959) is certainly related 
to the Ellerbek-Ertebolle culture. Though it is much younger, the coastal culture 
somehow bridges the gap between the Ellerbek-Ertebolle culture and the 
Campignian. It suggests the possibility of earlier contacts along the Atlantic 

Leaving the origin of this coastal culture aside, we can state that these 
communities were adapted to delta life. They lived on temporarily dry banks 
and relied mainly on hunting and fishing. Shell mounds including fish remains 
were found at two places; numerous remains of sturgeon were identified at a 
third. The fragments of a net were found as well. Bones of the domesticated 
cow occur. That the people tilled even small plots seems to be improbable on 
environmental considerations. Querns have been found, however. Possibly they 
provided themselves with cereals by trading some of their products to their 
relatives on the sandy uplands, although the distances were at least some 50 
kilometers as the crow flies. From two of the sites there is proof of direct con- 
nections with the sandy uplands, as we shall see in one of the following paragraphs. 
Further interesting facts about the coastal culture are being brought forward 
by Glasbergen's still-continuing excavations at Vlaardingen, where conditions for 
preservation of organic material are extremely good. 

At about 2400 B.C. the area north of the Rhine was invaded by a new people, 
easily recognizable both by their material equipment and by the effects they 
produced on the landscape. Their settlements are scarcely known, but their 
graves are common, both as flat graves and as tumuli (van der Waals and 
Glasbergen, 1955). These may contain a cord-decorated protruding-foot beaker, 
a long flint dagger blade, a small flint axe, and, rarely, a stone battle axe or a 
second axe or second pot. Often only one of these objects is present. These 
groups doubtless belong to the well-known complex of the corded-ware or 
battle-axe cultures that really originated on the south-Russian plains. They 
entered our area through the plains north of the German Mittelgebirge. 

From the distribution of these corded beakers it seems clear that the newcomers 
at first avoided the areas of dense funnel-beaker settlements. Their makers pene- 
trated far to the west, and eventually reached the coastal site of Zandwerven. 
This is important, since, in general, the distribution of the corded ware is very 
continental; unlike the bell beakers, it does not cross the North Sea. If anything, 
this shows that the coastal culture, mentioned above, had connections with the 
sandy uplands. Typologically later beakers— with herringbone and zig-zag orna- 
mentation—are also found in areas with dense megalithic habitation and on the 
eastern bank of the river Maas. 

Stray finds of battle axes are fairly common. In Lower Saxony it has been 
found that the typologically earliest types of battle axes strictly avoid the areas 
of dense megalithic habitation. This nicely confirms the Dutch observations that 


are based on pottery distribution. Early protruding-foot beakers (abbreviated 
"p.-f. beakers") have not been found south of the Maas. 

The influence of these immigrants on the landscape was enormous (Water- 
bolk, 1956). In a short time such large openings had been made in the forests 
that these are reflected in every pollen diagram in the area, even in those from 
the center of large raised bogs, miles away from inhabited country (van Zeist, 
1959). Everywhere an increase of the lanceolate plantain weed is the most con- 
spicuous feature, but it is accompanied by an increase of sorrel, grasses, and 
other herbs. The same pollen types show extremely high values in the spectra 
of barrows belonging to this culture. Furthermore, radiocarbon measurements 
on peat samples from this pollen level yield the same result— 2400 B.C.— as those 
of charcoal from the graves. 

Following Iversen's (1949) reasoning, there can be no doubt that the p.-f.- 
beaker culture had large herds, which grazed freely over the landscape that had 
been opened by the clearance-fire method. Grain imprints in pottery and pollen 
finds below barrows suggest that the people had some grain fields as well, but 
a heavy accent doubtless lay on cattle-raising. 

At Anlo a cattle kraal was excavated (Waterbolk, 1960). It consisted of 
a deep foundation trench with heavy posts, enlarged twice, enclosing an area 
of about one acre, in which not a single post hole was observed. Near two of 
the three entrances typical cattle sluices were found. The kraal was strati- 
graphically older than some pits that were dug in the earliest part of the bronze 
age and most probably belongs to the p.-f.-beaker culture. It extended partially 
over a settlement site of the Havelte stage of the funnel-beaker culture. It seems 
likely that the invaders deliberately chose this site. Perhaps they caused the de- 
parture of the former inhabitants. Outside the kraal a few flat graves with p.-f. 
beakers were found. 

From the foregoing emerges a picture agreeing well with the current views 
of the battle-axe cultures, of groups of warlike herdsmen migrating quickly along 
existing continental pathways. Although at first they occupied only the unsettled 
areas, they soon brought distress to the more sedentary people of the funnel- 
beaker culture, whose independent existence cannot subsequently be traced. 

Less than two centuries later, new groups of invaders arrived in the delta, 
characterized by corded beakers of a different shape; in fact, these are bell beakers, 
as is clearly shown by the presence of internal rim decoration, by the external 
decoration being present from rim to base, by the associated finds (wrist pro- 
tectors, etc.), and by the barrow types. The pots are considered to be bell 
beakers influenced by the p.-f. beakers (van der Waals and Glasbergen, 1955). 
At the site of Anlo they occurred in the same flat-grave cemetery as did typical 
p.-f. beakers. 

The over-all distribution pattern of these all-over-corded bell beakers is, how- 
ever, quite different from that of the p.-f. beakers. They occur mainly along the 


Rhine below Coblenz, but their distribution extends to the west, on both sides 
of the river Maas. They occur also in Britain, which definitely proves that their 
makers were familiar with water transport. Pollen analysis has not yet given 
us a clear picture of the economy of these peoples, but we may assume that they 
followed the example of their immediate forerunners. 

The group mentioned above has brought us into contact with the bell-beaker 
world as a whole. So far, there are no radiocarbon determinations that tell us 
definitely when the bell-beaker people arrived. It may have been a little later 
than the corded-beaker people, but one would expect that they would be earlier 
than the makers of all-over-corded beakers, who were present as early as 
2100 B.C. 

The earliest bell beakers in the Rhine delta belong to the pan-European type. 
It is probable that the bell-beaker people arrived in the delta by ship along the 
Atlantic coasts. Indeed, their seaborne character makes a strong contrast with 
the continental corded-beaker groups. On the other hand, even more than these 
groups, the bell-beaker people sought the old places of habitation. In Drenthe, 
the earliest bell beakers are found within the area of dense megalithic habitation. 
Not infrequently bell-beaker sherds are met with in the contents of megalithic 
monuments. A like situation exists in Spain and Brittany. Bell beakers have been 
found in at least three places in the coastal area. 

So far, little pollen data is available from the grave monuments. It shows a 
vegetation much more like that around megaliths than around the monuments 
of the corded-beaker people. Apparently bell-beaker people were not specialized 
herdsmen like the latter. On the other hand, trade certainly was important; such 
things as amber, gold, and copper daggers were transported over large distances. 
But perhaps the most important trade stuff was salt, as has been recently suggested. 

Apart from these three different beaker groups (the protruding-foot-beaker 
group, the all-over-corded-beaker group, and the true bell-beaker group), a 
fourth manifestation must be mentioned, the Seine-Oise-Marne culture (abbrevi- 
ated "S.O.M. culture"). The S.O.M. people entered our area through the valleys 
of the Sambre and Maas but scarcely penetrated into the actual plain. Thus in 
this period, too, the area between the Scheldt and the Maas seems to have been 
less densely inhabited than the region north of the Rhine. Future investigations, 
however, may change the picture. The Michelsberg, Chassey B Beaker, and 
S.O.M. cultures may all have been more common in this area than would 
appear from the extant finds. 

After these first immigrations in the centuries around 2000 B.C., local develop- 
ments began taking place. Although no definite archeological proof can be given, 
one might suppose that the old population of the funnel-beaker culture was 
incorporated into the local bell-beaker groups. In the pottery and grave in- 


ventories, influences of both p.-f.- and bell-beaker groups can often be dis- 
tinguished. Such high plantain values are found in the pollen spectra that cattle- 
grazing seems to have played an important part in the economy. 

One local group must be mentioned especially— the makers of the beautiful 
bell beakers of Velwwe type, which occur in great number on the Veluwe but 
only sporadically in the surrounding areas. It is to be regretted that, so far, no 
settlement sites of this group have been excavated. 

At about 2000 b.c. two timber trackways were built in a large raised bog in 
Drenthe. On one of these trackways a wheel was found. Perhaps the main 
purpose of the tracks was to bridge the wet zone between the sandy uplands and 
the rivers. In this way they would have served the long-distance contacts already 
suggested. That these contacts were maintained throughout the late beaker 
period is well attested by the grave finds. A highly characteristic group of 
imports in late beaker times is formed by daggers of Grand Pressigny flint. 
Their main distribution runs up to the river Weser. 

Very often there are finds of beaker sherds pointing to a settlement, but 
excavation has so far provided only a few pits at most. Nothing points to the 
existence of permanent settlements. Wandering groups of various characters and 
origins, practicing both grain-growing and cattle-grazing, characterize the last 
stage of the neolithic in the Rhine delta. 

In fact, it is clear that no local straightforward progressive development of 
food production can be observed. After the sudden appearance of the Band- 
keramik, a period of incipient cultivation and domestication seems to have been 
present in the northern part of the area, but archeological evidence is scanty. It 
was followed by a period in which both the funnel-beaker and the Michelsberg 
cultures seem to have realized effective food production to a considerable degree. 
But, in the coastal area, hunting-fishing communities persisted. Then, after the 
partial clearing of the forest, herdsmen entered the sandy plain, soon to be 
followed by other immigrants. 

The landscape had been opened by human activity to a considerable extent 
by the end of this general period, and Calluna heaths were formed locally. But, 
since men did not stay long in one place, an actual heather podzol profile was 
not yet formed and reforestation was always possible. Megalithic monuments 
are often built on a fairly strongly podzolized surface, while beaker barrows show 
this feature only seldom. The difference has been explained climatologically, but 
it seems more probable that the formation of a podzol profile depended also on 
the duration of occupation at a given place. 

So far, we have not mentioned the Subboreal period, starting at about 3000 b.c 
A gradual decline of summer temperature can be observed in the record. In the 
forest, beeches appeared at the expense of lime and elm. 



Not until 1500 B.C. did the Rhine delta come under the influence of bronze-age 
cultures. Imports from the Unetice culture area to the east are extremely rare. 
But Irish bronzesmiths were active in the delta at about 1500 B.C., and a little 
later the Sogel bronze industry sent its exports all over our area. After about 
1400 b.c, a strong influence from England can be noticed, and, still later, imports 
came also from northern France and southern Germany. The traveling bronze- 
smith was a new feature in the communities of our delta (Butler, 1959). 

But there are more changes to be noted in the record for the beginning of 
the bronze age. Recent observations in Drenthe strongly favor the theory that, 
at about this same time, settlements again acquired a more permanent character. 
Cemeteries remained continuously in use from this time on; plough soil can be 
recognized, which means prolonged cultivation on one place; and strong pod- 
solization suggests permanent grazing grounds. Although direct evidence in 
the form of food remains is lacking, it is highly probable that not until now may 
we speak of a fully effective food production. 

At Deventer a middle-bronze-age settlement was excavated (Modderman, 
1955); one typical ground plan of a house was obtained (15.5 X 3.0 meters). 
Early-bronze-age pottery of the so-called "barbed-wire" decorated type was 
present at the same site. 

In the southwestern part of the area and up to the sandy districts of Utrecht 
and Noord Brabant, direct influences from Britain are clearly indicated in 
middle-bronze-age pottery types (Hilversum urns) and barrow types (Glas- 
bergen, 1954). 

Long-distance trade is attested by the famous necklace of Odoorn, containing 
beads of Nordic amber, Cornish tin, and Egyptian segmented fayence beads. 
But in general the early and middle bronze ages in the Rhine delta have a poor 
character. Bronze objects are only rarely found in graves, and no such dramatic 
bog finds occur as in Denmark. Nevertheless, the contacts with the surrounding 
areas are clear. We can visualize a sedentary rural economy, relying on agri- 
culture and cattle-raising and with trade and the bronze industry playing a 
fairly important role. 

Funeral rituals were complicated, as is attested by the temporary mortuary 
houses and the elaborate circumstructures of the barrows: ring-ditches, stone 
circles, berms, and at least five different types of post circles. Some of these 
wooden structures are clearly related to the famous British henge monuments. 
Special mention may be made of a bog "temple" recently found in a large 
raised bog. 

During the late bronze age strong influences from the south can be noted in 
the record. Probably actual immigrations took place. The burial ritual changed 
and ring-ditch urn fields are, from now on, a conspicuous feature on the sandy 
soils. Often the total number of burials must have amounted to many hundreds. 

On the basis of the pottery and the ring-ditch types, at least two main groups 


can be distinguished: a northern group occupied Drenthe, Twente, and parts 
of Westfalia and a southern group occurred on both sides of the Rhine. For the 
southern group, the Kerbschfiitt ware is quite typical. Our knowledge of settle- 
ments from this period is restricted, but grain imprints on the pottery suggest 
that a variety of crops were grown, including wheat, barley, and millet. 

The bronze objects from this period show trade connections with many dif- 
ferent areas, including Britain, Brittany, and southern Germany. Although in 
the northern part of our area a local bronze industry seems to have existed, the 
Rhine delta in general was very poor compared to Brittany or Switzerland or 

A few bronze-age finds are known from the dune district, and one alluvial area 
(West Friesland) had, at about 1000 B.C., a bronze-age population that left a 
great number of barrows, mostly built upon a plough soil that shows beautiful 
markings of cross-ploughing. However, no settlement site has so far been 
excavated in this region. 

But, in general, throughout the greater part of the bronze age, habitation was 
restricted to the sandy uplands. It was not until the end of this period that large- 
scale colonization of the sea marshes took place and that the perennial struggle 
between man and sea started, which then characterized all subsequent human 
development in the Rhine delta. 

THE IRON AGE (from about 500 b.c.) 

In the southern urn-field area the iron age started with the appearance of 
Hallstatt warriors, who left richly furnished graves with such things as chariots, 
horse trappings, and swords, the products of Italian bronze industry. These 
warriors may have been either immigrants or local rulers who took over the 
customs of their southern neighbors and who could afford to buy costly Medi- 
terranean wares. 

Recent investigations in the northern provinces of the Netherlands (Water- 
bolk, 1959) have thrown more light upon the causes and circumstances of the 
colonization of the sea marshes. The series of successive immigrations and cul- 
tural impulses, to which we have briefly referred, were probably accompanied by 
improved methods of land cultivation. This led, about 500 B.C., to a dense popula- 
tion, at least in Drenthe. Synchronous cemeteries and cultivated fields ("Celtic 
fields") occur at intervals of only one mile, and, since completely excavated urn 
fields make possible an estimate of the population involved, one may conclude 
that the population of Drenthe was of the same order of magnitude as it was in, 
say, the eighteenth century. Hamlets were probably very small; they consisted 
of only three to five families. 

The increase in population and number of settlements was at first possible 
at the expense of the forest, but, as the last remnants of the forest vanished, the 
fields became exposed to the wind. Sand dunes originated, and detailed profile 
studies show that this process was more or less synchronous over large areas. 


Exactly the same archeological material as that of the blown-over settlements 
occurs also in the sea marshes of Frisia. It is found in the deepest layers of the 
so-called "terpen," the artificial mounds that are so characteristic for the tidal 
flats behind the southeastern shore dunes of the North Sea. These mounds grew 
in height (up to 6 meters) as a combined result of the accumulation of organic 
debris and the deliberate enlarging of the settlement. Once in many years the 
sea might invade the area, and people would never forget an event of this kind. 
In fact, the development of the terpen did not end until the building of the 
dykes began, about 1000 a.d. 

While the sandy uplands were practically depopulated for a couple of 
centuries, the clay marshes witnessed an enormous increase of population. Ex- 
cavations have shown large farms, with places for many cattle. Grain cultivation 
was also possible. And, when the Roman conquerors arrived in the Rhine delta, 
they were astonished by the activities of these Frisians, as they called them. Their 
reputation was "clarum inter Germanorum." A relative richness can be observed 
in their material equipment, and the Frisians provided themselves very soon with 
what they could get of Roman luxury. 

It was not only the sea marshes of Groningen and Friesland that were in- 
habited. Settlements were established during the centuries around a.d. 1 on the 
creek banks along the Rhine and the other rivers, on bog surfaces, on the 
dunes— in short everywhere that circumstances were at least temporarily pro- 
pitious, although by no means safe forever. Although there is as yet little 
archeological proof of the point, the assumption is justified that these other 
settlers came from adjacent sandy regions, just as had the Frisians. In the early 
iron age the area south of the Rhine was just as densely inhabited locally as was 
Drenthe, and here, too, sand dunes destroyed the fields. 

Apparently the rural economy was of a high standard. The resulting increase 
in the population led to colonization of hitherto uninhabited land but not to the 
founding of towns or other centers of importance. For neither the archeological 
evidence nor the written records of the Romans suggest the presence of these. 
Every farm and every village was self-supporting. Even iron-smelting was 
probably a home craft. Surplus food, skins, and textiles were goods that the 
farmers could trade for various necessary imports, such as basalt-lava grinding 
stones or luxury wares. 

Cemeteries are known only on the sandy uplands. They consist of the 
remnants of a funeral pyre, covered by a low barrow, or only surrounded by 
a ditch, often square in form. 

After having tried to establish a more northern frontier, the Romans soon 
made the Rhine the limes of their empire. A row of castella was built to protect 
the limes, and the area south of the Rhine was soon Romanized, with the result 
that for the first time in the history of the Rhine delta, actual towns originated. 
Thus such places as Nijmegen, Cologne, and Xanten became such centers of 


military and civil activity that they may well have deserved to be named towns, 
at least temporarily. 

But their origin was possible only within the Roman empire, and after its 
collapse these towns probably lost much of their essential urban features. They 
were certainly not the result of an independent development in the Rhine delta. 
Some again attained importance in medieval times as religious or political centers. 

Actual towns, in Childe's sense, did not start until the eighth century a.d. 
Dorestad, Tiel, Deventer, and Utrecht all were trade centers situated along the 
main waterways. With these towns began the expansion of sea-bound trade and 
commerce, which, in the following centuries, led to the originating of other 
new and flourishing towns and ultimately to the present independence of the 
Low Countries. But the elucidation of these historic developments cannot be the 
task of a prehistorian. 


Summarizing the immediate considerations given above, we may conclude 
that real urbanization, as the result of a more or less independent development, 
was realized only relatively late in historic times. It was based on fishery and 
long-distance trade, and the favorable geographic position certainly was also 
an important factor. 

This period was preceded by one of some thousand years, in which a peasant 
society attained great skill in the cultivation of the fertile but often dangerously 
flooding delta sediments. A thorough knowledge of the water in every respect 
was gradually obtained, as was also knowledge of such things as shipbuilding and 
the building of canals and dykes. From Roman times onward a few towns were 
important as political and religious centers, but they depended on foreign political 
or religious powers. 

The decisive impulse to the colonization of the delta seems to have been an 
agricultural catastrophe on the sandy plain, where improved agricultural methods 
and successive immigrations had led to overpopulation. This emigration came at 
the end of the bronze age, which had a duration of some 1,000 years and in 
which sedentary groups practiced a probably fully effective mixed farming. 
Bronzes were traded over long distances; in the late bronze age the northern 
part of the area had a small bronze industry of its own. 

In the neolithic a number of highly divergent cultures can be distinguished, 
from the specialized fishing and hunting communities in the coastal area to the 
highly developed Bandkeramik farmers, whose degree of barbarism has been 
underestimated in the past. Their settlements were permanent, and a certain labor 
differentiation can be deduced. For some centuries they maintained an economy 
so well adapted to the loess environment that comparison is only possible with 
the terpen population in the iron age. 

Throughout the neolithic and bronze ages, outside influences were of paramount 










- 3000 






- 9000 
















settled farming, permanent fields 


pf-beaker farmers -tradesmen 

herds men i 

FUNNEL BEAKER , . „ , , _ , 

farmers, ' MICHELSBERG 

^effective lood , 

production I 


n c i pxe n t 


no human 

production I (ROSSEN 

- i ' ~> farmers 














hunters (-collectors?) 


reindeer hunters 

? Creswellian 
? Cheddarian 


reindeer hunters 

Figure 5. Chronological sequence in the lower Rhine basin, 


importance. Local developments can be traced only for durations of at most a 
few hundred years; they were broken off as a result of an agricultural catastrophe, 
or the immigration of new peoples, or for unknown reasons. 

A stage of incipient cultivation and animal domestication can be assumed on 
good grounds, but this too seems to have been connected with diffusion of 
allochthonous peoples rather than with a development out of a local mesolithic 
tradition. For it seems that raised bog formation and the closing of the forest 
had already made the area uninhabitable for mesolithic man. This happened long 
before any stimulus to food-producing could come from the outside world. 

The influence of the Rhine and the other rivers has always been important, 
albeit in many different ways. Very often the Rhine was the border between 
two contemporaneous cultures or a geographic barrier. But in other cases the 
Rhine directed the diffusion of cultures, either because actual water transport 
took place (bell-beaker culture) or because the valleys were the binding element 
(Bandkeramik, Michelsberg). The delta itself, with its rich plant and animal life 
and fertile but unstable soils, was exploited by the mesolithic Maglemosians and 
in the neolithic by the coastal culture. From the iron age onward it served as 
the settlement area for a well-adapted peasant society that had mastered its 
environmental difficulties. The experience of these peasants may well have been 
a prerequisite for the successful unfolding of trade and commerce that led to the 
final urbanization of the lower Rhine basin. 


Behrens, H. 

1959. "Die Rossener Kultur und ihre Bedeutung fur die Herausbildung der Tiefstich- 

keramik aus der Trichterbecherkultur," Die Kunde, n.s., 10:44-50. 
Bohmers, A. 

1956. "Statistics and Graphs in the Study of Flint Assemblages I— III," Palaeohistoria, 

Butler, J. J. 

1959. "Vergeten schatvondsten uit de bronstijd." In W. A. Ruysch (ed.), Honderd 

eeunjoen Nederland, pp. 125-42, 's Gravenhage: Luctor et Emerge 
Buttler, W., and W. Haberey 

1936. Die bandkeramische Ansiedlung bei Koln-Lindenthal. Berlin: Walter de 

Gruyter & Co. 
Clark, J. G. D. 

1954. Excavations at Star Carr. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
Glasbergen, W. 

1954. "Barrow Excavations in the Eight Beatitudes," Palaeohistoria, 2:1-134 (Part 1); 

3:1-204 (Part 2). 
Hammen, T. van der 

1952. "Dating and Correlation of Periglacial Deposits in Middle and Western 

Europe," Geologie en Mijnbouv), n.s., 14:328-36. 



1954. "The Late-Glacial Flora of Denmark and Its Relation to Climate and Soil: 
Studies in Vegetational History in Honor of Knud Jessen," Danmarks Geologiske 
Unders0gelse, II, Raekke 80:87-119. 

1949. "The Influence of Prehistoric Man on Vegetation," Danmarks Geologiske 
Unders0gelse, IV, Raekke 3, No. 6. 

Luudik-Kaelas, L. 

1955. "Wann sind die ersten Megalithgraber in Holland entstanden?" Palaeohistoria, 

Laet, S. J. de, and W. Glasbergen 

1959. De voorgeschiedenis der Lage Landen. Groningen: J. B. Wolters. 
Maarleveld, G. C, and J. C. van den Toorn 

1955. "Pseudosolle in Noord-Nederland," Tijdschr. Kon. Nederl. Aardrijkskundig 

Genootschap, 72:344-360. 
Milojcic, V. 

1959. "Zur Chronologie der jiingeren Stein- und Bronzezeit Siidost- und Mittel- 
europas," Germania, 37:65-84. 


1955. "Woonsporen uit de bronstijd en de ijzertijd op de Margijnen Enk onder 
Deventer (Overtijssel)," Berichten van de Rijksdienst voor bet Oudheidkundig Bo- 
demonderzoek, 6:22-31. (English summary, p. 31.) 
Nougier, L. R. 

1950. Les civilisations campigniennes en Europe occidentale. Le Mans: Imprimerie 
Ch. Monnoyer. 

Pons, L. J., and A. J. Wiggers 

1959-60. "De holocene wordingsgeschiedenis van Noord-Holland en Zuiderzeege- 
bied," Tijdsch. Kon. Nederl. Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 76:104-52 (Part 1); 
77:2-57 (Part 2). (English summary of Part 1 on pp. 104-5; of Part 2 on pp. 3-4.) 

QuiTTA, H. 

1960. "Zur Frage der altesten Bandkeramik in Mitteleuropa," Praehist. Zeitschr., 

Reinerth, H. 

1939. "Ein Dorf der Grossteingraberleute," Germanen-Erbe, 4:225-42. 

Rust, A. 

1958. Die Funde von Pinnberg. Offa Biicher 14. Neumiinster: Karl Wachholz Verlag. 

Schwabedissen, H. 

1944a. Die mittlere Steinzeit im tvestlichen N orddeutschland. Offa Biicher 7. Neu- 
miinster: Karl Wachholz Verlag. 

1944Z\ Die Federmesser Gruppen des nordvoesteuropaischen Flachlandes. Offa 
Biicher 9. Neumiinster: Karl Wachholz Verlag. 
1960. "Die Ausgrabungen im Satruper Moor," Offa, 16:5-28. 

Schwantes, G. 

1958. Die Urgeschichte (Part 1). Neumiinster: Karl Wachholz Verlag. 
Scollar, I. 

1959. "Regional Groups in the Michelsberg Culture," Proc. Prehist. Soc, n.s., 


Troels-Smith, J. 

1953. "Erteb0llekultur-Bondekultur," Aarb0ger for Nordisk Oldkyndighed og 
Historie, pp. 5-62. (English summary, pp. 47-62.) 

Vries, H. de, W. Barendsen, and H. T. Waterbolk 

1958. "Groningen Radiocarbon Dates II," Science, 127:129-37. 
Vries, H. de, and H. T. Waterbolk 

1958. "Groningen Radiocarbon Dates III," Science, 128:1550-56. 
Waals, J. D. van der, and W. Glasbergen 

1955. "Beaker Types and Their Distribution in the Netherlands," Palaeohistoria, 

Waterbolk, H. T. 

1954. "De Praehistorische mens en zijn milieu." (Thesis, Groningen.) (English 
summary, pp. 141-146.) 

1956. "Pollen Spectra from Neolithic Grave Monuments in the Northern Nether- 
lands," Palaeohistoria, 5:39-51. 

1959. "Nieuwe gegevens over de herkomst van de oudste bewoners der kleistreken," 
Akademiedagen, 11:16-37. 

1960. "The 1959 Carbon-14 Symposium at Groningen," Antiquity, 34:14-18. 
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Zeist, W. van 

1957. "De mesolithische boot van Pesse," Nieuwe Drentse Volksalmanak, 75:4-11. 
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Iowland plains extend over the greater part of northern continental Europe. 
The ice ages formed their essential features. To the south they border on 
-J a mountainous zone that is shaped by pre-Pleistocene formations. This 
Central European mountain shield extends rather far north, pointing in the 
general direction of the Cimbric Peninsula. 

The mountainous shield is enclosed by lowlands that broaden out toward the 
southeast and southwest. Rivers in the northern European lowlands tend to flow 
in a southeast-northwest direction; those of the westerly plains flow from the 
south to the north or from the east to the west. The geographical situation is of 
significance for the history of permanent settlement, (a) It provided man with 
the environment of a specific lowland-plains vegetation and a landscape of lakes, 
rivers, and bogs, (b) It channeled the movement of cultures and peoples either 
from the southeast and southwest into northern Continental Europe or in the 
opposite direction. 

Another fact to be considered in our culture-historical reflections is the 
different distribution of land and water. Investigations dealing with the history 
of culture and the occupation of new territory in times past cannot proceed 
from the geographical situation as it is now, but only from the geohistorical 
situation of the various epochs. We need only recall the existence of extensive 
dry-land areas in the North Sea and Baltic areas during the late- and postglacial 
period. From several examples we shall see that these changes did indeed play 
significant parts. 


I. The Upper Paleolithic 

At the outset we find the Hamburgian culture. Its early and late phases both 
belong to the older Dryas (terminating, according to C 14 determinations, about 
11,000 b.c). It is clearly a reindeer-hunting culture and was discovered and 
thoroughly investigated through the excavations of A. Rust. It can be demonstrated 
that the glaciers again penetrated the European continent after the later phase 
of the Hamburgian culture (Poggenwisch). Near Gromitz, at the steep shore 



of the Baltic, several meters of glacial till cover a layer of tools belonging to the 
later Hamburgian culture. Evidently the glaciers advanced into the region of 
the Bight of Liibeck even after 11,000 b.c. 

Also for our knowledge of human habitations (i.e., tents) during this period 
we are obliged to A. Rust (Fig. 1). Schwantes and Rust see the origin of the 
Hamburgian culture primarily in an eastern context. 

Figure 1. Schematic reconstruction of a tent from the Hamburgian 
culture on the Poggenwisch (after A. Rust). 

The Ahrensburgian civilization, likewise a culture of reindeer-hunters, was also 
made known by the work of Rust. The idea that it developed out of the 
Hamburgian culture has much in its favor (Schwabedissen, 1937) but cannot be 
proved conclusively. Typological similarities of flint tools do not change this, 
especially since the Ahrensburgian culture is considerably younger and falls 
into the upper Dry as (between 9000 and 8000 B.C.). For the present, C 14 de- 
terminations interpose 2,000 years between the Hamburgian and Ahrensburgian 
cultures. On the other hand, no more evidence demonstrates the immigration of 
this culture— although certain features point to a southeastern provenance. Thus, 
for instance, the same reindeer-antler axes occurred plentifully on the Pollau 
site (Pavlov) in Moravia (Klfma, 1955, 1957); there, however, they are much 
older (C 14 determinations of about 26,000 B.C.). 

