10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Prehistoric Europe

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Prehistoric Europe

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The word “prehistory” refers to the earliest
period of human development, up until the start of recorded events. But since the world evolved differently in
terms of its humanity, prehistory starts and ends at different times, in different regions. Europe is no exception to this rule. This, however, doesn’t mean that humanity
hasn’t made many strides in terms of its development prior to the invention of writing,
or that they lived only as hunter-gatherers throughout this time. This was never the case, since writing could
only evolve in a sedentary society, where work efficiency made it possible for some
members to specialize in additional fields, other than gathering or producing food. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Europe
throughout its own prehistory and try to see what events took place there in this period
of human evolution. 10. Early Humans in Europe As most of us know, humanity has first evolved
on the African continent, with the oldest stone tools found here dating back some 2.5
million years. Then around 200,000 years ago, the first Homo
sapiens came into being, and 140,000 years later, they began migrating out of the continent. The earliest evidence of modern humans in
Europe dates back to 37,800 years ago in present day southwest Romania, where several human
skulls have been found in “The Cave with Bones”, or Pestera cu Oase. These remains indicate that these early people
were interbreeding with the Neanderthals already present on the continent. However, it seems that these people left little
to no distinctive genetic trace in contemporary Europeans, since they have no more Neanderthal
DNA than any other humans who later came onto the continent. Initially it was believed that the first route
through which modern man entered Europe was the Middle East, and then present day Turkey. But more recent evidence seems to point to
the actual route being through Russia. Some 36,000 year-old Homo sapiens remains
were found in western Russia, which are more genetically related to present day Europeans. Moreover, some stone, bone and ivory tools
were unearthed about 250 miles south of Moscow and are dated to around 45,000 years ago. Among these artifacts, there are bone and
ivory needles which indicate that these people were able to tailor animal furs, giving them
the ability to survive the harsh northern climate. They were also broadening their diet to include
small mammals and fish, by using all sorts of traps and snares. All of these gave humans an edge when competing
with Neanderthals, who weren’t able to live so far up north. 9. The Neanderthals and Their Habits Neanderthals were a species (or subspecies)
of human that lived throughout much of Europe and western Asia, and that went extinct between
40,000 and 28,000 years ago. It is no coincidence that their disappearance
corresponds with modern man’s arrival into the region, as well as the start of a very
cold period in the Northern Hemisphere. It is believed that the last members went
extinct in southern Spain, being slowly pushed to the edges of the continent. Even if the two species branched off some
600,000 to 400,000 years ago from a common ancestor, Homo heidelbergensis, with the exception
of people from Sub-Saharan Africa, all other modern day humans are a result of a mixing
between Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Archaeological evidence points out that, besides
being able to fashion stone tools, Neanderthals also intentionally buried their dead, practiced
cave-bear worship, and designed the earliest human building projects ever discovered, dating
back 175,000 years within a French cave. More recent discoveries seem to point out
that Neanderthals may have also practiced cannibalism, especially in periods of starvation
or minimal nutrition. In present day Belgium (Goyet caves) and Spain
(El Sidrón cave), Neanderthal remains have been found that show signs of the victims
being skinned, cut up, and their bone marrow extracted. Moreover, their bones were then fashioned
into all sorts of tools, similar to the many horse and reindeer bones also found there. 8. Doggerland Doggerland, or “the British Atlantis”
as some like to call it, is the land between modern day England and Denmark, now submerged
under the North Sea. As the ice caps melted during the end of the
last Great Ice Age around 6300 BC, massive amounts of water steadily poured into the
oceans, raising sea levels by 400 feet across the globe. This time in history is also likely the period
