(Chapter IV, section 2)

The Neolithic and the Mediterranean race


In Europe, the Neolithic is primarily the period of the Mediterranean race, in one form or another. It was, apparently, the Mediterraneans who accomplished the change to a food-producing economy elsewhere, and who expanded into the territory of the food-gatherers.

These Mediterraneans, while surprisingly homogenous in some respects, may be segregated locally and typologically into sub-groups on the basis of a few characters. Before proceeding much further with our geographical-historical reconstruction, it will be well to define what we mean by Mediterranean, to compare it with other races which we have already met, and to specify its principal subdivisions.

By Mediterranean, in the skeletal sense alone, we mean the wide family of closely-knit racial types which are long headed, orthognathous, mesorrhine or leptorrhine, narrow faced, and of medium head size, descended from the general Galley Hill stock, and related to Combe Capelle and Afalou #28. Mediterranean, in this sense, is the name by which we propose to designate that one of the two major racial elements, concerned with the development of white peoples, which completely lacks Neanderthaloid ancestry. It differs from the major Upper Palaeolithic group of Europe and northern Africa in several respects, as shown on page 84.

The "Mediterranean" racial family is just as "white," in the larger meaning of the word, as the Upper Palaeolithic family. Its chief differences from the latter are: a smaller brain size, a moderate body size, and a lack of the excessive specializations which characterize the northern group. The Mediterranean group seems to be of purely sapiens ancestry, without Neanderthaloid or other mixture.

Before the Neolithic, the principal branches of the Mediterranean family must already have come into existence. Some Mediterraneans were probably white skinned, and others brown; it is also possible that the differences in hair and eye color which so strongly distinguish living Mediterranean sub-varieties had already come into existence.

We cannot speak with authority about Nordics until we meet blondism in the flesh, nor make profitable surmises about them until we find it in literary references and artistic representations. We must not, therefore, let differences in pigmentation and soft parts confuse our understanding of the skeletal unity of the Mediterranean race.

It can be shown that Sumerians who lived over five thousand years ago in Mesopotamia are almost identical in skull and face form with living Englishmen, and that predynastic Egyptian skulls can be matched both in a seventeenth century London plague pit, and in Neolithic cist-graves in Switzerland. Modern dolichocephalic whites or browns are very similar in head and face measurements and form. The Nordic race in the strict sense is merely a pigment phase of the Mediterranean. [3]

On the basis of the material to be covered in this chapter, we may distinguish the following branches of the general Mediterranean or Galley Hill group:

[Upper Palaeolithic and Mediterranean characteristics]

(1) Mediterranean Proper (hereafter meant when the word "Mediterranean" is used alone): Short stature, about 160 cm.; skull length 183-187 mm. male mean; vault height 132-137 mm. mean; cranial index means 73-75; browridges and bone development weak, face short, nose leptorrhine to mesorrhine. Type already met in Portugal and Palestine in Late Mesolithic. Represents the paedomorphic or sexually undifferentiated Mediterranean form, and often carries a slight negroid tendency.

(2) Danubian: The same in body size and build, skull length and cranial index the same; individually, the index goes to 80. Vault is higher than breadth, means 137-140 mm. Nose mesorrhine to chamaerrhine.

(3) Megalithic: Tall stature, means 167-171 cm., slender build; skull length over 190 mm.; cranial index 68-72 means, individual range below 78; vault moderate in height, less than breadth; forehead modrately sloping, browridges often of moderate heaviness, muscular markings stronger, skull base wider, face medium to long, nose leptorrhine, mandible often deep and moderately wide. The East African Elmenteitans represent an individual and extreme form of this. It represents a gerontomorphic or sexually differentiated Mediterranean or Galley Hill form, and in cranial features is closer to Galley Hill itself than any other branch.

(4) Corded: Tall stature, means 167-174 cm.; build linear but muscular, perhaps heavier than the Megalithic; extremely long-headed, 194 mm. mean. Vault of great height, means over 140 mm., exceeding breadth; browridges and muscular markings medium to strong; face very long, and of slight to moderate breadth; mandible deep and chin marked, but narrow through the gonial angles. Nose leptorrhine, often prominent. This type, in western and northern Europe, approaches in some respects the Upper Palaeolithic type with which it mixed.

(5) Other Forms: Include mixtures between the four named, as well as others which are also intermediate but perhaps ancestrally undifferentiated. The later "Nordic" forms are intermediate. In Asia Minor and the Irano-Afghan plateau appear forms noted for great prominence and convexity of the nasal skeleton, and lack of nasion depression. Since these features are found on individuals of varying size and proportions, as well as brachycephalic races of the same neighborhood, they seem to represent some local genetic tendency, and cannot be considered the exclusive property of a given race. However, one might name the small variety found in Asia Minor Cappadocian, while a larger form commoner farther east, and metrically close to the Corded, may be called Afghanian.

The names given the racial divisions outlined above have been chosen with the intention of avoiding close reference to living races, since they are based on the skeleton alone. Mediterranean forms an exception; it is so well known and firmly established that it cannot be changed. In this particular case, we may be reasonably sure of the character of the soft parts, owing to the antiquity of accurate realistic portraiture in Egypt, Crete, and Mesopotamia, as well as to mummification.

The names Danubian, Megalithic, and Corded, have been deliberately taken from archaeology since, as will be shown, the types so designated were closely linked, during the Neolithic and even later, to the cultural entities with which they are thus identified.

It is hoped that the use of these labels will eliminate the necessity, in the rest of this chapter, of elaborate description.


3. Popularly, the word "Nordic" is frequently applied to a blond or pigmentally intermediate conglomerate type or group of types in northern Europe, which contains other than blond Mediterranean elements.