Although the Ahrensburgian culture creates the impression of a unique 
civilization of the western lowlands, it nevertheless shows a relationship to the 
Swiderien of the eastern plains, where reindeer-antler axes are known also. The 
flint instruments from the Ahrensburgian differ in some respects from those of 


the Swiderien. Aside from other typological differences, the tanged points of 
the Swiderien customarily show a surface retouching of the underside, which is 
not the case in the Ahrensburgian material. It is possible that the relatedness of 
the Ahrensburgian culture and the Swiderien nevertheless points to a remote 
genetic connection with the southeast that we cannot as yet fix chronologically. 

A civilization of a different kind could be demonstrated for the period 
separating the lower and the upper Dryas, especially the Allerod, with its more 
favorable climatic conditions. It is characterized by Federmesser (penknives), 
Gravettian points, backed knife blades, etc. It is referred to as the Federmesser 
civilization. Up to the present, it is represented chiefly by a great number of 
surface finds. A stratigraphic occurrence at Rissen near Hamburg and an ex- 
cavation near Usselo in Holland led to chronological placement by C 14 de- 
terminations and pollen analysis. Accordingly, the Federmesser culture belongs 
to the Allerod period, or else to a slightly later phase (C 14 determinations fall 
between 9000 and 10,000 B.C.). 

Three different, probably rather localized, groups may be distinguished within 
this civilization: the Rissen group in northwest Germany and northeastern 
Holland, the Wehlen group in northern Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein, and 
the Tjonger group of southern Holland and northern Belgium. It is misleading 
to subsume the three groups as "Tjongerian." 

Archeologically the Federmesser groups can be allied neither to the Hamburgian 
nor to the Ahrensburgian, but only to the late Magdalenian in the west. Similarities 
also exist with the Azilian. It remains to be determined whether the Federmesser 
civilization can still be regarded as genuine, although waning, Magdalenian or 
should be considered Azilian (Schwabedissen, 1954). C 14 determinations from 
western European late-Magdalenian and Azilian sites should provide answers in 
the relatively near future. At the same time, I am not quite certain that the 
classical Azilian does, in general, really fall within the Allerod. However this 
may be, we are dealing here with offshoots of the western European late 
Magdalenian; it indicates that this culture expanded with increasing differentiation 
into virgin lands during the late glacial period, especially during the Allerod, and 
advanced even into the northern European plains regions. 

While the Hamburgian and Ahrensburgian cultures are at least partially 
related to the southeast, the Federmesser civilization is incontrovertibly connected 
to the west of Europe. Western European late Magdalenian peoples or their 
descendants seem to have advanced into the northern plains, making them their 
home during the late glacial period. 

Another culture of the terminal paleolithic remains to be accounted for: it is 
the Bromme-Lyngby culture, which dovetails with the Federmesser civilization 
in many ways, although its character is still insufficiently explored. Phases of it 
belong to the Allerod period (Bromme dating). It is not yet clear where this 
culture was centered. Among other things, we shall have to consider whether 
or not it should be sought on the erstwhile dry lands now covered by the 
North Sea. 



The bearers of the Federmesser civilization might be thought of as relatively 
localized hunters if we connect the Allerod period and its open forests with 
the first occurrence of Standwild, game which keeps to established grounds. In 
contrast, the treeless scrub tundra of the lower and the upper Dryassic period was 
primarily the range of the incessantly moving reindeer on its continuous seasonal 
back-and-forth migrations. As the excavations at Meiendorf and Stellmoor have 
shown, reindeer has been the principal game animal of the Hamburgian and 
Ahrensburgian cultures. Hunting it must have been a mobile pursuit, and we 
may assume that an Ahrensburgian reindeer-hunter of the late glacial period led 
a nomadic life. Tents (i.e., habitations quickly erected and equally quickly moved 
to other locations) fit well into this image (Fig. 1). 

II. The Mesolithic 

Core and flake axes (picks and tranchets), as well as microliths, play a decisive 
role during the northern mesolithic. Where microliths are concerned, the criterion 
of smallness should not assume central importance. We should like to see especially 
those small tools called microliths, which are characterized by geometrical form. 

How and where microliths originated is an old problem, of course. One can 
no longer assume them to have emanated from a single center— once said to be 
the Caspian— but must suppose several centers of origin. For this we have an 
illustration in several sites of the Ahrensburgian culture, one of which— an 
important one— was recently excavated by W. Taute (1959) near Deimern in 
the Liineburger Heide. When we also keep the triangular microliths of the 
Magdalenian in mind, we must indeed give consideration to several modes and 
localities of origin. 

The oldest picks and tranchets are found in A. Rust's so-called "Pinnberg" 
phase and are very primitive. The axes of the Klosterlund site in Jutland, in- 
vestigated by Th. Mathiassen, are somewhat younger and further developed, as 
are those that J. G. D. Clark (1954) recovered at Star Carr. C 14 determinations 
and pollen analysis assign these sites to the Preboreal. 

In Schleswig-Holstein sites of the Duvensee phase fall in the early Boreal. The 
material from Duvensee itself, not yet fully published, has a character of its 
own. Despite some objections, it embodies for me a separate cultural group, 
especially because new stations will show a similar cast (Boksee near Kiel, Hohen- 
Viecheln); those of the Maglemose group exhibit many similarities with the 
Maglemose group of Denmark. Aside from temporal discrepancy (the Magle- 
mosian sites are of late Boreal and early Atlantic period), the Maglemosian has 
an individual stamp. It is not justifiable, in my opinion, to combine all finds and 
sites of the middle mesolithic in northern and northwestern Europe into a 
Maglemosian culture. It seems to me that in the mesolithic we must count in 
local differences that result in local groupings. The causes lie not only in in- 


dividual traditions but in the molding force of the different environments and 

particular settlement conditions. These will be discussed briefly. 

While the flint implements of the Duvensee group show a strong relationship 
with those of the Ahrensburg (short, broad triangles, Zonhoven points, large 
blades), those of the Maglemose group exhibit many similarities with the 
Federmesser civilization, and especially with the Tjonger group of Holland, 
Belgium, and western north Germany, ranged along the southern shore of the 
North Sea. Since the now submerged land of the North Sea must be accepted as 
fact, and since we may conjecture that the cultures of adjoining areas had been 
represented on it, it is very natural to assume that the chronologically younger 
Maglemose group (Klosterlund, etc.) had migrated from or across this now 
engulfed region (Schwabedissen, 1951). The Duvensee group, on the other hand, 
had developed in the Holstein region or in Lower Saxony from the Ahrensburg 
tradition. As seen from the west coast, the area of distribution of the Ahrens- 
burgian culture was contained in a "dead corner," not part of the movements 
across the now submerged North Sea land, and was thereby enabled to develop 
along its own paths. 

During the early Atlantic period we find the Oldesloe stage in Schleswig- 
Holstein. It corresponds to the Gudenaa culture of Jutland. There is no doubt 
about the correspondence of these two groups. Thus we find a uniform culture 
on the Cimbric Peninsula during the early Atlantic period. Until recently its 
chronological placement was more supposition than proved fact. A site of the 
younger type at Satrup (Fasaneninsel) could be determined at 4200 B.C. by means 
of pollen analysis and C 14 count. It is likely that the Maglemosian culture con- 
tinued to flourish in the Danish Islands into the Atlantic period proper. 

Lately it has been possible for Sv. J0rgensen more clearly to define another 
culture of the Danish Islands, having a different stamp— the so-called Kongemosian 
culture. It was first recognized by Vebaek and designated as an older coastal 
culture by Th. Mathiassen, who could trace its development through his excava- 
tions at Dyrholm and other places. G. Schwantes calls it the "Bloksbjerg" or 
"Amager" culture. Sv. Jjzfrgensen's excavations have, however, demonstrated that 
this culture is not shore-bound but also occurs inland. 

The Kongemosian culture is not represented in western north Germany 
(Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg, and Lower Saxony). Its origin is obscure. A 
certain relationship to the Ahrensburgian culture exists, but, on the other hand, 
there are also connections to eastern areas. 

Besides the defined region in which picks and tranchets occur, there are groups 
of mesolithic cultures in western north Germany that lack such axes. They are 
characterized by microliths alone and, up to now, are known only from open-air 
stations. They permit ordering into several developmental phases. However, ac- 
cording to the present stage of research, they have not attained significance for 
the formation of the neolithic but may have been absorbed in essence into several 
neolithic groups. It is a problem awaiting intensive study. 




The transition from the glacial to the postglacial period brought with it an 
incisive and rather rapid change of climate, thus affecting flora and fauna. The 
climate of the Boreal was more favorable than that of the present. Extensive 
hazel groves have been demonstrated for the Boreal, and, at its termination, 
deciduous forests of oak, elm, and linden began to expand. The dense forest no 
longer offered proper ecological conditions to the migrating reindeer. It was 
replaced by Standwild, such as red deer, Ur (European bison), wild pig, elk, 
etc. Beaver built dams along the numerous lakes of the northwestern European 
plains. All kinds of waterfowl lived in the lakes, and the rivers abounded with fish. 

Man, of course, also adapted to the altered environment. The dense forests 
had halted extensive movement. Just as the game held to defined grounds, so did 
man. The area around certain lakes and rivers became his narrower ecological 
confine. It was there that he fished and hunted for waterfowl or lay in wait for 
big game as it came to the shore to drink. Dugouts— found at Pesse in Holland, 
attested by paddles found at Star Carr in England, at Duvensee in Schleswig- 
Holstein, and at Holmegaard in Denmark— carried him on fishing trips or to 
gather water nuts (Trapa ?jata?is), which were in great demand. The neighboring 
woods offered opportunities for gathering berries and roots as well as hazelnuts, 
the shells of which cover the living sites in thick layers. We have remains of 
habitations, basket-like huts about 2.5 X 3 meters in size. It is to be noted that 
several huts are systematically grouped (Fig. 2). 

The earliest demonstrated occurrence of the axe, which Schwantes thinks so 

Figure 2. A late mesolithic settlement by the Retlager spring, Detmold province 
(attempted reconstruction after H. Schwabedissen). 


significant, may have played an important part in the adaptation to a brushland 

and forest environment. 

Such a detailed picture of life and cultural conditions during the mesolithic 
could so far be drawn only in northern Europe, thanks to the excavations of bog 
stations in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein. They show us that man was no 
longer a migrating, nomadic hunter. He had become specialized as a hunter of 
Standwild and as a fisherman who rounded out his diet with fruits; he operated 
from relatively solid huts, which could not readily be disassembled and re-erected 
farther along the route, and was thus inhibited, just as by the dugouts, from 
transportation over a wider region. 

During the mesolithic we are confronted by a phase of development that, 
though remaining an exploitative form of economy, differs from that of the 
nomadizing reindeer-hunter of the upper paleolithic as a really more restricted 
hunting and gathering mode of life. In my judgment, this fact is of great 
significance as preparation and premise for a transition to a genuinely settled form 
of existence. Nomadic reindeer-hunters could never have immediately taken the 
step to sedentary agriculture. 

III. Protoneolithic and Early Neolithic 


The Ertebolle culture, characterized in Denmark by its shell mounds (Kjok- 
kenmoddinger), extends over north Germany and over Schleswig-Holstein in 
particular, although not in the form of Kjokkenmoddinger. It has recently become 
apparent that this culture does not occur only in coastal shell mounds but that 
it also has a wide inland distribution. Danish excavations at Aamose on the Island 
of Seeland, as well as my own in the Satrup bogs and Schleswig-Holstein, have 
shown this. Accordingly, this culture appears divided into two groups: one 
(having shell mounds) at the coast; the other, inland. It is, however, still not 
clear whether the shell mounds designate seasonal habitation sites or indicate 
a distinct, littorine cultural group. 

The Ellerbek group can be more particularly defined by the rich find of bone, 
wood, stone, and pottery excavated from the Satrup bog, and it permits rather 
exact determination by pollen analysis and C 14 counts. Accordingly, the Ellerbek 
group belongs to the time span between 4000 and 3400 B.C. Its pottery includes, 
according to the Satrup excavations, the well-known Spitzbodengefasse (vessels 
with conical bottoms) and lamps of many forms, some of them beaker-shaped. 
The ceramic ware thus creates a fully neolithic impression. A few, still incon- 
clusive, imprints of grain have been found, and at several locations there occur 
some domesticated animals; at Satrup it was possible to recover almost half a 
dozen excellent spades made of ash, which were 140-200 centimeters in length. 
An undisturbed stratum in the Forstermoor near Satrup produced a so-called 
Schuhleistenkeil (Shoe-last celt). All this should at least keep us from continuing 
to assign the Ellerbek group to the mesolithic. We are dealing with a new type 


of archaic neolithic or protoneolithic. This finding agrees with the opinion of 
Troels-Smith, although I can see in the Muldbjerg I site (for archeological as 
well as chronological reasons) only the complexion of an extended Ertebolle. 


The succeeding phase seems to add further pottery types, including in some 
areas perhaps the earliest examples of Becker's types A and B. On this score we 
do not yet see clearly. On the other hand, Ellerbek-Ertebolle elements recede 
more and more, though they continue on to the end of the next phase. 


Excavations at several locations on the Satrup moor have permitted us to see 
further developmental stages of the neolithic in stratigraphic superposition. The 
characteristic nordic funnel-beaker (Trichterbecher) culture begins during these 
stages. The first phase (a) seems not to know of collared flasks (Kragenflaschen) 
which do, however, appear regularly in the second phase (b) along with 
megalithic flasks and varied, richly ornamented ceramic ware. Phase (b) coincides 
with the earliest dolmen in the north. 


Ecological conditions at the time of the Ellerbek culture, that is, during the 
late Atlantic period, correspond to those of the preceding mesolithic. This 
applies to climate as well as to fauna and flora. It was already expressed in the 
notable change in the way of life and the economy of man: a group of hunters, 
fishermen, and gatherers who established their small, perhaps kin-defined, com- 
munities and built their fixed habitations in relatively delineated areas, as, for 
instance, the environs of one of the larger lakes. Now an undercurrent of further 
incipient change is suggested. The appearance of Plantago lanceolata gives us a 
first hint, and the sporadic occurrence of grain and domesticated animals gives 
evidence of the gradual inroads of a new mode of life leading to agriculture and 
animal husbandry. 

The new economy and mode of existence becomes clearly discernible with the 
early neolithic at the transition to the Subboreal. Numerous grain imprints and 
increasing numbers of domesticated animals tell us of a new epoch, that of a 
level of incipient farming society. Solid houses (Fig. 3), not isolated but arranged 
in groups, prove that the first stage of sedentary life had been attained. 


How had the initial process of neolithization, first apparent in the Ellerbek 
group, been triggered? Are we dealing with an indigenous development, with 
the intrusion of a new population, or with cultural influences? 

The Ellerbek culture of Schleswig-Holstein shows many connections with the 
mesolithic phase of Oldesloe; the Ertebolle culture of the Danish Islands, as al- 
ready demonstrated by Th. Mathiassen, relates to the older coastal culture, now 



*J«4» <,y 

Figure 3. Attempted reconstruction of a rectangular neolithic house of 

the Trichterbecher culture (from the remains in Huntedorf, 
north bank of the Diimmer, Lower Saxony; after K. H. ]ac oh -Fries en). 

called Kongemosian culture. The strata of Dyrholm, combined with information 
from other sites, let us discern a transition from a pure mesolithic to Ertebolle. It 
seems, therefore, as if neolithic elements had intruded into the mesolithic hunting 
and fishing civilization of the north sometime during the younger Atlantic period. 
Judging by the close intermeshing with the preceding mesolithic, we can hardly 
reckon with the immigration of a new population. We are in all probability faced 
with cultural transmission. 

In which direction do these cultural contacts point? Formerly Bandkeramik 
was considered the transmitter of the oldest neolithic manifestations from south- 
eastern Europe into central and northern European regions; and even today some 
investigators like to connect the earliest northern neolithic with eastern Europe 
genetically. In my opinion, this view no longer correlates with the finds now at 
our disposal. 

Finds of the early neolithic phase, including pottery as well as stone implements, 
primarily point to the west. In the east there is no cone-bottomed pottery of the 
nordic type, nor are there picks and tranchets. The latter occur in the "Campignien 
typique" of northern France and Belgium (which is undoubtedly related to the 
Ertebolle-Ellerbek culture); cone-bottomed pottery is found in north Africa, in 
the Almeria culture of Spain, in south-central France (Roucadour), and also in 
the Michelsberg culture. The Michelsberg culture may have older beginnings 
than hitherto assumed, though still being younger than the Ellerbek group. They 
seem to cross in one horizon. A great number of details, particularly in the pot- 
tery, reoccur in the west. Pottery of the older Chassey culture occurs also in the 


stone cists of Hessen. It is interesting to note that it is of Briton type (details will 
be published elsewhere). Western cultural phenomena thus reached also far into 
middle Europe. New C 14 determinations also aver the possibility of such a rela- 

Thus the impression grows that the "eastern drift" as an impetus to neolithiza- 
tion is paralleled by a "western drift," whose waves penetrated to the north and 
became the impulse that directed the hunting and fishing peoples of the region 
toward a new cultural epoch. Even if this event cannot be called "eruptive," on 
the basis of the presented facts, it signifies, when seen in context, a decisive change 
in course— a "first revolution," to use Braidwood's term, in the history of mankind. 


Owing to certain conditions, given by geology and the history of scientific 
investigation, it was possible to demonstrate for northern and northwestern 
Europe, as for no other area, a rather continuous development from the late 
paleolithic through the mesolithic to the formation of the first agrarian cultures. 
We were able to isolate the following stages in the modes of life. 

1. Highly mobile, nomadic reindeer hunters on the late-glacial tundra 

2. Territorially restricted hunters, fishers, and gatherers in a densely forested mesolithic 
setting, which permitted only a less mobile form of life 

3. Continuation of the previous way of life, but the first beginnings of the raising of 
grain and breeding of catde 

4. Sedentary agriculturalists and cattle-breeders with subsidiary hunting and fishing 
during the early neolithic 

The beginning of sedentary life, with all its concomitants, doubtless constitutes 
the foundation for later developments leading to the growth of permanent settle- 
ments, the establishment of villages and towns, and thereby to our present culture 
—the urban civilization of our day. After all, during the neolithic we find not 
only solidly built houses— whether of wood or stone does not matter (cf. Fig. 3)~ 
but also settlements of village-like character. The great houses of Barkaer in 
Jutland could shelter a population corresponding to that of a village. If, until 
now, Barkaer constitutes a special case, we find in the funnel-beaker culture of 
the Diimmer near Osnabriick a larger grouping of houses with truly village-like 
character. Corresponding settlements are even better attested in southwestern 
Germany— as, for instance, at Aichbuhl or Ehrenstein. At Koln-Lindenthal, a 
settlement of the Bandkeramik culture (Fig. 4), we have a complete village pro- 
tected by rampart and ditch. Conditions in the geographical area under discussion 
did not change much during the bronze and iron ages (Buchau, Buch, Biskupin, 
etc.). At the beginning of the Christian Era we find in our area Colonia Claudia 
Agrippinensis, present-day Cologne (Koln), rising as the first city in the modern 
sense. All other city foundings here are of a later date. 

It is possible that the germ of town formation, a sort of urbanization, is latent 
in certain types of the oppida. 




Figure 4. The Koln-Lindenthal village, Bandkeramik culture 
(Reconstruction attempt by W. Buttler.) 

Eorly neolithic II 

Early neolithic I 

nu . Cultural 

i. Oldest . ,. 

b influences 

i dolmens < . . , 

a) . .. in part trom 

in north r * , c 
lentrol Europe 


m port from 

(oldest beaker A/B- pottery ?) weste rn & from 
A Central Europe 

Proto- or Old-neolithi 
(Ellerbek culture) 


First neolithic 
— influences 
from west 



DUVENSEE culture 



cu Iture 




9000 i 

□ r- * 


(End- or epi - Magda len lan ) 

1 0,000 



HAMBURG culture 

a c 

Figure 5. Chronological sequence in northern Continental Europe. 


At this time, and previously, all settlements and village-like aggregations had 
nearly the same character as during the neolithic. There is, then, a broad distribu- 
tion of settlements, ranging far back in time, from which, at different times, at 
different locations, from totally different constellations, and in entirely different 
ways, a proto-city or city might arise; unless, of course, it grew forth from 
entirely different, independent roots. Beyond this, the idea of urbanization or 
city culture will be difficult to define for and apply to early epochs. 

In any event, however, the formation of a city and of urban culture became 
possible only after foundations had been laid during the neolithic by transition 
to sedentary life and by the coalescence of defined communities into permanent 
settlements. Thus, the process of neolithization, as viewed by us, is indeed one of 
the most decisive caesurae in the history of mankind. 


Becker, C. J. 

1947. Mosefundne Lerkar fra yngre Stenalder. Aarb0ger. 
Braid wood, R. J. 

1952. The Near East and the Foundations for Civilization. Eugene, Ore. 
Clark, J. G. D. 

1954. Excavations at Star Carr. Cambridge. 


1956. "Kongemosen," Kuml, pp. 23-40. 
Klima, B. 

1955. "Prinos nave paleolitcke stanice v. Pavlove k problematice nejstarsidich zeme- 
delskych nastroju, Pamatky archeologicke," 46: 1: 1-29. 

1957. "Ubersicht iiber die jiingsten palaolithischen Forschungen in Mahren," Quar- 
ter, 9:85-130. 

Mathiassen, Th. 

1942. Dyrholmen. Kopenhagen. 
Rust, A. 

1937. Das altsteinzeitliche Rentier jagerlager Meiendorf. Neumiinster. 

1943. Die alt- und mittelsteinzeitlichen Funde von Stellmoor. Neumiinster. 

1948. Die Funde vom Pinnberg. Neumiinster. 

1958. Die jungpaldolithischen Zeltanlagen von Ahrensburg. Neumiinster. 


1937. Die Hamburger Stufe im nordivestlichen Deutschland, 2:1-30. 

1944. Die mittlere Steinzeit im westlichen N orddeutschland. Neumiinster. 

1949. "Die Bedeutung der Moorarchaologie fur die Urgeschichtsforschung," 8:46-74. 
1951. "Zur Besiedlung des Nordseeraumes in der alteren und mittleren Steinzeit." 
In Festschrift Gustav Schivantes, pp. 59-77. Neumiinster. 


1954. Die Federmessergruppen des nordivesteurop'dischen Flctchlandes: Xur Ausbrei- 
tung des Sp'dtmagdalenienr Neumiinster. 

1958. "Untersuchung mesolithisch-neolithischer Moorsiedlungen in Schleswig-Hol- 
stein," Neue Ausgrabungen in Deutschland (Berlin), pp. 26-42. 

1960. "Die Ausgrabungen im Satruper Moor." Z.ur Frage nach Ursprung und frti- 
hester Entivicklung des nordischen Neolithikums" 16:5-28 (18 Abb.). 


1939. Vorgeschichte von Schlesivig-Holstein. Neumiinster. 
1957. Urgeschichte Schleswig-H olsteins. Neumiinster. 
Taute, W. 

1959. "Neu entdeckte Lagerplatze der Hamburger und Ahrensburger Kultur bei 
Deimern, Kr. Soltau, in der Liineburger Heide," Die Kunde, n.s., 10:182-92. Han- 

Troels-Smith, J. 

1953. Ertebollekultur-Bondekultur , pp. 5-62. Aarb0ger. 



The climatically temperate belt stretching from the Urals to the Pacific 
Ocean across northern Asia encompasses vast areas blanketed by the forest 
of the Siberian taiga. To the south, these expanses border on the steppes 
and deserts of Turkestan and those of the Central Asian plateau of Mongolia and 
Tibet. To the north, the forests gradually give way to the wooded tundra and 
true tundra of the Far North. Prior to the arrival of the Russians, the taiga area 
was inhabited by peoples of varying languages and culture: Ugrians, Turkic 
groups, Mongols, Tungus, and "Paleo-Asiatics." Their history and the past of 
these portions of Asia, Siberia proper, and the Far East, have been an object of 
interest to both Russian and foreign investigators since the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries. However, in view of the enormous area involved and its 
remoteness from the civilized centers of Europe and of the Near and Far East, 
the history of the woodland tribes of northern Asia was known, until recently, 
only in part and in its broadest outlines. Written sources dealing with the ancient 
inhabitants of the temperate zone of northern Asia reach no further back than 
the period of the Han dynasty (Chinese annals provide information on the land 
of the Khagyas on the Yenisey and on the Huns of Mongolia and Trans-Baikalia). 
As a result, archeological materials constitute our basic source of information for 
earlier times. These same materials retain their importance in many respects for 
subsequent periods, inasmuch as foreign sources prior to the seventeenth century 
remain quite limited in scope, while the vast majority of the peoples of Siberia 
lacked writing of their own. Exceptions to this include only the Yukagir, among 
whom native pictographic writing was found to exist in the nineteenth century, 
the ancient Turkic tribes that possessed the Orkhon-Yenisey runic writing system 
in the seventh to the tenth centuries (and perhaps later as well), and, in part, 
the Buriat, with their Mongolian script (from the thirteenth century onward). 
We may understand, therefore, why so much effort has been expended in the 
last decades on archeological research in Siberia, including the Arctic. Both local 
and centrally located scientific organizations have participated in this work, which 
has been sponsored by museums, universities, and regional societies. A leading 
role among them has been assumed by the Institute of Archeology of the Academy 
of Sciences, U.S.S.R., which has been organizing systematically large-scale ex- 
peditions in Siberia. The most ambitious of the expeditions have been financed 



from funds allocated by the government for the construction of giant hydro- 
electric power plants, namely, the Irkutsk and Bratsk stations on the Angara, the 
Novosibirsk station on the Ob', and the Krasnoyarsk station on the Yenisey. 

These researches have broadened considerably our conception of the past of 
Siberia. Naturally, the expanses of Siberia are too immense to allow full arche- 
ological coverage. The archeological map of Siberia still retains many "blank 
spots." Decades will be required to fill these gaps. The historical problems faced 
by the archeologist are likewise highly complex. Their understanding will require 
infinitely vaster material than we have at our disposal today. 

Archeologists in Siberia are beginning only now to make use of the results 
of radiocarbon (C 14 ) analysis, though a few initial test runs have been made. 
As a result, our conclusions still rest, in the main, on the older comparative and 
stratigraphic methods and remain largely confined within the framework of 
relative chronology. More or less accurate absolute determinations begin in the 
middle of the second millennium b.c. (Karasuk burials and the Shang dynasty 
in China), while the neolithic may be anchored in time from the middle of the 
third millennium b.c. onward (parallels between burials of the Kitoi type in 
Baikalia, on the one hand, and pit and catacomb graves in southern Russia and 
finds in the cave of Sha-kuo-t'un, on the other). Nevertheless, our over-all picture 
of the Siberian past is in considerably better focus than it was a short time ago. 
Regional sequences of culture-historical periods have been worked out in the 
Minusinsk region, in the Ob' area, in the Baikal, in Trans-Baikalia, and in the 
Far East. A number of syntheses dealing with major areas have appeared, and 
monographs have been published dealing with major cultural developments. 
They include the works of S. V. Kiselev on southern Siberia, S. I. Rudenko on 
the Pazyryk mounds and the ancient cultures of the Bering Sea region, M. P. 
Gryaznov on the bronze and early iron ages in western Siberia, and A. P. 
Okladnikov on the neolithic and bronze ages of the Baikal and on the ancient 
history of Yakutia and of the Far East. Researches on the paleoanthropology of 
Siberia have been published by G. F. Debets, and M. G. Levin has synthesized 
the contemporary physical anthropology of the Far East. Valuable researches 
by ethnographers (S. V. Ivanov, A. A. Popov, L. P. Potapov, G. M. Vasilyevich, 
and others) have made it possible to amplify the conclusions reached on the 
basis of archeological materials. 

Departing from the results of these researches, it is possible to attempt an 
outline of the major features of the history of the inhabitants of the temperate 
zone of continental Asia within the limits set forth by the program of the present 
symposium, that is, beginning approximately at 15,000 b.c. or somewhat earlier. 

The point of departure in such an outline is the existence in Siberia of a 
distinctive and well-characterized culture of upper paleolithic hunting tribes, as 
evidenced by remains of their settlements at Mal'ta and Buret' on the Angara, as 
well as at the site of the "Military Hospital" in Irkutsk. Geologically, they date 
from the ice age and are marked by a fully developed mammoth fauna, including 


mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, arctic fox, reindeer, and cave lion. 1 In determining 
the age of these paleolithic finds, the remains of woolly rhinoceros are of prime 
stratigraphic importance, inasmuch as they are absent at later habitation sites. 

If we compare— both among themselves and with the paleolithic of the 
European portion of the U.S.S.R.— the three paleolithic sites on the Angara, 
whose faunal associations include the bones of rhinoceros, we may divide them 
into two chronological groups. The earlier, representing the early portion of 
the upper paleolithic in Siberia, would include the habitation site at the Military 
Hospital, discovered as early as 1871. Its inventory is characterized by bifacially 
worked laurel-leaf points or knives and by a developed bone industry and includes 
such items as spheres and rings carved out of mammoth ivory. These traits link 
it to the Solutrean culture of Europe. 

