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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Primary Settling of Eastern Europe and Asia by Homo sapiens

Traces of the first people in Europe are found near the village of Vertessölös in Hungary and in the Italian town of Isernia, which are dated back 850-700 years. BC (DAVIES NORMAN, 2000: 87). There is a point of view that the southern regions of Eastern Europe were first populated by people of Abbevillian culture about 700 thousand years ago, before the Mindel Glaciation. This is the area around the Black Sea, where it was warm even in the winter months of the year (Istoriya SSSR, 1966, 18). However, dating sites found controversial and are not excluded that they belong to the next, Acheul period. Relics of Acheulean culture in Ukraine were found in several places along the banks of the Dniester, in particular near the villages of Luka Vrublevetska and Babin (TOLOCHKO P.P., 1994: 14). The data about the Acheulian remains in other parts of Eastern Europe are not available. In what was, at least, two Glaciation and three periods of warming during which the men retreated to the south, then back north again. Anything definite about their role in the ethnogenesis of the modern type of man can be said. In the very warm Mindel-Riss interglacial period, ie approximately 400-200 thousand years ago, a man not only settled south-west Europe (Sites Kasperivtsy, Korman on the Dniester, Peştera Kurate, Ohaba-Ponor Romania, Bojnice in Slovakia, and many others), but also penetrated to the Upper Kama, and "In the early and middle Valdai he dwelt on the Pechora" (GORIETSSKIY G.I., TSEYTLIN S.M.,1977, 17; GUSLITSER B.I., PAVLOV P.Yu.,1987: 21).

In Asia, the first man appeared much later than in Europe, but judging by archaeological finds, in his penetration to the East he reached Altai about 300 thousand years ago. Multi-disciplinary studies have proved that the Denisova cave, located on the right bank of the Anuy River in the Altai Krai of the Russian Federation, was occupied by humans from earlier of the Middle Paleolithic to later of the Middle Age. The genetic analyses of the small finger bone found in the cave revealed an unknown human type that is known as Denisovans (BERKANT E.B. 2017: 499).

Left: Spreading homo sapiens.
1. Homo sapiens sapiens.
2. Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.
3. Early Hominids.

At the Mousterian epoch, which began about 80 thousand years ago, Neanderthal man, who not belong to Homo sapiens sapiens, colonized much of Europe, especially the Eastern one.

Settlements of the Mousterian era with artificial dwellings in Ukraine were found on the Dniester near villages Molodovo, Voronovitsa (TOLOCHKO P.P, 1994, 15). In Russia, the most ancient evidence of the Mousterian era discovered, in particular, near the hamlet Chelyuskinets on the right bank of the Volga, in tracts Zaikino Popelishche and Sukhaya Mechetka in the Volgograd region (TURETSKIY M., 2007, 31-32). In Hungary, the Paleolithic sites of the same epoch were found in caves in the north-west of the country and in Transdanubia (SHUSHARIN V.P., 1971., 10). Then Grimaldi man of Negroid race appeared, but his fate remains unknown. He could have partially or completely assimilated into the later newcomers, be killed by them, or be forced out to other places of settlements.

According to combinations of physical traits, experts distinguish among people settled Europe two (or three) variants and connect them with the territorial "thickening" of the Upper Palaeolithic sites. One of them is located in France in the valleys of large rivers, and the other one in Central Europe in what is now the Czech Republic and adjacent areas (BROMLEY Yu.V., 1986, 25). According to an old but well-established terminology, they are known commonly as Cro-Magnon men. The Cro-Magnons are anthropologically different from today's people except that the more massive body structure, but it pertains to the oldest representatives of Homo sapiens. Over time, in the process of cultural development (the transition to meat-eating and cooking it on the fire, etc.) structure of the human body was changed, until it has acquired a modern look (JELINEK JAN. 1985. 1972: 110).

