Chapter 6 – An Advanced Civilisation
“Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” – Carl Jung
Plato tells us in his two books on Atlantis that this is an Advanced Technological Society. But what exactly did he mean by that? Science fiction writers have taken it to an extreme and have attempted to depict our first true civilisation as ‘spacemen’ with 21st century machinery lost below the oceans awaiting discovery – which quite honestly does not help any historian trying to uncover the true picture of our past ancestors, as this false perception blinds people’s minds to accept simplistic propaganda. For Plato was a philosopher born two and a half thousand years ago and what he would have called ‘advanced’ would have been perceived as either the norm or relatively primitive when comparing to today’s modern society.
The Neanderthals used the same tools for over 200,000 or more years with little to no adaptions. The emergence of the Homo Superior (Cro-Magnons) showed their higher mental development and imagination by adapting the standard Neanderthal tool kit, making subtle but effective refinements to the constructions of these basic tools. The Neanderthals used the ‘Levallois’ technique to make tools. This name was given by archaeologists to a distinctive type of stone knapping developed by predecessors to Homo Superior during the Palaeolithic period.
The technique was more sophisticated than earlier methods of lithic reduction, involving the striking of flakes from a prepared core. A striking platform is formed at one end and then the core’s edges are trimmed by flaking off pieces around the outline of the intended flake. This creates a domed shape on the side of the core, known as a tortoise core, as the various scars and rounded form are reminiscent of a tortoise’s shell. When the striking platform is finally hit, a flake separates from the core with a distinctive plano-convex profile and with all of its edges sharpened by the earlier trimming work.
This method provides much greater control over the size and shape of the final flake which would then be employed as a scraper or knife, although the technique could also be adapted to produce projectile points known as Levallois points. This technique is first found in the Lower Palaeolithic (2.5m to 300k BP), but is most commonly associated with the Neanderthal industries of the Middle Palaeolithic (300K to 30K BP), in the Levant (Asia Minor).
So what was so special about the Homo Superior toolkit?
The major identifier of a Homo Superior site (as bone over 10K-20K does not last well unless found in the shelter of caves) is an item called a ‘microlith’. Technically, the microlith is a small stone tool usually made of flint or chert (a fine-grained silica-rich sedimentary rock) typically a centimetre or so in length and half a centimetre wide. It is produced from either a small blade (microblade) or a larger blade-like piece of flint by abrupt or truncated retouching, which leaves a piece of waste called a microbrin. Now before going on to show how these microliths were used, we need to take a little time to consider the implications of this new technological development.
Firstly, why change? Neanderthals had successfully used the same tools for nearly a quarter of a million years and was this causation an effect of a change in hunting patterns, or was it the effect of the human intricacy of their hands which allowed such fine work to be obtained for the first time? Homo Superior were less ‘bulky’ than their Neanderthal ancestors which would affect the degree of intricacy and detail that could be obtained by the human hand.
Is this what led Homo Superior to paint intricate animals on cave walls for the first time in human history?
I believe so, and therefore, this compels us to re-examine some perceived ‘Neanderthal sites’ and their tool findings, knowing that the Neanderthals may have wanted smaller tools but did not have the manual dexterity to make such items. In Britain, ‘laminar’ microliths are associated to the end of the Upper Paleolithic and the beginning in the Epipaleolithic era; geometrical microliths are characteristic of the Mesolithic and the Neolithic, and these microliths may be triangular, trapezoid or lunate. Microlith production generally declined following the introduction of agriculture, but continued later in cultures with a deeply rooted hunting tradition.
Microliths were utilised with wood, bone, resin and fibre to form a composite tool and the traces of wood to which microliths were attached to have been found in Sweden, Denmark and Britain. The most common use of the microliths is for the development and use of the arrow tool. An average of six to eighteen microliths may often be used in an arrow, spear or harpoon. The first recorded use of the microliths dates back to the Aurignacian culture (47K – 35K BP) and would continue until to Neolithic period some twenty-five-thousand years later. This tool was a major game changer as we will see for the ascent and evolution of man. It is what probably defined the survival of the Homo Superior in comparison to their cousins the Neanderthals and not the environmental climate changes the anthropologists suggest as a solution for their downfall. The theory of evolutionary changes seems more logical as this civilisation had encountered more than one ice age and easily survived over the past.