Mal'ta and Buret' may be assigned provisionally to early Magdalenian times, in 
chronological terms ("batons de commandement," perforators of the type found 
at Mezin, development of decorative art on bone, and appearance of miniature 
prismatic cores and of small discoidal scrapers). 

Unfortunately, the habitation site at the Military Hospital was excavated a 
long time ago, and the materials obtained were lost in the great Irkutsk fire of 
1879. However, the culture of the inhabitants of Mal'ta and Buret' presents a 
rather clear picture. The sites in question were not temporary camps of wandering 
hunters, but true settlements, composed of a number of solidly built dwellings 
designed for prolonged use. At Buret', for example, the remains of four dwellings 
have been found. 

One of these, better and more completely preserved than the others, rested 
on a quadrangular foundation sunk into the ground that was, without doubt, 
especially excavated for the purpose. A narrow entrance-way issued from it 
in the direction of the river. The edges of the depression were first lined with 
carefully aligned and symmetrically placed thigh bones of mammoth, the lower 
ends of which were buried in the ground and secured at the bottom with slabs 
of limestone to insure their stability. These constituted as it were, the "timbers" 
of this ancient house and formed the structural framework supporting the walls 
and the roof. The dwelling had about twelve of these "timbers." 

In addition to the "timbers," the remains of this paleolithic dwelling retained 
portions of the frame of the roof. Inside the house, on the floor itself, numerous 
reindeer antlers were found that gave clear evidence of having been especially 
gathered and sorted. In a number of instances the antlers were laid out so as 

1. Geologists are not in general agreement as to the number of glaciations in Siberia, their 
extent, or their correlation with those of Europe. The author of a special synthesis on the 
Pleistocene of the Soviet arctic, V. N. Saks, distinguishes three major glacial phases: a phase 
of maximum glaciation (which he equates in time with the Dniepr or Riss glaciation), a 
Zyryanian phase (Wurm), and a Sartanian phase (the last stage of Wiirm). 

It is still difficult to relate these sites with any greater precision to specific phases of the 
ice age. It is clear, however, that they do not antedate the Zyryanian glaciation, and it is 
likely, rather, that they date from the latest interglacial (Military Hospital site) of the 
Sartanian phase (Mal'ta and Buret'). 


to cross at right angles, the tines and main branches being spaced at regular 
intervals in a kind of grid pattern. It appears from this that the roof of the 
paleolithic dwelling at Buret' had a frame in the form of a cribwork of reindeer 
antlers, intersecting and joined not only with lashings but also through the 
interlocking of their tines. In general, these dwellings and settlements are sur- 
prisingly similar to those of the sedentary coastal hunters of northeast Asia in the 
seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, the Eskimo and Chukchi. 

Hearths were located in the middle of the houses, and the floors of the latter 
yielded a variety of artifacts of stone and bone. The finds include figures of 
women and birds carved out of mammoth ivory, engraved representations of 
mammoths and snakes, a large number of decorated objects of household use, 
and finely made ornaments. 

Apart from the usual female figurines, representing the unclad body, with the 
head framed in an abundant growth of hair, three figures are outstanding for 
their depiction of clothing. One of these was found at Buret'. It provides a 
conventionalized rendering of a one-piece suit with a hood over the head. Two 
similar statuettes, though miniature and, as a result, rendered more schematically, 
were found at Mal'ta. In concept, this clothing is analogous to the "airtight" 
tailored clothing of the Arctic tribes of northeast Asia and North America. 

In its totality, this upper paleolithic culture may be described as a continental 
Arctic culture of sedentary or semisedentary hunters. It was based on the same 
economic foundation as the contemporary culture of similar upper paleolithic 
hunters in eastern and western Europe, and flourished in the same environment 
of the termination of the ice age. 

However, the similarity between them is, without doubt, due to more than 
just convergence. Mal'ta and Buret' have yielded small flint tools, made from 
thin lamellar flakes, identical to those found at western European sites of early 
Magdalenian age and at coeval sites in eastern Europe: they include scrapers, a 
variety of points, and, particularly, perforators of various shapes, including 
unilateral and two-ended forms. 

The similarity between the paleolithic settlements of the Angara and European 
regions of this period is reinforced further by the similarity of the artistic ex- 
pression of their occupants. 

The connection between the art of the early phase of the Siberian paleolithic 
and the paleolithic of Europe is apparent, first of all, from the choice of subjects. 
Foremost among these is the female figure. The basically realistic style in which 
it is depicted is likewise a definite point of similarity. Particularly significant are 
the correspondences to be seen in the over-all treatment of these female repre- 
sentations. They are uniformly sculptural and three-dimensional. Nude figures 
predominate, with arms extended downward and coming together in a distinctive 
manner in the lower portion of the abdomen. We have here a mother-figure, 
conceived by paleolithic mammoth-hunters in the periglacial zone of Europe, 
appearing in the same rigidly traditional form on the banks of the Angara river. 

Naturally, it was inevitable that regional differences between the cultures of 


Europeon and Asian tribes should arise over the vast expanses of Europe and 
Asia. Such differences, at times remarkably pronounced, existed within Europe 
itself. A case in point is the difference between the figurines from Mezin and 
those of Kostenki. Yet the over-all uniformity of the pattern of paleolithic art 
in Europe remains an indisputable fact. 

For all its distinctive details, the rich art of the Siberian upper paleolithic thus 
appears as a direct offshoot and local variant of the highly developed and dis- 
tinctive art tradition of the paleolithic hunters of Europe. 

It is quite justifiable, therefore, to suppose that the ancient inhabitants of 
Siberia came to the shores of Lake Baikal from eastern Europe toward the end 
of the ice age, bringing with them the basic features of a culture of upper 
paleolithic Arctic hunters. 

However, the process of the population of the expanses of Siberia recently 
freed of ice was not proceeding solely from the west, from behind the Urals. In 
Buret' and Mal'ta we already find choppers made from pebbles, the ends of which 
have been crudely sharpened, which testify to connections with southeast Asia. 
The Ust'-Kan cave, one of the very early habitation sites of the Altai region, 
yielded flakes and points reminiscent of the Moustero-Levalloisian tools of the 
Syr-Daria basin, in association with the bones of kudu. 

There is no doubt that other areas of Siberia, apart from the Angara valley, 
were inhabited by man at this time. Rhinoceros bones associated with stone 
artifacts have been found, for example, at a dwelling site near the village of 
Chastinskaya, in the Lena River valley, as well as at the site of Sannyy Mys on 
the Uda River, beyond Lake Baikal, in the Buryat Republic. 

The finds from these oldest living sites on the Lena and beyond the Baikal 
differ from the materials obtained in the excavations at Mal'ta and Buret'. Thus, 
for example, Sannyy iMys yielded miniature blades, as well as miniature core- 
scrapers, together with massive scrapers reminiscent of Mousterian. However, 
the data at our disposal are still too scant to allow any idea of the total culture 
of the dwellers at these sites. 

With time, the mode of life and culture of the ancient inhabitants of Siberia— 
as well, it would seem as their ethnic composition— underwent important changes. 
These changes were so profound and fundamental that we might ascribe them to 
some historical catastrophe, such as a replacement of population, if it were not 
for countervailing evidence of a definite debt of the Siberian late paleolithic to 
the earlier culture represented at Mal'ta and Buret'. 

The late paleolithic period (the later phase of the upper paleolithic in Siberia), 
represented by such sites as Afontova Gora on the Yenisey, Verkholenskaya 
Gora near Irkutsk on the Angara, Nyangi and Ust'-Kyakhta on the Selenga, and 
Makarovo, Shishkino, Nyuya, Markhachan, and other habitation sites on the 
Lena, was marked by an increase in the size of the population in Siberia. Evidence 
for this is to be found in the over-all increase in the number of dwelling sites per- 
taining to the end of the paleolithic. People now occupied the southern reaches 
of the major Siberian watercourses, such as the Amur, the Selenga, the Yenisey, 


the Angara, and the Lena. Human occupation extended to the Altai, formerly 
buried under a continuous ice sheet. 

Changes of even greater significance are to be observed in the culture and 
mode of life of the occupants of Siberian paleolithic settlements. The earlier 
dwelling sites, consisting of a number of solidly built permanent habitations, 
now disappeared. Living sites were in the form of temporary hunting camps, 
consisting of a few above-ground dwellings, most probably of the tent or chum 
type, of which, except for the hearths, no trace remains to allow a reconstruction 
of their form or structure. The hearths often have the form of ring-shaped 
alignments of stone slabs set on end. 

The change in house type may be explained by the disappearance of the 
mammoth and the rhinoceros and the consequent adoption of a new nomadic 
mode of life. 

It is harder to explain the changes in the tool kit, and, generally speaking, in 
the stone and bone artifact inventory. Stone tool forms now changed abruptly 
and unexpectedly. Instead of carefully made perforators with thin curving or 
straight points, miniature scrapers, and flakes worked over by pressure retouch, 
we now find a widespread class of massive and heavy tools, whose crudity, at 
first glance, is equalled by their uniformity of type. All of them are, essentially, 
variants of one and the same tool type, reproduced over and over with amazing 
uniformity: a massive scraper, semilunar or nearly oval in outline, worked along 
its steep working edge by retouching in the form of long and broad flake scars. 
In shape and workmanship, these scrapers are reminiscent in part of Mousterian 
tools. Stone artifacts at late paleolithic sites include also large scraper-like tools 
prepared by a distinctive technique from split river cobbles. One end was flaked 
and retouched to produce a massive cutting edge, while the other was left un- 
worked and provided a convenient grip. Without doubt such implements served 
specific economic ends. In the main, we must suppose that they were wood- 
working tools, the forerunners of the axe, as well as implements for butchering 
game. At the same time, their distinctive form and specific mode of preparation 
may legitimately bring to mind the choppers of southeastern and eastern Asia 
and, among them, the tool of Sin anthr opus. 

We must suppose that the prevalence of this technology and of such tools in 
the Siberian paleolithic marks also a new phase in ethnic history. It is highly 
probable that this time witnessed closer connections between the local paleolithic 
population and that of neighboring regions of eastern Asia, above all with 
Mongolia and China and, indirectly, with more distant areas to the southeast. 

Another component in the stone inventory of the late paleolithic settlements 
of northern Asia is represented by points reminiscent of implements of the 
Mousterian type and by cores of discoidal form. These artifacts, as noted earlier, 
appear earliest and in greatest numbers in the west, in the Altai region and in 
northern Kazakhstan. It is very probable that they were introduced precisely 
from these areas, where they were derived from the Mousterian culture of 
continental Asia. 


By comparison with earlier times, bone artifacts appear to recede in importance. 
Much less care was devoted to their manufacture. Art work in bone disappears 
altogether. Late paleolithic habitation sites in Siberia as yet fail to yield any 
decorated implements or ornaments. Yet, this impoverishment of the bone in- 
ventory and art was compensated for by the appearance of new types of hunting 
equipment and a new technique for its preparation. Flat harpoons with numerous 
barbs were now introduced. Laterally slotted knives and points appeared and 
served to hold thin inserted side-blades. This is evidence of further improvement 
in the technology of weapon manufacture through the combination of two 
different materials in the same object, for example, a flexible and elastic material 
such as bone and brittle but hard and sharp components of stone. 

A remarkable feature of the next phase of the culture-historical process in 
eastern Siberia was the uninterrupted retention of the paleolithic cultural tradition 
up to the time of the appearance of fully developed neolithic culture. In Siberia, 
the term "mesolithic" is inapplicable in its usual European sense. An abrupt break 
in the technology and form of stone and bone implements did not take place 
here as it did in the West. There is a complete lack of implements of geometric 
form and of notched blades, and the typical technique of blade-blunting through 
retouching is absent. This is due to the fact that we did not have here an in- 
trusion of new populations bearing new cultures, such as the Gravettian and 
Capsian of Europe. 

On the contrary, in Holocene times, that is, when modern woodland fauna was 
spreading throughout the temperate belt in Siberia, we have continued, at late 
paleolithic sites, massive stone tools made from split cobbles, and large scraper- 
like implements or knives of semilunar form, accompanied by composite bone 
knives and points. Traits of the older mode of life persisted equally unchanged. 
The evidence for this is to be seen in stone-lined fireplaces, similar to those found 
earlier and situated, apparently, inside huts of light construction, covered with 
birch bark or hides. It may be concluded that no major changes in population 
or mode of life occurred in Siberia at this time, so the ancient late paleolithic 
traditions were allowed to persist unchanged. It would be more justified, there- 
fore, to term this Siberian culture "epipaleolithic." Its more characteristic habita- 
tion sites are those correlated with alluvial deposits of the first riverine terrace of 
the Angara River at the mouth of the Belaya River, the Biryusa site (lower 
levels) on the Yenisey, and the Makarovo and Shishkino sites on the Lena. The 
fauna of these sites is already completely dominated by modern taiga species. For 
example, roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) is the only animal represented in the 
lower levels at the mouth of the Belaya River. However, pottery and bifacially 
worked arrowheads are still absent. 2 

It should be added that the author does not share the view according to which 

2. The "mesolithic" age of a number of habitation sites previously so dated has not 
received confirmation. Thus, for example, level "XI" at Ulan Khada on Lake Baikal yielded 
in 1959 a flint inventory in no way different from that of the Serovo phase levels above it 
(as well as a polished adz and typical Serovo pottery). 


neolithic culture is to be defined in terms of what has been called the "neolithic 
revolution" (e.g., V. Gordon Childe), that is, by the beginnings of farming 
and animal hubandry. In my opinion, we must be guided in the classification of 
archeological phases by a single, more general, and universally applicable principle, 
that of the evolution of technology or manner of tool production. On this basis, 
I hold to the older view that neolithic culture, in contradistinction to the meso- 
lithic and paleolithic, is founded on the appearance of ground axes and pottery, 
as well as of the bow and arrow tipped with a bifacially worked point. 

This does not exclude the possibility of various types of economy based on a 
common technology foundation, for example, of hunting, collecting, farming, 
or stock-raising prevailing locally in response to specific environmental conditions. 
Likewise, we do not exclude, of course, the possibility of unequal rates of cultural 
development in different regions, of lag among some ethnic groups and accelerated 
development among others. 

For this reason, the so-called "neolithic revolution" in the Near East should be 
assigned to the mesolithic. For the same reason, we cannot exclude from the 
broader framework of neolithic culture those tribes that have retained, over a 
long period of time within the neolithic, the older forms of hunting and fishing 

Two burials on the Angara River, in the Chastyye and Khin'skaya gulches, 
are of exceptional interest in tracing the beginnings of the new neolithic culture 
in the Baikal region. The inventory with these burials contains distinctive points 
of archaic appearance. These points are prepared on narrow blades of regular 
outline. Retouch is only partial and is confined to the ventral side at the tip and 
base. The latter is shouldered. Similar points are found occasionally east of the 
Baikal, but most of them are known from west of the Yenisey, from western 
Siberia and Central Asia. In Central Asia, such points are characteristic of the 
Kel'teminar culture of the Aral Sea region. It is in the same area, in the cave of 
Dzhebel on the coast of the Caspian Sea, that we find the earliest points of this 
type, dated roughly to the fifth millennium b.c. (judging from the results of a 
radiocarbon assay of charcoal from the overlying neolithic layer, the age of 
which puts it in the fourth millennium). On this basis, we may speculate that 
the fifth to fourth millennia are marked by the movement, out of the steppes and 
deserts of Central Asia through the wooded steppe of western Siberia and into 
the Baikal region, of mobile groups of late mesolithic hunters and gatherers, 
whose culture was related to that of the early Kel'teminar peoples wandering 
in the area of the Caspian and Aral seas. Their influence may be correlated hypo- 
thetically with the appearance of the bow and arrow among the Baikal tribes, 
who had not known formerly this type of weapon. However, in the developed 
neolithic phase that follows, this southern influence is no longer evident in any 
way. Apparently, these southerners were assimilated by the local aboriginal 
population and were absorbed into it without a trace, along with their culture. 

In any event, it would seem that the epipaleolithic of Siberia, like the late 
paleolithic, witnessed the presence in fully developed form of the physical type 


that is to dominate the subsequent history of the area, that is, the Mongoloid. 
An indication of this is to be seen in the skull fragment recovered in 1937 at 
Afontova Gora and in the Mongoloid features of the clothed figurine from 

The new neolithic period was marked by the definitive establishment of novel 
environmental conditions that henceforth were to govern the life of Siberia's 
ancient inhabitants. Instead of the former steppes and tundras, evenly and gently 
grading into one another, the three environmental zones now prevailing take 
shape in the form of extended latitudinal belts. More exactly, a new forest belt 
appears for the first time and separates the two older landscape types— the steppe 
and the tundra. We now have a vast stretch of Siberian taiga, extending from 
the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. A new fauna also appears, its leading repre- 
sentatives being the moose and the bear. Neolithic man comes to occupy more 
land than his late paleolithic predecessor. Evidence of his presence is found, not 
only throughout the forest zone of Siberia, but also in the tundra areas of the 
Kolyma, the Indigir'ka, in the central portion of the Chukchi peninsula (site 
on the Yakitikiveyem River in the basin of the Anadyr'), on the Popigay and 
Khatanga Rivers, near the Taymyr peninsula, and in the Bol'shezemel'skaya 

New conditions also mark the end of the cultural uniformity that had pre- 
vailed earlier. Several distinct culture areas emerge. Each of these culturally and 
ethnically distinct areas develops its own pattern, and, in each, culture growth 
follows a distinct series of stages or developmental phases. The new areas are 
those of (1) the sedentary riverine fishers and maritime hunters of the Far East, 
which includes the Amur region and the Maritime Province; (2) the forest 
hunters and fishers of the Baikal area; (3) the hunters and gatherers of the 
wooded steppes, steppes, and deserts of Trans-Baikalia and Mongolia; (4) the 
wandering reindeer hunters and lake fishermen of the tundra and forest-tundra 
of the northeast; (5) the semisedentary fishermen and hunters of central and 
northwestern Yakutia; and (6) the fishermen and hunters of western Siberia. 

The forest neolithic culture of Siberia exhibits its most typical features in 
two culture areas that at the same time, stand in marked contrast to each other. 
These areas are (a) central Siberia, that is, the Baikal region and (b) the Far 
East, that is, the Maritime Province and the Amur basin. It is with these two 
cultural entities that we shall now be concerned. 

The area of distribution of the Baikalian neolithic sensn stricto embraces the 
littoral zone along Lake Baikal in the south, the whole of the upper course of 
the Lena River down to the mouth of the Vitim in the north, the entire Angara 
valley to its junction with the Yenisey, and, without doubt, part of the adjacent 
territory occupied by the basins of the Stony and Middle Tunguzka Rivers to 
the west. Since early times the subsistence basis for the inhabitants of this territory 
has been the hunting of taiga game, supplemented by fishing and the gathering of 
wild edible plants. In this respect, as well as in many other ways, these peoples 
continued for millennia the mode of life of their paleolithic predecessors, though 


they already possessed ground-stone tools and made use of typically neolithic 

arrow points, retouched by pressure flaking on both faces. 

The earliest development phase of the Baikal neolithic is the Isakovo. Burials 
of this period have yielded large bone lance heads with inserted side blades made 
from lamellar flakes. They are accompanied by stone arrow points of two types: 
(a) tanged and (b) asymmetrically spurred, with basal indentations resulting in 
a "swallow-tail" outline. 

The tools at the disposal of the people in this period included large ground 
adzes of siliceous slate, triangular in cross section. Slate and nephrite knives were 
used in female household occupations, along with various scrapers, bone needle 
cases and needles, awls, and other implements. 

The large oval scrapers resemble those of the late paleolithic. The extensive 
use of mammoth bone and certain types of bone points also hark back to the 
older culture of the paleolithic hunters. 

Pots are of extremely simple shape, parabolic in profile. Their outside surfaces 
are entirely covered with textile impressions resulting from the application of 
fine-mesh net, which leaves clear imprints of rather thin, tightly twisted strands 
and knots. Decoration is similarly primitive. It is limited to a band of punctations 
along the rim of the vessel. 

Subsequently, in the Serovo phase, the older adzes of triangular cross section 
are replaced by a new type of quadrangular section. Green nephrite is increasingly 
used, along with siliceous slate, in the manufacture of knives and adzes. The older 
vessels of simple profile are replaced by a new form with a distinct neck, rim, and 
body. Distinctive vessels designed for suspension appear in the form of flasks with 
suspension lugs. Dentate "maggot" and linear dentate 3 decoration become com- 

Hunting equipment becomes improved in Serovo times. Graves on the Angara 
and Lena have yielded long strips of bone that served as backing for bows, 
which, at this time, are the oldest known bows of reinforced or even composite 
type in the world. Bow length averages 150-165 centimeters. In all, about 25 
bows have been recorded 

Graves yield finely made stone fish effigies, most frequently depicting the 
burbot, less often the whitefish or the sterlet. Similar fish effigies were used as 
lures in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by tribes of northern Asia and 
North America in ice fishing with the fish spear. 

Settlements of Serovo times are in the form of "stations," that is, remains of 
more or less permanent, probably seasonal, encampments consisting of tent-like 
chums, of which the fireplaces remain, in the form of circles of river boulders. 
Sometimes we find evidence of storage pits and sunken fire pits designed for 

3. The Russian term "grebenchato-punktirnyy" (literally, "dentate-punctate"), to judge 
from available illustrations, applies to what would be described as ordinary dentate stamping 
in the American literature, or comb-marking in the literature of the European neolithic 
(Paul Tolstoy, translator). 


some special purpose. They may have been used for smoking hides or as steam 

A remarkable feature of burials in the Serovo period is the consistency of the 
burial inventory that accompanies the deceased. No differences between "rich" 
and "poor" are observed in the burial accompaniments. Such differences appear 
much later. In most graves we find approximately the same range of objects. It 
is significant, in this connection, that hunting equipment, such as knives and bows 
and arrows, occur with male and female burials alike. This brings to mind the 
women warriors and the active participation of women in the chase among a 
number of Siberian peoples in the past. 

Serovo burials also yield abundant material for understanding the spiritual 
culture of the neolithic tribes of the Baikal, their art as well as their beliefs. 
Among art forms, first place must be given to realistically executed representa- 
tions of animals, principally moose. Moose effigies carved out of antler have 
been found, for example, in the inventory of a burial discovered by I. T. Saven- 
kov near the Bazaikha River on the Yenisey at Krasnoyarsk. They form, as it 
were, a tableau of life in the Siberian taiga. One moose is standing with its head 
lowered. The other is lying on the ground with its legs folded under it. It is 
stretching its head forward and emitting a call. A third figure represents a moose 
calf. It stands stock still with its ears perked up, listening. 

We may also date to Serovo times certain monumental moose figures in a style 
related to that of the Bazaikha carvings, pecked out on cliffs near the settlement 
of Shishkino on the Lena River, on the Kamennyye Islands, in the Angara valley, 
and at other locations. Here too, the ancient craftsmen managed to convey the 
essential features of the body and motions of this forest animal. Sometimes we 
find a single moose figure represented on the cliffs at almost natural scale; at 
other times two moose figures are shown. They are represented as one following 
the other, spreading widely their thin gangly legs, the female probably in front, 
pursued by the bull. Carved representations of bear are also known to occur. 
A distinctive type of decorative art existed alongside realistic carving. This dec- 
oration was essentially geometric and rectilinear, characterized by the combina- 
tion of horizontal and vertical lines, as well as the rhythmic alternation of 
"bundles" of short incisions. 

We gain some idea of beliefs in Serovo times both from archeological data 
(burials, art forms) and from comparative ethnographic evidence. The moose 
and bear representations may be related without difficulty to the beliefs and 
rituals of forest hunters. All or nearly all of the tribes of the north had concepts 
of supernatural female beings, on whom, according to these beliefs, depended 
the life and death of the entire tribe, inasmuch as they had complete control of 
the food supply. At the same time, these zoomorphic beings were thought of as 
"animal mothers." They were called "rulers," "mistresses," and the "purveyors 
of all goods" and, in the northern myths, assumed animal form. The Eskimo 
conceived them as "walrus women," while other tribes thought of them as rein- 


deer or moose, depending on whether subsistence was by hunting sea mammals 
or reindeer and moose. The Evenki, the inhabitants of the forested regions of 
Siberia around Lake Baikal and the headwaters of the Amur, until recently had 
the concept of such animal mothers or bugady, who had the form of a female 
moose. The cult of the bugady was connected with ancient magical rites and a 
spring festival, ikonipka, whose purpose it was to increase the amount of game 
in the taiga and to insure an abundant game supply. The performances of the 
shamans involved a journey to the female moose bugady, the mother and ruler 
of the animals. They "brought" with them strands of fur, which were then 
"transformed" into animals. In their dramatic dances the hunters would represent 
the multiplication of the animals and the chase. 

The myths of the forest hunters of the Siberian taiga are also related to these 
magic rituals and reflect clearly the outstanding importance of the moose in 
their economy. In these myths the concept of the moose acquires cosmic im- 
portance. The Evenki saw a moose and hunters in the Big Dipper, and the snow- 
shoe tracks of a celestial hunter in the Milky Way. Likewise, our entire planet 
was conceived in the form of a moose. According to this conception, men dwell 
on the back of a giant moose, whose fur is the forest, while the birds flying over 
the earth correspond to mosquitoes and gnats. 

Just as the concept of a mythical moose was directly related to economic life 
and to production, the bear, another animal of comparable bulk and strength, 
was also closely connected with the religion of local tribes, though on a different 
plane. A mythological bear was associated with shamanistic ritual and practice 
and was viewed as especially concerned with guiding shamanistic ritual and as 
a shaman helper. The special ritualistic role of the bear led, among many forest 
tribes, to the gradual emergence of a complex bear ceremony in the nature of a 
true religious mystery play or "passion" of the sacred animal. At the beginning 
of the play, the bear, previously raised in captivity, is killed. This is followed by 
the solemn eating of the meat of the killed animal by the members of the kin 
group, who honor it according to the rules of hospitality among kinsmen. The 
third part involved the burial of the bones and certain other parts of the body 
of the animal, to the accompaniment of a ritual designed to "resurrect" the animal, 
which was then to return to the hunters of its own free will and even bring along 
its relatives, allured by the respect and hospitality of the people. Thus the bear 
ceremony constituted a clear expression of the concepts of neolithic people, who 
thought of the animal kingdom as part of their own society and who conceived 
relations between men and animals as those between two friendly clans or tribes. 

In turn, the burial rites of Serovo times likewise reflect the concept of the 
indissoluble ties uniting the members of the kin group. This finds its expression 
in the fact that the dead were taken care of as if they were living. They were 
accompanied to the "other world" by a nearly standard inventory of essential 
personal belongings. These usually included a bow with bone reinforcing pieces, 
from thirty to sixty arrows, one or two adzes, a bone spear point or dagger with 
side blades, a ground knife, a hunting knife or dagger, and a needle case with 


needles and awls. It is indicative that essential and compulsory grave goods were 
made to include a small clay pot with lugs for suspension, which served as a 
smudge pot. Thus, in the view of the Baikal hunters, even the world beyond the 
grave was inconceivable without "bugs," without gnats and mosquitoes. The 
concept of the link between the living and the dead, a link not interrupted even 
by death, found expression not only in this elementary concern for the well-being 
of dead kinfolk in the other world but also in the more profound concept of the 
inevitable resurrection of souls, of the certain return of the soul among the living, 
and of a kind of endless "circle of souls." This is the explanation provided by 
ethnographic data to the orientation of bodies that were placed with their heads 
toward the "land of the morning." It was there that they would begin life anew 
as children, so as then to come back to the land of the living and be reborn. 

It should be added that the distinctive Serovo culture was not confined to the 
Baikal region. It had quite extensive connections with other areas. A culture 
basically related to the Serovo existed at the time on the territory of Yakutia, 
on the middle Yenisey, as well as beyond Lake Baikal. In addition, one of the 
more remarkable facts bearing on the history of the cultural and ethnic relation- 
ships of the neolithic tribes of the Baikal is the occurrence of net-impressed Serovo 
pottery, as well as stone objects, far to the east of Lake Baikal, in the Gobi desert 
(Shabarakh Usu) and also at Linnsi and a number of other habitation sites in 
Inner Mongolia. Nomadic hunters apparently penetrate at this time from the 
taiga into the forest steppes and steppes of Mongolia, ranging as far as the Great 
Wall of China. These easterly ties of the Baikal tribes continue and increase in 
complexity in later times. 

The burials of the Kitoi phase, which follow the Serovo graves in time (third 
and beginning of second millennia b.c.) stand out, in the first place, as a result 
of one specific feature of the mode of burial, the custom of sprinkling red ocher 
over the entire body. A prominent element in the inventory of the graves and 
of contemporary /refusej sites are composite fishhooks, which have semilunar 
protrusions at the extremities of the stone shank or weight. The Kitoi burial 
ground, located near sources of green nephrite, the most valuable raw material 
of the period, characteristically yields large numbers of nephrite artifacts and, 
among them, incompletely worked blanks. The possibility is not to be excluded 
that trade in nephrite was important in the life of the tribe or clan occupying 
the valley of the Kitoi river and neighboring regions, in the same manner as the 
tribal trade, which, in its day, affected so greatly the life of a number of tribes 
in North America and northern Asia who "specialized," to a considerable extent, 
in trading specific products of their regions or even in acting as middlemen. 

