The Beginning of the Metal Age
|The invention of metal casting turned the development of mankind in a completely new direction. Up to now, historiography has more or less neglected this highly interesting moment. Although the results of archaeological excavations have brought to light many details, their compilation is still under way. Only an overall view will allow a better understanding of the development of Cultural Man, particularly with respect to our own high-level culture. The combination of archaeological findings with the legends of the ancient Mediterranean peoples as well as our own traditions provides amazing insights into the processes taking place during the transition from Stone Age to Metal Age in Eurasia.|
|The Early Fortresses|
A classic example of the beginning of the Metal Age is the copper age
settlement of Zambujal, Portugal, which has been excellently excavated
and published by Portuguese and German archaeologists. This commercial
post of the first metal traders looks like all the others of that era
in the entire Mediterranean region. The basic commodities found there
are evidence of far-reaching marine connections with similar trade centres.
The raw materials originate from all over Europe, North Africa, and West
Asia. It seems that the orientation towards navigation is a characteristic
feature of the entire copper civilization. One may well conclude that
the early smiths were good sailors and also exercised the political rule
over the sea; they must have felt safe against enemy fleets or individual
|In the steppe where horse-breeders live, the art of fighting with bow
and arrow was improved. Scythians and Numidians, Parthians and Thracians
were the great archers of ancient times, all of them being steppe peoples
from an ecological point of view. The Greek in their mountainous land and
on the small islands were not enthusiastic about arrow-fighting but preferred
to hire mercenaries as archers. Among them, the Kuretes were famous as the
best archers, i.e. the descendants of those conquerors called KUR (Horr),
being organized in guilds like the Rami of Tazeroualt in Morocco today with
their mystics and their congregation houses. Among the numerous designations
of archers, I have chosen the proper name of Horra as it is the most frequent
and meaningful (Topper 1977). By this somewhat unusual orthography I want
to underline the difference to local manifestations like Hurrians and Hurrites.
The arrow was also a means of expression making word and script superfluous. An example is the arrow message: If an arrow was sent to somebody, it meant war and a request for allegiance. Sending a broken arrow meant a declaration of war against an enemy. And, if a German threw an arrow towards his slave, that person was free.
Arrow poisons were widespread, but there existed also a code of honour which, for example, prohibited a Frank from using arrow poison against his tribal fellows. In hunting, poison was allowed in Germany until it was banned by law in the 16th century. The actual arrow poison of the early ages was carcass poison of rotten snake meat and human blood. This knowledge was passed on to us by the Greeks referring to the Scythians. It seems that experience led to the concoction of such poison. A hunter who reused an arrow which had been stuck in a decaying carcass for days will have realized the poisoning effect of it with astonishment.
The arrowhead was carefully manufactured from bone and horn and most of all from the hardest stone, flint (and obsidian). Better than ceramic remnants, arrowheads remained unchanged for long periods of time and allow us to perceive prehistoric settlements, wars, and wanderings. From the beginning, the main groups of the copper conquerors of the Iberian Peninsula used two different kinds of arrowheads: those of Almería (Spain) had legs while those of Tejo (Portugal) were concave (see illustration). As the 'Portuguese' arrowheads (without leg) are found in Almería as well, it can be assumed that there existed a connection in this direction such that the manufacturers of the legless arrowheads were suppliers to both settlement areas. This means trade relations for such a simple item over a distance of roughly one thousand km by sea, passing through the Straits of Gibraltar. These flint arrowheads were very cheap and durable, so they survived for a long time during the Metal Age confusing today's scientists because only copper and bronze arrowheads indicate the Metal Age.
|The trade which was introduced by the Horra for the first time in a continent-crossing
dimension as is proved by archaeological findings, was also the steadiest
institution of this large state. The cobalt used to dye Egyptian glass cups
came from Schneeberg in the German Ore Mountains, buttons and jewellery
made of North African ostrich egg shells lay in Portuguese tombs, remnants
of silk gowns were found in nobility tombs in Southern Germany, for example
at Hohmichele near Heuneburg on the Danube: a female corpse gown made of
wool rep embroidered with Chinese silk threads; the woman lay next to her
husband beneath a four-wheel carriage. Trade connected the outermost borders
of the empire and is evidence of a 'Pax Hurritica' which must have been
established by military force. In case of pure marine trade, a generally
peaceful attitude of the coastal population - by no means a matter of course
if one has in mind the later Greek situation - would have been sufficient,
but transporting goods across large land areas definitely required a strict
legislation plus the necessary supervisory measures in order to guarantee
peace in the land. This includes roads, chains of message towers, marks
(seals, badges) and military protection.
The Horric metal civilization from China to Egypt and from Scandinavia to the Sahara created a high-level culture which, within one or two generations, formed a completely new cultural image for mankind. It makes up the basis of our entire modern world civilization.
Trade in raw materials and its associated system of measures, fiscal economy emerging from it, and generally accepted legislation are the earliest indications of the inter-continental peace period of the first Metal Age. It seems that this civilization spread unusually fast in a peaceful way as trade requires peaceful co-operation. The most important contribution was copper which was mined in Andalusia, in the Ore Mountains, the Caucasian Mountains and in Cyprus and then alloyed with tin to obtain bronze. The latter was cast in accordance with standardized weight measures and mixing ratios thus becoming a high-quality article of exchange which was soon accepted by all Eurasian peoples.