It was characteristic for the man of that time keeping the appropriating type of economy with a predominance of hunting and gathering, but the warming of the climate worsed conditions for hunting due to the reduction of forest area and the onset of the dry zone from the south. Moreover, that warming made people move on to the north and north-east, reducing food base in the form of large mammals resulted in the growing importance of fisheries, especially in the areas with numerous lakes and marshes. People began to settle, first only during the summer, then permanently along the banks of rivers and lakes, and later on the shores of the Baltic Sea, that is, where they could fish (SAHRHAGE D., LUNDBECK J. 1992: 8). This change in the structure of the appropriating economy was a consequence of the formation of the special features in the folk psychology of the population, to a large extent determined its further cultural and historical development.

Rivers played another important role in the life of ancient people. The direction of movement of people was to a large extent determined by the structure of the hydrographic network and facilitated by the existence of natural conditions for the laying of permanent trails:

Pathways were laid in ancient times, above all, along watercourses due to the fact that after the settlement a human by their involuntary efforts paved hiking trails mostly on the nearest to water flow terrace… The existence of other opportunities for the passing of area along other lines at later times, for example, "on the top track, "entirely on dry land does not change anything in the way of paving the main roads. Preconditions for the emergence of hiking trails were primarily Physic-Geographical. Physic-Social-Geographical aspects arise from the movement of people by trails and lifestyles around them. Paths form a basic skeleton of human residence and not just communicative one. The emergence and continued existence of settlements was the most important manifestation of the trails network. (KVĔT RADAN. 2000, 295).

Until the early Mesolithic period the total population of the Earth consisted of only a few million people, and in the early Neolithic (the 5th millennium BC) – about 10 million did. (KOZLOV V.I. 1982: 12). The majority of the population concentrated in South and East Asia, Africa, and Southern Europe, and vast expanses of the northern half of Eurasia remained almost completely deserted.

The territory of Eastern Europe began to be settled by the Cro-Magnons 15 – 12 thousand years, as soon as the last period of glaciation ended due to sharp warming and reduce the continentality of climate. Originally they were hunters of large mammals: mammoth, elephant, rhinoceros hairy. Warming was not gradual but there have been periods of cooling due to new attacks of glaciers from Scandinavia. However, these ripples of glaciers were diminished with distance from the Baltic, so the natural landscape of the steppe zone has been little changed since its formation in the late Tertiary (ZALIZNIAK. 1995:3). There is the classification of climatic periods, made by different researchers, which are slightly different from one another. The table below shows the periodization of the final Paleolithic according to Zalіzniak (ibid)

8900 BC – 81000 DC Drias ІІІ
9800 BC – 8900 DC Allerød
10000 BC – 9800 BC Drias ІІ
10400 BC – 10000 BC Bølling
11300 BC – 10400 BC Drias І

Left: Table of the periodization of final Paleolithic

Right: Eightpetal mountain-avens (лат. Dryas octopetala L, photo from Wikipedia).

At the process of the gradual withdrawal of the glacier to the north, a periglacial tundra zone was formed in its place, cold and dry steppe vegetation with dominance in the eight-petal Dryas, so this period has been called Dryas. The fauna was dominated by reindeer, which has become the most important staple food of people of that time. (ZALIZNIAK L.L. 1995-1: 3)

Farther to the south forest vegetation was developed represented mainly by pine and birch. Simultaneously the role of herbaceous and shrub formations, typical for Late Glaciation, was reduced (KHOTINSKIY N.A. 1977, 57).

Changing environmental conditions have caused, according to V. Shumkin, a crisis specialised economy of the population of Central Europe, consisted of hunters and gatherers who were now forced to adapt to new environmental conditions between the tundra and forest, and this prevented the rapid growth of productive forces (SHUMKIN V.Ya., 1990, 10). In addition, there were no such species of plants and animals that would be fit for cultivation and domestication. All this contributed to the movement of people in search of new hunting grounds. Basing on the analysis of archaeological finds one can say that the general direction of the motion of the first group of hunters in Europe was from west to east (SAHRHAGE D., LUNDBECK J., 1992, 15).