The Kitoi phase of the Baikal sequence (end of the third and beginning of 
the second millennia b.c.) still fits entirely within the boundaries of the neolithic. 
No traces of metal are noted for this period. The first metal artifacts appear in 
Glazkovo times, at about 1800 to 1300 b.c. The oldest Glazkovo burials— in addi- 
tion to containing various kinds of stone and bone artifacts and pottery that is 
still completely neolithic in appearance— yield leaf-shaped knives of copper, as 


well as small thin strips of this new material, used as ornaments. The early Glazkovo 
burials are succeeded by later ones that begin to yield not only copper but also 
bronze objects of archaic but already more developed form: leaf-shaped knives 
with a short spike or tang, massive fishhooks, needles, tubular beads of rolled 
metal foil, and other small objects. All these metal artifacts imitate the forms 
of earlier stone and bone objects, thereby providing evidence of local manufac- 
ture and of the beginnings of local metallurgy. 

The appearance of the first copper objects is accompanied by changes in a 
number of typologically important artifacts. Flint arrow points acquire straight 
bases, and there is the appearance of two-prong harpoons (fish spears), biconvex 
axes of nephrite (symmetrical in cross section), a specific type of stone weight 
or shank for composite fishhooks, pyrophillite beads in the form of short cylin- 
ders (white in color), and disks and rings of white nephrite. The spread of new 
forms is accompanied by the disappearance of such archaic artifacts as knives 
with side-blades, spear-shaped hunting knives of asymmetric triangular outline, 
and early arrow-point types. 

The economy of Glazkovo times is marked by a further increase in the im- 
portance of fishing. The burials that are richest in artifacts belong to fishermen, 
to judge from their inventories. 

Paired burials of men and women are of interest in characterizing social life. 
In one of these, a flint arrow point was found embedded in the pelvis of the 
woman. Judging from its position in the body of the woman, she was hit with 
an arrow shot from a bow at point-blank range, as she was bending down or 
had fallen to the ground. The over-all arrangement of the burial justifies the 
supposition that after the death of the man, the woman, who may have been 
a wife or a slave concubine, was forcibly put to death and buried with the man 
in a common grave to be his companion in the other world. 

It may be supposed that the social life of the Glazkovo tribes of the Baikal 
had features in common with the pattern observed by ethnographers in the 
eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries in northwestern North 
America, where the labor-consuming occupation of fishing early became the 
basis for a distinctive pattern of social structure, in which slavery became wide- 
spread and individual "aristocratic" families emerged from the ranks of the 
wealthy. As we know, the Northwest [coast] achieved in the eighteen century 
a level of technological development of precisely the same order as in Baikal of 
Glazkovo times, where use was made of copper objects of archaic type, along 
with stone and bone. It is thus only natural that the Glazkovo fishermen of the 
Baikal eneolithic should exhibit consistently the same basic features of mode of 
life and social structure as the Tlinkit and Tsimshian Indians of the Northwest 
coast of North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

These novel features obviously could not help but find their reflection in the 
world outlook, religion, and art of the ancient inhabitants of the Baikal. 

The appearance of a novel riverine burial orientation (parallel to the river) in 
the Glazkovo period testifies to a new belief in the departure of the deceased 


downstream, where the land of the dead was said to be. This is consonant with 
ethnographic data indicating a belief in the existence of a land of the dead, gov- 
erned by a loathsome monster, a female deity representing the former matriarchal 
ruler. This is the period in which the cult of male anthropomorphic spirits de- 
velops. The first shamans appear (burials near the village of Anosovo and at 
Ust'-Uda on the Angara). Conventional and schematic treatments prevail in art. 
Relations with neighbors and, above all, trade must have been of considerable 
importance in the progressive development of culture and society among the 
Baikal tribes in Glazkovo times. Thus, burials of the Serovo phase already yield 
blunt bone arrowheads designed especially for hunting fur-bearing animals. On 
the other hand, Glazkovo burial grounds have yielded beads of seashells and 
whole shells, brought in from the area of the Sea of Japan and the Moluccas. It 
is of particular importance that the Fofanovo cemetery on the Selenga River 
should have yielded pottery similar to the ancient Chinese (from settlements 
prior to and contemporaneous with Shang times). 

Direct influence out of ancient China is even more clearly evident for the period 
of developed bronze-age culture. The distinctive taiga celts, the "Krasnoyarsk 
celts" of Merhart's terminology (Krasnoyarsk Beile), bearing decoration in the 
form of eyes and pendant triangles, obviously derive from Shang celts of the 
second half of the second millennium b.c. 

The effects of contact with ancient Chinese civilization were even more pro- 
found among the neighbors and relatives of the Baikal tribes living east of the 
Baikal. Here this contact radically changed the culture pattern and affected the 
composition of the population itself. 

In the regions beyond the Baikal, in the area between Sretensk and Barguzin, 
and on the northern Baikal, the end of Shang times and the Chou period was 
marked by the spread of a new culture of developed bronze, the culture of the 
slab tombs of Mongolia and Trans-Baikalia. The bearers of the slab-tomb culture 
practiced animal husbandry. They raised horses and both large and small horned 
stock. Most striking and unexpected in their inventory of traits are pottery tripods 
of the li type, with a threefold division of the container portion and with hollow 
legs. In J. G. Andersson's opinion, the //' is the "symbol of ancient Chinese agri- 
cultural civilization." The appearance of the li in Trans-Baikalia testifies, if not 
to the penetration of actual Chinese tribes to Lake Baikal in the first millennium 
b.c, at least to the appearance of stock-raising tribes culturally related to the 
Chinese from Inner Mongolia and adjacent regions of North China. Apparently, 
agriculture begins at this time beyond the Baikal, the evidence being the li tripods 
themselves, as well as stone grinders, and a bronze plowshare in the possession 
of the Kyakhta Museum. 

In the second century b.c, Trans-Baikalia becomes part of the sphere of influ- 
ence of the Huns, who were old neighbors of the Chinese and whose culture 
bore the imprint of ancient Chinese civilization from the very beginning. The 
Huns not only wandered over the steppe "depending on water and grass" but 
also built rather extensive, often fortified, settlements. These served not only as 


administrative centers and headquarters of tribal princelings but also, where 
agriculture was practiced, as craft centers. Such, for example, is the fortified 
settlement on the Ivolga near the city of Ulan-Ude. 

A new and important phase in the life of the Trans-Baikalian tribes begins in 
medieval times, when the empire of the Orkhon or "Blue" Turks, the T'u-k'iu of 
the Chinese annals, arises. The Selenga at this time was occupied by the Uigur, 
who developed agriculture to a hitherto unprecedented degree and who estab- 
lished an extensive irrigation network and already made use of the plow instead 
of the hoe. A branch of the Uigur, the Kurykan, settled part of the Baikal region 
in the first millennium of our era and occupied the upper Angara region and 
the Lena-Kuda forest steppe. At the same time, around the eighth to the eleventh 
centuries, a colony of migrants from Sogdiana appeared in the area, establish- 
ing an agricultural settlement on the Unga River near Balagansk, where they 
buried their dead. The immigrants from Sogdiana also apparently introduced 
their own mode of life and rituals north of Lake Baikal, as evidenced by the 
sanctuaries or chiragi discovered on the Unga and by representations of Gopat 
Shah, an ancient Iranian deity conceived as a shepherd king with the body of 
a bull. 

In this manner, the world of the forest tribes of eastern Siberia sees the appear- 
ance of the beginnings of agriculture, albeit considerably belated, spreading from 
two directions, Central Asia in the west, and simultaneously from the east. Agri- 
culture was accompanied by influences of urban civilization. However, these 
influences were confined, as other events had been earlier, to the steppe and 
forest-steppe zone. The older mode of life of forest hunters, fishermen, and 
reindeer-breeders continued in the depths of the taiga itself. 

While this distinctive culture followed its own course of development over 
several millennia on the shores of the Baikal, on the upper Lena, on the Angara, 
and on the Selenga, other tribes, dwelling in the Amur River valley and in the 
Soviet Maritime Province, developed a fundamentally different culture. 

These areas, where glaciation did not take place, likewise could not support 
the periglacial culture of mammoth- and reindeer-hunters represented by the 
paleolithic settlements of the Baikal. Thus, the earliest known sites of the stone 
age in this area already bear a distinctive stamp. 

The earliest traces of man known at the present time in the Maritime Province 
of the Soviet Union are found in the vicinity of the town of Ussuriysk, in the 
valley of a small stream called Osinovka, near the village of the same name. 
The finds here consist of pebbles of dense greenstone. One end of these pebbles 
served as a grip and retained the original surface. The other was flaked by means 
of a series of strong, deftly aimed blows and provided thus with a broad, massive 
cutting edge similar to that of a modern axe or cleaver. Such crude, core-like 
tools could be used to split bone or wood, to excavate the ground, to dig up 
edible roots, and to stun game animals. Tools of this kind are unknown west of 
the Urals. They are absent, for that matter, in adjacent Siberia. It is thus of par- 


ticular interest that they resemble, in their general form and mode of manufacture, 
similar chopping tools or choppers, known in the stone age of China and of more 
distant areas of Asia as far removed as Burma and Indochina. These stone arti- 
facts occurred in a reddish stratum, contrasting sharply with the light-yellow 
clayey soil above it. 

Finds from the vicinity of the city of Khabarovsk, near the village of Osipovka 
and the railroad trestle across the Amur, pertain to a later period, probably to 
the early neolithic. Here, on a high ancient terrace of the left bank, a stratum 
of clayey soil has yielded remains of hearths made of boulders, together with 
stone leaf-shaped points or knives, splendidly worked over by means of fine 
Solutrean-type retouch, and also end scrapers, flakes, and distinctive adzes, flaked 
rather than ground, with indented cutting edges. 

The culture of the full-blown neolithic is represented by sites at which pottery 
appears in the form of vessels of distinctive truncated-conical shape. The rims 
of these vessels bear an outer band of decoration of diamond-shaped impressions 
with concave sides. This band imitates a basket or net with lozenge-shaped meshes. 
Decoration of this type occurs in the neolithic from the banks of the Amur in 
the north to Vladivostok and the Tumangan River in the south. At the same 
time, it is identical with that used at the present time by the Ulchi and Giliak 
tribes of the Amur. The neolithic inhabitants of the Maritime Province and of 
the Amur in this period had at their disposal ground-stone adzes, convex on 
one face and flat on the other. They also used bifacially retouched knives and 
points of stone. Their stone arrow points find their closest analogies among the 
early points of the Baikal, both because of their general form and because one 
corner is somewhat more elongated than the other. The stone artifacts also in- 
clude elongate rectangular blades, elaborately retouched on both faces, which 
served as inserted side-blades for wooden or bone daggers or knives. 

With time, decoration in the form of parallel vertical zigzag patterns becomes 
equally widespread in the Far-Eastern neolithic. On the Amur, it appears in com- 
bination with curvilinear patterns representing variations of a spiral motif. In 
the Maritime Province, it appears alone and is combined with the meander in the 
latest phases. 

The older type of'planoconvex adze is now accompanied by a new type, round 
or oval in cross section, which gradually supersedes the older form. Sites of this 
period yield many small, finely retouched arrow points. There are also some 
rather large knives with "knobbed" stems. 

The general appearance of the pottery and of the stone inventory, as well as 
the art of the neolithic peoples of the Far East and the course of development of 
their culture as a whole, are in marked contrast to what we have observed in 
Siberia proper. The Siberian peoples had only round-bottomed rather than flat- 
bottomed pottery, and rectilinear geometric rather than curvilinear decorative 
art. The development of stone tools likewise followed a different pattern in Siberia. 

The mode of life of these Far-Eastern tribes as a whole was as distinctive as 


their material culture. They lived not in light above-ground huts, as did their 
western neighbors, but in solid semisubterranean houses, and built themselves true 
villages of such dwellings. 

The final and most important distinctive feature in the mode of life of the 
Far-Eastern tribes was their adoption, as early as the neolithic, of agriculture and, 
apparently, the raising of dogs and pigs for meat. The beginnings of agriculture 
are evidenced by numerous finds of grinding stones and rubbers. On the Amur, 
however, these artifacts are not found, and the basis of subsistence in that area, 
therefore, as contrasted to the Maritime Province, was fishing and, above all, 
fishing for migratory marine species of the salmon family. 

Weaving was linked to the growing and utilization of plants. Its relatively ad- 
vanced state of development is attested by numerous spindle whorls, both biconi- 
cal and in the form of disks with shaft sockets on one side. There are also clear 
imprints of coarse fabrics on the bases of some vessels. 

The neolithic cultures of the Maritime and Amur tribes were in contact from 
early times with the cultures of their Far-Eastern neighbors in Korea, Japan, 
and China. They were an integral part of a maritime culture area— characterized 
by the use of pottery vessels of truncated conical form, decorated with patterns 
of continuous vertical zigzags, as well as by polished axes of round cross section, 
knives of "Mousterian" shape, T-drills, ornaments of magatami type, and other 

In turn, all these cultures, and particularly those on the mainland, were subject 
to the powerful influence of the oldest of the farming cultures of the Far East, 
the Yangshao culture, which was succeeded by the Lungshan. It is the influence 
of the ancient Chinese agriculturists that accounts for the early beginnings of 
farming in the Maritime Province. 

This view finds support at sites of the following period, "the shell-mound 
phase." The broad distribution of these mounds coincides in time with important 
changes in the culture of the ancient tribes of the Maritime Province. 

Small flint and obsidian flaked tools are replaced by tools of rubbed slate, 
which include stone daggers and spear heads— copies of metal models of Shang 
and Karasuk type and, in part, types of the late bronze and early iron ages of 
southern Siberia. Stone axes of round cross section are replaced by quadrangular 
ones. The simple pottery vessels of earlier times are replaced by new forms of 
more advanced design. Prominent among these are hitherto unknown vessels of 
more complex profile, as well as shallow cups on narrow pedestal bases. The 
decoration and outward finish of pottery was drastically modified. We now fre- 
quently find vessels with highly burnished surfaces, sometimes purposefully 
coated with a thin layer of purplish red pigment. The ancient potters now deco- 
rated their vessels with a variety of linear designs, particularly fillets arranged 
in parallel bands and symmetrically placed applique bosses. 

The subsistence pattern of the coastal inhabitants developed in the direction 
of dependence on more elaborate techniques of sea fishing and sea-mammal hunt- 
ing. A specialized harpoon complex appears. Farming developed at the same 


time, particuarly among the inhabitants of inland areas far removed from the 
sea. This is evidenced not only by grinding stones and reaping knives of ground 
slate but also by charred grains of millet found in 1959 at a settlement in the 
Suchan river, near the village of Yekaterininskoye, and near the town of Artem 
in the village of Kirovskiy. 

All these new traits in pottery and new types of stone artifacts serve to relate 
the shell-mound culture of the Maritime Province to the late neolithic cultures 
of Korea (Tsodo Island) and Liaotung (Pitsuwo). A common foundation for all 
of them, apparently, is to be seen in the ancient Chinese cultures of Yangshao 
and, particularly, Lungshan, whence agriculture likewise diffused northward as 
early as neolithic times. The marked intensification of relations with China in 
the first millennium B.C. was the result, it would seem, of events connected with 
the struggle between Chou and Shang and with the movements of population 
that ensued from the destruction of the Shang state by the Chou tribes. 

Subsequently, the T'ang period in the first millennium a.d. is marked by the 
appearance, in Manchuria, of the state of Po-hai, the earliest local state in the 
area, born of direct contact with Korea (Koguryo) and China. Its territory 
extended over a considerable portion of the xMaritime Province. Cities were built, 
among which was Shuai-pin. Civilization in the Far East attained its peak during 
the existence of the state of Po-hai and that of the state of Ts'in, founded by 
the Jurchen leader A-ku-ta. 

We have examined here the broad outlines of the historical process in the 
temperate zone of northern Asia. We may now draw some conclusions in a 
wider context. We see that it is characterized, above all, by an unusually pro- 
longed retention of ancient economic patterns. Hunting and gathering, as basic 
modes of subsistence, were replaced here very late by stock-raising and agri- 
culture; nor did the replacement happen everywhere, but only in those areas 
where environmental conditions were favorable and where direct contact existed 
with more developed cultures. For northern Asia, China played the same role 
as the higher cultures of the Near East had in the initial development of European 

However, it would hardly be legitimate to view the history of the forest 
tribes of Siberia from a purely negative point of view, as was done by historians 
of the eighteenth century, and to think of it simply as providing a background 
for the history of the more progressive peoples of the world. 

In the first place, this branch of humanity followed its own path of historical 
development, passing from one historical phase to the next over a period of 
several millennia. The forest tribes were creating their own cultures. They may 
be credited with many original inventions and discoveries. They created their 
own distinctive mythology and their own colorful and truly remarkable art. 

In the second place, the forest tribes stood in complex relationships with the 
rest of the world and participated thereby in the world-wide historical process 
as such. To overlook their contribution to the global culture of mankind would 


be to impoverish the latter. In failing to recognize the bonds between the forest 
tribes of Siberia and the rest of the world, we would be belittling the true 
content of the historical process. 


Chard, C. S. 

1956. "The Oldest Sites of Northeastern Siberia," Amer. Antiq., Vol. 21, No. 4. 
1958. "An Outline of the Prehistory of Siberia, Part I: The Pre-Metal Periods," 
Southwestern J. Anthrop., Vol. 14, No. 7 

Debets, G. F. 

1948. "Paleoantropologiya SSSR" ("Paleoanthropology of the USSR"), Trudy Insti- 
tuta Etnografii AN SSSR ("Trans. Inst. Ethnog. Acad. Sci. USSR), n.s., Vol. 4. 

Gaul, J. H. 

1943. Observations on the Bronze Age in the Yenisei Valley. ("Papers Peabody 
Mus. Amer. Archaeol. and Ethnol.," Vol. 20.) 

Gerasimov, M. M. 

1931. MaVta: Paleoliticheskaya stoyanka {predvariteVny y e dannye): Rezidhaty raboty 
1928-1929 g. ("Mal'ta: A Paleolithic Site [Preliminary Information]: Results of 
Work in 1928-1929"). Irkutsk. 

Gromov, V. I. 

date? "Paleontologicheskoye i arkheologicheskoye obosnovaniye stratigrafii konti- 
nental'nykh otlozheniy chetvertichnogo perioda na territorii SSSR (mlekopitayu- 
shchiye, paleolit)" ("The Paleontological and Archeological Basis of the Stratigraphy 
of Continental Deposits of the Quaternary Period on the Territory of the USSR 
[Mammals, Paleolithic]"), Trudy Inst. Geolog. Nauk ("Trans. Inst. Geol. Sci."), 
No. 64; "Geol. Ser.," No. 17. 

Gryaznov, M. P. 

1950. Pervyy Pazyrykskiy kurgan ("The First Pazyryk Mound"). Leningrad. 
Kiselev, S. V. 

1951. Drevnyaya istoriya Yuzhnoy Sibiri ("The Ancient History of Southern Si- 
beria"). Moscow. 

Larichev, V. Ye. 

1959#. "O proiskhozhdenii kul'tury plitochnykh mogil Zabaykaliya" ("The Origin 
of the Slab Grave Culture of Trans-Baikalia"). "Arkheologicheskiy sbornik" ("Col- 
lected Papers on Archeology"), Vol. 1. Ulan Ude. 

1959b. "Neolit Dunbeya i yego svyazi s kul'turami kamennogo veka severo-vos- 
tochnoy Azii" ("The Neolithic of Tungpeh and Its Relations to the Stone Age 
Cultures of Northeast Asia"), ibid., Vol. 1. 

Levin, M. G. 

1951. "Drevniye pereseleniya cheloveka v Severnoy Azii po dannym antropologii" 
("Ancient Population Movements in Northern Asia on the Basis of the Data of 
Physical Anthropology"). In Sbornik u Proiskhozhdeniy e cheloveka i drevneye rasse- 
leniye chelovechestva" (In "The Origin of Man and the Ancient Migrations of 
Mankind"). Trudy lnstituta Etnografii AN SSSR" ("Trans. Inst. Ethnog. Acad. 
Sci. USSR"), n.s., Vol. 16. 


Michael, H. W. 

1958. "The Neolithic Age in Eastern Siberia," Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc, n.s., Vol. 
48, Part. 2. 

Okladnikov, A. P. 

1941a. "Neoliticheskiye pamyatniki kak istochnik po etnogonii Sibiri i Dal'nego 
Vostoka" ("Neolithic Sites as Source Material on the Origin of the Peoples of 
Siberia and of the Far East"). (Kratkiye soobshcheniya Instituta istorii materia? no y 
kuVtury AN SSSR ["Brief Communications Inst. Hist. Material Culture, Acad. 
Sci. USSR"], No. 9.) 

1941Z?. "Paleoliticheskiye zhilishcha v Bureti" ("Paleolithic Dwellings at Buret'"), 
ibid., No. 10. 

1950a. Osvoyeniye paleoliticheskim chelovekom Sibiri ("Settlement of Siberia by 
paleolithic Man"). "Materialy po chetvertochnomu periodu SSSR" ["Materials on 
the Quaternary Era in the USSR"]), No. 2. 

1950Z? and 1955a. Neolit i bronzovy vek Pribaykaliya, chast' I i III ("The Neolithic 
and Bronze Ages of the Baikal, Parts I and II"). ("Materialy i issledovaniya po 
arkheologii SSSR" ["Materials and Researches on the Archeology of the USSR], 
No. 18.) Chast' III ("Part III"). (Ibid., No. 43.) Moscow-Leningrad. 
1955b. "Yakutiya do prisoyedineniya k Russkomu gosudarstvu" ("Yakutia Prior to 
its Merger with the Russian State"). In Istoriya Yakutskoy ASSR ("History of the 
Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic"), Vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad. 
1958. "Ancient Cultures and Cultural and Ethnic Relations on the Pacific Coast of 
North Asia," Proc. 32d Internat. Cong, of Americanists, Copenhagen, 1956. Copen- 

1959a. "Tripody za Baykalom" ("Tripods beyond the Baikal"), Sovetskaya arkheo- 
logiya ("Soviet Archeology"), No. 3. 

1959b. Paleolit Zabaykaliya: Obshchiy ocherk ("The Paleolithic of Trans-Baikalia: 
General Outline"). ("Arkheologicheskiy sbornik" ["Collected Papers on Archeol- 
ogy"], Vol. 1. Ulan-Ude. 

date? Ancient Population of Siberia and Its Cultures. ("Russian Trans. Ser. Peabody 
Mus. Archaeol. Ethnol., Harvard University," Vol. 1.) Cambridge, Mass. (See 
review by Chester Chard in Science, Vol. 27, November, 1959). 

Sosnovskiy, G. P. 

1941. "Plitochnyye mogily Zabaykaliya" ("The Slab Graves of Trans-Baikalia"), 
Trudy otdela istorii pervobytnoy kuVtury (Gosudarstvennyy Ermitazh) ("Trans- 
actions of the Department of the History of Primitive Culture, State Ermitage 
Museum"), Vol. 1. Leningrad. 

Tolstoy, P. 

1958. "The Archeology of the Lena Basin and Its New World Relationships," Part I. 
Amer. Antiq., Vol. 23, No. 4. 



The idea of diverse culture-historical pathways toward urban life has led 
me to repeat some previously published arguments about the prehistory 
of eastern North America (Caldwell, 1958). The region from the Atlantic 
as far as the Plains can be considered a developmental unity differing in important 
respects from those sequences in Mesoamerica and southwest Asia reputed to 
have led more directly to cities and high civilizations. Here a long period of 
adaptation to forest existence, mostly completed by the end of the so-called 
"Archaic" stage of about 8000-1500 B.C., culminated south of the Great Lakes 
during the subsequent Hopewellian phase of roughly 400 b.c.-a.d. 500. This 
adaptive trend to the establishment of "primary forest efficiency"— represented 
by changes in hunting methods, emergence of economic cycles and food special- 
izations, and achieving a kind of balanced reliance on almost all sources of natural 
foods— had a peculiar effect on the course of historical development. It apparently 
became possible in the forested East to get along very well without agriculture. 
There are indeed cultigens, probably antedating the beginning of the first mil- 
lennium a.d. in the Hopewellian and related Adena manifestations, but there is 
no evidence that these were depended upon more than any single source of wild 
food. Perhaps it would be unwise to speak specifically of resistance to food pro- 
duction, but there was evidently some time lapse between first knowledge of 
cultivation and considerable reliance on it among most groups, with some later 
Hopewellians as a possible exception. Our first reliable indication of a dependence 
on food production sufficient to have had noticeable social effects is at the begin- 
ning of Mississippian times, around a.d. 800. A similar reluctance to depend 
greatly on food production, even long after its methods were known, has been 
described in other papers in this symposium dealing with regions outside the 
areas where the first nuclear civilizations arose. An ethnographic instance of a 
similar phenomenon may be represented in California, although a climatic reason 
has been suggested (Kroeber, 1939, p. 211). 

Long before these events, both the Great Plains and the forested East shared 
with a vast region of the North American continent a common economic basis 
in the hunting of large mammals. At least, such is inferred from the occurrence 
in the East of fluted projectile points of Clovis type, persisting perhaps as late 
as 7000 B.C. But on the Plains arose a distinctive development of the bison-hunting 
specialization of Folsom-Plainview, from perhaps 9000 B.C. until after 6000 B.C., 



apparently coming to an end at just about the time some of the eastern societies 
were in the midst of their adaptation to a forest mode of life. We shall have 
something to say about the Plains in this paper. If some of its developments 
can be regarded as mainly autochthonous, Plains prehistory on the whole can 
hardly be intelligible without constant reference to events in the eastern forest 
area that supplied Plains societies with so much cultural material. For this reason, 
not lessened by my inability to handle Plains materials with the sagacity they 
deserve, we shall consider the Plains as an appendage of the forested East. 

We said that primary forest efficiency was being reached toward the end of 
the Archaic stage. An important series of economic innovations took place during 
that interval. More stylistic elaboration occurred later. Style changes found par- 
ticular expression in the ceramic and mortuary activities of some of the later 
societies. We shall refer to these successive expressions as the Hopewellian, Gulf, 
Mississippian, and Southern Cult "climaxes," using this term in the sense intro- 
duced by Kroeber (1939, p. 223): regional situations of relatively greater cultural 
elaboration and organization from which a radiation of cultural material took place. 

What may be an interesting feature of these climaxes is that only in the case 
of the Mississippian is there any good reason to conjecture an economic cause- 
that is, increased dependence on food production. And it is in this climax, inci- 
dentally, that we have our best evidence for the outward migrations of people 
from a presumed heartland in the central xMississippi Valley. For the others— 
Hopewellian, Gulf, and Southern Cult— there is less evidence of movements of 
peoples and more evidence for the spread of ideas ("cultural material") to peoples 
surrounding climax areas. These other climaxes, moreover, represent more no- 
ticeably at least in part, reworkings of the old eastern ideas of lavish mortuary 
procedures and the placing of valuable objects and regalia with selected individuals. 

All the climaxes recognized here took place in a context of increasing influence 
from Mesoamerica. There are increasing numbers of discrete recognizable Meso- 
american elements as one moves chronologically from Hopewellian, through Gulf, 
through Mississippian, to Southern Cult. Yet we cannot guess at the nature of 
these Mesoamerican connections except to suggest, following Kelley (1955), that 
the intervening area of low cultural level in Texas and northeast Mexico had a 
certain effect on what could be transmitted to the East via this route. And it 
must be said that Mesoamerican elements in eastern North American assemblages 
are rarely identical with their analogues in Mesoamerica. 

On the basis of the foregoing, we may now suggest a little more precisely 
how the prehistory of eastern North America can be contrasted with the pre- 
histories of such regions of nuclear civilization as Mesoamerica and southwest 
Asia. The development of a forest efficiency may have slowed down further 
economic innovation, especially the adoption of agriculture as an economic basis, 
while offering a sufficient livelihood to permit stylistic elaborations, and such 
non-economic activity as the building of mounds and earthworks and the disposal 
of considerable wealth with the dead. Instead of the more direct progress to new 
levels of "sociocultural integration," such as we imagine to have occurred in 


regions of nuclear civilization, there was a succession of little-understood cultural 
climaxes that to some degree represented reworkings of the old eastern idea of 
elaborate and lavish treatment of certain selected dead. 

If we may now regard the East as one kind of culture-historical pathway and 
the Mesoamerican development that was influencing it as another, we have a 
framework within which we shall, in the final and most speculative part of this 
paper, engage the main questions asked in this seminar— whether effective food 
production and urbanism may have been emerging in eastern North America. 

In a vast region east of the Mississippi River a series of forests extended from 
subtropical Florida to subarctic woodlands. Within this area can be distinguished 
certain variations in native subsistence. In historic times small tribes of the Atlantic 
and Gulf coasts lived partly by hunting, partly on seafood, and raised a little 
maize. Other tribes in the interior put more reliance on maize, beans, and squash, 
but hunting and gathering were always important. In the upper Great Lakes area 
there were maize, hunting and gathering, and, where available, considerable re- 
liance on wild rice (Zizania aquatica). In the northern forest of the eastern sub- 
arctic, where planting was impossible, there was still gathering and hunting, es- 
pecially of the moose and caribou. 