The invention of metal casting established the 'smith' as the first independent profession. A person who mined, smelted, and processed ore could not allow for ploughing and harvesting, hunting and fishing. He had his tribal fellows supply him with foodstuffs as the products of his hands were of outstanding importance: due to their nature as weapons and tools, they made military and economic superiority possible. Trade which had emerged in this way soon developed beyond mere bartering, because whatever the smith wanted to buy for his products, e.g. foodstuffs and hides, wood for firing, and labour, was paid for by offering a valuable commodity to the customer, i.e. bronze axes which soon became a stable currency. At all excavations, such standardized bronze axes of equal size and weight were found. They had a stable inter-regional value and were even hoarded as their value did not diminish in the course of time. Museum exhibits are usually called 'votive axes'.
The first manifestations of organized metallurgy are associated with
a certain ceramic type, the Bell-Beaker, named after its shape which resembles
that of a bell. It is found all over Europe in well defined areas giving
rise to suppose a small but powerful group of people in mostly foreign
surroundings who embellished their life with this beaker and finally gave
it to their dead in single graves. From all excavations it can be shown
that the Bell-Beaker people were a minority of short and roundheaded features,
wearing amber beads and V-hole buttons as well as the typical arm protection
of the archer. And what is most important, they are the inventors of open
cast moulds for copper and bronze. Remnants of the Bell-Beaker culture
in zones of copper and tin ores like Cornwall and Devon consist of round
huts, coloured faience beads and gold objects.
Wine and Beer
Amazingly enough, the history of wine which is an important cultural
asset in the civilized world of today, is limited to vague suggestions.
Modern encyclopaedias present contradictory and completely obsolete information.
|Strange amulets, namely small flat tablets of cut slate provided with
carvings, are part of the significant inventory found in the early Metal
Age settlements in the West of the Iberian Peninsula. Generally, they are
attributed to the Bell-Beaker people because they appear together with Bell-Beaker
ceramics. In Portugal, the immediate area where slate tablets were found
extends from the river Tejo to the river Guadiana, while similar tablets
have been found in Almería (Spain) and in France (near Châlon-sur-Saône
and in the department Hérault); they are likewise found - although
slightly differing in shape and made of different materials - from the Sahara
via the Greek islands to Cyprus and the Orient.
An evaluation of the many thousands of small slate tablets in Portuguese museums plus the associated literature shows that there is a certain similarity with the wooden stelae found almost world-wide on tombs, so that they should be considered as belonging to the same spiritual and ornamental background. Generally, the schist tablets are smaller than a hand, being smooth and flat on the front ornamented with carved lines while the back is curved and rarely provided with carvings. Most of them have one, some have two holes at the upper end which might be interpreted as eyes. It seems that the interpretation as eyes or human figures is wrong as in fact the tablets appear to be abstract. Besides, the borehole has a V-shaped cross-section just as in the case of the garment buttons of this cultural group which are also regarded as an identifiers of the early metal traders.
It has not yet been discovered what the slate tablets actually mean. As they hardly present any traces of abrasion by use, it is not probable that they were worn as adornments. Could they have been the first personal identification objects, a kind of identification card proving the membership in the elite, i.e. the smiths?
|Domestic Animals: Horse and Goat|
|According to our scholastic historiography, the taming of horses is directly
linked with the emergence of the 'Indo-Europeans'. The first horse keepers
and the 'early Indo-Europeans' are often seen as identical. As our own culture
is tightly linked to this problem - in fact, the European culture was the
highest developed horse culture on earth - there exists a great deal of
research and literature output at our universities on this subject. In most
cases, the inquiry is regarded as being completely solved. Although the
basic facts and most of the details are known, so far no summarising synthesis
has been presented which would apply to many other fields of knowledge as
well. There had been intense research, but the generalising overview which
is the actual fruit of research work has been omitted.
When and where have horses been tamed first?
If one does not take into account the enormous dimension of the Eurasian region, the question can be answered geographically: The domestic horse was bred somewhere between the Danube river and the Altai mountains along the steppe belt of the 50th parallel Northern Latitude. Wild horses were chased as early as in the so-called Palaeolithic Era in the entire region between China and Iberia as is proved by many retrieved bones, but taming succeeded much later because the inborn escape reflex and the zest for freedom of the horse are much stronger than those of the aurochs or the reindeer. Chasing horses developed into tending the herd gradually with man ensuring the continued existence of the best animals by prudent selection. The horse-tender followed the herds through the change of seasons thus becoming the lifemate and finally the master of the horses.
