Earned Knowledge: L1, P2

What’s even more important about these people is that they brought farming all the way across Europe. People didn’t grow a great deal of food prior to this group (as best we can tell), and they brought wheat, peas, lentils, barley, plums, hackberries, pistachios, almonds, sheep, goats, and even cattle. They filled Europe with agriculture.

It took them quite a long time to do that, however. They first crossed from Asia (Turkey) to Europe (Greece) in about 6,900 BC, but didn’t reach Ireland until about 4,000 BC. One of the reasons for this was that they moved just a little bit at a time. Growing crops gave them a lot of food to store, use and trade, but moving it a long distance would have been very hard, and so they generally didn’t. But they did have to keep moving in small steps.

When you grow crops in a field, the first few years do very well, but after that, you get less and less food from the same field. And so these people moved from one field to the next every few years. That wasn’t a big problem, since there weren’t that many people and there was far more than enough good land available. Because of all this, they moved slowly, which is why it took them so long to reach the end of land in Ireland.

The map below shows how human use of plants and animals – agriculture – was spread by these people. The red portions show where we’ve found left-over plants and the remains of animals from between 9,500 BC and 7,000 BC. (We’ll explain how that is done later, and it’s important to understand that these dates are not exact, but are accurate enough.)

You can see from the map’s legend (the little box with colors and dates) where agriculture began in the various regions, and if you examine it for a few minutes, you’ll see how agriculture moved slowly across Europe.

Some of the best evidence we have for these people comes from Catalhoyuk, mostly because so many people lived in that one place, and left behind lots of garbage, as well of what’s left of their homes. By examining all of that, we can learn a great deal.

What we know about the people of Catalhoyuk is that they were peaceful, cooperative, individualistic, and artistic. They were clean, well dressed, well fed, and they worked hard.

Here is what remains of a wall painting:

This sculpture from Catalhoyuk shows people dancing:

And here’s some of their jewelry:

One of the odd things these people did was to burn their houses when they were done with them. They would remove all their things, start a fire inside their home, burn it out, knock down the remaining walls and pound it flat. After that, some other family might build a new house on the same spot.

The map below shows the area of southeastern Europe where find burnt houses. It’s clear that these people took their custom with them, and continued it for a long time. They didn’t leave the pink area on this map until about 5,000 BC, and perhaps later.

Another way we can tell who was where, and when, is with the pottery they left behind. Pottery, after all, doesn’t rot like food, leather, wood and most other things. Here is a map showing a certain style of pots (facial amphorae) that were found across Europe, in exactly the same directions and times that these people moved:

4 thoughts on “Earned Knowledge: L1, P2”

  1. Hi Paul, what is your take on Graham Hancock and Gobekli-Tepe appearing fully formed over 12,000 years ago? The possibility of past lost civilizations? The ancient underground cities right there in Turkey? The Amazonian civilization just now being uncovered that may predate the period you are talking about? The Indus Valley may predate this. We went from the Wright Brothers to walking on the moon in less than a hundred years; surely we had opportunities to do something similar previously in the last quarter million years? Thanks, Ron

    1. I haven’t read Hancock on Gobekli-Tepe, but I did read his stuff years ago, and while I found it entertaining, I never found much substance to it. I looked into a good deal of that type of history (I actually visited the “underwater roads of Atlantis”), but I have yet to find any real utility in it.

      There are underground cities in Turkey (Cappadocia), but they are not massively old. And there was an important Indus Valley civilization, with dentistry at 7,000 BC! Neither of these, however, support alien theories.

      As best I can tell, humanity is just starting to hit its stride. As Shakespeare put it, “the golden age is before us, not behind us.”


      1. Thanks Paul,
        What do you think of Michael Cremo’s work?
        Also re Hancock, he is just the latest proponent of the sea level rises:
        If you go to the scilly isles and brittany it is easy to see megalithic structures in fairly deep water. We are looking at least pre 12,00 years ago. (contra the idea that megaliths were built by agrarians from the east) Also your article failed to note the European Romanian cultures that sheltered from the ice age behind the Carpathian mountains, and then re settled Europe from there. I don’t think plums came from Turkey, more likely from central Asia (then to Turkey as well) and in any case there are native wild plums in Europe that produce heavy crops and are not bitter. The theory that you set forth in this article is but a fragment of the truth.
        All the best.

        1. I’m not familiar with Michael Cremo’s work, sorry.

          As for sea levels, they very certainly rose dramatically at roughly 13,000 BC. You can find some technical data on it by searching “meltwater pulse.”

          And all written histories are but pieces of the truth. (Oral histories still less.) The hard job is to pick the best and most honest things to convey.


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