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The Danube Thoroughfare and the Beginnings of Civilization in Europe

  • V. Gordon Childe
Extract

While high civilizations were growing up in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Aegean, continental Europe was still recovering from an ice age. Though the glaciers had retreated, the high passes that led across the Alps from the favoured Mediterranean to the interior were still virtually closed by snow. The tundras and steppes where the men of the Old Stone Age had hunted the reindeer were now for the most part covered with a dense forest fostered by the damp climate then ruling. Through the belt of forest and mountain that fenced off northern and western Europe early man could not easily penetrate. To reach Britain or Denmark he must take ship and face the perils of the Atlantic in a dug-out canoe or some only slightly superior craft. But one moving road leads right into the heart of the continent. From the Black Sea to Bavaria the Danube opens out a passage way far safer than the stormy Atlantic. Moreover it leads into territories where the uncongenial primeval forest did not grow so densely nor so inhospitably as on the coasts or highlands.

Large tracts in Central Europe are covered with a deep deposit of fine wind-born dust that had formed during the dry ice ages. This aeolian soil termed “löss” is unfavourable to the growth of heavy timber, incidentally it provides ideal agricultural land.

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References
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page 82 note 1 Vinča : M.M. Vassits in P.Z. ii, and BSA, xiv.

page 83 note 1 Polished and fluted wares in Thessaly ; Wace and Thompson, Prehistoric Tḣessaly, pp. 102, 105, 114. The stratification shows that they belong to the second period—not as Tsountas thought to the third.

page 84 note 1 Danubian culture : Childe, Dawn of European Civilization, 1925, pp. 171183.

page 84 note 2 See Kozlowska, , in Bull. Internat. Acad. Sci. de Cracovie, 1920, B, 110.

page 85 note 1 Cf. Duerst, in Pumpelly, Explorations in Turkestan (Carnegie Publications, 73) vol. 11.

page 86 note 1 Bul. Soc. Anthr. Bruxelles, 39, p. 63 n. 2.

page 86 note 2 M.M. Vassits in P.Z. ii, and BSA, xiv.

page 86 note 3 Wace and Thompson, op. cit. p. III.

page 86 note 4 In the British Museum.

page 86 note 5 Childe, Dawn, pp. 177–9.

page 87 note 1 W.P.Z., x, 1-10.

page 87 note 2 Wosinsky, Das prähistorische Schanzwerk von Lengyel.

page 87 note 3 Carchemish : Liv. Annals, vi, pp. 91 ff ; Byblos: Syria, vi, pp. 16 ; Egypt Petrie, Illahun, Kahun and Gurob, pl. xiii.

page 87 note 4 Arch. Ert. xxiv, pp. 85 f ; Archiv f. Anthrop., xv, p. 253, pl.1.

page 89 note 1 “Excavations of the ‘A’ a Cemetery at Kish” Field Museum Anthrop. Memoirs I.

page 89 note 2 Stocký, Praha Pravěká, 1925, p. 21.

page 90 note 1 Zs. f. Ethnol., 1896, p. 80.

page 90 note 2 Childe, Dawn, p. 192.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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