10.2 Where did the Neolithic Culture Arise?¶
We do not know yet the region in which the ancestors of the brownish Neolithic peoples worked their way up from the Paleolithic stage of human development. Probably it was somewhere about south-western Asia, or in some region now submerged beneath the Mediterranean Sea or the Indian Ocean, that, while the Neanderthal men still lived their hard lives in the bleak climate of a glaciated Europe, the ancestors of the white men developed the rude arts of their Later Paleolithic period. But they do not seem to have developed the artistic skill of their more northerly kindred, the European Later Paleolithic races. And through the hundred centuries or so while Reindeer men were living under comparatively unprogressive conditions upon the steppes of France, Germany, and Spain, these more favoured and progressive people to the south were mastering agriculture, learning to develop their appliances, taming the dog, domesticating cattle, and, as the climate to the north mitigated and the equatorial climate grew more tropical, spreading northward. All these early chapters of our story have yet to be disinterred. They will probably be found in Asia Minor, Persia, Arabia, India, or North Africa, or they lie beneath the Mediterranean waters. Twelve thousand years ago, or thereabouts — we are still too early for anything but the roughest chronology — Neolithic peoples were scattered all over Europe, north Africa, and Asia. They were peoples at about the level of many of the Polynesian islanders of the last century, and they were the most advanced peoples in the world.