The archeological evidence is that there was once a time when there was no 
planting at all and that the acceptance of food production as a major economic 
basis was a long and difficult affair. Even in historic times, food production was 

Locations of Sites and Cultural Groupings Mentioned: Figure 1 

Earlier Sites: 

On Map 

A— Bull Brook, Massachuetts 

B— Region of Folsom, Yuma, and 

Plainview assemblages 
C— Signal Butte, Nebraska 
D— Modoc Rock Shelter, Illinois 
E— Ferry Site, Illinois 

Northern Tradition: 
N /—Region of the Adena phase and 

Cowan Creek Mound, Kentucky 
N 2— Ohio Hopewellian sites 
N 3— Illinois Valley Hopewellian sites 

and Brangenberg site, Illinois 
N 4— Southern Illinois Hopewellian sites 

and the Twenhafel site 
N 5— Kansas City Hopewellian sites 
Ntf-"Bluff Culture," Illinois 

Middle Eastern Tradition: 
Ml— Eva focus, Tennessee 

M 2— "Round Grave culture" and Watts 

Bar focus, Tennessee 
M 3— Kellog focus, Georgia 
M 4— Badin focus, North Carolina 
M 5— Baumer and Crab Orchard foci, 


Southern Appalachian Tradition: 
S /—Swift Creek sites, Georgia 
S 2— Woodstock period sites, Georgia 
S 3— Etowah sequence, Georgia 
S4— Kolomoki site, Georgia (later 
becomes Gulf) 

Gulf Tradition: 
G /—Poverty Point, Louisiana 
G 2— Lower Valley sequence: Tchefuncte, 

Marksville, Troyville, Coles Creek, 

Plaquemine periods. 
G 3— Northwest Florida sequence: 

Deptford, Santa Rosa, Weeden Island 
G 4— Middle Baytown period 
G 5— Davis site, Texas 



Figure 1. Location of sites and cultural groupings mentioned: 
I. Eastern North America. 


only supplementary in many regions and was the sole economic basis in none. 
Aside from cultivation, subsistence practices seem to be variations on the common 
theme of hunting and gathering whatever was available. Even the corn-growing 
Choctaw and Illini might leave their towns deserted to go hunting, and some 
Illini claimed that they ate maize only when they could not get bison. The 
Cherokee, whose women annually raised thousands of bushels of maize, regarded 
themselves not only as warriors but more strictly as hunters, pleading economic 
necessity to claim several million square miles of land that they did not occupy. 

In these eastern forests and somewhat beyond, a number of intergrading cul- 
ture subareas have been distinguished by ethnologists working with historical 
data of the native tribes. This lightness of cultural contour, as Kroeber has said 
(1938, p. 60), has its parallels in the lack of sharp environmental differences. Again 
the archeological evidence comes to our aid in showing that this was probably 
always so— that the cultures of the entire region tended more toward uniformity 
at any particular time than toward subregional differences. The import of this 
is that we can consider the prehistory of the East as a great interrelated culture- 
historical structure. 

The foundations of this historical structure are represented by the ancient 
hunting and gathering societies belonging to what is called the "Archaic" stage, 
a conception co-ordinate with the far-flung "Desert" culture of western North 
America and other regional manifestations in North and South America. 

The interior grasslands were historically involved with the forested East. Tall- 
grass prairie extended eastward from the ninety-eighth meridian into a kind of 
prairie peninsula narrowing between the northern and southern hardwood zones 
of the forest. In the eastern prairies there is little evidence of a particular prairie 
subsistence until the occurrence of bison bones in assemblages of the historic 
periods. Settlements were on the rivers and streams. It has been argued that 
these offered forest environments within the prairie zone. On the western prairies 
and on the short grass of the High Plains extending to the slopes of the Rocky 
iMountains there was an early hunting specialization. The Folsom materials, from 
about 9000 to 7000 B.C., apparently represent societies subsisting mainly on large, 
and some now extinct, herbivores, especially bison (taylori, antiquus, and occl- 
dentalis). For our story, however, specialized plains hunting continued during 
the time of succeeding Yuma, Eden-Scottsbluff, and Plainview-like assemblages 
to about the time of the altithermal, perhaps about 4000 B.C. A possible climatic 
explanation for the disappearance of some of these hunters is supported by the 
observation that similar flint projectile-point forms persist until 2800 b.c. in 
Canada (MacNeish, 1959, p. 12.) 

Succeeding Prairie materials, such as Signal Butte I in Nebraska at about 2400 
b.c, imply greater emphasis on smaller game and hunting, but on the High Plains 
an impoverished bison-hunting economy was still present in Coronado's time 
(Eggan, 1952, p. 39). 

Developments in the eastern forest area had the most serious consequences for 


later history in the grasslands. By Hopewellian times, at least, eastern settlements 
were fingering westward along the major rivers. But correlating cultural mani- 
festations on the Plains with particular eastern contemporaries is a difficult task 
that has scarcely begun. When the introduction of the horse and gun made a new 
plains-hunting development possible, the eastern tribes thus attracted to the area 
provided much of the cultural basis for the famous specializations of historic 
Plains Indian life. 

The plains-hunting Folsom specialization mentioned earlier may be a regional 
adaptation in an early context of hunting societies, including the slightly earlier 
Clovis materials of the southwestern United States. Unfortunately, with the ex- 
ception of Bull Brook in Massachusetts, at about 7000 B.C., there are few early 
dated materials in situ from the eastern forest areas and no associated animal 
remains. Occupation sites with chipped-stone assemblages are beginning to be 
recognized, and thousands of characteristic fluted points, more usually resem- 
bling Clovis than Folsom, have occurred as surface finds. There is a significant 
lack of shell heaps representing forest and waterside adaptations; these evidently 
arose later. In the Great Lakes region during the final retreat of the Wisconsin 
Glaciation, 10,000-5000 B.C., there was a gradual change in the periglacial forests 
from spruce-fir to pine and gradual disappearance of such fauna as mastodon and 
giant beaver. The distribution of fluted points correlated with glacial, lake level, 
faunal, and vegetational evidence, has enabled Quimby (1960) to make a good 
circumstantial case that mastodon were hunted in the region, perhaps as a major 
basis for subsistence. 

As the ice slowly retreated from the Great Lakes region, hunting peoples here, 
no less than on the Plains, found themselves in a changing world. How great were 
these changes is portrayed in Quimby's admirable little book. The assemblages in 
this region during 7000-5000 B.C., called "Aqua-Piano" to indicate the similarity 
of projectile-point forms to the post-Folsom "Piano" assemblages on the Plains, 
were hunters in a landscape dominated by spruce and pine, lake waters, and 
glacial ice. Deer, elk, and barren-ground caribou were there to be taken, but it 
is possible that the mastodon was already gone. By this time, however, the use 
of boats or canoes is inferable from the same evidence that indicates that, in the 
summertime, groups of people were probably fishing on lakeshores and islands 
that could not have supported them in winter months. In the succeeding "Archaic 
Boreal" period, 5000 to possibly 500 B.C., which witnessed the development of 
the deciduous forest in the region, there is evidence of continued adaptation to 
the land and the discovery of its resources. There is now, Quimby tells us, an 
emphasis on ground and polished woodworking tools, like the axes, adze, and 
gouge, and there is also the remarkable development of the Old Copper industry. 

The record of technological development in the Great Lakes region may be 
expected to differ somewhat from that in the more southerly parts of the eastern 
forest, if only because it occurred in a setting dominated by striking postglacial 
changes. We shall describe the forest adaptation in the southerly regions in 


slightly different terms, but with an assurance that these events were taking 
place almost contemporaneously with those in the north and were influencing 
and/or being influenced by them. 

During the general period of from about 8000 to 1500 B.C.— the Archaic stage, 
in which the Boreal Archaic is a regional development— there is evidence of the 
development of a forest-hunting pattern. The earlier chipped-stone spear points 
had been lanceolate, suitable as tips for thrusting-spears. The trend is to shoul- 
dered and barbed points better for javelins and ambush hunting (Caldwell, 1958, 
p. 13), with direct evidence for the spear-thrower (atlatl). 

There is evidence for the development of seasonal cycles. Earlier levels going 
back to 8000 b.c. at the Modoc Rock Shelter in southern Illinois suggest year- 
round occupation (Fowler, 1959). Later levels of about 3000-2000 b.c. show a 
greater proportion of deer bones and more restricted artifact assemblages, which 
could be the debris left by hunting parties. A similar development occurs at a 
later time in Wisconsin farther north (Wittry, 1959). Various localities in Illinois 
and Kentucky suggest other specializations; one shows an abundance of acorn 
hulls, multiple pitted "nutting stones," extensive areas reddened by fire— pre- 
sumably for roasting acorns— but no storage pits or other features (Fowler, 1957). 

Archaic adaptions were not everywhere alike. On the Green River in Ken- 
tucky, the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, the upper Savannah River in 
Georgia, and on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts shell middens are large and numer- 
ous. A degree of reliance on shellfish— also an Archaic innovation— may have 
encouraged a greater degree of sedentism: the earliest southeastern pottery— fiber 
tempered— occurs most frequently on shell heaps. 

In post-Archaic ranges of time there were some economic innovations that 
can be regarded as developments of the hunting-gathering pattern already estab- 
lished. Most later change, however, seems to have been in small things— in the 
form and decoration of artifacts, especially pottery, and in particularities of burial 
customs. Change usually represented not technical improvement but stylistic dif- 
ferentiation. As a result, we can discern the existence of several regional tradi- 
tions: a Northern (Woodland), a Middle Eastern, a Southern Appalachian, and 
a Gulf. 

In the Middle Eastern Tradition (Caldwell, 1958, pp. 23-27) there is evidence 
of continued development of the hunting-gathering pattern. While som? Middle 
Eastern pottery occurs on shell heaps, there is a dependence on acorns and under- 
ground storage greater than in earlier or later times, but no evidence of food 
production. The distinctive pottery of this tradition (cord-wrapped-stick dec- 
orated) is characteristic of such manifestations as the Late Eva Focus and "Round 
Grave" cultures in Tennessee and is spread throughout the acorn-rich central 
deciduous part of the eastern forest. It stops just beyond the area that includes 
the Crab Orchard Focus at the edge of the Prairie Peninsula in southern Illinois, 
at just beyond the edge of the Kellogg Focus in Georgia on the border of the 
southern pine forest, and includes the Badin Focus in North Carolina on the 
edge of the pine forest of the Atlantic coastal plain. Small circular storage pits 


are numerous, and a few show traces of lire. Large burned areas like those found 
at the Archaic Ferry site have not been noticed. If the bow and arrow was 
adopted early in the Middle Eastern region, as has been argued (Caldwell, 
1958, pp. 26-27), this would be a further development of hunting practices to 
a stage essentially as known in historic times. 

The stylistic distinctiveness of the Southern Appalachian Tradition is repre- 
sented by pottery decorated with impressions of carved wooden paddles. Econ- 
omy was not dissimilar to that of preceding Archaic times. There is yet no 
evidence of food production until a relatively late date; carbonized maize has 
been found in the Woodstock period in northern Georgia— this ought to be 
roughly equivalent to early Mississippian times, about a.d. 800 (Caldwell, 1958, 
p. 48). 

The Northern Tradition includes the Hopewellian assemblages; with less 
assurance, Adena; and most of the manifestations that have been called "Wood- 
land" except those in the south that do not have cord-marked pottery as the 
major decorated type. 1 

The Northern Tradition seems to be rooted in earlier Archaic manifestations 
of the region, including the proposed Boreal Archaic, where there are specific 
burial practices that showed greater elaboration in subsequent Adena and Hope- 
wellian times (Ritchie, 1955; see also Quimby, 1960, p. 49). The Adena Aspect 
of the upper Ohio Valley, from about 800 B.C. well into the first millennium a.d., 
is known chiefly from the contents of conical burial mounds, but with other 
information from occupation sites. It is partly earlier and partly ancestral to the 
Hopewellian manifestations to be described in more detail below. 

Mortuary practices show considerable similarity. Although the great majority 
of subsistence remains from Adena sites are products of hunting and gathering, 
at the Cowan Creek Mound, Ohio, a.d. 445, we find evidence of a cucurbit (pepo), 
probably pumpkin, associated with a mass of charred goosefoot (Chenopodinm) 
seeds (Goslin, 1957). Rock shelters in Kentucky, where plant remains are less 
certainly associated with Adena materials, have yielded such cultigens as gourd, 
pumpkin, squash, and sunflower; but no Adena site has yet shown evidence of 
maize or beans. 

It may soon become possible to speak of an Adena cultural climax as distinct 
from Hopewellian. In addition to the mortuary elaborations of Adena, we find 
a number of distinctive Adena cultural elements, for example, tubular stone pipes 

1. For readers who are new to eastern archeology, it should be explained that most of the 
students of this region do use the term "Woodland." Specifically, it includes everything that 
is not Paleo-Indian, Archaic, or Mississippian. The thirty-five hundred years or so of eastern 
prehistory since Archaic times has been divided into three parts: Early, Middle, and Late 
Woodland. It is true, however, that all of us are interested in regional differences and more 
definite dating, and I suppose I differ from many of my colleagues in my inability to under- 
stand the additional necessity of using this great threefold scheme. In the present paper the 
focus is directly upon the developments of particular regions of the East; major regional con- 
tinuities are regarded as cultural traditions, to be contrasted or examined in their interplay, and 
from which to infer certain events. 


and reel-shaped gorgets, widely diffused to the Northeast and Southeast (Webb 
and Baby, 1957; Ritchie and Dragoo, 1960). 

We are still in the dark as to the kind of sociological reality represented by the 
Hopewellian assemblages. These date for the most part between 400 b.c. and 
a.d. 500. The Hopewellian "culture" was first defined in southern Ohio many 
years ago on the basis of its typical monuments— groups of burial mounds often 
with extensive earthen enclosures. Since most excavators have not been unmindful 
of the occurrence of fine museum specimens deposited in graves, most of our 
information concerns burial customs. Across the northern United States from 
western New York to Kansas City are other prehistoric sites called Hopewellian, 
evidently co-ordinate developments, related but not necessarily tributary to Ohio. 

The Illinois Valley shows an enormous number of Hopewellian sites, some of 
which have yielded relatively older radiocarbon determinations. Sites still farther 
west are thought to have a particular connection with the Illinois Valley (Griffin, 
1958). Hopewellian influences appear in the Northeast and the Southeast. There 
are some specific connections with the Marksville period of the Gulf Tradition. 

The culmination of this post-Archaic phenomenon of regional differentiation 
and stylistic change we shall describe as the Hopewellian climax, subsequently 
followed by a decline. While Hopewellian shows cultural elements ultimately 
derived from Mesoamerica— the rare finds of cultivated maize are the best example 
—the view taken in the present paper is that Hopewellian cultural elaborations 
were essentially a development of the older Archaic hunting-gathering economy 
and religious practices organized around the care of the dead in the hereafter. 

Some will not agree that the economic pattern was basically hunting-gathering: 
it has usually been assumed that Adena and Hopewellian, to build large burial 
mounds and earthworks, must have had an agriculturally based surplus. It is risky, 
however, to argue from earthworks to agriculture. Preserved food remains are 
almost altogether mammalian, fish and bird bones, mollusk shells, and various 
kinds of nuts and acorns. Finds of maize, beans, and squash are more exceptional 
than for later times. The most we can say is that some Hopewellian societies were 
practicing mixed economies, with hunting-gathering having the best of it. This, 
in turn, leads to a view of gradual acceptance of food production in the East, 
with emphasis on the successive steps by which it may have come about and 
with separate consideration of the social consequences of food production of 
each degree. 

We know some details of log tombs and round or oval houses made of poles. 
Relics of costume are occasionally found with the dead, and other details are 
known from small pottery figurines. Differential placement of burials and grave 
objects suggests variation in social status. The skill exhibited in fine objects placed 
with the dead implies full or part-time artisan specialists. A widespread trade sup- 
plied the raw materials for mortuary offerings. From the Lake Superior region 
came native copper, which was cold-hammered into ornaments. Mica from the 
southern Appalachians was cut in abstract and naturalistic forms and probably 
attached to costumes. From Florida came seashells for ornaments and, especially, 


the large cassis shells for cups. Obsidian was probably supplied from as far west 
as Wyoming. 

The larger Hopewellian settlements, particularly in Ohio, lend themselves to 
interpretation as primarily religious or mortuary centers, especially when we 
contrast them with large sites of subsequent Mississippian times that have more 
of the character of secularized towns. According to this view, smaller dispersed 
settlements were occupied for most of the year. At a much later peripheral site 
in the Southeast, the Irene Mound site, Georgia— which may reflect an older 
adjustment because it is peripheral— there is a predominance of public over do- 
mestic buildings. It has been suggested that such sites may have been occupied 
by caretakers while the populations were away. 

By a.d. 500, Hopewellian was being replaced in the extreme northerly and 
westerly portions of its range by generalized Northern assemblages not greatly 
different from those that had preceded it. In the old regional centers of Ohio and 
the Illinois Valley the decline of Hopewellian was probably more complex, and 
the spectacular features of Hopewellian burial practices were not all at once 
replaced by simpler rites. In the lower Illinois Valley the Brandenberg site shows 
late Hopewellian pottery and ceramic features inspired by the Gulf Tradition 
(Griffin, 1952), which had been reaching its own climax during the Marksville 
period after a.d. 1. Similar Gulf elements also occur farther south at the Twen- 
hafel site. Still later in southern Illinois we find smaller sites and simpler, less 
specialized artifacts (Maxwell, 1951). 

The Hopewellian climax was the high point of cultural complexity reached 
by the Northern Tradition. We regarded this as a largely indigenous development 
of hunting-gathering and mortuary practices first formulated in Archaic times. 
Subsequent major developments: the Gulf, Mississippian, and the Southern Cult 
climaxes occurred with increasing rapidity and show progressively stronger Meso- 
american features. The role of Mesoamerican influences in these developments 
may have been to broaden progressively the basis for innovation. 

The Hopewellian decline in the North is paralleled by the rise of the Gulf 
Tradition in the South. This occupied portions of the Gulf Coastal Plain on 
both sides of the lower Mississippi Valley. Here the appearance of ceramics had 
been slightly delayed, and the regional Archaic is notable for some curious large 
earthworks at Poverty Point, Louisiana, 1000-500 b.c. (?), evidently not earlier 
than some of the mound-building developments in the North. The stylistic dis- 
tinctiveness of the Gulf Tradition becomes noticeable with the common occur- 
rence of pottery in the Tchefuncte period of about 500 b.c.-a.d. 1 in the lower 
valley. Burial mounds are possibly derived from contemporary Hopewellian 
manifestations of the Northern Tradition. During the succeeding Marksville 
period, from about a.d. 1 to a.d. 500, Gulf features were spread into northwest 
Florida. It is possible to infer from the presence of a temple mound at Kolomoki 
in southwest Georgia that this feature may be present in the Gulf Tradition 
before a.d. 500, and here it is associated with a large village site. Other temple 
mounds in the central Mississippi Valley have been attributed to the somewhat 


later Middle Baytown period of that region but are said to resemble ceremonial 
centers rather than constantly occupied towns (Phillips, Ford, and Griffin, 1951, 
p. 441). There was a considerable elaboration of mortuary practices, which 
reached a culmination in the Marksville and Troyville periods (and their equiva- 
lents in adjacent areas of this tradition), with a lavishness only slightly inferior 
to Hopewellian. Mortuary artifacts again suggest some degree of craft specializa- 
tion. A trade in exotic materials for these could represent a partial continuation 
of the far-flung trade arrangements of the earlier Hopewellian climax, but which 
were now serving burial mounds distributed from Florida to Texas. Gulf pottery, 
in a variety of forms and decorations, shows great similarities from one end of 
a vast region to the other, arguing a high degree of interaction among Gulf 
peoples. Ceramic styles also document the eastward spread of the Gulf Tradition 
into Florida and the slighter diffusion of Gulf elements into Late Hopewellian 
of southern Illinois. There is evidence of maize cultivation at the Davis site, Texas, 
dated a.d. 398, but we do not know its importance in Gulf economies. 

In the central Mississippi Valley on the border of the Gulf Tradition there 
somehow emerged a new tradition, the Mississippian. A date for early Mississip- 
pian at the Eveland site in Illinois is a.d. 939. There is no evidence of a corre- 
sponding decline in the Gulf Tradition, as there was earlier for the decline of 
Hopewellian. Mississippian continued to receive Gulf influences while at the 
same time surpassing Gulf in some respects. Mississippian shows greater reliance 
on food production, greater or at least more concentrated populations, and, if we 
are justified in considering most large Hopewellian and Gulf sites as primarily 
centers of religious ceremonial, we can say that the Mississippians had more secu- 
larized towns, maintaining larger populations for longer periods of time. 

A central Mississippi River heartland suggested by geographical distribution of 
Mississippian sites has not provided evidence for a single origin of the Mississippian 
Tradition— which in any case would probably be a culture-historical impossibility 
(cf. Phillips, Ford, and Griffin, 1951, pp. 451-54). Yet Northern [Bluff culture] 
and Gulf [Middle Baytown] assemblages in this region do provide better evidence 
of continuity with succeeding Mississippian features than one finds elsewhere. 
In this matter, the circumstance that the Mississippian Tradition seems to have 
arisen on the northern border of the Gulf Tradition is interesting in the light of 
the earlier appearance of Gulf ceramic features in late Hopewellian sites in southern 

It is the concurrence of temple mounds and plazas; emphasis on plain, painted, 
and sometimes modeled pottery; reliance on maize agriculture; and semisettled 
towns that give Mississippian assemblages their Mesoamerican character. All but 
the last two features are readily derived from earlier Gulf occurrences, perhaps 
ultimately from Mesoamerican sources. Other supposed Gulf "firsts"— rim-flange 
bowls, duck-effigy vessels, and elaborate incised decoration— seem to have reached 
Mississippian assemblages at a later time. 

The steps in the development of the Mississippian economy are unknown, but 


food production assumed a new importance. Not only do we more frequently 
find carbonized maize, but the size and apparent permanence of settlements im- 
plies population aggregations larger than before. Yet, for all this, hunting and 
gathering are still greatly relied on. There never existed in prehistoric America 
that fruitful combination of plant-raising and animal husbandry that became the 
foundation of Old World agriculture. 

We should not give the impression that all Mississippian sites were large, but 
it is probably true that we have more large Mississippian sites than we do of any 
other period. Regional situations differed. There are many small sites, and some 
of those in southern Illinois may have been hunting camps. Twenhafel in Illinois 
shows the unusual condition of a small Mississippian settlement superimposed 
upon a really large Hopewellian one. In western Georgia there are at least two 
Mississippian sites larger than anything found earlier or later in the region. 
Arkansas, Mississippi, western Tennessee, and southeastern Missouri are notable 
for scores of extensive Mississippian sites with moats or embankments and well 
provided with platform mounds. In northwestern Florida, Willey has contrasted 
the intrusive Fort Walton Mississippian with earlier sites of the Gulf Tradition, 
suggesting that there was a shift of ceremonialism to the temple mound and a 
disappearance of the old burial-mound ceremonialism (1949, p. 581). His popu- 
lation estimate for Mississippian there is no larger than that for the preceding 
Gulf period, but he thinks that communities were larger. 

The details of the spread of the Mississippian Tradition include migration of 
peoples, acculturation situations, and the diffusion of ideas to more remote groups. 
In the early Mississippian range of time far-flung fortified sites like Aztalan, Wis- 
consin, and A4acon Plateau in Georgia indicate outward movements of people. 
These arrivals interrupted previous cultural continuities, and their survivors, if 
any, must have participated in the succeeding mixed cultural balances representing 
the fusion of Mississippian with the older regional traditions. A wholesale ac- 
culturation of an original Northern population to semi-Mississippian ways can be 
suggested if the Fort Ancient Aspect— Shawnee (Central Algonkian) equivalence 
stands (Griffin, 1952, p. 364). The Owasco Aspect farther east continued to 
represent the Northern Tradition, while probably adopting some Mississippian 
features secondhand from Fort Ancient. In the Southern Appalachian Tradition 
the north Georgia sequence of Etowah I-II-III-IV-Savannah-Wilbanks-Tumlin- 
and-Lamar suggest that original Southern Appalachian populations received re- 
peated Mississippian influences. In the Gulf Tradition the Plaquemine period of 
the lower Mississippi Valley, and the Fulton Aspect of eastern Oklahoma show 
strong Mississippian diffusions. Fort Walton of northwestern Florida, however, 
may be involved with a migration of actual Mississippian peoples from central 
Alabama (Willey, 1949). On the prairies and plains of Kansas and Nebraska an 
intensification of food production, somehow connected with the Mississippian 
development to the east, gave rise first to semisedentary small-village cultures. 
Later settlements were larger, fewer, and fortified. The descendants of these 


peoples were, at least in part, the Village Indians of historic times. In Wedel's 
words, "in Kansas, as in Nebraska, concentration of the historic tribes— the Kansa, 
Pawnee, and others— in one or two large villages or towns for each tribe, com- 
pleted a long sequence of changing settlement patterns" (Wedel, 1959). 

The over-all result was the formation of a cordon of mixed cultures on the 
borders of the Mississippian development. These had certain common features, 
some of which were not specifically Mississippian but rather a result of this 

During the rise of the Mississippian Tradition it seems almost as if the old Hope- 
wellian and Gulf predilections for lavishing wealth on the dead might have been 
overcome, with ceremonial revolving around the temple rather than the burial 
mound as heretofore. Yet the height of the Mississippian development coincides 
with the spread during a.d. 1100-1400 of what is called the Southern Cult— the 
lavish disposal of costume and ornaments with certain selected dead. Artifact 
styles and decoration were more specifically Mesoamerican than anything that 
had been present before. Yet these are thoroughly reinterpreted with other in- 
digenous features, including some evidently present long before in Adena (Webb 
and Baby, 1957, pp. 102-8). We may also suspect that embodied here is the old 
eastern idea of lavish mortuary expenditure. The mortuary program required 
craft specialists and extensive trade in raw materials, copper, mica, flint, and shells 
as before, but little obsidian. This development may or may not have begun in 
the Gulf area, but it spread through the Mississippian settlements to the regions 
beyond. It was once thought that the spread of the Southern Cult may have been 
as rapid as the much later Ghost Dance on the Plains (Waring and Holder, 1945). 
Precise similarities in complex designs on shell and copper ornaments and regalia 

Locations of Sites and Cultural Groupings Mentioned: Figure II 

On Map 
Some early Mississippian sites far beyond Mississippian O 1— Aztalan, Wisconsin 
boundaries suggest migrations of peoples who later dis- O 2— Hiwassee Island, 
appeared or became absorbed into surrounding populations. Tennessee 

O 3— Macon Plateau, 

Some "Southern cult" centers outside Mississippian bound- * 1— Mt. Royal, Florida 

aries indicate that the cult need not always be associated * 2— Hollywood, Georgia 

with Mississippian cultures or necessarily have originated * 3— Etowah, Georgia 

among them. * 4— Dallas focus, 

* 5— Spiro, Oklahoma 

Protohistoric archeological manifestations beyond Missis- 
sippian boundaries show mixtures of Mississippian traits 
with those of the respective regional traditions. These are 
shown on map by upper-case letters: e.g., OWASCO 

Historic tribes are shown in lower-case letters; e.g., Catawba 



UPPER Patv "S? 

Figure 2. Location of sites and cultural groupings mentioned: 
II. Eastern North America. 


indicate, not only craft specialists whose products were spread over a great region, 
but the strict contemporaneity of many of the sites where they occur. Never- 
theless, some elements may have been used before others. There are derivative 
designs in immediately succeeding times, but by the historic period only the 
slightest traces of Cult motifs remained in either material culture or mythology. 
The earlier Hopewellian and Gulf climaxes had widespread effects, but the 
impact of the Mississippian seems to have been the greatest. On all sides of the 
Mississippian Tradition arose cultural balances showing varying kinds and degrees 
of Mississippian influences on the respective regional traditions. I wish to impress 
you with the symmetry of the historical structure here proposed. 

1. There was a central region, later consolidated in what archeologists have referred 
to as "Middle Mississippi Culture," while at the same time the most distant Early 
Mississippi penetrations (e.g., Aztalan, Wisconsin; Macon Plateau, Georgia; Fort 
Walton[?], Florida) were being absorbed into the development of the new hybrid 
cultures surrounding Mississippian. 

2. The surrounding hybrid cultures, representing the fusion of Mississippian with the 
various regional traditions, show significant similarities. Individual towns seldom 
reached the proportions of the great Mississippian centers, but fairly large sites are 
numerous, and some of these hybrid cultures— Owasco (in New York, Pennsylvania, 
and Michigan), Monongahela (Pennsylvania), Lamar (Georgia), and the Upper 
Republican and Nebraska cultures on the Plains— have been characterized as having 
the largest populations in their areas up to that time. In other cases, the sites of the 
Fort Ancient and Oneota aspects north of the Middle Mississippi region, Fort 
Walton in northwest Florida, and Bossier in Oklahoma are characterized by numer- 
ous sites with populations not greatly, if at all, inferior to the other regions. Except 
in those instances in which indigenous societies in Georgia and Florida adopted the 
Southern Cult for a time, we find little evidence of excessive ceremonialism. 

3. Eventually there was a resurgence of regional styles even in some of the more 
centrally located areas of the Mississippian Tradition. The Dallas Focus of eastern 
Tennessee shows the increasing favor of the old cord-marked style of pottery 
decoration. The increased prevalence of the pottery-type Cahokia Cord-marked 
in the Upper Mississippi Valley may be a similar phenomenon. 

4. By historic times the sites of the Mississippian Tradition from eastern Arkansas to 
central Illinois had experienced a population decline, and we are having great diffi- 
culty in relating the Mississippians to particular historic tribes. In a number of 
instances, however, it has been possible to connect historic tribes with the mixed 
regional cultures surrounding Mississippian. 

With the closer look that historic ethnology brings, we may here note some- 
thing that was probably slighted in the archeological evidence of the earlier 
periods— variability in the economic condition of the eastern tribes. In historic 
times there was, here and there, a decline of cultivation in favor of hunting. Re- 
duced rainfall may have been a contributing factor on the Plains (Wedel, 1959), 
and of course the reintroduction of the horse led some tribes away from cul- 
tivation to a new Plains bison-hunting specialization. In the first Great Lakes 
region and northward the fur trade had the effect of diminishing native food 
production. Trade in deer skins exported from Charleston, South Carolina, to 


Europe may have had a similar, if lesser, effect in central Georgia, where Fair- 
banks noted a decline in cultivation at Ocmulgee Fields (1956, p. 60). 