The beginning of the spreading of tamed horses coincides in time with the spreading of copper casting; both events happened suddenly at the same moment, if we consider one or two generations as a 'moment' from a historical viewpoint. This invention spread like a huge wave over the whole of Europe, from Tripolye in Ukraine to Zambujal in Portugal. For conventional chronology, 2300 to 2200 B.C. is given, whereby the Eastern locations of findings are regarded as slightly older than the Western ones. Apart from Podolia, sometimes Armenia and even Mesopotamia ('Sumer') are designated as region of origin of this horse-metal culture. While this is possible for Armenia because it presumably was the first colonisation region of the horse keepers, it is improbable with respect to 'Sumer'. The so called Sumerians did not originate in a vast river valley but came from mountains to the North and East of Mesopotamia. The Altaic languages which were spoken north of the Caucasian and the Kophet mountains, i.e. in the 'horse belt', are regarded as the closest relatives of the 'Sumerian' language.
In all archaeological excavations, goat bones are found in connection with the early metal culture. Goat and smith belong together.
In 1882, about 20 million goats were still kept in Europe, while they are nowadays restricted to some isolated mountainous regions. Therefore, we are unable to imagine the former great significance of this animal which perhaps was the first domestic animal of mankind. The Bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus) is considered as the wild form (according to F. Zeuner), which lived in a very large area from Crete via Anatolia and Iran to the Indus valley. The centre seems to have been the Kophet mountains at the Northern edge of Iran. A second wild goat species called Markhor (Capra falconeri) lives there which may as well have been the origin of some domestic goat races such as the variant in Turkestan and the Dard region which have nearly upright horns.
Hardly later than the goat, the other 'mountain animal', the sheep, has been domesticated. In Europe, it has played a larger role than the goat in historical times, although it is less profitable and needs better pastures. Experience shows that its tending is easier. Sheep, too, belong directly to the economic system of the early smiths.
For both 'mountain animals' (goat and sheep), more or less the same origin is considered, the lands from Eastern Anatolia to the Indus river and to Central Asia with the centre being Northern Iran, and the period for both being the so-called Mesolithic Era. In historical times, goats and sheep were kept side by side; both species complement each other, and a mixture of goat hair and sheep wool provides a waterproof fabric most suitable for making the large tents of nomads. Classical Chinese texts do not use different expressions for sheep or goat; both are simply called 'mountain animal' which also underlines the close interconnection.
Lance and shield are the preferred armament of the goat herdsman. The lance is stylized as the herdsman's rod which becomes the mystic symbol of the goat herdsman as such. The rod of the shepherd, being rolled in like the horns of a moorland sheep, is still used by Catholic bishops nowadays as a symbol of their herdsman's function.
The shield was developed to become a mark of property, represented in innumerable rock drawings from Cashmere to the High Atlas. The shield was made of goat skin, called skutos = shield in Greek, related also to the Latin word cutis = skin. The oldest fairytales about 'goat men' indicate the region of the mountains between Iran and Pamir, the mythical Mashu mountain in the Gilgamesh epic.
The signs of the goat herdsmen formed the basis for the first standardized script signs understood by everybody. They have been preserved in more clarity in the early Chinese script. From there, the pictograms from the Hindukush to the Canary Islands can be interpreted and some of them even read phonetically.
After the Horra had crossed the Caucasian mountains and invaded the Orient
from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea, they established a new capital
near the Ararat. From there, they ruled over their new territories. At
first, Hurritic was the official language until it was replaced by Akkadian.
For the purpose of maintaining power by military means, many auxiliaries
were needed, and it became evident that the Caucasian peoples were the
most suitable for this task. These Ar-meni (Arian men, mountain people)
were melted into a warrior caste and detached to the administrative centres,
i.e. the big cities. They were the first soldiers in the actual sense
of the word, namely professional warriors receiving pay. Their language
has survived for a long time in the regions ruled by them on behalf of
the Horra as a kind of Armenian or 'Indo-European', in fact a Koine like
all administrative or military languages, an 'Urdu' (i.e. order, army,
The ideology spread by the Horra can hardly be proved archaeologically
except by listing the missing elements which are registered in other cultures
as religious artefacts. Instead of the temple buildings, they only built
cult tents, and instead of the idols common elsewhere we find a lack of
images. It was perhaps for one long century that this religion-denying
state was forced by law upon the oppressed, but the gradually re-emerging
usual cult objects show that this law was soon undermined and evaded.
The image-free belief in a unique God which the Horra had propagated manifested
itself in later times only rarely as a side branch, occurring intermittently,
e.g. in the Jewish scripts of the prophets or in Buddha's sermons.
|History of Technology|
The study of certain technological achievements gave rise to the idea
that the Hyksos ruling over Egypt are the early Eurasian smiths who must
be identical with the builders of the Old Empire pyramids. In fact, no
mathematical records exist in the Nile valley before the Hyksos era, and
without such tools it is impossible to construct large buildings such
as the pyramids, just like it is impossible to cut and polish diorite
or malachite without steel. It is also known that women played an outstanding
role in Egypt which certainly has nothing to do with the Arian (in this
case Persian) conquests but is genuinely Horric in origin.
Postscript: The above theme has been published in German four years later (2003) as a book with the title:
Horra. Die ersten Europäer (Tübingen)
Blöss, C. und Niemitz, H.-U. (1997): C14-Crash. Das
Ende der Illusion, mit C14 und Dendrochronologie datieren zu können
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