Les premiers peuplements de l'Europe centrale et de l'Est


fr Comptes Rendus Palevol 5 (1-2) - Pages 311-317

Published on 28 February 2006

This article is a part of the thematic issue Climates - Culture - Society in prehistoric times. From the appearance of hominids to the Neolithic.

The first settlements of central and eastern Europe

The first human occupation of central and eastern Europe was not the result of climatic changes, but the consequence of an increasing control of the environment. The South of Europe was already inhabited 1.8 Ma ago. Man was an integral part of the biotope characterized by Mammuthus meridionalis, Dicerorhinus etruscus, Equus stenonis, Cervus perrieri as well as the carnivores Canis etruscus, Ursus etruscus, Megantereon megantereon, Homotherium crenatidens, and Pachycrocuta. Due to the stone implements, first of all the sharp edges of flakes, the meat of big animals was included into the diet. Obviously man's place was among the predators, but it is still unknown how dangerous he really was. The essential condition for the settlement of the temperate zones was the control of fire. At Bogatyri (Sinaja Balka), on the Taman Peninsula, together with a fauna with Mammuthus meriodinalis tamanensis, Elasmotherium caucasicum, Bison schoetensacki, Equus suessenbornensis, and lithic artefacts, there may be traces of fire. The age of this site is about 1 Ma. Isolated finds (Kärlich A, Brno. Červeny Kopec) seem to indicate an occupation of central Europe at the same period (Jaramillo). The human presence north of the Alps is proved for about 600 000 years ago (Mauer, Miesenheim I, Boxgrove, Achenheim 30). These sites show human occupation during periods of temperate climate. The control of environment permitted life in the glacial steppes rich of game from about 450 000 years ago (Kärlich H; MIS 12). At the end of Lower Palaeolithic (400 000–300 000), we got from central Europe important information concerning life-style, habitation, hunt, and weapons (Bilzingsleben, Schöningen, Kärlich-Seeufer). The lack of such evidence in eastern Europe is caused by a gap in research.


Taman Peninsula, control of fire, settlement in the temperate zones, occupation of the glacial steppes

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