There is a significant contrast between these various situations and the picture 
Quimby reports of the Huron relying heavily on agriculture (1960, p. 114), 
and we have other accounts of vast cornfields observed by travelers. In the 
Cherokee towns thousands of bushels of corn were destroyed by British troops. 
We shall, then, have to close our story by asking a question that may eventually 
be answered by a combination of archeological and ethnological evidence. Is it 
possible that in some sections of the cordon of mixed Mississippian-indigenous 
cultures surrounding the old Mississippian heartland a new level of agricultural 
activity was arising? We remember that these areas had been characterized as 
having achieved their heaviest populations in late prehistoric times, and we should 
also mention that there is a hint of a new settlement pattern, at least among the 
Creeks and the Cherokee. Town clusters, which include miles of farmsteads 
strung along the rivers and streams (Caldwell, n.d.), might be a more effective 
accommodation to agricultural necessities than the hypothetical major town and 
tributary villages pattern that some students believe to have been the usual set- 
tlement arrangement during Mississippian times. 


Perhaps I should have let matters stand at this, claiming that eastern prehistoric 
development was distinctive— or at least unlike that of the nuclear areas— and 
hence the forms of food production and settlement might well be different too. 
But I do not wish to imply that those might have been different simply because 
they were a result of a particular history. I should rather see them as different 
as a result of processes we are beginning to understand. 

As a primary focus, the conceptions "food production" and "urbanism" allow 
one to ask interesting questions. Moreover, if we agree that these are bound to 
take different forms in different cultural developments, there is no reason why 
one cannot proceed to more analytic terms, more readily transposable from one 
developmental pathway to another. Steward has attempted this by one means, 
represented by the idea of "cross-cultural type," and it must be clear to the 
reader that the idea of separate developmental pathways is just another way 
of expressing Steward's pioneering conception of multilinear evolution (1955). 
Here I shall experiment with rather different analytic terms in order to examine 
the questions of the emergence of food production and settled life in this region. 
Since we will be dealing with change, these terms will be concerned with 
"conditions of innovation" and adaptive situations. The result will be to exhibit 
forest efficiency, food production, and settlement as interrelated in particular 
ways. To whatever degree these proposed interrelations can be accepted as valid, 
they can qualify as additional historical "facts." But innovation is undoubtedly 
limited in determinate ways, and therefore there ought to be some chance, 


eventually, of using such conditions and interrelations for additional generaliza- 
tions about historical development. 

It is supposed that the major event characterizing eastern North America during 
late glacial and early postglacial times was a shift from economies based mostly 
on hunting— represented by fluted-point assemblages— to economies in which 
hunting and gathering were more nearly balanced— represented by the assemblages 
we call Archaic. The economic innovations involved in what we called "primary 
forest efficiency" can be taken together as primarily adaptive, that is, the dis- 
covery of new ways to obtain resources in the land, forests, streams, and shore. 
To call such innovations adaptive, moreover, could help us select situations else- 
where that might involve sequences of similar innovations to see what we could 
learn from this. We could select geographically— other temperate forest regions— 
or "processually"— steps leading to plains, desert, or maritime "efficiencies." 
Either approach should lead to some conclusions as to what kinds of innovations 
were possible, and what were not, in particular steps in the various sequences 
and thus help focus on relations among the innovations that actually occurred. 

For example, if it turns out, as I think it must, that the regional assemblages that 
Willey and Phillips classified into a New World Archaic stage (1958, pp. 104-43) 
represent adaptive situations, it may then become possible to say that the various 
(and sometimes debatable) proposed hearths of early plant cultivation in the 
New World appear at the end of such sequences. Tamaulipas, Peruvian Coast, 
Amazonian lowlands, and the northern Mississippi Valley begin, or may be sup- 
posed to begin, cultivation after the development of a hunting-gathering type 
of economy is well under way or nearly completed. Moreover, these can be 
claimed to be, on empirical as well as logical grounds, specifically regions where 
the use of wild plant foods had become important as part of their initial adapta- 
tion to the land. 

Other presumed consequences of such adaptive situations can be offered as 
reasonable hypotheses about the conditions under which plant cultivation emerged. 
In eastern North America one consequence of the adaptive trend toward primary 
forest efficiency was the ability of some societies to become more settled. This 
would also probably be an effect to any adaptive trend that did not take nomadism 
as one of the ways it could be achieved. In short, as more copious supplies of 
natural foods are attained, it is expectable that people need travel less to obtain 
them. We can say further that some degree of settled life usually would be a 
precondition for the acceptance of innovations pertaining to cultivation. Another 
precondition would be an interest and considerable knowledge of wild plants, 
something else that must have increased in the change from hunting to economies 
relying more on plant foods. We may never know exactly how the first cultigens 
were adopted in eastern North America— whether according to Edgar Anderson's 
"Dump Heap Theory" (1952, pp. 136-50) or by some other means— but, given 
the preconditions suggested above and generations of women with an empirical 
interest in wild plants and their properties, we should be less surprised if we 
found a possibly independent development of food production in the Mississippi 


Valley than if we did not, for the opportunity to innovate along these lines 
must have occurred innumerable times. 

It is possible that early plant cultivation in the East, whether actually indigenous 
or somehow stimulated by early cultigens from southward, facilitated the intro- 
duction of maize from Mesoamerica. It has already, however, become a matter 
of debate in North America whether the Adena and Hopewellian manifestations, 
which certainly practiced some planting, actually had an effective food produc- 
tion. My own view is that by and large they did not. Only in later times, especially 
during the Mississippian period, can we with any confidence state that food pro- 
duction probably had notable social consequences. Even so, food production 
seems never to have provided as complete a basis for subsistence as is presumed 
to have been achieved in Mesoamerica by 1500 b.c. or in western Asia some 
thousands of years earlier. Elsewhere (Caldwell, 1958), I have used this focus 
on conditions of innovation to suggest that the very efficiency of forest adapta- 
tion was a factor inhibiting the acceptance of food production as a major eco- 
nomic basis. 

I do not think we can ever assume that a society will automatically turn to 
food production for its subsistence basis, even where the techniques of planting 
and harvesting are already known. In the instances in which this has happened 
we ought to try to discover the means by which it occurred. We can, for example, 
use a contrast between eastern North America and the nuclear regions to go a 
little way into problems connected with the change-over to substantial food 
production in the areas where civilizations arose. Eastern North America pro- 
vided innumerable sources of wild foods, and its population, for reasons at present 
debatable (Kroeber, 1938, pp. 148-49), was far from reaching the limits of its 
wild and cultivated resources. But the nuclear civilizations of southwest Asia and 
Mesoamerica are somehow associated wdth dryer lands of less natural abundance. 
Wild resources ought sooner to have reached their limits in portions of these 
regions so that some societies, already "experimenting" with cultivated plants, 
could turn gradually to food production as the older hunting-gathering activities 
became less and less fruitful. It does not matter for this argument that tropical 
areas are also found within or adjacent to early food-producing civilizations. The 
archeological evidence would be whether the areas within the nuclear civiliza- 
tions that provided the most substantial natural foods were later in turning to 
food production as the main basis for subsistence. 

Turning back to eastern North America, the Mesoamerican plants maize, beans, 
and squash were involved in the picture here of a gradually increasing reliance 
on cultivation. Probably these were more productive than the native domestica- 
tions that had preceded and/or been stimulated by them. Mesoamerican borrow- 
ings notwithstanding, cultivation had to be adapted to the social necessities of the 
eastern forest economy. What this meant, in the first place, was that the culti- 
vators were to be women, for as food-gatherers they probably had a greater 
knowledge and interest in plants than did the men. Moreover, ordinary domestic 
duties would keep them daily closer to home and the cultivated crops. 


Another consequence of the forest economy is one that has not been clearly 
delineated in the regions of nuclear civilization. As dependence on food produc- 
tion gradually increased, women maintained their ascendancy in this activity. 
Even by historic times there was nothing here corresponding to the farmer or 
agricultural specialist. The men were warrior-hunters or, rarely, "specialists" of 
other kinds. Agriculture, if we may use this term, was a part-time occupation of 
women, and its increasing importance was probably reflected in historic times by 
the prevalence of matrilineal institutions among the more agricultural tribes. 

The idea of a "primary farming community," which is coming to be of the 
greatest usefulness in understanding the emergence of the nuclear civilizations, 
can hardly have the same meanings when applied to these eastern North Ameri- 
can communities of hunters and feminine part-time cultivators. "Forest communi- 
ties" would be a better term. Increasing cultivation and borrowings from Meso- 
america were, most of us would agree, changing these forest communities to 
something else. But I am not at all sure that our understanding of the processes 
of change will be furthered by the assumption that these were leading to the 
kind of village-farming communities we believe to have existed in contemporary 
Mesoamerica. Nor do we have any evidence that Mesoamerican communities were 
introduced bodily into eastern North America. It is entirely likely that Meso- 
american civilization would in time have practically submerged this North Ameri- 
can development. But the time was not yet, and Willey's recent statement that 
"Middle American town life with its temple-mound-and-plaza complex, entered 
the Mississippi Valley sometime between ad. 500 and 1000" (1960, p. 84) has 
an odd ring in terms of the context I have been trying to discover and portray. 

Primary forest efficiency had already given these communities a good start 
toward sedentism, but one that could be carried only so far. Even by historic 
times, hunting and gathering was still of sufficient importance that the entire 
population of an average town might in season depart for some other place 
where the hunting was better. This ease of movement, which offends some of 
our notions of how a town ought to behave, not only was a reflection of forest 
economy but also was of no disadvantage under the general conditions of war- 
fare that had come to prevail by historic times, at least, and particularly among 
those tribes that relied most heavily on planting. Kroeber's view that, because of 
war, populations were kept down in the East and agriculture kept in the role 
of only a contributer to subsistence is one that archeology has not quite the 
sophistication to handle or yet to neglect. This warfare "insane, unending, con- 
tinuously attritional, from our point of view; and yet ... so integrated into 
the whole fabric of eastern culture, so dominantly emphasized within it, that 
escape from it was well-nigh impossible" (Kroeber 1938, pp. 148-49) may not, 
as Kroeber suggests, have kept "population down to a point where more agri- 
culture was not needed," but may have kept agriculture down by placing some 
additional premium on the mobility of forest communities. 

In short, food production and settlements in the East took forms that were 
not, or possibly at least not for long, characteristic of the regions of nuclear 


civilization. Granted that there may be some similarities— some inherent necessi- 
ties that could evoke similar institutions among peoples of any background who 
might choose to bind themselves to the land or live in large aggregations— this 
had not yet happened in the East. We may never know whether a fully effective 
agriculture or a massive urbanism would eventually have appeared, but we may 
learn that the pathway actually taken was different, and therefore interesting. I 
have emphasized these differences in the hope that they may eventually become 


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1952. Plants, Life, and Man. Harcourt Brace. 
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lina and Georgia." ("Smithsonian River Basin Surveys" [mimeographed].) Wash- 
Eggan, Fred 

1952. "Ethnological Cultures and Archeological Backgrounds." In James B. Griffin 
(ed.), Archeology of Eastern U?iited States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 

Fairbanks, Charles H. 

1956. Archeology of the Funeral Mound, Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia. 
("Nat. Park Serv. Archeol. Res. Ser.," No. 3.) Washington. 

Fowler, Melvin L. 

1959. "Summary Report of Modoc Rock Shelter, 1952, 53, 55, and 56." (111. State 
Mus., Report of Investigations, No. 8.) 

Goslin, Robert M. 

1957. "Food of the Adena People." In Webb and Baby, The Adena People, No. 2. 
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Griffin, James B. 

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in Amer. Archaeol. and Ethnol.," Vol. 38.) 


MacNeish, Richard S. 

1959. "A Speculative Framework of Northern North American Prehistory as of 
April, 1959," Anthropologic a, 1:7-21. 

Maxwell, Moreau 

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Bull. 7.) 
Phillips, Philip, James A. Ford, and James B. Griffin 

1951. Archaeological Survey in the Loiver Mississippi Alluvial Valley. ("Peabody 

Mus. Amer. Archeol. and Ethnol.," No. 25.) 
Quimby, George Irving 

1960. Indian Life in the Upper Great Lakes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 
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1955. Recent Discoveries Suggesting an Early Woodland Burial Cult in the North- 
east. (New York State Mus. and Sci. Serv., Circ. 40.) Albany. 
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1960. The Eastern Dispersal of Adena. (New York State Mus. and Sci. Serv., Bull. 

379.) Albany. 
Steward, Julian H. 

1955. Theory of Culture Change. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 
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Anthrop., Vol. 47. 
Webb, William S., and Raymond S. Baby 

1957. The Adena People, No. 2. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. 
Wedel, Waldo R. 

1959. An Introduction of Kansas Archeology. (Bur. Ethnol. Bull. 174.) Washington. 
Willey, Gordon R. 

1949. Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast. (Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collec- 
tions, Vol. 113.) Washington. 

1960. "New World Prehistory," Science, 131:73-86. 
Willey, Gordon R., and Philip Phillips 

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Wittry, Warren L. 

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Northern Europe proper was still covered by ice at 15,000 b.c. Glaciation 
is believed not to have ceased entirely before the seventh millennium b.c. 
In the northernmost two-thirds of the area nothing that can really be 
called "urbanization" took place until late historic times, and then only on a very 
modest scale to begifi with. 

Thus, for the beginning of the period treated by this symposium, there is noth- 
ing to be considered in northern Europe at all. And in the same area the last 
part of the problem, urbanization, must be studied mainly by means of historical 
documentation, since archeological evidence from these latter centuries is very 
inconsistent or entirely lacking. 

Although the area concerned is small and although systematic research on its 
prehistory has a relatively long history, the region is by no means thoroughly 
enough investigated to permit a continuous record of this prehistory. In the 
southernmost regions the prehistoric record is interrupted because the sea beaches 
on which the sites of some periods must lie are now submerged below contempo- 
rary ones. The actual questions can best be studied within a modest number of 
small key areas, surrounded by areas about which we have much less knowledge. 
With few exceptions, these key areas are or were maritime, or at least situated 
within a short distance from the coast. As a consequence, the history not only of 
food collection but also of food production and urbanization may at any time 
have been influenced by maritime opportunities for (a) fishing and sea hunting, 
and (b) communications facilitating invasion, diffusion, and trade. In the north, 
arctic or semiarctic climatic conditions permitting the use of sledges and skis 
made traveling over very long distances possible— including distances over frozen 
stretches of lake and sea areas— in quite another way than was possible in the south. 

This outline will therefore deal with the problems as they present themselves 
when one is surveying the different coasts of northern Europe from south to 


To get an idea of "varying degrees of intensification of food-collecting" requires 
a considerable quantity of finds accurately dated and from not too short a period. 



At least as far as published materials are concerned, this condition is best fulfilled 
in two quite different parts of northern Europe: in the southwest in Denmark- 
Skane, in the northeast in southwestern and in southern Finland. In the majority 
of the other regions there is not yet a sufficient background of evidence for a 
study of this special problem. 

In the southwest, food-collecting complexes of different age and/or tradition 
may in a simplified way be grouped under two main headings, according to their 
position and size: (1) late glacial cultures -\- Klosterlund -f- Maglemose -(- Gudena, 
(2) early coastal + Kongemose; Ertebolle. 

The difference between the two groups is, not only that generally the first is 
represented by inland and the second by coastal settlements, but also that several 
among the latter are relatively large (Ertebolle sites run up to ca. 200 X 40 
meters). The earliest of these large settlements appear in the sixth millennium 
b.c. The interpretation of the general character of Ertebolle is controversial (see 

The northeastern sequence generally comprises coastal settlements. The valley 
of Porvoonjoki (east of Helsinki) provides an outstanding instance of how occu- 
pation has followed the change of the seashore for thousands of years. Luho 
(1956) investigated six sites of the earliest Askola stage. From the following 
Suomusjarvi period he mentions about 100 sites and then numbers of comb 
ceramic and later sites. Provided that a continuity exists between these groups, 
the Porvoonjoki complex can be said to testify to a considerable permanency in 
settlement. Occupations that change in adaptation to a changing natural sur- 
rounding can themselves be regarded as stable. 

An impression of a special sort of permanency is also given by the late food- 
collecting sites in northern Norway (Karlebotn), excavated by Nummedal ( 1935— 
36) and others, beyond the limits of any prehistoric food production: the perma- 
nency depended on repeated use of the same site within a seminomadic seasonal 
cycle. There were 88 huts in one single settlement area, but all 88 were not con- 
temporary (cf. Gjessing, 1959; Simonsen, 1960). 

This instance of food-collecting permanency should be stressed, since forms 
of primitive food production in many cases seem to have resulted in less- 
permanent settlement. 


A. Early and Middle Neolithic TRB Culture Zone 

Within the area where food production was first introduced by the TRB culture 
(German, TRichterBecher; Danish, TRagtBaegere: the "First Northern Culture" 
of Childe), detailed combined archeological and biological studies have been 
carried out on Sjaelland (Zealand) in Denmark and in Sodermanland (southwest 
of Stockholm) in Sweden. 












: Kongemose 






Figure 1. Food-collecting before the introduction of food production. 

Figures 1 to 4 are map-graphs of the coastal stretches of Northern Europe for four 
phases of their prehistory and history. The scheme is a highly simplified one, with 
the longitudinal stretches of coastline approximated to north-south lines. Note that 
since the coasts of Scandinavia north of ca. 62° N. run in a southwest to northeast 
line, the distances indicated for these northerly portions are foreshortened. The 
localities and zones noted are mentioned in the text. 







Graves from 
ca A.D. 200 


No definitive signs of food — production 
during orehistoric times 

TRB = Neolithic funnel — beaker culture 
AC = Neolithic battle-axe cultures 






0* Of "**.. 


J 9rj, 





Graves after 
ca A.D. 500 

— ^ca A.D. 200- 
BAC 800 

after ca 
A.D. 800 





Figure 2. Food production appears along the southerly stretches of coast. 
(See legend to Fig. 1 for remarks.) 


In Denmark attention has been focused on the Amosen bog, where an excep- 
tional number of rich sites have been given more than usually detailed investiga- 
tion (Troels-Smith, 1953). There are C 14 determinations— for example, 2620 ± 80 
B.C. According to the investigator's opinion, the finds reflect (1) the classical 
Ertebolle, beginning as a semifarming culture, with hunting and fishing still an 
integral part of the economy but with a gradual swing toward a culture chiefly 
based upon field and animal husbandry, among other things, after presumably 
receiving strong intrusive additions, and (2) the immigration of a nomad culture. 
As to the interpretation of the first part, Troels-Smith's view has not been gen- 
erally accepted. For Becker (1955), Bronsted (1957), and Mathiassen (1959), 
the introduction of earliest TRB agriculture is at least mainly the result of immi- 
gration. For fuller interpretation of this matter we must wait for a definitive 
publication of the Amosen finds, and in the meantime it should be observed that 
the term "Ertebolle" has somewhat different implications for different authorities. 
(See Schwabedissen's contribution, this volume.) 

Denmark is the only Scandinavian region of the TRB culture where there is 
conclusive evidence of real villages and of organized flint-mining. 

North and west of the main portions of Denmark there were at least attempts 
to introduce the TRB type of food production in southern Norway (Hinsch, 
1951-53) and to establish more definitive bridgeheads in discontinuous areas 
along the west coast of Sweden. There is also an interesting but archeologically 
very little known inland isolate. Within this, an important pollen-analytical study 
has been made by Fries (1958) near Varnhem (Fries stresses the probable unre- 
liability of the Varnhem C 14 determinations; 3330 ± 110, 3630 ± 110 B.C.). 

In the southernmost part of Sweden's east coast, a different ecological context 
may explain an interesting sequence at Siretorp. The site is no doubt of a fishing- 
hunting type, alternately used by Ertebolle, TRB, and later inhabitants (Bagge 
and Kjellmark, 1939). 

Farther north, isolated TRB settlements of corresponding date are known. In 
the Sodermanland area southwest of Stockholm, Florin (1958) has excavated a 
sequence of agricultural settlements, the so-called Vra culture. These settlements 
belong to the TRB culture, but Florin has emphasized differences from the Danish 
finds. Radiocarbon determinations exist (e.g., 3400 ± 100 b.c.) but seem to be 
dependent on a probably controversial interpretation of the quaternary geology 
of the region. Florin regards it as doubtful whether agriculture could have been 
introduced by way of invasion and seems inclined to believe in an internal devel- 
opment (as was suggested earlier by Aberg). This opinion is not generally ac- 
cepted. To the author, it seems to lack convincing support from archeological 
evidence (Bagge, 1951). 

To sum up, Denmark proper seems to be the most outlying of the northern 
European regions where agriculture was definitely established by the time of the 
TRB culture. 


B. The Middle Neolithic Battle-Axe Culture Zone, ca. 2000 b.c. 

Within the vast outlying area of the TRB culture zone, the introduction of 
food production was renewed— and outside these limits was initiated by— the 
battle-axe cultures belonging to the northern European middle neolithic period. 
As to the character of food production in this culture, it is generally accepted 
that emphasis was on nomadic cattle-breeding. However, this view seems to be 
based on rather weak evidence. It is well known that the question of the local 
or of the extraneous genesis of these groups is a most controversial matter, or at 
least it has been so. But from what is actually known from the Scandinavian finds, 
it would be very difficult to find substantial support for the idea of a local devel- 
opment of the battle-axe cultures in Scandinavia. 

Graves definitely belonging to these groups have been found from southeastern 
Norway (Hinsch, 1954) through central Sweden— thus within the region of the 
earlier TRB expansion— whereas a settlement in the Trondheim district (Mar- 
strander, 1956; M0llenhus, 1958), which is the subject of some discussion, would 
be outside the TRB region. 

The distribution of the battle-axe culture in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland (Kilian, 
1955; Gimbutas, 1956, 1958), stretching in to Osterbotten (Meinander, 1946, 
1950), is evidently far outside this TRB limit. Here, in the east, the first appear- 
ance of food production is no doubt connected with the battle-axe culture. In 
Finland it also eventually provides an exceptional opportunity to study a case of 
transition from food producing to food-collecting. 

C. The South Scandinavian Late Neolithic Culture, toward ca. 1500 b.c. 

In southern Scandinavia and adjacent regions, the late neolithic period is char- 
acterized by a culture with such traits as flint daggers and crescentic implements, 
ceremonial deposits, and, among other things, stone cist graves. No doubt the 
connections of this cultural manifestation with earlier groups deserves a more 
thorough discussion. Its importance as a starting point for the following bronze 
age development seems evident. Several scholars, especially in Norway, have 
indicated the role it played in a firmer establishment of agriculture, perhaps of 
a seminomadic tradition. Archeological and/or pollen-analytical evidence in this 
direction has been produced, among other places, for parts of the Swedish west 
coast (Olausson, 1957), southeast Norway (Hagen, I960; Hafsten, 1958), and 
the Trondheim district (Hinsch, 1948). 

D. Bronze Age (ca. 1500 b.c-500 b.c.) and Later Periods 

The post-neolithic spread of food production in Scandinavia mainly afTects 
regions where the archeological evidence is little suited to give information on 
our problem. For instance, it may be mentioned that from Sweden north of the 
Malar region (i.e., for the northern two-thirds of the country) not a single pre- 
historic grain impression has yet been reported, although one grain itself has been 
noted (Hjelmqvist, 1955). In Norway only one such impression is mentioned as 


far north as the Trondheim district. These two regions in Sweden (Florin, 1960; 
Helmfrid, 1958) and Norway (Larssen, 1953, 1954) are also the northernmost 
ones where palynological evidence of prehistoric agriculture has been recovered. 
As to the bones of domesticated cattle, the situation is somewhat brighter, but 
these are often found in contexts where their close dating remains a more or 
less open question, for example, in Norwegian coastal rock shelters from late 

Rock carvings, mainly of the southern Scandinavian type, which may express 
an agricultural ceremonialism, can give some impression of how far north agri- 
culture was practiced during the "bronze age" (of course, this term is, per se, 
a meaningless label for this area and time) and for some centuries following. On the 
Norwegian west coast, these rock carvings are well represented in the Trondheim 
district, and isolated cases have been hitherto observed up to about 66° north 
latitude at least. On the east side of the Scandinavian peninsula, they do not 
extend north of the Malar region, apart from one isolated occurrence at 63° 30' 
N. (Namforsen,, intermingled with carvings of so-called Arctic, hunting-magic 
type [Hallstrom, 1960; Janson and Hvarfner, I960]). 

The evidence of datable bronze-age graves, which can be taken to express the 
same spread, seems to agree mainly with that of the rock carvings. In Finland 
we must rely on graves of southern Scandinavian types. According to Meinander 
(1954), they can be followed up to ca. 63° 40' N. 

For our problem, this hints at one interesting point at least: the expansion of 
food production was a continuing process along the northern European coasts 
(Moberg, 1960). But it leaves us unaided as to the question of how this process 
took place. To the bronze age belong the very interesting villages, excavated by 
Meinander (1954#) on small islands of the Aland archipelago. The inhabitants 
of these seasonal sites must have been mainly seal hunters and fishermen, but 
the presence of millstones might indicate some form of contact with food 

The contemporary situation in southwestern Norway must be omitted here. 
Important investigations have been conducted by Hinsch (1954); we must hope 
for posthumous publication of his full results. 

The decisive expansion of food production to the northern coastal regions took 
place after the first centuries of our era, but at different periods on the opposite 
sides of the Scandinavian peninsula. On the Norwegian coasts, graves indicate 
settlements of southwestern Norwegian type up to the fringes of the Arctic 
ocean as early as a.d. 200. On the other hand, presumed invasions of immigrants 
to southern (and inland) Finland initially reach Osterbotten, but the late ceme- 
teries of the ninth to eleventh centuries a.d. are only to be found in exceptional 
cases north of ca. 61° 30' (cf. Kivikoski, 1947-51). Along the Swedish east 
coast quite a few corresponding monuments can be found up to ca. 64° N. The 
meeting of the zone of agriculture from both the Finnish and the Swedish sides, 
around the northernmost parts of the Gulf of Bothnia, belongs to historic times, 
from the fourteenth century a.d. onward. 


But this late historical process is evidently characterized by the same feature 
that we have to presume for all the preceding prehistoric expansions, from late 
neolithic onward; food production in the form of agriculture was introduced to 
northern Europe mainly by way of successive migrations. The only phase for 
which a serious controversy exists on this question is that of the early neolithic 
and the TRB culture. 

But a second and most important feature must finally be stressed, and this is 
that within these migratory frameworks there are marked differences in the rela- 
tive roles of food production. 

Only in Denmark have real neolithic villages been excavated (e.g., Barkaer). 
So far, only here and in very limited adjacent areas of Sweden (mainly coastal) 
is there evidence from the neolithic periods of time that suggests anything like 
an effective food production, with plant cultivation and/or animal domestica- 
tion assuming a ma]or subsistence role. This is expressed by sites with considerable 
numbers of grain impressions, by high-level pollen curves of cereals and eco- 
logically related plants that are contemporary and continuous, as well as by 
major components of domesticated animals within the faunal remains. Outside 
the area mentioned for Denmark and adjacent coastal Sweden nothing even partly 
similar appears until the series of iron-age (around and after a.d. 1) villages and 
farm sites, excavated in Jutland (Hatt, 1937, 1957), on Bornholm (Klindt- Jensen, 
1957, 1958a, 1958£, 1959; cf. Becker, 1958; Norling-Christensen, 1958, 1959; 
Werner, 1960), Gotland (Stenberger, 1955) and in southern Norway (Petersen, 
1933, 1936; Grieg, 1934; Hougen, 1947; Hagen, 1953). 

From western Norway, central Sweden, and southern Finland northward, it is 
obviously reasonable to reckon with a continued greater importance of food 
collection. Cultivation and/or animal domestication here may be "incipient," not 
only to begin with but up to the present; "supplementary" is a more useful term 
here. But even in the northern regions food production is of course "effective" 
in the sense that the domesticates are being utilized far outside their natural 

Between these two main regions, one of more effective food production in 
Denmark and adjacent coastal Sweden, and one more supplementary region 
farther north, there is a broad intermediate zone, where the question of "effective" 
or "supplementary" food production is relevant in any period. 

E. Pastoral Nomadism of the Same 

In historic times we meet a form of pastoral nomadism in the north, the rein- 
deer-breeding of the Same (Lapps), both inland and along the coastal regions of 
the Arctic ocean. It would be of great value in our context of interest if we 
could study the transition from a food-collecting to a food-producing economy 
of this special kind. There is archeological evidence of iron-age communities, 
using non-domesticated reindeer, above all at Kjelmo. And on some of the 
northern Scandinavian hunting-magic rock-pictures, reindeer are represented, 
although elks are in the majority. So far, however, only hypothetical suggestions 


may be made concerning the transition, and it would lead us too far from archeo- 
logical evidence to enter into a discussion of Same ethnogenesis. 

Throughout this outline the profound and complicated changes both in en- 
vironment and in the practice of agriculture, during the periods between the 
first appearance of food production and the earliest indications of incipient urban- 
ization, cannot be treated even summarily. It is only possible to stress the fact 
of these changes and to admit that our knowledge of them is very incomplete. 
As to the agricultural aspects of the situation, recent investigations such as those 
mentioned above have yielded valuable information on crucial problems, but 
only in certain key areas; outside these areas knowledge is much more incomplete. 


