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Racial Distributions in Palæolithic Europe

Nature volume 131, pages 540541 (15 April 1933) | Download Citation



IN some ‘notes’ contributed to the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia (vol. 7, pt. 1) Mr. M. C. Burkitt offers some interesting suggestions as to the possibly dual origin of the races and cultures of palæolithic age in Europe. He points out that it is no longer possible to accept the unfailing regularity of the sequence of cultures as originally classified by the French archæologists, and points to the contemporary existence, as proved by the fossil fauna, of a core industry, the coup de poing of Chelleo-Acheulean times, on the west bank of the Rhine and of flake industries on the east bank, the two inter mingling on the border line in eastern France, in southern Belgium and in Britain as seen in the Levallois and Clactonian industries. He goes on to point out that, while the coup de poing does not occur east of the Rhine with a few exceptions, the flake industry can be traced, except for certain gaps, from east of the Rhine right across Europe and Asia to China, where perhaps it finds its prototype in the flake implements of Peking man. This, to his mind, suggests a dual origin for the races of early palæolithic Europe, one branch coming from Africa where the coup de poing occurs with some frequency, and the second bringing the flake industry from Asia. He applies the same argument to Aurignacian man, pointing out that while the female statuette of upper palæolithic date has never been found in Africa, it occurs in Russia and examples have recently been found so far east as Maltá in Siberia. As the African affinities of Aurignacian man, or rather of his culture are not to be questioned, Europe would again in this period represet the point of confluence of two streams of migration.

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