from which the many Great Flood myths around the world stem. During this time, the British Isles were part
of the European mainland, and both humans and Neanderthals roamed across what is now
the North Sea. The English Channel was dry land as well,
and it is believed to have been a river valley where the Thames, the Rhine, and the Seine
all combined to form a huge river system, somewhere between present day Cornwall Peninsula
in England and Brittany in France. Besides the many mammoth fossil occasionally
scooped up by fishing boats in the North Sea, there were also some stone tools, a barbed
antler point which was possibly used as a harpoon and dated to about 10-12,000 BC, from
when Doggerland was a tundra. At one point, a 40,000 year-old Neanderthal
skull fragment was brought up, originally located some 10 miles off of the Dutch coast,
and the remains of a human settlement off the British coast. As the climate began to warm up, the sea level
steadily rose by about 3-6 feet per century, slowly covering the gently sloping hills,
swampy lagoons, and heavily wooded lowlands. Slowly but surely, the people living there
were becoming trapped on the Dogger Bank, the highest point in the area, and which turned
into an island up until about 6000 BC before it, too, flooded completely. 7. The Storegga Slide In what can only be described as an apocalyptic
event of biblical proportions, among the largest ever landslides in history took place not
that far back into our own past. Sometime between 8,400 to 7,800 years ago
and 60 miles off of the Norwegian coast, a huge chunk of land broke off from Europe’s
continental shelf and spread itself over 1,000 miles into the abyssal plain of the Norwegian
Sea below. The area covered by this “scar” on the
sea floor is about 36,700 square miles and contains some 840 cubic miles of sediment. This would be the equivalent volume of debris
roughly the area of Iceland, covered to a depth of 112 feet. Most likely caused by an earthquake which
in turn generated a rapid release of massive amounts of methane hydrates trapped on the
ocean floor, it destabilized this large chunk of the headwall to break off and plummet into
the depths of the sea. The ensuing tsunami wreaked utter havoc upon
all the landmasses surrounding the natural incident. Sediment deposits from this event have been
found 50 miles inland in some places, and 20 feet above current tide levels. Keeping in mind that the sea level back then
was 46 feet lower than it is today, these waves exceeded 80 feet in height in some places. Present day Scotland, England, Norway, Iceland,
the Faroe, Orkney and Shetland Islands, Greenland, Ireland, and the Netherlands were all severely
affected by this event. Most affected of all was what remained of
Doggerland at that time, which many scientists believe was completely covered in one fell
swoop by the Storegga Slide induced tsunami. Anything or anyone alive on the Dogger Bank
at that time would have been simply washed out to sea. Today, companies engaged in petroleum and
gas exploration exercise great caution in the region, careful not to trigger another
such terrifying event, since this was just one of several other similar, but smaller
landslides occurring there between 50,000 and 6,000 years ago. 6. The First Europeans in North America By now many of us know – or at least believe
– that the first Europeans in the Americas weren’t the Spanish, lead by Christopher
Columbus at the end of the 15th century, but rather the Vikings lead by Leif Eriksson,
some four centuries earlier. Newer evidence, however, points out that not
even the Norse were the first Europeans onto the New World, but rather a stone-age people
from present day France and northern Spain, known as the Solutreans. It is believed they reached North America
sometime around 26,000 years ago, during a period of glaciation, following the Arctic
ice that connected the two continents at the time. Most likely on boats, they kept close to the
ice and hunted seals and birds, similar to the Inuit people of today. The first evidence of this theory came in
1970 when a scallop trawler brought up an 8-inch stone blade and a 22,700 year old mastodon
tusk and molar 60 miles off of Virginia. What was particularly interesting about this
blade is the technique in which it was made, having a striking resemblance to the style
used by the Solutrean tribes in Europe. Since then other artifacts have been found
in six other sites across the East Coast. The rarity of these finds is attributed to
the fact that sea levels were far lower at that time, and stone-age people lived mostly
on the coasts, leaving few archeological finds above the surface today. Though still not completely proven and with