In northern Europe, especially in its northernmost regions, an effective urbaniza- 
tion comparable to that accounted for during this symposium (e.g., for the Near 
Eastern-Mediterranean areas or in Mesoamerica) occurred mainly in late historical 
times. If one were to use Childe's criteria for an urban civilization, it seems un- 
certain whether the purely archeological record from any Scandinavian medieval 
town would produce fully satisfactory evidence for the existence of such an 
urban civilization. Even the term "threshold of urbanization" does not seem very 
useful for the prehistory of this area. Instead, one could— for northern Europe- 
speak of a certain "approach to urbanization." Urbanization proper did not come 
until later in history, but in some regions and in certain particular spots its coming 
was prepared for by certain traits. No doubt this prehistoric approach to urban- 
ization had an important impact on the patterns and distribution of historic ur- 

What we have to look for is a differentiation, a specialization among settlement 
concentrations. We might speak of an "approach to urbanization" when we have 
archeological evidence of a certain "elite" of concentrated settlements within a 
group of otherwise run-of-the-mill contemporary sites, within a regionally limited 
cultural manifestation. Such an elite site would be characterized by one or more 
of such traits as number of inhabitants, fortifications, special ceremonies; it would 
be especially valuable if there were evidence pointing toward a special situation 
for these centers within a given economic system, for example, concentration of 
surplus, importation of materials or products, specialized crafts. The sites might 
be bigger, stronger, "more ceremonial," more industrial or commercial, wealthier 
than the majority of sites belonging to the same pattern or group of settlements. 
Thus the other sites may be assumed to be "dependent" in Redfield's sense. 

The evidence from northern Europe does, in fact, show such a situation in some 
late cases. But in the main, there is no evidence for the autochthonous beginnings 
for such traits in northern Europe. One has to look for external origins for this 
approach-to-urbanization situation. There are, however, different potential sources 
to discuss for the Continent, outside the Mediterranean world. 








The underlined places are usually termed "towns or 
"cities" in the historical sense. 





o ros «^^ 


: Gulldynt 

j Ulvsby 




: Kaupang 

Gamla Uppsala 
I Bjbrkb, Helg'6 

; Hoi lingstedt 


: Jelling 









Figure 3. The approach to urbanism. (See legend to Fig. 1.) 


It might seem as if one of the first urban-like patterns within reach of northern 
Europe was that of the Lusatian culture in Poland ca. 500 b.c. It comprises the 
fortified settlements of, for example, Biskupin, Sobiejuchy, and Izdebno, which 
lie within 250 kilometers of Bornholm and which are probably related to the 
northern Polish and east German fortifications of the same period, lying even 
closer to Scandinavia. But Rajewski (1958) assumes that the sites mentioned above 
were the only permanent ones of their particular regions and that such other sites 
as have been excavated in each particular region were only temporary and seasonal 
"camp sites" of the same population. Consequently, this Lusatian group would 
have to be ruled out of the "elite"-site-"dependent"-site picture, as there were no 
controlled rural people and no permanent dependent settlements. 

Perhaps, there is an analogy in the partly contemporary eastern European 
Gorodishtshe culture, branches of which reached to the Baltic and perhaps in 
some places even crossed it. 

Another possibility for consideration is opened by the western and central and 
southeastern European fortified settlements of the Hallstatt and La Tene periods, 
ca. 500 b.c.-a.d. 1. A few of these (e.g., Mont Beuvray in Burgundy) fulfill the 
requirements of "specialization of sites" to such a high degree that the prevailing 
view of them as "the first cities north of the Alps" seems to be very much justi- 
fied (Moberg, 1950). Others of these sites might rather be fortified manors, 
important centers for trade, metallurgy, and crafts. In exceptional cases, such 
sites are encountered near northern Europe (e.g., not far from the mouth of 
the Elbe), and the Borremose site in Jutland could be regarded as a marginal 
representative of this group. But in these latter cases there are as yet no signs 
to indicate other settlements that might be "dependent" upon them. 

However, it should be stressed that during the late La Tene period (toward 
a.d. 1), this Central-European group had a considerable importance for some 
regions in southern Scandinavia. This seems to have been one of the earliest, more 
direct contacts of northern Europe with a culture including some distinct urban 
traits. (As a still earlier case one could discuss the perhaps traceable Hallstatt 
period relations with the Etruscan area, but this depends upon the interpretation 
of the relations between Alpine and Italian crafts). 

The period of Roman occupation in Central and western Europe brought its 
Mediterranean type of military urban settlements no closer to southernmost Scan- 
dinavia than by about 600 kilometers. It did, however, result in intensified contact 
for northern Europe with urban civilization. (The author is inclined to guess 
that the enormous concentration of graves at Wilembork/Willenberg at the mouth 
of the Vistula could possibly be an indication of a commercial center, and, if 
so, why not a town? [Moberg, 1941].) 

During the post-Roman centuries and in part much earlier, a number of isolated 
criteria can already be observed, which together could have created an incipient 
urbanization if they had appeared together (which they did not). Such isolated 
criteria are: 

a) Increased size of cemeteries, probably reflecting increased size of settlements 


(but of course there is nothing to prove that these should have been anything 

more than villages). 

b) Increasing specialization in funeral ceremonies, probably reflecting increased 
social specialization. This is, sometimes with the aid of historical documentation 
of an uncertain reliability, interpreted as an expression of "kingship." 

c) During some parts of these periods, and in certain regions, increased signs 
of warfare ("warrior graves," ceremonial bog deposits of military equipment, 
hidden treasures indicating wars, fortifications). 

d) Large public buildings (i.e., some of the fortifications mentioned above, 
which are especially magnificent on the island of Oland). 

e) Remarkable concentrations of surplus (as revealed, e.g., by gold and silver 
treasures, belonging to the same migration period context as above). 

f) Full-time specialists— the only possible explanation for the development of 
the sophisticated "Germanic" animal styles (Holmqvist, 1955), which are char- 
acteristic for the period a.d. 400-1000, although 2,500 years earlier, the archeo- 
logical record in northern Europe already includes traits suggesting full-time 

g) Writing (runes), even if its first use seems limited almost entirely to magic. 
h) Important long-range trade, beginning as early as the third millennium B.C.; 

from ca. a.d. 300 onward occasional connections are also indicated by the use of 
coins (these are imported; local coinage in the south began on a very modest scale 
ca. a.d. 800). 

But at least so far there are no known traces of cities. The only more direct 
trend in such a direction is seen in the development of a number of village- or 
manor-sized "community centers," or whatever one chooses to call them, for 

a) The surprisingly regular "administrative centers" and their subcenters in- 
vestigated by H. E. Lund (1955, 1960) far to the north in Norway in the ancient 
Halogaland, and corresponding settlements in southwestern Norway. 

b) Helgo or Lillo near Stockholm, under extensive excavation by Holmqvist 
(1954, 1959, 1960). 

c) Lindholm H0je in northern Jutland (soon to be published by Th. Ramskou; 
cf. 1953, 1955, 1957, 1960) as well as another site of related type in the same 

d) It is tempting to mention Gulldynt in Osterbotten in Finland in this context; 
according to Meinander (1946, 1950), it is a Migration period commercial center. 

The establishment, in about a.d. 800, of the first more city-like settlements we 
know of is, however, something very different. One of these "cities," Haithabu/ 
Hedeby, lies just upon the southern threshold of the actual Scandinavian regions. 
It seems to have been of overwhelming importance to the entire area. With its 
240,000 square meters, surrounded by a 1,300-meter wall as part of a complicated 
system of area fortifications, Haithabu overshadows all corresponding sites within 
our region. The number of its graves is estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 for 




'■ Nordkap 





































Figure 4. Present-day cities. (See legend to Fig. 1.) 


a period of about 250 years. (The corresponding harbor on the west coast is 

Hollingstedt [Jankuhn, 1956].) 

The island settlement at Bjorko in the Malar Lake (which was then a firth of 
the Baltic) is identified with Birka of the written sources. It is not even half as 
large as is Haithabu, measuring 90,000 square meters within its walls, of which 
500 meters are still visible. Some 2,000 burial mounds can also be seen. 

There has been a strong suggestion that corresponding fortified settlements 
must have existed in Latvia, for example at Grobin ("Seeburg"), probably with 
a much smaller area but doubtless with considerably more than 600 graves 
(Nerman, 1958). 

In southeastern Norway, the archeological situation at Kaupang in Tj oiling 
(identified as Skiringssal) seems to have another character (Blindheim, 1953, 
1960.) It is known mainly from hundreds of graves, containing a remarkable 
number of imported objects, and there seems to be no trace of fortifications. It 
would seem more probable that this was a regularly visited market place rather 
than a town. 

In connection with a later period, Lindholm should be mentioned once again, 
but seemingly only as an important village-sized settlement, which was fortified 
still later. Lindholm's grave inventories reflect long-range contacts and perhaps 
there are traces of a small central "public building." 

These places are the northernmost, more or less town-like commercial centers 
of the last prehistoric period of Scandinavia ca. 800-1050 a.d. Is there— from the 
more restricted regions where these sites lie— any particular earlier archeological 
evidence that might explain the appearance of these sites? It has already been sug- 
gested that there is evidence from Lindholm. At Kaupang in Tj oiling, on the 
other hand, there seems so far to be none. It was only later, while this center 
was in existence, that the adjoining regions present such splendid indications as 
the famous ship graves of the Oslo fjord district, for which written sources 
indicate the existence of a dynasty. 

Now the Malar Lake island site of Bjorko is situated in a region where impor- 
tant things had been happening during the last centuries before a.d. 800. For a 
long time, archeological interest has been focused on the monumental mound 
cemetery of Gamla Uppsala (Lindqvist, 1936), and the rich boat-grave ceme- 
teries of the same district. In recent years the already mentioned enigmatic Helgo 
site has become known. Also there is renewed reason to recall the much debated 
problem of early iron metallurgy as one possible explanation for the prospering 
of the regions northeast of the Malar Lake (then a firth) . Is this the reason why 
the region attracted continental and even Anglo-Saxon interest, and at the same 
time the explanation for the accumulation of wealth by local potentates? Is this, 
in fact, the background for the Bjorko town? 

In any case, it seems reasonable to assume the importance of foreign elements 
for Hedeby, Lindholm, Kaupang, and Bjorko. As to Grobin, its excavator is 
inclined to see it as a result of organized colonization from Sweden, but the pub- 
lished finds do not seem to support this view convincingly. Observations at the 


related site of Apuole, for example, might indicate a local background for this 
type of settlement. 

It is important to note the fact that there is only a very limited correlation 
between urban and political development in northern Europe. Political centers 










ch es to urbanization 

Food production 
with important 
food-collecting . 



SW, and 
toward coasts 

NE, and 

Figure 5. Graph to illustrate the main trends in northern European 

prehistory, as described in the text. The approximate 

time scale is logarithmic. 

in the Scandinavian states, emerging following ca. a.d. 800, are not towns, but 
royal manors. The remaining actual archeological traces of these consist primarily 
of monumental graves (Jelling, perhaps Lejre [Andersen, 1960], Borre [Blind- 
heim, 1953], and the debatable Gamla Uppsala). 

The continuation of urban development in these regions must be studied mainly 
by means of historical documentation. It reflects organized political and eccle- 


siastical action and thus falls outside the scope of this summary. But it should be 
emphasized that during the Middle Ages up to ca. a.d. 1500, urbanization is 
limited to the southern half (and barely that) of Baltic Europe, no towns having 
been established north of Nidaros (Trondheim) in Norway, Gavle in Sweden, or 
Ulvsby in Finland (Bull and Steen, 1933). It should be emphasized that even 
these town were still quite small, often with only a few hundred inhabitants. 

One must remain aware of the possibility that medieval archeology may yet 
change the picture given above, or at least add important qualifications for its 
later phases. Thus, recent field work in Norway by Herteig has already resulted 
in much information on medieval commercial centers, almost unknown from 
the written records. 


This bibliography includes some important papers, etc., 
published after the symposium. 

Andersen, Harald 

1960. Hovedstaden i riget. Nationalmuseets arbejdsmark, pp. 13-35, Kobenhavn. 

Bagge, Axel 

1951. "Fagervik, Ein Riickgrat fur die Periodeneinteilung der ostschwedischen 
Wohnplatz- und Bootaxtkulturen aus dem Mittelneolithikum, Eine vorlaufige Mit- 
teilung," Acta archeol. 22:57-118. Kobenhavn. 

Bagge, Axel, and Knut Kjellmark 

1939. Stenaldersboplatserna vid Siretorp i Blekinge. Die steinzeitlichen Wohnplatze 
bei Siretorp, Blekinge in Schiveden. ("Kungl. vitterhets historie och antikvitets- 
akademien.") Stockholm: Wahlstrom och Widstrand. 

Becker, Carl Johan 

1955. "The Introduction of Farming into Northern Europe," /. World Hist., Vol. 2. 
1958. Review of: O. Klindt-Jensen (Klindt-Jensen, 1957), Bornholm i folkevan- 
dringstiden og forudsce tningerne i tidlig jernalder, Fornv'dnnen, pp. 142-47. Stock- 

Blindheim, Charlotte 

1953. "Borre i lys av Borrefunnet og Nasjonalparken," Borre bygdebok, pp. 1-26. 

1953. "Preliminary Report on the Recent Excavations on Kaupang, near Larvik, 
Vestfold," Annen Viking Kongress, pp. 59-67. Bergen. 

1960. "Kaupangunders0kelsen etter 10 ar," Viking, 24:43-68. (A slightly altered edi- 
tion of this paper will appear in English in Acta archaeol., 1959/60). Oslo. 

Br0ndsted, Johannes 

1957. Danmarks Oldtid, 1, Stenalderen. 2d ed. K0benhavn: Gyldendal. 

Bull, Edvard, and Sverre Steen (eds.) 

1933. Byer og Bybebyggelse. (Nordisk kultur 18.) Stockholm: Albert Bonniers 
forlag; Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co.s Forlag; Kobenhavn: J. H. Schultz Forlag. 


Florin, Sten 

1958. Vrdkulturen, Stendldersboplatserna vid Mogetorp, Ostra Vrd och Brokvarn. 
("Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien.") Stockholm: Almqvist 
och Wiksell. 

Florin, Maj-Britt and Sten 
1960. N aturhistorisk utveckling vid Dragby under bronsdldern, Fran en pdborjad 
under so kning over omrddets kvartdrgeologi. (Pubis. Inst. Quat. Geol., Univ. Uppsala, 
No. 16, ser. 8.) (Also Tor. Meddelanden fran institutionen for nordisk fornkunskap 
vid Uppsala universitet, pp. 87-121; English summary, pp. 116-18). 

Fries, Magnus 

1958. F ' egetationsutveckling och odlingshistoria i V arnhemstrakten, En pollenanalytisk 
under so kning i V aster gotland. ("Acta phytogeographica suecica," Vol. 39.) Uppsala. 
(German summary, pp. 55-58; "Vegetationsentwicklung und Siedlungsgeschichte 
im Gebiet von Varnhem, Eine pollenanalytische Untersuchung aus Vastergotland 
(Siidschweden)"; English abstract, p. 59). 


1956. The Prehistory of Eastern Europe, 1: Mesolithic, Neolithic and Copper Age 
Cultures in Russia and the Baltic Area. (Amer. Sch. Prehist. Res., Peabody Mus. 
Harvard Univ. Bull. No. 20.) Cambridge, Mass. 

1958. "Rytprusiu ir vakaru Lietuvos priesistorines kulturos apzvalga." In Mazoji 
Lietuva, Lithuania Minor, Kleinlitauen. ("Studia Lituanica," 1.) New York: Leidzia 
Lietuvos Tyrimo Institutas-Lithuanian Research Institute, Inc. (English summary, pp. 
291-94: "A Survey of Prehistory of East Prussia and Western Lithuania.") 


1959. "Nordnorske samfunnsorganisasjoner i steinalderen," Wissenschaftliche Zeit- 
schrift der Ernst Moritz Arndt-Universit'dt Greifsivald, Gesellschafts- und sprach- 
ivissenschaftliche Reihe, Nr. 3, pp. 147-52. 

Grieg, Sigurd 

1934. Jernaldershus pa Lista. (Instituttet for sammenlignende kulturforskning, B 27.) 
Oslo. (German summary, pp. 122-37.) 

Hafsten, Ulf 

1958. "Jordbrukskulturens historie i Oslo- og Mj0strakten belyst ved pollenanalytiske 
unders0kelser," Viking, 21-22:51-73. Oslo. (English summary, pp. 72-73; "Pollen- 
analytical Investigations on the History of Agriculture in the Oslo and Mj0sa Re- 

Hagen, Anders 

1953. Studier i jernalderns gdrdssamfunn. (Universitetets oldsaksamlings, skrifter 
4.) Oslo: Universitetets oldsaksamling. (English summary, pp. 354-87.) 

1960. "Jordbrukspionerer i steinaldern," Viking, 24:1-42. Oslo. (English summary, 
pp. 37-41: "Problems concerning Early Neolithic Agricultural Groups.") 

Hallstrom, Gustaf 

1960. Monumental Art of Norther?! Sweden from the Stone Age, Ndmforsen and 

Other Localities. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. 
Hatt, Gudmund 

1937. Landbrug i Danmarks oldtid. (Folkelaesning, No. 367.) K0benhavn. 

1957. N0rre Fjand: An Early Iron-Age Village Site in West Jutland. (Arkaeo- 
logisk-kunsthistoriske Skrifter utgivet af Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes. 
Selskab 2, No. 2.) K0benhavn: Ejnar Munksgaard. 


Helmfrid, S. 

1958. "Eine pollenanalytische Untersuchung zur Geschichte der Kulturlandschaft im 
westlichen Teil der Provinz Ostergotland, Schweden," Geografiska annaler. Stock- 

Hinsch, Herik 

1948. "Buplass-kulturen pa m0rekysten i dolktida," Viking, 12:89-132. Oslo. (French 

summary, pp. 130-31: "Les sites de la fin du neolithique a M0re.") 

1951-53. "Traktbegerkultur-megalitkultur: En studie av 0st-Norges eldste, neo- 

litiske gruppe," Universitetets oldsaksamling, Arbok. Oslo. (French summary, pp. 


1954. Yngre steinalders strids0kskulturer i Norge. (Universitetet i Bergen, Arbok, 
Historisk-antikvarisk rekke 1.) Bergen. (English summary, pp. 223-37.) 


1955. Die alteste Geschichte der Kidturpflanzen in Schiveden. (Opera botanica a 
societate botanica Lundense in supplementeum seriei "Botaniska notiser" edita, Vol. 
1:3.) Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. (English summary, pp. 172-80: "The Oldest 
History of Cultivated Plants in Sweden.") 


1954. "Die eisenzeitlichen Funde aus Lillon, Kirchspiel Ekero, Uppland, Vorlaufiger 
Bericht iiber die im Jahre 1954 begonnenen Untersuchungen," Acta archaeol, 25:260- 
71. K0benhavn. 

1955. Germanic Art during the First Millennium a.d. Kungl. (Vitterhets Historie 
och Antikvitets akademiens, handlingar 90.) Stockholm. 

1957a. "Gardsanlaggningar fran yngre jarnaldern pa Helgo (Lillon) Ekero socken 
i Malaren, En oversikt," Fornvdnnen, pp. 97-115. Stockholm. (English summary, 
pp. 115: "House Settlements from the Late Iron Age on Helgo Island (Lillon) in 
Lake Malar in the Parish of Ekero.") 

1951b. "Fynden fran Helgo, En oversikt," Fornv'dnnen, pp. 209-26. Stockholm. 
(English summary, p. 226: "The Finds from Helgo.") 

1959. "Hednisk kult pa Helgo," Kungl. vitterhets historie och antikvitets akademiens 
handlingar, 91:203-12. Stockholm. 


1947. Fra seter til gard: Studier i norsk bosetningshistorie. Oslo: Norsk arkeologisk 
Jankuhn, Herbert 

1956. Haithabu, Ein Handelsplatz der Wikingerzeit. 3d ed. Neumiinster. Karl Wach- 
holtz Verlag. 

Janson, Sverker, and Harald Hvarfner 

1960. Fran norrlandsalvar och fjallsjoar. Stockholm: Riksantikvarieambetet. 


1955. Haffkiistenkultur und Ursprung der Balten. Bonn: Rudolf Habelt Verlag. 
Kivikoski, Ella 

1947-51. Die Eisenzeit Finnlands, Bilder atlas und Text, Vols. 1-2. Porvoo, Helsinki: 

Werner Soderstrom osakeyhtio. 
Klindt-Jensen, Ole 

1957. Bomholm i folkevandringstiden og foruds<£tningerne i tidlig jernalder. (Na- 
tionalmuseets skrifter, St0rre beretninger 2.) K0benhavn: Nationalmuseet. (English 
summaries, pp. 239-77, 314-18. 


1958a. "Nogle bemaerkninger til foregaende anmeldelse," Fornv'dnnen, pp. 147-54. 


1958b. "Bemaerkninger til Norling-Christensens afhandling: Bidrag til belysning 

af kulturforholdene pa Bornholm i aeldre germansk jernalder," Aarb0ger for nor disk 

oldkyndighed, pp. 124-28. K0benhavn. (English summary, pp. 127-28: "Remarks on 

H. Norling-Christensen article 'Contributions to the Elucidation of the Cultural 

Relations in Bornholm in the Early Germanic Iron Age.' ") 

1959. "To detaljer fra udgravningen af Sorte Muld," Aarb0ger for nor disk old- 
kyndighed, p. 222. K0benhavn. 

Larssen, Kari Egede 

1953. "Pollenanalytiske dateringer fram Tr0ndelag," Det kongelige norske videns- 
kabers selskabs forhandlinger, 26:94-101. Trondheim. 

1954. "Pollenanalytiske dateringer fra Tr0ndelag," Det kongelige norske videnskabers 
selskabs forhandliiiger, Vol. 26, No. 22. Trondheim: F. Bruns bokhandel. 


1936. Uppsala hogar och Ottarshogen. (Kungl. vitterhets historie och antikvitets 
akademien.) Stockholm: Wahlstrom & Widstrand. (English summary, pp. 327—53.) 

Luho, Ville 

1956. Die Askola-Kultur, Die friihmesolithische Steinzeit in Finnland. (Suomen 
muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakauskirja, Finska fornminnesforeningens, tidskrift 57.) 

Lund, Harald E. 

1955. "Hal0ygske h0vdingeseter fra jernalderen," Stavanger museums arbok, pp. 

1960. En oversikt over: "Haloygske hovdinge-garder og tun-anlegg fra eldre og yngre 
jernalder." (Mimeographed letter to Gustaf Hallstrom, Stockholm.) 

Marstrander, Sverre 

1956. "Hovedlinjer i Tr0ndelags forhistorie," Viking, pp. 1-69. (English summary, pp. 
56-63: "A General Outline of the Prehistory of Tr0ndelag." Oslo. 

Mathiassen, Therkel 

1959. N ordvestsjcellands oldtidsbeby ggelse. (Nationalmuseets skrifter, arkaeologisk- 
historisk raekke 7.) K0benhavn: Nationalmuseet. (English summary, pp. 61-64: The 
Prehistoric Settlement of Northwestern Zealand. 

Meinander, Carl Fredrik 

1946. "Forutsattningarna for den forhistoriska bebyggelsen i sodra Osterbotten," 

Nordenskiold samfimdets tidskrift, 6. 

1950. "Etela-Pohjanmaan esihistoria," Eteld-Pohjanmaan historia, 1. Helsinki. 

1954a. Die Bronzezeit in Finnland. (Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakauskirja, 

Finska fornminnesforeningens tidskrift 54.) Helsinki Helsingfors. 

1954Z?. Die Kiukaiskultur. (Ibid., tidskrift 53.) 

Moberg, Carl-Axel 

1941. T.onengliedemingen der vorchristlichen Eisenzeit in Nordeuropa. Lund: C. W. 
K. Gleerup. 

1950. "When Did Late La Tene begin? A Study of the Basis of the Current Abso- 
lute Dating" (Ornavasso-Horn 1.), Acta archaeol., 21:83-136. K0benhavn. 

1960. "On Some Circumpolar and Arctic Problems in North European Archaeology," 
Acta arctica, 12:67-74. Copenhagen. 



1958. Steinalderen i s0ndre Helgeland. (Det kgl norske videnskabers selskabs skrifter 

1958:1.) Trondheim. 
Nerman, Birger 

1958. Grobin-Seeburg, Ausgrabungen und Funde. (Kungl. vitterhets historie och 

antikvitets akademien.) Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. 
Norling-Christensen, Hans 

1958. "Bidrag til belysning af kulturforholdene paa Bornholm i aeldre germansk jer- 
nalder," Aarb0ger for nor disk oldkyndighed og historie, pp. 109-23. K0benhavn. 
(English summary, pp. 119-23: "Contributions to the Elucidation of the Cultural 
Relations of Bornholm in the Early Germanic Iron Age.") 

1959. "Ny bidrag til belysning af kulturforholdene paa Bornholm i aeldre germansk 
jernalder," Aarb0ger for nordisk oldkyndighed og historia, pp. 217-21. K0benhavn. 
(English summary, pp. 219-21: "New Contributions towards Elucidating the Cultural 
Conditions in Bornholm in the Early Germanic Iron Age.) 


1935-36. "Yngre stenaldersfunn fra Nyelven og Karlebotn i 0stfinnmark," Univer- 
sitetets oldsaksamling, Arbok, pp. 69-131. Oslo. 
Olausson, Eric 

1957. Das Moor Roshultsmyren, Eine geologische, botanische und hydrologische 
Studie in einem siidivestschivedischen Moor mit excentrisch geivolbten Moosele- 
menten. (Lunds universitets arsskrift, N.F. Avd. 2, Bd. 53, Nr. 12.) Lund: C. W. K. 

Petersen, Jan 

1933. Gamle gardsanlegg i Rogaland fra forhistorisk tid og middelalder. (Instituttet 
for sammenlignende kultur-forskning, Bd. 23.) Oslo. (German summary, pp. 120—35.) 
1936. Gamle gardsanlegg i Rogaland, Fortsettelse. (Ibid., Bd. 31: German summary, 
pp. 87-99.) 

Rajewski, Zdzisaw 

1958. "Arkaeologisk forskning i Biskupin," Kuml, Arbog for jysk arkaeologisk 
selskab 21-62. Arhus. (German summary, pp. 49-62: "Forschungsergebnisse iiber die 
Besiedlung der 'Lausitzer' Kultur in Biskupin und Umgegend.") 

Ramskou, Thorkild 

1953. "Lindholm: Preliminary Report of the 1952-53 Excavations of a Late Iron 

Age Cemetery and an Early Mediaeval Settlement," Acta archaeol., 24: 186-96. K0ben- 


1955. "Lindholm H0je: Second Preliminary Report for the Years 1954-55 on the 

Excavation of a Late Iron Age Cemetery and an Early Mediaeval Settlement," ibid., 


1957. "Et landbrug fra 1000-arene pa Lindholm H0je," Fra nationalmuseets arbejd- 

smark, pp. 97-100. K0benhavn. 

1960. Lindholm H0je. (Nationalmuseets bla b0ger.) K0benhavn: Nationalmuseet. 


1960. "The History of Settlement." In Norway North of 65, pp. 100-121. (Troms0 
museums skrifter, vol. 8.) Oslo: Oslo University Press. 
Stenberger, Marten, and Ole Klindt-Jensen (eds.) 

1955. Vallhagar, a Migration Period Settlement on Gotland /Sweden, 2 vols. Copen- 
hagen: Ejnar Munksgaards forlag. 



1953. "Erteb0llekultur-Bondekultur, Resultater af de sidste 10 aars Unders0gelser i 
Aamosen, Vests jadland," Aarb0ger for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie, pp. 1-62. 
K0benhavn. (English summary, pp. 47-62; "Erteb0lle Culture-Farmer Culture, Re- 
sults of the Past Ten Years' Excavations in Aamosen bog, West Zealand.") 
Werner, Joachim 

1960. Review of O. Klindt-Jensen (Klindt-Jensen, 1957), Bornholm i folkevandring- 
stiden og forudsce tningerne i tidlig jernalder, in Prahist. Zeitschr., 38:142-51. 



In the foregoing sixteen papers, more than that number of regional archeo- 
logical time perspectives are considered. Seven New World areas— Meso- 
america, Peru, the northern Andean Intermediate area, Amazonia, the 
Caribbean, the greater Southwest (with its familiar southwestern "core"), and 
eastern North America— are accounted for. In the eleven Old World papers- 
southwestern Asia east of the Euphrates, southwestern Asia along the Syro- 
Cilician and Palestinian strip, China, India, sub-Saharan Africa, southern Central 
Europe and southeastern Europe, northern Central Europe (Czechoslovakia), the 
lower Rhine Basin, northern Continental Europe, Baltic Europe, and Soviet Asia 
east of the Urals— several of the authors have also dealt with more than one 
discrete environmental region. At the same time, other important areas of pre- 
historic development have not been covered. What we have here is in no sense 
a universal prehistory for the time range and problems of our concern, although 
we take it to be an interesting sampling of various types of developments. 