At the same time, the transition to the hunting of small animals began, which was prepared by the development of tools, especially projectile weapons in the late Paleolithic era (FORMOZOV A.A. 1959., 68). The man knew the bow and arrow, so he could hunt not only on large mammals, which at the same time have already begun to disappear but on smaller ones, such as deer, moose, bears, deer, hares. This happened in the final stages of cultures such as Madeleine (the 15 -10 millennium BC), whose center was in south-western France and eastern Spain, but the elements of which can be found in Germany and Poland (BRAY U., TRUMP D., 1990). Obviously, Arensburgian culture that existed in northern Germany and the Netherlands during the IX century BC was the development of the Magdalenian tradition.

Going for reindeer (see photo to the left from Wikipedia.), which retreated further north in the process of melting glacier, hunter groups of periglacial Europe moved from the west to the territory of present-day Poland, and from the south or south-west – to Belarus and Lithuania. There developed two Late Paleolithic-Mesolithic culture, the Swiderian and somewhat to the east of it Krasnoselska one, on the basis of which Pisocjnyi Riv culture developed later.

The Sviderian culture concentrated in the area of Lithuania in the 9th – 8th mill. BC, occupying also a part of Poland, Byelorussia in the south and reaching the Carpathians but some of its elements are found even in the Crimea. The eastern boundary of this culture reached the headwaters of the Dnieper and the Volga (RIMANTENE R.K., 1971: 70, 117; KOL’TSOV L.V.,1977: 119; MEYNANDER K.F. 1974). The reason for the formation of Mesolithic cultures on these territories can be explained not only by the periglacial zone, which followed the reindeer but also by the presence of raw materials to make tools and weapons for hunting. As pointed out E. Kalechits, the territory of Belarus is rich in easily-accessible deposits of flint, especially in the Belarusian Dnieper Region (KALECHITS E.G., 1984, 16).

Sites of Final Paleolithic (the 11 – 9 millennium BC.
The map was arranged on the basis of Zalizniak's data (ZALIZNIAK L.L. 1995 4. Fig. 1.)

The numbers on the map sign the sites of culture: 1 – Krasnoselska. 2 – Swiderian groups. 3 – Osokoriv. 4 – Molodovo. 5 – Suren. 6 – Vyshenne. 7 – Shan-Koba. 8 – East Gravet.

Over time, people of the Arensburgian tradition has moved far to the north Fennoskandinavia (the Komsa culture), as well as the Baltic and southern areas of Finland (the Kunda and Suomusjarvi cultures). An important role in the formation of the last was played by the carrier of the post-Sviderian traditions (SHUMKIN V.Ya., 1990, 11). With the introduction of these cultures in Europe begins the Mesolithic period which generally coincides with the transition of Earth's history from the glacial Pleistocene to the present Holocene. It is believed that the Mesolithic continued in Eastern Europe from the 9th to the 6th millennium BC (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR., 1985).

Gradually moving to the northeast, the carriers of the Sviderian traditions VII – VI millennium BC reached the basin of the Oka in the 7th-6th millennium BC and seems to have moved even to the Kama, taking part in the creation of a number of so-called circumpolar cultures. This group of related cultures in the forest zone of Europe was extended to the north of the zone in which it was possible to sedentary farming. According to Gordon Childe, all forest cultures of the boreal phase without exception are derived from the Upper Palaeolithic cultures of Eastern and Central Europe (CHILDE GORDON., 1952: 33). Already when the Neolithic established in the south, the population of this area has continued to engage in hunting and fishing. These people wove fishing nets from bast as linden, as well elm migrated northward since the start of warming in the Boreal period, ie since the 6 millennium BC (KHOTINSKIY N.A.,1977: 59). Later they learned from south neighbors pottery and produced ovoid vessels with patching or comb patterns (BRAY U., TRUMP D. 1990).