many missing gaps, the Solutrean hypothesis is also backed by an 8,000 year-old skeleton
found in Florida, whose genetic markers are found only in Europeans, and not Asian populations. Also, some Native American tribes have languages
which seem to not be related to Asian-originating American Indian peoples. 5. History of Blue Eyes and Light Skin Scientists have concluded that blue eyes have
originated somewhere north of the Black Sea some 10,000 years ago. Before this occurrence, all humans had brown
eyes. The oldest remains of a person with blue eyes
date back to 7,000 to 8,000 years ago, and were found in present day northwest Spain,
in a cave system near the city of Leon. But while this 30-35 year-old man had blue
eyes, as revealed by DNA analysis, he most definitely had a dark skinned complexion,
similar to the people living in Sub-Saharan Africa today. Its DNA was compared to other hunter-gatherer
burials in Sweden, Finland, and Siberia as well as 35 modern day Europeans. The results show that this Stone Age culture,
which spread from Spain to Siberia, and which are also famous for the “Venus” figurines
found alongside their bodies, are partly the ancestors of many Europeans today. Further research conducted on 800 blue-eyed
people from all across the world, from Turkey, to Denmark, to Jordan, indicate that this
trait can be traced back to a single individual, as compared to brown-eyed people, who cannot. The reason why people in Europe went from
no one having blue eyes to 40% in just 10,000 years is still something of a mystery. The best answer so far is that this gene mutation
made them have more kids, because they were seen as being more attractive by their peers. Similar to eye color, skin complexion changed
on the European continent, but at a later date. Alongside agriculture, the genes responsible
for a lighter skin color came from the Near East, and only about 5,800 years ago did Europeans
start to resemble the people living there today. Both of these new traits were an advantage
when living at higher latitudes, where sunshine is not as prevalent as in the tropics, allowing
for a greater vitamin D intake. While dark skin and brown eyes protect a person
from UV radiation thanks to the higher levels of melanin, these become a disadvantage where
sunshine is not as prevalent. 4. The Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture and the Wheel In a period when Europe was comprised of hunter-gatherer
tribes and used stone tools to hunt and survive, a civilization located in what are now Romania,
Moldova, and Ukraine flourished for a period of some 3,000 years. Sometime between 5500 and 2750 BC, the Cucuteni
civilization built some of the largest communities in the world at that time, home to more than
15,000 people, and comprised of some 2,700 structures. Spanning over an area roughly 140,000 square
miles, they lived in a sort of confederacy of settlements around 2-4 miles apart, and
most likely had a matriarchal society. Just recently Romanian archeologists have
discovered a huge, 7,000 year-old temple complex about 10,700 square feet in area, and part
of a 62 acre settlement, making it the largest yet unearthed. The prehistoric society relied heavily on
agriculture an animal husbandry, but also practiced regular hunting. Archaeological evidence points to these people
being highly skilled pottery, jewelry, and textile craftsmen. Both the swastika and yin-yang symbols appear
in their designs 1,000 years before the Indian or Chinese cultures, respectively. About 70% of the European Neolithic heritage,
in terms of ceramics, can be traced here. Moreover, many of their structures were two
story, and it seems that they had the habit or tradition of burning their entire settlements
down every 60 to 80 years, only to rebuild them on the exact same spot, in a sort of
cycle of death and rebirth and as a sacrifice to the spirits. This culture could also be responsible for
the invention of the wheel. Even though the oldest wheel ever found dates
back to 5,150 years ago, and was discovered in Slovenia, a clay toy resembling a bull
on wheels was discovered in Ukraine, appearing to be several centuries older. Though not definitive proof, chances are high
that the Cucuteni civilization was the inventor of the wheel. The theory behind their eventual disappearance
in now strongly linked to climate change, spelling disaster for an agrarian civilization. 3. Turdas-Vinca culture and the oldest Writing
in the World Both the Turdas-Vinca culture and Cucuteni-Trypillian
culture above, among a few others, are collectively known as the Danube Valley Civilization, being
so closely linked with the fertile banks of the mighty Danube River. While the Cucuteni civilization was more to
