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Origins of Civilization and the Hittites

Nature volume 140, page 677 (16 October 1937) | Download Citation

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Abstract

THE early history of Anatolia and of the races from which the Turkish people is held to be derived was given due prominence in the communications presented by the numerous foreign members attending the second session of the Historical Congress at Istamboul. In particular, it is stated by the correspondent of The Observer in the issue of October 11, much importance was attached to a discussion by Prof. E. Pittard of Geneva of the origin of the early braehycephalic racial type, which, first appearing in Europe in the Mesolithic age, introduced to that continent the domestication of animals and agriculture. He pointed out that nowhere except in the Near East and in the region extending eastwards to Afghanistan were cereals to be found growing in the original wild state, while the same habitat was assigned to the wild prototypes of the domesticated animals. Prof. Pittard then went on to show that a close study of the Hittites indicated that all these elements of civilization were well known to them from early times, this leading to the supposition that we are indebted to this people for their evolution. Recent discoveries and excavations indicate a possibility of demonstrating that Anatolia possessed, just like Europe, a palæolithic period, from which the mesolithic was evolved, and that the remotest origins of civilization may be found in Anatolia. As the views put forward by Prof. Pittard are said to coincide with the point of view of the Turkish Society for Historical Research, it is possible that they will stimulate much-needed intensive study of Hittite origins. It is eminently desirable, however, that this should be extended to include the Caucasus regions to the north of the Hittite area, with which certain of the evidence, especially of philology, appears to indicate a cultural affinity.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/140677b0

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