At left: Setteling Europe after the last Glacial period in the 10-9 millennium BC..
The map taken from "Atlas for History" [BERTHOLD LOTHAR (Leiter). 1973. 2.IIІ].
Settling arctic hunters is shown by blue

One can assume the resettlement of Eastern Europe in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic also from the Caucasus. Archaeological materials show that the settlement Neolithic groups from Asia Minor ran along the Eastern Black Sea region in the direction of the Kerch Strait (PAVLENKO Yu.V. 1994: 9-10).

At the time, A.A Formozov identified in Eastern Europe since the Mesolithic three ethno-cultural regions – the Southern-Russian, West-Russian and Central (FORMOZOV A.A., 1959: 71).

He believed geometric forms as a characteristic feature of weapons of the southern Mesolithic sites. Such forms have been spread in Crimea, the Caucasus, near the Dnieper rapids, on the Middle Don region. The western boundary of the area took place somewhere between the Dnieper and the Dniester and between the Volga and the Urals in the east. The sites having geometric shapes on the South Caucasus merge with similar relics in Iran. The northern boundary passed through the Middle Donets and vicinity of Poltava. Central Russian region enveloping the basins of the Oka, Upper Volga, Desna, Belarus, and Lithuania was characterized by sites having tips of knife-like blades. These sites merge with Polish sites of Sviderian culture, but the full identity is not here, so A. Formozov shares this whole area into the "West Russian" and Oka groups (as it was allowed by P.P Efimenko earlier). However, a lot to do with the Mesolithic of Poland we can find only at the western group, which includes sites of Lithuania and Belarus (ibid., 75-77). Borders of the Central and western Russian cultural regions remain unclear. Later A. Formozov abandoned his three-term division, as well as geometric instruments, which were also widely spread in Europe, and he admitted that "the Mesolithic characterized by geometric forms is the not narrow territorial phenomenon of not narrow " (FORMOZOV A.A, 1977, 59). Indeed, the geometric shape was characteristic of the arrowheads of Tardenoisian culture and this tradition spread from France through Poland to Lithuania and Belarus. However, the resemblance of geometric forms does not prove their common origin. Thus, archeology does not yet have reliable data to highlight any ethnocultural areas in Eastern Europe.

After the final melting of the glacier in Scandinavia Atlantic period begins, which is considered the Holocene climatic optimum. In the north, the tundra zone is reduced due to the onset of the taiga. Deciduous forests spread in Europe, even in the steppe zone along river valleys. At the same time the fauna was changing – herds of reindeer were disappearing, which comes to replace nongregarious ungulates – elk, round, red deer (picture from Wikipedia on the right), wild boar, roe deer.

Radical changes in the natural landscape and circumstances have resulted also in total changes in the ethnocultural situation. None of the Paleolithic cultures of Ukraine found continuation in the Early Mesolithic, which is selected by archaeologists, based on the classification miсroliths, in five ones: Spahn-Koba, Kukrek, Zimovniki, Pisochnuyi Riv, and Kudlaevka (ZALIZNIAK L.L. 1995-2: 4-6)

The sites of Spahn-Koba culture are concentrated in the mountainous part of the Crimea, where there are also cultural monuments of Kukrek, but it is more common in the Black Sea steppes. This culture is unique in the Mesolithic in Europe, if we carry on flint products. The economy of Kukrek was based on hunting for hoofed animals, but findings give grounds to speak about the beginning of the development of the livestock among the Kukrek population. The influence of this culture spread to the shore of the Sea of Azov and Polesie. It is considered to be autochthonous (ibid: 6-10)

Pisochny Riv culture was common in the central part of Eastern Europe and had several options. It is considered to be a continuation of Arensburgian tradition. Zymovnuky culture has some common features with Pisochnyi Riv, monuments which are known on Right bank Forest-steppe. Kudlaevka culture has Arensburgian features too, but of another type, common in Polesie (ibid, 10, 12, 13). Obviously, three creators of these cultures migrated into Eastern Europe from Central Europe.

