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Ancient Times

Over the millennia we have evolved and developed technologies enabling us to explore the nature of where we live and life about us. Most remarkably as we work towards mapping our physical universe, we realise that we live on a small planet within a small obscure solar system. This in turn is part of a small obscure galaxy within a universe so vast that we really have no idea of our place in the universe, why we exist or how we came to be.

With all the archaeological evidence, genetics and technologies available today, we remain unable to firmly establish our origins as a species. As the nature of our universe is at present being researched, how did we evolve, and more importantly, how did we evolve into the civilisation we in which we find ourselves today?

We have various ideas about the miracle of creation and whichever way you see it, life is indeed miraculous and something to wonder about. Our scientists can manipulate life, are yet they are unable to define what life is. Perhaps science never will, yet each and every one of us has the capacity to appreciate life, to know life and to know ourselves as being part of life, and this enquiry that constitutes true spirituality.

As to the origin of our species, ancestors in the vicinity of what is today's India and home to what I shall show is undoubtedly the worlds oldest civilisation, came up with the idea of evolution some millennia before Darwin. The theory of evolution is widely accepted although it still has some unexplained aspects for lack of evidence such as the leap from ape to human. We can look back through the fossil record and see there are many variants of what we can refer to as prototype humans like the fabled Lucy, once thought to have been the mother of all modern humans.

Little is known about the protohuman species, the Africans, the Dennisovian's, Soanian's, Peking man, Java man, the Australians, and indeed the Americans, as controversial human remains have been found dating back to over 200,000 BC in Mexico, long before the Caral or Caral-supe civilization of Peru. All we know for certain is that they existed, and as they all lived with a choice of eating or being eaten, they either learned and evolved or went extinct.

The out of Africa theory has diminished further with the recent find of an anatomically similar but unrelated skeleton showing the genus that Lucy belonged to was not the only one with the potential to become us, and there are similar protohuman remains found across Eurasia with Denisovian (an extinct Asian pre-modern species) DNA in today's Tibetan population giving them the capacity to absorb oxygen at high altitudes. Two million year old hand tools have been recovered predating Homo erectus at Chauntra in Himachal Pradesh and at other locations.

There is no evidence that any one pre-modern human species actually evolved into modern humans, although it is possible and thought to be probable. Yet with all the evidence we have, it also seems probable that modern humans evolved independently in different parts of the world, and that they mixed and interbred giving us the diversity of physical features and skin colours we see today.

As the uncertainty about the theory about our African origins grows because of lack of definitive proof and conflicting evidence. The 'out of Africa theory' regarding the spread of our species is similarly suspect and in many academic circles it has been dismissed. The exact details of this stage of our evolution may never exactly be known and from the time period of about 750,000 BC, the archaeological community begins talking about human cultures.

One of the contradictions regarding our origins arises across the Siwalik region of the Indian subcontinent covering parts of today's Nepal, India and Pakistan where what's described as Soanian Culture (wiki) existed, and it may be related to the Chauntra stone tools find. While the Soanian Culture dates as continuous from two million BC to 125,000 BC, in Tamil Nadu, Acheulen artefacts date to 1.6 Million BC and it seems probable that both of these populations lived continuously into the modern period and likely interbreed with each other and other protohuman and modern species.

We don't know for certain, but it's a probability we must keep in mind, and we must also include the Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan Capules which constitute the oldest prehistoric art ever discovered dated to around 700,000 BC and located in the Madhya Pradesh region of central India.

These ancient peoples are considered to still be protohuman, not the modern Homo Sapiens as we consider ourselves today which are believed to have evolved in the East African archaeological record about 300,000 BC to also appear in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains around one hundred thousand BC.

It's thought that modern human behaviour, a diversion into ideas began around 150,000 years ago with innovations in technology and art but these are not exclusive to Africa. This evidence appears across greater India, more so in the drier regions better suited to preservation wet areas and across Southeast Asia, the wet climate does not preserve the evidence so well.

We can see from the evidence that parts of India may have been populated for the past two million years or more. When we get to about 74,000 BC and the Mount Toba volcanic eruption in Java, there is evidence across India of human occupation before and after this event proving conclusively that people lived there before and they after, meaning they survived the fallout (of large quantities of volcanic ash) to continue their existence.

We are still left with a lot of conjecture and theory with insufficient evidence to qualify as empirical proof as to human origins however independent origination within various sub-species in different regions of the world seems more likely than the 'one' out of Africa.

As we come closer to the modern period we have our interesting ancestors we call Neanderthals who are thought to have gone extinct around 30,000 BC. A lot of effort has gone into studying their remains, we know that in some instances they buried their dead and covered the bodies with flowers before covering with soil and stones indicating a high degree of intelligence, thoughtfulness and socialisation.

The Neanderthals were also not exclusive, they co-existed with the existing human species of the time, they travelled and interbred leaving a trace of their DNA not only in today's population, but in others now extinct. As to their demise, we are left to suspect that it was some climatic event that caused their extinction rather than their lack of adaptability. In fact, Neanderthal characters have been recreated and when clothed would pass by unnoticed on the streets of our modern cities.

This is where looking back into history gets more interesting, we have what is undoubtedly a piece of artwork (the Lion Man of the Hohlenstein Stadel characterised as religious art) of Indian origin found in Germany dating to 35,000 BC (perhaps 38k). It is also from this period that researchers like Nilesh Oak, Chaman Lal, Raj Vedam and many others researching through India's ancient books contend that Indian civilisation existed (the beginning of the Vedic period) and the Lion man is a strong indicator of trade a sharing of ideas and exploration.

We must also remember that back then, the earth was doing its own thing transitioning from ice age to present day global warming with Europe at the time affected by extremes of cold. In ancient times when the climate became unsuited, people could pack up and go somewhere else but today there are so many of us and the land so tightly controlled there is nowhere to go.

Until about ten thousand BC it's generally thought that all the human species were hunter gatherers relying on stone tools although fragments of pottery dating back to around 20,000 BC have been found in India and China. Pottery indicates permanent settlements and a degree of control over the landscape with the possibility of agriculture.

Through about 20,000 BC we have groups of people living in various parts of the world yet we know there was a degree of mixing, a sharing of ideas and trade. The archaeologist David Adams speaks of the Wakaan Corridor on one of the silk Road routes being used for trade around 35,000 BC and the house mouse dependent on people is beginning to spread beyond India.

It also seems probable that these ancestral communities were more reliant on gathering food as opposed to hunting which was aided by the development of the bow and arrow, and the the spear thrower at about 20,000 BC. These two advances gave hunter gatherers access to more meat which until then had been a luxury, and that may have effected subsequent human evolution.

In our story so far, humanity is not only surviving, it is thriving sufficient that the Neanderthals before disappearing and other cultures were developing art. The Lion Man found in Germany may well be evidence of a spiritual concept (and long-distance trade) as it seems probable the Venus statues that are widely dispersed around the world probably are.

Some researchers consider that pockets of civilised culture with agriculture may have existed in various places within greater India from or perhaps even before the 20,000 BC period. While researchers are continually making new discoveries, across India, new evidence is pushing the concepts of city states back to nearer to 10,000 BC and prior to Gobekly Tepe being constructed. Perhaps with trade and communication, Gobekly Tepe was influenced by the peoples of India?







History
Introduction
Review Guide
Ancient Times
Less Ancient Times
Tracing Outr Origins
Archaeology Fails
A Chronology of Hindu History
North West Bharat


Cultural History
The Story of Omar
Rape Culture
South Asia
Why India Was Broken

 
 

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