Governance around 11,000 BC


The archaeological record shows that a single culture, the Iberomaurusian, occupied the Maghreb region of North Africa from around 18/16,000 to 8,000 BC, during which time similar assemblages were to be found as far east as the Haua Fteah cave on the Cyrenaican coast. Not quite up to Egypt, but the proximity of Iberomaurusian deposits to the present coastline has suggested to investigators that many sites may have been drowned in the postglacial seas. (Plato Prehistorian)

Southwest Asia

A leading Near Eastern prehistorian has recently summarized the present state of our knowledge with regard to the sudden increase in the size of Palestinian settlements during the tenth millennium BC: The jump in settlement size was accompanied by a "virtual explosion" of arts, crafts, and technologies that were heretofore unknown to the local peoples of Palestine. Some of these innovations were in fact new to the archaeological record of known sites anywhere in the world. (Plato Prehistorian)


 Of some 59 burials at this Nubian cemetery, Wendorf found that almost half of the deceased had died violently, the first collection of traumatic deaths known to Africa and perhaps to the Mediterranean world. The crude flints found with these skeletal remains were not, he assures us, grave offerings. Some were still embedded in the bones of the dead, others were found along the vertebral column, chest cavity, and lower abdomen. In Wendorf's opinion, "the ferocity in the deaths of many of these individuals indicates that the situation was more serious than that which leads to the occasional friction between neighboring groups." The date of the Djebel Sahaba burials is uncertain. Wendorf has suggested a time between 12,000 and 10,000 BC "or slightly later"; the Qadan culture itself is now believed to have disappeared around 9000 BC. We are in any case close enough in time to the Timaeus war to suspect some sort of connection between these signs of what Wendorf saw as political unrest along the Nile and the prewar Atlantic transgressions that angered Zeus at the end of the Critias. (Plato Prehistorian)

Indus Valley





 …it does seem curious that after some 20,000 years of apparently tranquil relations among Europe's Homo sapiens sapiens populations, the first known European collections of traumatic deaths should have occurred at a time that promises to intersect the chronology of Plato's war. A conflict involving all those who lived inside the Straits of Gibraltar may well have included Ukrainians, but at this point we are primarily interested in the earlier groups of mixed burials, and the possibility that these deaths by flint point were the result of prewar Atlantic encroachment. (Plato Prehistorian)

In his own analysis of the Ukrainian hostilities, the excavator of Vasylivka III proposed that the violence revealed in all three cemeteries signified the forcing out of a native Proto-Mediterranean population by incoming Cro-Magnon groups from the north. (The Proto-Mediterranean physical type is smaller, more lightly built, and considerably less well-differentiated sexually than Cro-Magnon man.) His idea of the expulsion of one people by another may in fact be applicable beyond the Ukraine, as "considerable cultural change" is said to have characterized much of central and eastern Europe in this Epi-Paleolithic era. (Plato Prehistorian)

South America




North America



The Australian Aborigones offer a wonderful subject for meditations on the nature of humanity. Consider: these people lived in what may have been nearly complete isolation for more than 40,000 years in an ecologically diverse continent, and when first encountered by Europeans in the 17th century, their technology hardly approached the sophistication of the Neanderthals: just simple stone tools and rudimentary wooden implements; and yet they evolved a kinship system and cosmology that most graduate students in anthropology have struggled to comprehend in all its complexity--and probably never do. (Patterns in Prehistory)