Right: Sites of Early Mesilothis of Ukraine in the 8 – the 7 millennium BC

An original of the map (ibid: 6, Figure 1.) tinted by the author
1. – Pisochny Riv culture
2. Kudlaevka culture
3.Kukrek culture.
4. Zimovnyky culture.

Obviously, the Black Sea and Azov steppes were inhabited by immigrants from Asia Minor, who moved to Eastern Europe in two ways – through the Balkans and the Caucasus. They had to be people of the same anthropological type and probably Mongoloid. In the course of the study graphical models of kinship Nostratic and Sino-Tibetan languages were obtained on the basis of lexical-statistical data. The similarity of these models let to suggest that the formation of proto-languages, which gave rise to these large macrofamily, occurred in the same place. As has previously been determined that the Nostratic parent languages were formed during the Mesolithic in the South Caucasus and the Armenian Highland in the area of ​​the three lakes Van, Sevan, and Urmia (Rezaye), it was decided that the Sino-Tibetans settled the same place no later than the turn of the late Paleolithic and Early Mesolithic, otherwise their presence here would be reflected in the historical documents. The idea of ​​West Asian origin Sino-Tibetan is not new and is based on a certain similarity between the Chinese and the early Akkadian hieroglyphics, and detected lexical correspondences between Chinese and Sumerian languages.

It seems incredible that suggesting the origins of the Sino-Tibetans in Asia Minor, the yellow race could arise somewhere near their present places of resettlement. Specific Mongoloid features – narrow slit eyes and epicanthus can be lightly lost by descendants. Since during the migration of the peoples, some portion of them remained always on former habitats, then, assimilated by Caucasiods later, Sino-Tibetan ancestors still had to have some Mongoloid features. And as it turned out, evidence of this exists. Some researchers have paid attention to the narrow-set eyes of figures in the early Sumerian reliefs. For example, see. Fig. below.

Left: The statue of a noble Sumer. Lagash. Around 2500 BC.

Statue of noble Sumer, indeed, shows lightly narrowed man's eyes. In addition, the figure can be assumed to have epicanthus, upper eyelid crease. These may be signs of residual cross-breeding Caucasoids with Mongoloids. The fact that these features are expressed rather weakly, can be explained by the fact that Mongoloids left Schumer several millennia ago.

It is generally recognized that the Sumerians were not Semites, although their origin is one of the unresolved mysteries of history. Sumerian language has just as little in common with Semitic, as well as other great known languages (KRÄMER WALTER, 1971, 67). E.T. Williams, like other scientists, thought that they had some features of Turan, and therefore came to this conclusion:

We have, then, the facts that various Chinese tribes appear to have come there what is now China from some region to the northwest of that country, and that the Sumerians appear to have come into the Euphrates Valley from some place to the northeast of Babylonia; that the Sumerians were apparently of the Turanian race, and that their language and their script are strikingly like those of the ancient Chinese; and that extensive changes in the climate of Central Asia have driven out at different periods great numbers of the inhabitants who have migrated in various directions. It does not seem at all improbable then that the Chinese forefathers and the ancestors of the Sumerians may have been related and may have migrated from neighboring regions, the Chinese toward the east and the Sumerians toward the west. (WILLIAMS E.T., 1918: 211).

The residence time of the Sino-Tibetan population in the ancestral home should be attributed to the Upper Paleolithic, because later this place was populated by speakers of the Nostratic languages, who arrived here from the west, pushing indigenous peoples to the east and assimilating or destroying their remains. The Sino-Tibetans migrated to Central Asia, where they became the founders of the local Mesolithic cultures. They arrived at the present location of the dwelling already in the Neolithic, or bring it with you since reliable traces of Mesolithic were found neither in China nor Burma. Yangshao Neolithic culture in the middle reaches of the Huang Ho River existed in V-II thousand. BC.

Statue of a bearded priest from Mohenjodaro.

