(Chapter IV, section 7)


The Eastern Source Areas: South, Central, and North


North of the Pyrenees, the Neolithic population of Europe was immediately derived not only from Africa, but also from the east. In order to understand the racial complications of trans-Pyrenean Europe in the Neolithic, we must converge from a different quarter. The eastern source areas, and their possible routes into Europe, may be divided into three: (a) Crete and the Aegean Islands, thence by sea to Greece, and to Italy, and from Greece, northward by land into Macedonia. (b) From Anatolia over the Bosporus into the Balkans, and thence up the Vardar and down the Morava into the Danube above the Iron Gates. (c) Around the northern shore of the Black Sea, and perhaps of the Caspian Sea as well, then the steppes of southern Russia into the plains which reach through Poland to Germany, and into the Danube Valley.

(a) Our knowledge of the physical type in Greece during the Neolithic is confined to one small, narrow, female skull of Mediterranean type, from Arcadia,35 which, as we shall soon see, is perfectly consistent with the racial picture farther north, although it is not very likely36 that racial movements passed northward from this quarter at that time. Crete, whose civilization was rooted in the Neolithic, is unknown racially until the Bronze Age.

The Neolithic inhabitants of Italy probably came from the east in large measure by sea, although some may have entered from other directions, as from North Africa by way of Malta and Sicily, around the Tyrrhenian Sea from Catalonia, and down over the Alps from the north.

It is also very likely that Mesolithic types, containing an earlier Palaeolithic increment, survived in Italy into the Neolithic, for, until the arrival of metal, Italy and its islands formed an area of relative isolation from the main racial and cultural currents which affected Europe as a whole.

Although Aeneolithic or Copper Age skeletons from Italy are abundant, those dating from the Neolithic time are rare.37 All that have been found38 (51) are long-headed, and of Mediterranean type. Three skulls from the Ligurian cave of Arena Candide which are very large and of great length, may represent, at least in part, an Upper Palaeolithic survival of early Aurignacian type, or an invasion of the tall Mediterranean type usually identified with the megalith-builders. It will be more profitable, however, to defer the study of racial types in early Italy and her islands until our discussion of the Copper and Bronze Age population, when we shall have something more definite and extensive with which to work.

(b) The second eastern source area from which Neolithic invaders may have entered Europe is that of the Anatolian plateau - to what extent the Danubian peasants were derived from these highlands is a matter of dispute among archaeologists which we shall do well not to enter. At any rate, no Neolithic skeletal remains have yet been found there, and the metal period sites which have been studied are later than those in Mesopotamia. Farther east, at a site called Zizernakaberd in Armenia, the brain case of a tall man (172 cm.) with apparently Upper Palaeolithic affinities, resembling Murzak Koba, may have been buried in the earliest Neolithic time.39 This one specimen from Armenia is small evidence, and we still do not know what kind of people lived in Anatolia at the time when the first farmers pioneered up the valley of the Danube.

(c) The third eastern source area, and perhaps the most important of the three in the total peopling of Europe in the Neolithic and later, is the grassy plain extending from Poland across Ukraine and Bessarabia, north of the Black Sea and Caucasus, across to the Caspian, and beyond into Turkestan. Here the evidence of Neolithic man is considerably better than in the other two.

On the eastern side of the Caspian, near the modern border between Russian territory and Iran, are the three famous Kurgans, or mounds, of Anau. The earliest cultural horizon found in this site, Anau I of the north mound, probably dates from 3500 to 3000 B.C., on a conservative estimate. This level, which is largely but not purely Neolithic, contained a number of human skeletons,40 most of which were those of children.

All the children were dolichocephalic, and apparently of Mediterranean type. One adult female, found with them, was the same. She was mesocephalic, with a cranial index of 76, and her skull shows a minimum of bony relief. The forehead projects forward, the glabella is almost absent, the nasal root high, and the nasal profile apparently straight; the orbits are mesoconch, and the facial bones delicate.

Another adult, in this case a male, is represented by a mandible and certain facial bones below nasion. Again a Mediterranean type is indicated, orthognathous, with a strong lower jaw, and a small nose which was moderately leptorrhine. This specimen, the female, and the children, although hardly a series, are sufficient to show us that this southwestern corner of Turkestan was inhabited by agricultural, animal-breeding, pottery-making people of general Mediterranean type in the second half of the fourth millennium B.C., as early as the predynastic period in Mesopotamia.

Long bones from the following level in the North Kurgan show variations in stature - with two males at 170 and 161 cm., respectively, and a female at 149 cm.

A post-Neolithic skull from the South Kurgan, probably of the third millennium, is, like the others, dolichocephalic. It has a low, sharply curved forehead, no browridges, small zygomatic arches, and apparently considerable prognathism;41 but an exact racial diagnosis of it cannot be made.

