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for instance in India China Assyria and Egypt, an Age of Stone must once have prevailed-followed by a Bronze Age-long before those highly developed stages of culture recognised by history, which were in full bloom in these countries thousands of years before the birth of Christ. Similar strata of ancient culture and in part of several earlier populations even within the limits of the Stone Age are beginning to show themselves in Egypt Asia Japan the South Sea Islands and America, where men have thought-though scarcely always on sufficient grounds-to find the last remains of the real aboriginal inhabitants in the still existing savage races. We are not now concerned with the origin of the chief races of man. In the very beginnings of history they confront us with fully stamped characteristics. The gradual spread and development of mankind have in general proceeded with the greatest slowness. Only exceptionally at certain epochs and in particular places have races progressed at a bound. And this very slowness is obviously greatest in the case of the Stone Age, and in particular during its most primitive periods; since only the scantiest and most miserable resources then stood at man's command. We may indeed be still unable to adopt the geologist Sir Charles Lyell's theory that the human race has probably existed on earth for some 100,000 years. Yet this much is certain: the more our glance is directed to that epoch-making point of time, when the Creator wakened man in all his nakedness into life, and therefore most probably under a warmer sun in some more genial climate, the more does that point recede into an endlessly distant indefinable past.
Europe in particular does not appear to have received its first population, before the human race had spread extensively elsewhere. The growth of settlement and consequent want of support must gradually have forced races and families to change their original sunny homes for more distant and inclement lands. As such an original or at all events very important startingpoint for the population of the earth or first settlement on a larger scale we must in any case regard Asia, and particularly, till further evidence be forthcoming, India, so richly endowed by nature. Here in ancient chalk deposits under the earth's surface numerous relics have been found of a primitive Stone - Age. These clearly embrace a gradual development from a lower to a higher stage. In fact stone antiquities in India are generally regarded with superstitious awe on account of their high age, and are regularly deposited in the temples as offerings to the gods. There is every probability that it was from India the settlers went forth, who, according to the unanimous testimony of archæological and ethnographical indications, during the earliest and lowest stages of culture in the Age of Stone overspread the east and north of Asia; whence some of them crossed Behrings Straits to America, others the Indian islands to the South Seas. Remarkably similar discoveries of various stone objects of the rudest kind in India Assyria and the most southern and western parts of Europe point also to the probability that a corresponding westward movement led the earliest immigrants to Syria Egypt and Asia Minor, thence onwards over the present boundaries of Europe, and thus for the first time to the warm
and fruitful coast-lands bordering on the Black Sea and Mediterranean.1
It is true that the lands of the Mediterranean were in a very distant historical period the seat of a highly developed and peculiar classic culture, which must necessarily have been preceded locally by more primitive circumstances to begin with; and for these the most favourable natural conditions lay to hand. But it is the investigation of pre-historic antiquities, in opposition to the usual views of classical learning, which has in recent years first clearly shown by means of a comparatively astonishing quantity of mutually corroborative discoveries that in the long ages, before there could be any question of a really great development of culture, a people must have lived throughout the coast-lands of the Mediterranean, who were unacquainted with the use of metals, and who from the very first supported themselves, in the usual manner of savage races, partly by fishing and hunting, partly on herbs roots and fruits.
For a people of so low standing, who for their maintenance and protection against enemies and wild beasts possessed only the most necessary simple and clumsy implements of stone bone and wood, it was easier to spread along the more open mild sea-coasts, than, even by help of the great rivers, to push their way at once up into the interior of Europe. Every
1 Mommsen's statement (Hist. Rome, vol. i., chap. ii., Eng. tr.) requires correction: "Nothing has hitherto been brought to light to warrant the supposition that mankind existed in Italy at a period anterior to the knowledge of agriculture and of the smelting of metals." The museums of Italy tell a different tale, and might have warned so careful an archæologist from roundly asserting a negative.
where in this direction they must have found themselves confronted by huge primeval forests and marshes deadly with poisonous exhalations, or mountain-chains, that, in far greater extent than now in the South and North, were shrouded with the mighty remains of the slowly vanishing masses of ice, which at one time—in the so-called "Ice-Age"-lay fast packed over a great portion of Europe.
Not a few discoveries of the self-same character have been made in the countries of the Mediterranean, in the lands of western Europe, on the coasts of the Atlantic, in France Belgium and England. These appear sufficient to prove that the first new settlers, who frequently had their abode in mountain-caves or under overhanging cliffs, and who were coeval with the mammoth cavebear cave-hyena rhinoceros and many other great mammals long ago extinct in Europe, must at first have preferred under the severer or sharply changeful climate then prevailing to sojourn on the coasts or the great river plains or at all events in the actual coast-lands.
A somewhat milder period followed. Man had now learned to produce fire by rubbing pieces of wood or striking flint and quartz. The great mammals were on the eve of disappearing; while the reindeer was beginning to play a more important part as a means of subsistence for the increasing population. Till then probably no very considerable tracts of central Europe had received their earliest inhabitants, however feeble and few, along the river plains leading from the Black Sea or Mediterranean. Moreover these people under a new influence, as it seems, from Egypt and Asia now began perceptibly to develop and improve their ex
tremely rough and clumsy implements of stone and bone. This improvement and especially the use of fire must have largely aided them in their advance from the со sts through the thick primeval forests, as well as in their struggle for daily food.
But of any real settlement of the high Scandinavian North or generally of north-western Europe in these remote periods of the Stone-Age, called the Mammoth or Reindeer Period or the "Palæolithic-Age," not a single trace has yet been revealed. As the countries on the Baltic were among the last to receive the peoples of the Stone-Age, so it was reserved for the remote Scandinavian North longest to preserve some of the last remains left by the primitive conditions of the Stone-Age in Europe.
As yet the whole North with its lofty snow-capped mountain peaks its granite cliffs overgrown with thick gloomy primeval forests its long dales and lowlands formed an undiscovered wilderness, where only swarms of wild beasts roamed undisturbed. In the west and south-west of Europe meantime the population was steadily increasing. Simultaneously an entirely new development of the originally low culture of the StoneAge began to spread abroad, more especially in the extreme south of Europe. Hunting and fishing demand exceptionally large tracts and frequent change of habitation, if they are to provide sufficient food all the year round for increasing races. Instead of these pursuits cattle-breeding agriculture and even gardening were now coming more to the front as the most important means of livelihood. The new needs were followed by larger permanent dwellings with stalls for the cattle