Section 2: The Main Sources of Civilization

Civilization: The Age of Masked Gods and Disguised Kings – Volume I

As argued in the previous section, the best way to obtain insight into a specific society is through an examination of its historical and geographical conditions. We will turn to this now, as I try to analyze the main factors that have led to today’s civilization.

From our earliest primate beginnings, it seems to have taken us at least seven million years to arrive at the agricultural revolution about 8,000 years ago. Paleontological evidence indicates that hominid species evolved in Africa from approximately 2.5 million years ago and spread from there to Asia and Europe. Homo Sapiens seems to have evolved in East Africa, around 150,000 to 200,000 years ago, and soon afterwards started spreading around the globe from the East African Rift Valley during the so-called “first exit” out of Africa.

In Africa, and later in other parts of the world, all hominid species are believed to have lived in clans of twenty to thirty people, sustaining themselves by gathering and hunting. Ownership and family had not yet developed but the clan system functioned as the extended family. It is believed that early Homo species mastered a communication system consisting of body and sound signs, but were not yet able to transform sounds into symbols. Nevertheless, this communication system brought many advantages such as the ability to act in unison when hunting or fighting.

Research indicates that approximately 150,000 to 200,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens developed something akin to language. These studies also indicate that around 50,000 years ago a second wave of migration from East Africa, via the Rift Valley took place. Prior to the second exodus from Africa, humans had already obtained a communication system consisting of sounds with symbolic meaning—the origin of modern languages.33

We can assume that the early humans, both inside and outside of Africa, lived in larger communities and hunted intentionally, that they used caves as dwellings and that women specialized in gathering and men in hunting. Some archaeological findings point to the fact that the species advanced rapidly during this time due to their obtaining symbolic thought. For instance, the incredible cave drawings from this period in the region of the French-Spanish border and in Hakkari, Kurdistan, attest to the fact that these humans possessed symbolic thought.34 There may even be a connection between the complex communication system of modern humans and the elimination of the other hominid species (amongst others the Neanderthals, who disappeared between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago).

33 Editor’s note: Genetic evidence that has come to light since the writing of this manuscript, indicates that all descendents of the humans who had left Africa during the first migratory wave, about 125,000 years ago, died out before the second migration out of Africa. The evidence indicates that the second migration took place about 85,000 years ago, when one group of humans, consisting of a few hundred individuals, left East Africa in a single exodus. Their mitochondrial DNA shows that all non-Africans are descendent from one woman, the “Out-of-Africa Eve.” See Stephen Oppenheimer, Out of Eden (2004).

34 Thousands of rock paintings and carved stones can be found at the Trişin alp, Gevaruk alp and Peştazare, all located in the Hakkari province.

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