the north, Vinca culture spread over what is now Serbia and parts of Romania, Bulgaria,
Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece, between 5700 and 3500 BC. Their form of government is still unknown,
and it is quite possible that they weren’t politically unified. Regardless, a high degree of cultural uniformity
was seen throughout the entire region, facilitated through long distance exchange. Similar the Cucuteni culture, the Turdas-Vinca
was highly advanced for their time, being the first in the world to create copper tools,
spin fabrics, and construct furniture. Their heritage, however, is still largely
debated, with some believing them to be of Anatolian origin, while others put forward
the idea of them developing locally from the preceding Starcevo culture. Whatever the case, it is certain that they
boasted an impressive ceramic art form found all throughout their territory, and are quite
possibly the inventors of the first written language. Three small tablets were discovered in 1961
in what is now Transylvania in Romania belonging to this culture, which are dated to sometime
around 5500 BC. Mesopotamian scholars reject the idea that
these tablets and indeed the symbols engraved on them are any form of written language,
and insist them being mere decoration. Many other scholars and linguists don’t
share their opinion and believe that the first ever writing in the world originated here,
in the Balkans, almost 2,000 years before the Cuneiform script in Sumer. Today, more than 700 characters are known
to belong to the Danube script, similar to the number of hieroglyphs used by the Ancient
Egyptians. If this theory is accepted, then it would
be safe to say that the cradle of civilization would no longer be in Mesopotamia, but in
the Balkans. 2. The Varna Man and the Wealthiest Grave in
Prehistory During some excavations during the 1970s,
near the port city of Varna in east Bulgaria, archaeologists stumbled upon a vast necropolis
dating back to the 5th millennium BC. But when they reached grave no. 43, they realized that they just discovered
the largest ever hoard of gold in the world dated to that period. The treasure was comprised of some 3,000 gold
artifacts weighing in at a total of 13.3 pounds; more gold artifacts found than in the rest
of the world combined up to that point. The site also offers the oldest known burial
evidence of an elite male, being the time when male dominance began to appear in Europe. Before this, it was the women and children
who received the most elaborate burials. The Varna civilization, as it became known,
went on to prominence between 4600 and 4200 BC, when they started smiting gold, becoming
the first civilization to do so. Located on the banks of the Black Sea, and
with some extremely valuable materials to trade like gold, copper, and salt, the civilization,
and especially the elite, was able to amass wealth very quickly. Archaeological evidence suggests it was highly
structured, forming a basis for the first monarchical society, and coming about predominantly
with the ever increasing amount of riches unevenly distributed. Their demise, however, came about in a rather
similar way. The ever larger wealth and abundance drew
the attention and incursion of horse-riding warriors from the steppes. Evidence of the first man-to-man weapons was
also found within these burial sites, confirming the emergence of conflict closely tied to
material gains. These, coupled with the climatic changes happening
at the time, lead to this culture’s disappearance. 1. Domestication of the Dog We couldn’t properly end this list without
talking about man’s best friend, and when this friendship came into being. So far scientists and archaeologists can confirm
that the domestication of the dog took place in different places of the world at once,
and from different species of wolf, depending on the region. And while people have domesticated animals
for their own betterment, none happened as fast as with the dog. This kind of makes sense given that the domestication
of animals came about only with a sedentary lifestyle, while the dog had the advantage
of aiding people while hunting during a nomadic lifestyle. But the really surprising thing here is just
how early man was able to domesticate the fierce wolf. Previous estimates based on the oldest dog
fossils ever found date back to around 14,000 years ago. But more recently dog fossils have been found
in both Belgium and Central Russia, dating back to 33,000 and 36,000 years ago, respectively. This discovery astounded archaeologists, since
it placed the domestication of the dog 20,000 years earlier than previously believed.