In all regions considered, societies that were either wholly or predominantly 
native ones passed from a status of food-collecting to one of a more or less 
effective food production, at least by the time Columbus had discovered America. 
In two New World areas (Mesoamerica and Peru) and in three Old World 
areas (southwestern Asia, India, and China), the threshold of civilization and 
urbanization was also attained at least by the beginning of the Christian Era if 
not significantly earlier. In other native areas, civilization and urbanization came 
later, largely as a result of some more effective form of expansion or diffusion, 
and— in certain regions of some of these areas— is only now being completed. 
In some areas these thresholds were never attained insofar as native societies are 

Let us review the way in which culture developed in these several areas. What 
are the similarities and differences in the attainments of "thresholds" or "condi- 
tions" such as incipient cultivation, effective food production, and urbanization? 
How are these phenomena historically interrelated or independently arrived at in 
the areas under consideration? We will take up these problems in the order of the 
thematic questions posed in the Introduction to this volume. 



I 1 

In late glacial and early postglacial times many of the inhabitants of the New 
World followed a hunting existence, pursuing large mammals (many of them 
species now extinct) under Pleistocene environmental conditions quite different 
from those of the geological Recent. These early hunters shared technological 
traditions that included the making of well-chipped and distinctive lanceolate 
spear or projectile points and various knives and scrapers. Finds of these chipped- 
stone weapons and tools have been made in "kill" and camp sites in North Amer- 
ica, particularly east of the Rocky Mountains, in Mesoamerica, and in several 
localities in South America. In North America they have been dated to a period 
before 8000 B.C., going back to 12,000 b.c. or perhaps earlier. It is assumed that 
the spread of the Pleistocene big-game-hunting way of life was, in its general 
drift, from north to south and that the early lanceolate point and other artifact 
forms found in Mesoamerica and South America are related to those of North 
America. The one kind of environmental situation in which evidences of the big- 
game-hunting pattern has not been found is the tropical forest lowland— of either 
Mesoamerica or South America. 

Coincident with the big-game-hunting mode of existence, at least in certain 
New World areas, was a different life way, one based on the collection of food 
plants and the hunting of small game. This subsistence pattern is represented by 
artifact types quite different from those characteristic of big-game hunters. The 
North American greater Southwest is, at least on present evidence, the area where 
the coexistence of these two basic subsistence patterns, big-game hunting and 
hunting-collecting, can best be examined. Their contemporaneity here, at least 
for a span of time at the close of the Pleistocene, seems certain. Less definite is the 
relative antiquity of the inception of the two patterns. Are both offshoots of an 
earlier and less differentiated American tradition? Or, as Haury suggests, does 
each have its remote beginnings in quite separate traditions in the Old World? 
Archeological data are not yet adequate to resolve these questions. 

For well back in the late-glacial ranges of time in the Old World, Klima's 
Pavlov sites yield us a picture of big-game hunters with a varied and rather 
spectacular artifact assemblage, and semisubterranean hut settlements. Comparable 
materials and settlement traces extend eastward beyond the Urals and provide 
a contrast with the more familiar upper paleolithic of western Europe. Never- 
theless, human adjustment to life in Europe and more northerly Asia (including 
China), at least up to the beginning of postglacial times, remained essentially 
one in which the hunting of big Pleistocene game played a large part. We feel 
bound to ask whether the various manifestations of art styles, at least from as 
far east as Okladnikov's Mal'ta to the Franco-Cantabrian cave art of the west, 

1. These Roman numeral subheads are organized following the five "themes" or "questions" 
referred to in our Introduction. For no other reason than the accident of how we happened 
to draft these conclusions, we tend to review the New World evidence first and then that of the 
Old World. 


and the present apparent lack of such art styles in Pleistocene contexts south of 
the European-northern Asiatic zone, are entirely due to accidents of discovery 
or preservation. It is conceivable that these art styles all had a functional place 
within the matrices of the various cultures adjusted to the hunting of the great 
Pleistocene animals. There does not appear to be a New World counterpart for 
this late-Pleistocene artistic flourish in the big-game-hunting cultural context. 

As in the Americas, an Old World contrast also presents itself in the now 
available evidence from late glacial times. In southwestern Asia the great Pleisto- 
cene animals seem already to have disappeared. Sankalia remarks that materials 
of this general range of time are only now beginning to appear in India; the 
slightly later microlithic complex would not dispose us (if seen elsewhere) to 
think of a predominantly big-game-hunting economy. Clark sees his sub-Saharan 
Africans of the time of the Gamblian maximum as already food-collectors and 
on the way to intensified forms of collective hunting and dependence on vege- 
table foods. Certainly tropical Africa (and India) may seem an awkward place 
to sustain a thesis based on a shift to small-animal hunting but the point will 
rest with the frequency of large animal bones in the archeological sites of the 
time. In southwestern Asia the Bos primigenius (wild cattle) seems occasionally 
to have been taken, but the usual quarry of the huntsman was now primarily no 
larger than the onager (wild half-ass) or wild sheep and goats. 2 This trend 
seems to have set in as early as the time of the Mousterian industries of south- 
western Asia, and suggests comparison with that in the New World which is 
also based on plant-collecting and smaller-game hunting. Also, as in the Amer- 
icas, very considerable local adaptation now appears to have been in process 
in response to different environmental situations. 

What is clear in both hemispheres, however, is that the big-game-hunting tra- 
dition disappeared or was drastically modified with the end of the Pleistocene 
and that a variety of hunting-collecting subsistence adaptations then sprang up 
throughout the world. In a subsistence-pattern sense, at least, this change in- 
volved the usual present conception of the mesolithic as a cultural readaption 
to post-Pleistocene environments. But the conception has become an awkward 
one, on a world-wide scale, since, as we have just seen, there is evidence that 
the same trends toward readaptation and the intensification of collecting ac- 
tivities had begun to manifest themselves in certain areas before the conventional 
date for the end of the Pleistocene. One of us (Braidwood, 1958, p. 1428) is of 
the opinion that there was no mesolithic, sensu stricto, in southwestern Asia at 

The proposition for a variety of post-Pleistocene hunting-collecting patterns, 
in terms of area and environmental setting, is particularly clear in the New 
World. In the greater Southwest a "Desert" cultural tradition of seed and plant- 
collecting and small-game hunting was early established. In eastern North Amer- 
ica forest hunting and collecting was a somewhat different specialization; and in 

2. Elephants persisted in upper Mesopotamia at least until 1400 b.c. but seem to have been 
only the prey of royal hunting parties. 


some regions of the East, as well as in Middle and South America, a riverine or 
coastal adaptation developed in which shellfish were an important part of the 
economy. In other areas, of which the North American plains is an example, 
a modified pattern of big-game hunting continued with a Recent fauna. For the 
tropical forest areas of South America we have relatively little information as 
to what went on in this period. It is probable, though, that a subsistence pattern 
was in formation that was oriented to hunting, fishing, and tropical-plant utiliza- 
tion but that this way of life left little archeological record in the tropical 

For many parts of the Old World where we have adequate archeological evi- 
dence of early postglacial times, the situation seems to have been almost an exact 
parallel. The same tendency for a swing toward new adjustments to changing 
environments, the same diversity of adjustment— environment to environment- 
may be observed. Thus, at the symposium, Moberg ("Northern Europe") could 
say that Caldwell ("Eastern North America") had already presented his gen- 
eralizations for him. Obviously there were detailed differences in the ways in 
which different human groups adapted themselves to essentially comparable en- 
vironments in the Old and New Worlds. Nevertheless, in the higher latitudes 
the tendency seems to have been toward intensified collecting of both plants and 
animals, fish and shell food, in riverine, coastal, and even oasis (in Mongolia) 
localities. In the lower latitudes Sankalia's Gujarati sites suggest much the same 
thing, although in a somewhat more lush environment, with bananas and coco- 
nuts. Clark believes settlement in central Africa to have been largely at the 
zones of contact between gallery forest and savanna, rather than in the then 
more restricted tropical rain forest; the artifacts of his Lupemban assemblages 
reflect this. 

In certain zones of southwestern Asia, on the other hand, the proposition has 
been made that a level of incipient cultivation had already begun by the time 
of the conventional late-glacial-early postglacial boundary line in the North 
Temperate Zone (ca. 8000 B.C.). We thus postpone discussion of this area for 
our next "thematic" question. 

The extent to which these several ways of "settling into" a number of differ- 
ent natural environments were historically interrelated is difficult to appraise. 
How are we to visualize, for example, the ecumenical yet necessarily unspecific 
cultural meaning of the spread of the habit of producing microliths on bladelets 
for the making of composite tools? In some instances, more specific connections 
are seen in tool and artifact types. In general, however, it seems safe to say that 
this was a time— roughly from 8000 to 2000 B.C.— of multiple and at least semi- 
independent responses to post-Pleistocene environmental changes. Man, through- 
out the world, was becoming adapted to the geological Recent. In most of these 
adaptations he gradually increased his subsistence efficiency over the millennia. 
One kind of increase, which came into being only in certain areas, was food 
production. In its beginnings this means of increase, which had only a minor 
subsistence role, is referred to as incipient cultivation and domestication. 



What appears to be a nearly complete chronological record of incipient food 
production through plant cultivation is seen in northern and central Mesoamer- 
ica. The initial cultural context is that of food-collecting cultures in forested or 
semiarid upland environments of Tamaulipas and the Valley of Mexico. At 7000 
b.c. the diet of the Tamaulipas food-collecting societies was made up of wild 
seed plants, small game animals, and two possible cultigens, the pumpkin, or 
Cucurbita pepo, and the chili pepper. During the next three millennia beans 
(Phaseolus vulgaris) and additional cucurbits, all clearly domesticated, are added 
to this food complex. A primitive but domesticated maize makes its appearance 
shortly after these. By 2000 b.c. greatly improved hybrid strains of maize appear; 
and what had been incipient cultivation— in the sense of minor or limited eco- 
nomic dependence— gives way rapidly to plant cultivation as the established way 
of life. 

Incipient cultivation in the southwestern "core" area of the greater North 
American Southwest is historically related to Mesoamerica. It is also similar in 
environmental and cultural contexts. The southwestern Cochise culture— found 
in both mountain and desert locales— appears to have developed some degree of 
sedentism by 4000 b.c. through its exploitation of wild plants and seeds. Haury 
surmises that the Cochise societies also may have had some local plant domesti- 
cates, such as chenopods and amaranths. It was in this setting, at about 3000 b.c. 
that a primitive domesticated maize appeared. We feel bound to ask whether 
this maize was diffused from Mesoamerica along a highland corridor or whether 
such southwestern maize sites as Bat Cave lay within the effective boundaries of 
the primary natural-habitat zone of the plant. The first southwestern maize was 
probably little better as a food source than many of the wild plants gathered 
by the people who cultivated it, and its advent appears to have had little im- 
mediate effect for culture change. In both Mesoamerica and the Southwest, stone 
seed-grinding implements were present in the wild-plant-collecting cultures. 
These became somewhat more numerous and more carefully made with the 
gradual increase of plant cultivation, but the change is extremely slow. Squash, 
beans, and improved types of maize are added to the southwestern incipient- 
cultivation complex by 1000 b.c Early pit-house sites suggest an increase of 
sedentism in the last millennium b.c, and pottery and figurines are received from 
Mesoamerica after this. 

The processes of the acceptance of incipient cultivation in Mesoamerica and 
the Southwest are similar in that in both areas primitive cultigens first appear as 
minor adjuncts to a plant-collecting economy in societies that were already 
predisposed to sedentary settlement. With this incipient cultivation neither area 
reveals immediate radical culture change. Artificial adaptations increased sedent- 
ism, and population increase can be measured in both only over the millennia. 
But there are significant differences between the two areas. In Mesoamerica a 
swift improvement of the domesticated food plants, with new hybrid strains of 


maize, took place at about 2000 B.C. and resulted in established food production 
through agriculture by 1500 b.c Although the Southwest had a primitive maize 
at 3000 b.c, it saw no such rapid development of it or other cultigens. Some 
2000 years or more later, improved maize strains were brought to the Southwest 
from Mesoamerica and the threshold of established agriculture was not achieved 
until about a.d. 500. 

Our knowledge of incipient cultivation in Mesoamerica is too sketchy for us 
to do more than speculate upon the reasons for Mesoamerican priority in this 
development of food production. We would suggest that Mesoamerica offered 
more varied natural environmental settings within a relatively small geographic 
space than did the North American Southwest and that these Mesoamerican 
regions, ranging from tropic to temperate and from wet to arid, also had a greater 
wild-plant potential for cultivation. Because of these natural factors there was 
a multiregional variation in populations of plants of the same species (as well 
as a variety of species). This variation presumably had a role in humanly stimu- 
lated introgressive hybridizations, which led to potentially favorable new forms 
between 7000 and 3000 b.c. This was followed by further (and perhaps even 
slightly conscious?) interregional exchange and hybridization between 3000 and 
2000 b.c, which resulted in vastly improved strains. These improved plants be- 
came the basis of a fully agricultural economy. 

In the Central Andes the earlier chronological ranges of incipient cultivation 
have not yet been disclosed. At least our first glimpse is that of settled food- 
collectors, fishers, hunters, and part-time farmers living along the Peruvian shore 
at about 2500 b.c As Collier emphasizes, the site locations of these people were 
extremely favorable for taking food from the sea and supplementing it with wild 
and domesticated plants. The mouths of the Peruvian coastal valleys with their 
fresh-water lagoons and marshes were, in effect, desert oases. The Peruvian coast 
is a rainless one with a moderate-to-hot climate and a year-round growing sea- 
son. Cucurbits, chili, a jack bean (Canavalia), the lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), 
and cotton were under domestication at 2500 b.c It is likely that these were 
all local domesticates of wild species and not imports from Mesoamerica. The 
context of sedentary living of which this incipient cultivation was a part is a 
more established one than that seen in either northern Mesoamerica or the South- 
west at a comparable date. The seashore villages consisted of numerous semi sub- 
terranean dwellings of mud-and-stone or adobe-walled structures. At about 1400 
b.c Mesoamerican influence appears in the form of maize. This is a fairly well- 
developed maize, more advanced and valuable as a food than that of early 
Tamaulipas or Bat Cave. This maize is followed shortly after (1200 b.c) by the 
introduction of pottery. These introductions have little immediate effect on the 
size and location of coastal settlements, although it is noteworthy that planned 
ceremonial centers, with artificial mounds and plazas, appear between 1200 and 
750 b.c After 750 b.c there is a shift of settlements away from the shore to 
the valley interiors, a change undoubtedly related to the increasing importance 
of agriculture in the food economy. It is at this point that Collier marks the 


beginnings of established food production and the village agricultural threshold. 

Peru and Mesoamerica are similar in that in both cases a degree of sedentism— 
although made possible by quite different resources— provided the matrix for 
incipient cultivation. But the Peruvian coast differs from Mesoamerica in that 
its incipient cultivation was a part of a much richer economy than that enjoyed 
by the Tamaulipas cave dwellers. This is not to be ascribed to the early cul- 
tivated plants, which appear to have been relatively minor in Peru, as they were 
in Tamaulipas, but to the marine environmental niche that the Peruvian coastal 
societies exploited so effectively. After 1400 B.C. the Peruvian coast accepted 
maize from Mesoamerica. The introduction of this plant as a fairly well-de- 
veloped food product seems to have been the factor that led to village farming 
by 750 a.d. This relative swiftness with which the Peruvian coastal societies 
accomplished the transfer from incipient cultivation to established farming thus 
appears to be explained by the high degree of sedentary life already enjoyed 
and by the advanced nature of the corn product that they received from Meso- 
america. But, again, archeological sampling and knowledge are extremely limited. 

The other great natural zone of the Central Andean area, the highlands, is 
almost unknown for the particular centuries we are here considering. It is quite 
possible that cultivation, incipient or established, was well under way in the 
highlands before it was on the coast. The coastal sites thus may reflect the in- 
fluence of highland centers of agricultural development. For example, certain 
strains of Peruvian maize are believed to be the result of early crosses between 
Mesoamerican local wild races; however, it is possible that such crosses could 
have occurred between the Mesoamerican domesticates and a Peruvian maize 
that had been independently cultivated prior to the arrival of the first Meso- 
american maize on the coast. If so, such an independent domestication might have 
taken place in the highlands. Also, as Collier brings out, the early history of the 
domestication of the potato is unknown, but there can be no doubt that that 
plant is an ancient Andean highland cultigen. 

Since the first season's work at Jarmo in 1948, there has been an increasing 
focus of attention on the later prehistory of southwestern Asia. 3 Nevertheless, 
such a long and continuous sequence as that seen in the Tamaulipas region of 
Mesoamerica is not yet available in southwestern Asia. There are still gaps in 
the chronological and developmental tables of both Kurdistan and Palestine, as 
we examine the build-up to effective village-farming communities, and south- 
central Anatolia is just beginning to come into the known picture. The case for 

3. With the exception of Arkell's (1949, 1953) work in the Sudan and that of McBurney 
and Hey (1955) in Libya, this increasing tempo of postwar research in late prehistoric 
archeology has not had its counterpart in the region of Egypt and northeastern Africa. There 
are also certain obvious gaps in those countries in southwestern Asia where the prevailing 
interpretations of national antiquities laws do not permit the complete processing of the 
bulk categories of artifacts (which demand statistical analysis) or of the laboratory-bound 
analysis of paleoecological materials. Some of us believe that, where such circumstances 
prevent the completion of the archeologists' goal of their complete analysis and interpreta- 
tion, it is better to let the materials remain buried. 


a level of incipient cultivation and domestication has had to be made almost 
entirely by inference and post facto judgment. 

In Palestine the more immediate antecedents of the Natufian are not known, 
although an increase in the number of sites— most of them open-air— is now noted 
for pre-Natufian times, however little their industries are understood. We may 
be a bit better off in Iraqi Kurdistan, where several open-air encampments of 
pre-Karim Shahirian aspect have been identified in surface surveys. The relation- 
ships between the several aspects of the Zarzian and those of the Karim Shahirian 
are not yet clear, however; the time difference between the two cannot have 
been great, but neither does the development from Zarzian into Karim Shahirian 
appear to have been an absolutely direct one. 

With both the Natufian and the various facies of Karim Shahirian, we seem 
to be momentarily on firmer ground. The various sites grouped as Karim 
Shahirian are all open-air settlements, with more or less understandable traces 
of structures. Although the Natufian was first identified from caves and their 
terraces, Perrot's exposures at Ain Mallaha (and to a degree those of other sites, 
such as Nahal Oren) indicate the developed extent to which there were Natufian 
architecture and positive settlement. In both the Natufian and the Karim Shahirian 
instances, there are one or two categories of artifacts (e.g., sickles, milling stones, 
celts) that probably point to food-plant manipulation, although not necessarily 
to cultivation. And, in spite of Reed's (1959) earlier reservations about positive 
animal domestication, we now hear from Solecki and his zoological collaborator, 
Dexter Perkins, that domesticated sheep are evidenced at Zawi Chemi Shanidar. 
Nevertheless, it is clear that the preponderant basis for the food supply, in either 
the Natufian or the Karim Shahirian instances, was one of rather highly in- 
tensified food collection. It is our post facto judgment, in terms of what is to 
follow, that firmly prompts us to classify this range of materials as one of 
incipient cultivation and domestication. On the basis of the very few radiocarbon 
determinations now available (Tell es-Sultan "Natufian," Zawi Chemi Shanidar), 
it might appear that this level had been achieved by ca 9000 B.C. 

We note several things in general about this level. We either know (i.e., from 
the animal bones) or may reasonably infer (i.e., from the plants, as seen at 
Jarmo, somewhat later) that the level was attained within a natural-habitat zone, 
although we do not yet know the exact boundaries of this zone. We have indica- 
tions that the level began upon the basis of earlier adaptations to food-collecting 
and some degree of open-air settlement and "settling-in." We also note physio- 
graphic and environmental diversity within the natural habitat zone (to the extent 
to which we can now define it). The Kurdish flanks of the Zagros, especially, 
may be visualized as a tipped corrugated plane of ridges and intervening montane 
valleys running from northwest to southeast. Each intermontane valley lies suc- 
cessively a bit higher, each higher mounting ridge tends to be cut at right angles 
by the main drainage channels or their tributaries, making access from one inter- 
montane valley to another relatively easy. Hence, just as Willey (this volume) 
remarked for Mesoamerica, a great variety of environmental niches, on both the 


ridges and the valley floors at a succession of elevations, were already available 

to the somewhat more generalized food-collectors of the pre-incipient levels. 

This diversity doubtless bears on the different complexions of the assemblages 
within the general Karim Shahirian group. It must also bear on the fruitlessness 
of any suggestion that the level of incipient cultivation, as a supposed unitary 
complex, was the achievement of any particular niche or intermontane valley, 
especially when we have yet to define the effective over-all boundaries of the 
natural-habitat zone. 

It must also be clear that, at the moment, we are not so well off in our under- 
standing of the actual plant elements of incipient food production in southwest- 
ern Asia as are our New World colleagues. Wheat and barley are not yet 
attested in an earlier context than that of Jarmo, which is on the settled village- 
farming level; nor did Helbaek (Braidwood and Howe et al., 1960, p. 103) appear 
to anticipate that a long span of time and manipulation was necessary to produce 
cereals of the form seen at Jarmo. 

Basing himself on the Jarmo evidence and its wheats and barley, Reed (Braid- 
wood and Howe et al, 1960, p. 124) believed the development of incipient 
cultivation and its implications of sedentism to be a basic factor that might lead 
to animal domestication. Now it appears the animals may have come first, al- 
though Reed's implications concerning the trend toward sedentism still hold. 
It also follows that for southwestern Asia we cannot yet be very specific about 
the time rate of the build-up, from a more generalized level of food collection, 
through incipient food production, to the level of the village-farming community. 
There are, in fact, a pair of radiocarbon determinations for Jarmo at ca. 9200 B.C. 
(Braidwood, 1959) which— on the theory that contamination tends to make the 
determinations more recent— might still prove to be valid. However, these deter- 
minations seem uncongenial with the rest of the evidence and the small Natufian- 
Zawi Chemi cluster of determinations at ca. 9000 b.c. If the ca. 6750 b.c. Jarmo 
cluster is valid, then the time span for the development between the Karim 
Shahirian and Jarmoan levels seems more reasonable, although it still suggests a 
slightly greater rate of acceleration than does the development seen in Tamaulipas. 

In the Intermediate and Caribbean areas of the New World, Rouse is dubious 
of any incipient cultivation whatsoever. It is his belief that such cultures as 
Monagrillo (Panama), Barlovento (Columbia), Valdivia (Ecuador), and Mani- 
cuare (Venezuela) followed only a shellfishing, fishing, and collecting subsist- 
ence. These cultures date in the range of 2000-1000 B.C. and are thus con- 
temporary with the incipient cultivation of the Peruvian coast. All except Mani- 
cuare have ceramics. We are inclined to believe that the lack of evidence for 
incipient plant domestication in these cultures is a function of preservation or 
lack of preservation rather than a reflection of a true situation. Without the 
preservation of the dry Peruvian coast, the remains from the early coastal shell- 
mound sites of that area might appear much more comparable to those of Valdivia 
or Monagrillo. The absence of stone grinding implements of the type found in 
Mesoamerican or southwestern incipient cultivation contexts is not necessarily 


a crucial argument against plant cultivation. The Peruvian middens, from which 
the cultivation evidence is indisputable, lacked such stone grinding tools; their 
presence is probably related to hard seed foods, such as maize, which were 
not present in the earlier Peruvian coastal incipient cultivation levels. But whether 
or not incipient cultivation was a part of the economy of the early shell-mound 
populations of the Intermediate area and Venezuelan littoral, it is obvious that 
these people were living a life not greatly different from that of their Peruvian 
contemporaries and that this settled existence probably prepared them for the 
acceptance of agriculture a few centuries later. As will be seen, two sources 
of influence are described by Rouse to account for this later agriculture. One of 
these is Mesoamerican seed-planting and is apparently related to the diffusion 
of maize southward from Mesoamerica; the other is South American and has 
its origins in the Amazon basin or in the llanos of Venezuela. This second source 
of agriculture has as its basis the root crop, manioc. Rouse surmises— and we 
would agree— that manioc cultivation had an incipience in the tropical South 
American lowlands in advance of 1000 B.C. 

In the Old World our coverage of tropical and subtropical environments is 
restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, India, and southern China. Nevertheless, Clark's 
earliest evidence of a trend toward the domestication of African cattle comes 
from the northern dry belt, where the representations on some rock paintings 
are ascribed to the mid sixth millennium b.c. Milling stones, with their implica- 
tions of incipient cultivation, appear only much later— save in the Khartoum 
sites. Clark is inclined to see the general complex of incipient agriculture and 
stock-raising as having entered Africa from southwestern Asia late in the sixth 
millennium b.c. and hints that African readaptation to this new way of life was 
a slow affair. The spread to the Horn and into the Rift Valley grasslands also 
appears to have been slow and to have involved animals more importantly than 
plants, although Clark scouts the idea that certain millets and sorghums may 
have been taken into use in the grasslands by the so-called stone-bowl people, 
following the transmission of the idea of plant cultivation from southwestern 

All the foregoing is seen as having taken place within various matrices of 
intensified collection and "settling-in," and this same picture appears to have 
characterized the peoples of the forest margins in the tropical zone proper. 
Clark is, in fact, open to the idea that indigenous beginnings of vegeculture may 
have taken place here, but he does not follow Murdock (1959) in having this 
development begin quite independently of the diffusion of ideas from northern 

The central-African savanna and the southern grasslands appear to have per- 
sisted on a level of intensified cultivation until about the beginning of the 
Christian Era. 

As regards India, we can only agree with Sankalia that the evidence for (what 
would be in our terms) incipient food production is "scattered and hence in- 
adequate for understanding the steps by which this was achieved" (this volume). 


It is perhaps suggestive that the growing inventory of microlithic-yielding sites 
of the intensified food-collecting level are being located in situations adjacent 
to rivers, extinct lakes, or along the coast, but this may only reflect the diffi- 
culties of survey in the tropical-forest environments. That there is much in India 
that may be pertinent to our interests is suggested by the plant complex (which 
follows the earlier appearance of wheat) at Navdatoli, of which rice is one 
element. Although Sankalia may in part be right in suspecting that the type 
of culture represented at the Navdatoli site arrived in India with the Ayran- 
speaking tribes we are also bound to wonder whether indigenous beginnings in 
vegeculture (as the result of idea stimulation from southwestern Asia or not?) 
will yet be evidenced in India or beyond in southeastern Asia. The Navdatoli 
plant complex could be more readily comprehended were this the case. 

We gather from Chang (this volume) that understandings of southern China 
are, if anything, still more unsatisfactory than for India. At the moment, it 
appears that we may account for only traces of "Hoabinhian" food-collectors, 
before a southward push of Lungshanoid farmers who presently adapted them- 
selves to the new southern environment. Again we have the feeling that much 
more is yet to be learned about this area. 

In eastern North America the context of incipient cultivation was a well- 
integrated and efficient forest and riverine hunting-collecting economy. Caldwell 
is of the opinion that such a pattern of life was in formation between the close 
of the Pleistocene (ca. 8000 B.C.) and 2000 b.c. and that by the latter date it 
had crystallized as a condition of "primary forest efficiency." This was a level 
of subsistence well-being that, in its environment, blocked or slowed the ac- 
ceptance of plant cultivation. The first evidence of plant cultivation comes in 
the first millennium b.c. with the Adena culture of the Ohio Valley region. Here 
Cucurbita pepo, Chenopodium, and the sunflower (Helianthus) were definite 
domesticates; the first was probably a Mesoamerican import, the other two were 
apparently local. Whether or not maize was present at this time is unknown. 
These plants are believed to have played a minor dietary role in a society that 
constructed large ceremonial and burial mounds and made pottery. The latter 
trait was not, as far as archeologists can determine, of Mesoamerican derivation. 
Hopewellian culture, which overlapped chronologically with Adena and lasted 
from about 400 b.c. to a.d. 500, represents a peak of mortuary ceremonialism 
in these older eastern North American mound-building cultures. Maize definitely 
occurs for the first time in the area, but finds of it are rare. Caldwell sees it as 
being of little economic importance in what he believes is only a climax to a 
rich forest hunting-collecting tradition. Some archeologists would disagree with 
this interpretation and place more emphasis upon maize as a dynamic factor in 
the Hopewellian efflorescence, but virtually all would admit the strong bias of a 
forest hunting way of life in the Archaic-Adena-Hopewellian continuum. 

In the more temperate parts of the Old World, at least in the west and north, 
our sources do not yet appear to indicate a counterpart for the indigenous and 
most probably independently achieved domestication of such plants as the Cheno- 


podium and Helianthus in eastern North America. This does not, of course, 
exclude the proposition that the trend toward an increasing use of wild plants 
was now marked. Does Klima's plant-like engraving (Fig. 2) fit simply with this 
increasing use or with something more comparable to the Chenop odium and 
Helianthus instance of plant manipulation? 

Much is still to be learned from the preceramic horizons in west-central 
Anatolia and Thessaly. The question at issue here is whether these establishments 
are to be considered within the level of incipient food production or within that 
of the following level of village-farming communities. The resolution of this 
question will bear on the further one of the exact boundaries of the natural- 
habitat zone in southwestern Asia and of whether diffusion outside this natural- 
habitat zone was a possible characteristic of the level of incipient food production. 
And this, in turn, will bear on some of the issues that Pittioni raises. It has been 
claimed, for example, that einkorn wheat (although not emmer) has been noted 
in the wild in the Balkans; it has also been maintained that both these wild 
wheats are not tolerant of summer rainfall. Clearly the whole matter of establish- 
ing the existences and boundaries of natural-habitat zones depends on the arche- 
ologists' providing evidence for and enlisting the interests of highly competent 
paleoecologists. However, since Pittioni does not— as we understand him— ex- 
plicitly claim the appearance of an independent level of incipient cultivation 
in southe