Returning to the Neolithic material, we may be sure that it all belongs to some branch of the Mediterranean race, but, with the present evidence, which does not conatin a single complete adult male specimen, we cannot hope to distinguish the skeletal sub-variety.

In the grasslands of European Russia, south of the forest belt, a racial continuity with Anau extends westward into Ukraine. One of the earliest sites which show this connection is located at Mariupol near the mouth of the Kalmins River on the shore of the Sea of Azov.42 Here, an unstated number of skeletons, lying in rows and covered with red ochre, was found in association with apparently Early Neolithic implements, and a quantity of bone, shell, and tusk objects. Although the typology of the artefacts is early, we do not know the date, but the absence of pottery would presumably argue against a late assignment.

No measurements of these skeletons have been published, but the description is sufficient to show that a Mediterranean type, perhaps similar to that found at Anau, is probably involved. The stature was "slightly above the medium height of today,"43 which would place it in the upper 160's; the bones of the extremities are elongated, the hands narrow and long. The skulls are small, and in all cases dolicho- or mesocephalic.

Neolithic crania from southwestern Russia and the adjacent segment of Poland are not numerous, but are clearly differentiated racially.44 They belong to two types; a high-vaulted, moderately broad-nosed dolicho- to mesocephal, associated with short stature, 160 cm. or less, in the males. This type, which carries the Anau form to the west, is the most numerous, and is centered in the Volhyn district of the Ukraine. With it, in the Late Neolithic Fatjanovo culture, are associated a few brachycephals which, except for head form, differ little from the rest. This "Danubian" type is not basically different from some of the Lower Egyptian and Delta groups.

The second type, commonest in Late Neolithic cemeteries of the Kiev government, is of the tall (stature = 171-172 cm.), hyperdolichocephalic variety, usually leptorrhine and high-vaulted, which we have called "Corded." Crania of this variety are actually few in number, and probably Late Neolithic in date. Metrically, they resemble the earliest Sumerian skulls at el 'Ubaid.

Sergi, on a visit to Moscow some thirty years ago, measured over seventy male "Kurgan" crania from southern Russia, dating from all periods from the Neolithic to the pre-Christian Iron Age. These, selected as "Mediterraneans,"45 conform to the two types mentioned above. The main group, the smaller variety, fits our "Danubian" type, the larger, the "Corded." In general, the metrical deviation of the total group from Mesopotamian figures is not great.

The result of this south Russian inquiry leads to several cumulative if tentative conclusions:

(1) During the Neolithic, all known avenues of approach to Europe, from Gibraltar to the southern limit of the Russian forest, show only variants of Mediterranean or Galley Hill man. The Neolithic culture with its food-producing economy, and the Mediterranean race, are, as Sergi said, inseparably linked.

(2) The special "Mediterranean" form, which had apparently brought agriculture to the countries north of the Iranian plateau and Black Sea, was not unlike others found in more southerly regions in which Old World agriculture is supposed to have originated.

(3) The tall, hyperdolichocephalic high-vaulted variant of the basic Galley Hill stock, elsewhere to appear as the Corded people, was present, at least by the Late Neolithic, in southern Russia.


35. F├╝rst, Carl M., LUA, NF. Avd 2, Bd. 28, #13, 1932.

36. Fewkes, V. J., Goldman, H., Ehrich, R. W., BASP, #9, 1933, p. 18. 37. Sergi, G., Europa, pp. 270-289.

38. With the exception of one microcephalic skull, op. cit., p. 279.

39. Vishnevsky, B. N., MAGW, vol. 64, 1934, pp. 102-111.

40. Mollison, T., "Some Human Remains Found in the North Kurgan, Anau," in Pumpelly, R., Explorations in Turkestan, vol. 2, pp. 449-463.
Sergi, G., "Description of Some Skulls from the North Kurgan, Anau," ibid., pp. 445-448; ASRA, #13, 1917, pp. 305-321.
Warner, Langdon, "Report on Skeletons Excavated at Anau," in Pumpelly, R., op. cit., p. 484.

41. From a poorly oriented photograph given Sergi by Pumpelly and published by the former, without measurements. Sergi, G., ASRA, vol. 13, 1907, pp. 305-321.

42. Makarenko, N., ESA, vol. 9, 1934, pp. 135-153.

43. Ibid., p. 140.

44. Bogdanov, A. P., AAM, vol. 3, 1879, part 1, p. 305.
Czarnowski, S. J., Swiatowit, vol. 3, 1901, pp. 75-84.
Levit'kyj, I., AntrM, vol. 2, 1928, pp. 192-222; ZVAK, vol. 1, 1930, pp. 159-178.
Saller, K., AAnz, vol. 2, 1925, pp. 26-46.
Zabrowski, S., BMSA, ser. 5, vol. 2, 1901, pp. 640-666.

45. Sergi, G., Europa, pp. 309-316. In Sergi's own words, Eurafrican. This term has since taken on a narrower meaning in the hands of Mesopotamian archaeologists.