48 comments

  1. Odd that the archeologists don`t see that the iceage climate was very arid. So people lived at the river deltas, where both food and water was plentiful. These are today under some 300 ft of ocean! Go diving!

  2. The reason those bodies found in Russia were more genetically related to modern Europeans is because modern Europeans are predominately Germanic. The Germans are not 'truly' indigenous to Europe, but rather Easter-Europe/North-Central Asia. They gradually migrated westward into Europe as they were likely driven out of their ancestral lands by Asiatics, or other Aryans. Once the Germans arrived to Europe, they overtime, through violence mainly, conquered, and practically committed genocide upon the true indigenous peoples of Europe – who were people of Celtic types, Eastern Mediterranean, and North African types of 'white'. Eventually they'd come to rule for so long through militarized statecraft and fraternal-martial orders and traditions. That is why all European royalty, no matter the country, are German/Swiss.

  3. Unlike the rest of the world, in Norway, we are fully aware of how wierd Norwegian names, places ect sounds like when spoken in English

  4. Wait, I'm confused, shouldn't all eye colors be able to be isolated from a single commin ancestor due to all humans being able to be traced back to a male and female individual over 100k years ago (separated by like 20k years)?

  5. The Celts had closer connection to Native American Indians, explain the Welsh speaking Indians in the USA

  6. …my Norse is somewhat rusty but Storegga is pronounced Pussyfart, glad I could help…

  7. 3:15 yup you heard the man – all HUMANS – EXCEPT Sub saharan Africans are a unique, distinct subspecies that is part human and part Neanderthal – we are not the same species as Sub saharan Africans whop are infact pure humans.

  8. I really hope that the Balkans script doesn't somehow prove that this was the true cradle of civilization because racist neo-nazi arseholes will be so smug about it 😑

  9. <^> 15:20 <^> . Listen .13.3 ls a little , in grains of sand … but… Listen . 13.3 is a LOT , when it comes to Pounds of Gold , Mistah . At a lil under 19K a pound , that's a lot . Well , these relics are Priceless . So there's that there . <^>

  10. I never understood that in Africa, where humanity supposedly began, their people never developed the wheel, or sailing ships, or written language or metallurgy. It seems that they would have had a head start.

  11. 'The Europeans didn't come through the middle east, they came through russia, specifically near Moscow.'… ehm, you understand that that is in Europe, right?

  12. Not all modern humans have Neanderthal genes… Most sub Saharan Africans do not have this gene as they are the descendants of humans that never left Africa thus never encountered Neanderthals

  13. Cradle of civilization is middle east. Sorry, Simon- I have not a drop of African blood, nor any my ancestors.
    As for the rest of the video- it is quite irresponsible to pass off illogical theories as facts. Especially when one of the theories included in this video is rendered by racist Darwin. It does not take a mathematician to deduce these numbers are not logical in any respect and contradict even the theories mentioned. This is a cornucopia of disinformation worthy of ridicule.

  14. It is most likely that light skin in northern latitudes helped activate folate which is important to maintaining pregnancy.

  15. frist human in albania the pellazgia read the bible its not all lies stupid
    i mean i dont even believe in that but pellazgia is the frist country to be created sory mate you are wrong in the frist one

  16. I finally took the DNA test and was a bit put off that someone could have my code but found out my ancestors went south under the black sea rather than over it, so they were in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Anatolia than on up from there

  17. 15:48 "Sminting" gold?? I searched it and the only thing I could find for 'Smint' was a type of breath mint. Did they invent those too?

  18. If only one person popped up with blue eyes where everyone else had brown eyes, wouldn't they distance themselves from them because of religious superstition? Like" oh they must have the devil in them" because history shows that's how people treat others that are different from them- they demonize them.

  19. I'm proud of my 3 percent Neanderthal; at least I have a brow bone to guide me where to draw my eyebrows on. 😉

  20. Amazing to me that in almost every reconstruction of neanderthal skulls their huge eyesockets are given human-sized eyes. Big eye sockets means big eyes. Danny Vebdramini remains the only guy who has given us any realistic notion of what they really looked like.

  21. 4 minutes in, try this experiment, get a glass of ice water, make the ice melt, see if there is more water in the glass after the ice melts than before. The level remains the same. Science buddy!

  22. @8:00 funny how a lady (I can't remember her name) that discovered that was discredited for her discovery. I looked for her story but all I'm finding are stories about a man finding them. Another story said it was fake and staged by white nationalist. But the estimated dating from the lady put colvis making humans in America some 50,000 years ago. They were found not too far north from were the Australian people's bodies were found in a cave in South America. They would have coexsisted for a short period of time.

  23. The lower sea levels during the ice age when early man walked the Earth would explain why we haven't found the missing link. Those early hominids could have lived close to the shores, which are now under water. Since we don't tend to excavate underwater, it would be real hard to find the missing link.

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