Obviously, the people of the Mongoloid race remained in Central Asia before the Dravidian people coming here. The presence of Mongoloid traits in a priest from Mohenjodaro may confirm this assumption

Typological heterogeneity of people of different races in the Upper Paleolithic was smaller than it is now. (SCHOKIN GEORIY, 2002: 77). In other words, the difference between the prototypes of people of Caucasoid and Mongoloid races was insignificant and they lived under the same environmental conditions in Asia Minor. After the Mongolians have migrated through the wide-open spaces of Asia, their original phenotypic traits have been developed in different ways under the influence of natural conditions of different habitats. As a result, they differ from people of the white race increased, but at the same time developed two distinct racial types, gave rise to modern Mongoloids and Amerindians.

The yellow race includes also American Indians, the peoples of the Mongolian and Manchu-Tungus language groups. In solving the problem of the origin of this race, attention should be paid to the fact that the adult American Indians have epicanthus very seldom, and the Ainu, an ancient population of Japan, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands, all have some pronounced Caucasoid features. A complete set of Mongoloid features can be found in the population of Southeast Asia, the peoples of the Mongolian and Tungus groups.

Left: Three Saami women. The 1890. Photo from Wikipedia

The latest languages do not contain a clear indication of a relationship with Sino-Tibetan, ie they were formed very far from the settlement of the Sino-Tibetan, so we can assume that the people of the yellow race inhabited a vast area in Eastern Europe and Asia at a time when human speech was held only the initial stage of its development. Since Saami race is intermediate between Mongoloid and Caucasoid, the presence of Saami element in Epi-Paleolithic finds of skulls in Eastern Europe may indicate that at Upper Paleolithic there occurred cross-breeding of anthropologically different ethnic groups, which eventually led to a special variety of racial types, which are now generally referred to the yellow race.

The resettlement of people in those ancient times was caused by the local population pressure or due to its increasing within a community, or through his increasing among neighboring tribes. (KOZLOV V.I., 1982, 17). Hunters moved by groups of about 25 people. Clearly, this team can not be a tribe. It does not coincide with a father kin. As it was pointed out by S. Arutyunov, "tribe, consisting of such groups, each of which requires at the most favorable conditions not less than 400-500 square meters of hunting territory, but often the area 2-3 times greater, can not be soldered, or numerous" (ARUTIUNOV S.A. 1982, 65). Thus, the resettlement of primitive people on the vast expanses of Eastern Europe could itself delay their progress than to promote it, because arriving in an unfamiliar environment people had to spend time and energy to adjust to new conditions of existence (KOZLOV V.I, 1982, 14).

As we shall see later, human settlements in certain places existed since ancient times, as this is evidenced by place names.

The made an above picture of the resettlement of the primary population of Eastern Europe is hypothetical and greatly simplified. All these questions are not resolved, so the purpose of this chapter was to show the options for primary ethnogenic processes until such time as they can be spoken more confidently. However, in keeping with the theme of this work, we will be more interested in the question, if the first gatherer-hunters could create persistent ethnic groups. In considering the item we have in mind such statements:

Ethnic community is usually defined as a collection of people with a common culture, speaking generally the same language and perceiving their community as different from people belonging to other similar communities (SEMIONOV Yu.I. 1986, 73).

Ethnicity is a stable, historically developed community of people characterized by such features, attributes as a common territory, language, economic ties, cultural way of life, and ethnic identity, which is expressed primarily in the minds of the real or imaginary community of their origin (KOROLUK V.D. 1985., 134).

The appointed above features attributes consist of stable structure that allows the ethnic group to persist for a long time in different historical periods, even after the loss of one of the features while maintaining self-consciousness. Also, endogamy is a characteristic feature (or a consequence of the other?). If during the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic prevailed promiscuity, then we can speak about ethnic units only since Neolithic times. Taking into account all known facts, we must admit that the first settlers in Eastern Europe stood at a such low level of social development that there no question of the existence of any ethnic units can be. However, these people formed the anthropological basis of ethnogenic processes which began in the later period.