The Pre-Atlantean Dawn
I should point out here that we will look at the traditional archaeological culture sequences which trace the Cro-Magnon’s tool kit and technology, and my interpretation of these events will vary somewhat as archaeologists seem to love finding a new ‘design’ and suddenly they declare a new culture (which benefits those attempting to find academic funding in a market short of cash). In my view, these cultures are not new, just a regional variations of the same Cro-Magnon culture. This assumption is based on a scientific fact as we can estimate population numbers within these regions and find that the populations are very low during this time in our evolution, therefore to consider them as individual tribes with separate societies with their own language, customs and tools is plainly wrong as it would be essential that they interact closely with one another through trading and exchange to survive
Aurignacian (45k – 35K BP) tools have been found in about thirty sites in southern Europe, located here during this period because the north ice cap from the last ice age covered Britain, Northern France, Germany, Poland, Denmark and Scandinavia. This culture used the newly developed microliths to carve ivory, bone and stone; Aurignacian figurines have been found representing the time period of now extinct mammals such as mammoths, rhinoceros and horses, which were seen as creatures of inspiration, although they had been around for hundreds of thousands of years prior to this culture and seemed to go unnoticed in the Neanderthal or Sapien mind. The most famous of these prehistoric relics is the ‘lion man’ found in Germany in 2008, which is 32,000 years old and the ‘Venus’ figurines which is 35,000 years old. Other insights to how Cro-Magnons mind differed and were and developing from the indigenous sapiens were the creation of ‘flutes’, which have been found made of ivory, clearly not only showing their musical sophistication, but also these were likely created using the remaining materials from the production of the microliths. It was these microliths that was used to produce the small holes and hollow tube to create the intricate instrument, suggesting a more advanced level of intellect than that of their predecessors could comprehend, finding objects suitable for more than one purpose and a desire for entertainment, not simply survival.
Gravettian (35K – 25K BP) sites have been found all over northern Europe from the north of Spain to Poland. The other isolated sites that have this technology are in the Ukraine and Southern Siberia; this confirms the DNA evidence showing that the Cro-Magnons came from the Caspian Sea area some 30K years ago, mostly headed west towards France and Spain, but some remained in Ukraine and some spread north towards Russia. All the Cro-Magnon camps we find in the Danube area are on the coast of rivers that ran inland from the Black Sea such as Wachau Gate, Doini vestonce-pavlov, Middle Morava Basin, Predmosti and Cracovie. This confirms our original hypothesis that Cro-Magnon’s used boats to travel rather than land as 95% of all their known sites are based by rivers, lakes and shorelines – the other 5% are probably on ‘dry river valleys’ that were once running rivers in the past.
Solutrean (25K – 18K BP) sites are named after the type-site of Crôt du Charnier at Solutré in the Mâcon district, Saone in Eastern France. The Solutré site was discovered in 1866 by the French geologist and palaeontologist Henry Testot-Ferry. It is now preserved as the ‘Parc archéologique et botanique de Solutré’. Solutrean tool-making employed techniques not seen before and not rediscovered for millennia. The Solutrean has relatively finely worked, bifacial points made with lithic reduction percussion and pressure flaking rather than cruder flint knapping. This method was undertaken using antler batons, hardwood batons and soft stone hammers, and permitted the working of delicate slivers of flint to make light projectiles and even elaborate barbed and tangled arrowheads. Large thin spear-heads; scrapers with an edge not on the side but on the end; flint knives and saws, but all still chipped, not ground or polished; long spear-points, with tang and shoulder to one side only, are also characteristic implements of this industry. Bone and antler were used as well.
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