Africa, West Europe & Prehistory: The Earliest Africans In West Europe
It seems appropriate to begin this article begins with the earliest type of humanity known to us and still with us in the form of the Khwe but also known as the San, Bushmen, Boskopoids, Capoids and their close cousins known as the Khoi (= Hottentots). In terms of human technology, this is the Palaeolithic (= Old Stone Age). For Africa, the Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) named this earliest Palaeolithic as the Olduvai or Oldowan Culture.
It seems a major condition of these early folks was that called steatopygia (= swollen buttocks). Probably this is most famously known in Africa via the so-called Hottentot Venus. She is the subject of a good book titled “The Hottentot Venus: The Life & Death Saartjie Baartman [born 1789- buried 2002]” written by Rachel Holmes (2007). Another feature of this period is the use of red-ochre paint. After Sara/Saartjie Baartman, the best known example in Africa is Ati. She was the wife and queen of Perahu named as the king of Punt in the reliefs in the tomb-temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari (Egypt).
This Venus-form plus red ochre is thought be echoed on the Venus figurine found at Tan-Tan (Morocco). It is probably best known via the several reports by Robert Bednarik. One such account is cited by Don Hitchcock (on Don’s Maps online). The Olduwan chopping-tool is thought to be the origin of the Acheulian hand-axe or amygdale by Pietro Gaiello (The Origin of the Decorative Arts is in the Aechulian) plus others. The Aechulian is generally held to be of African sources and came via Iberia (=Spain & Portugal) to such as Sainte-Acheul (the French type-site of the Acheulian Culture). Gaiello (ib.) felt the amygdales of Aechulian date in Iberia repeated the Venus form. He instanced those from Ambona (Spain) in particular.
Bednarik (The Mariners Project online) has written a considerable number of studies relating to the earliest hominids. He held that such as these Venus-type figurines plus crossing short stretches of sea were major advances in the thinking of earliest humans. In “Early Mankind in Arabia”, messrs. Whalen & Pease (in Saudi Aramco Magazine 1992 & online) point to Olduwan tools in the Arabian Peninsula at something close to one million years before common era (= BCE). Sean McGrail (Mariner’s Mirror = MM 1992) says much the same of the earliest artifacts in the Iberian Peninsula. Bednarik (ib.) and colleagues have given great detail about the ability of the seemingly aberrant hominids called Homo floriensis (= the “Hobbits” of the island of Flores [Indonesia]) able to have crossed short stretches of sea at later dates on rafts.
Later dates are where chronologically easily the bulk of the Palaeolithic Venuses belong. The Venus-forms so far discussed are of the Lower Palaeolithic but most belong with the Upper Palaeolithic. What Gaiello (ib.) has written about the earlier Venus-like tool-forms is applied to those from Wilcyzce (Poland) by Jan Fiedorezekuti et al (Antiquity 2007) and to elsewhere by others. The distribution of those of the Upper Palaeolithic is from France to Russia and the most famous of them is that found at Willendorf (Austria).
For Akira Kato (Palaeolithic Age: Sticking-out Buttocks online), African traits are known on other Venus figurines found in Europe. He especially those from Brassempouy (France), Montpazan (France), one of the seven from Balza Rossi (= Red Rocks, Italy). It should be realised that Balza Rossi/Red Rocks is but an alternative for the much more famous term of the Grimaldi Caves. It will be recognised this fits with the claimed Negroid affinities of the Grimaldi Culture skeletons. This is underlined by the Venus-form found at Willendorf having the tightly-coiled form hair that became one of the artistic conventions for depicting Africans down through the ages.
AFRICAN HEADS DEPICTED THROUGH TIME OUTSIDE AFRICA
There are many writers saying that tightly-coiled hair does not represent what has just been said. This is especially true of the heads of the Buddhas that are spread from China to India and can be of enormous size. The hair in this case is explained variously in terms of chakras (= blessings), hair pulled out by the roots to take this look, snails crawling on the head of Buddha to cool him, etc.
A head carved on a rock-face near Medina (Saudi Arabia) is called Ishmael by Wayne Chandler and Runoko Rashidi (in African Presence in Early Asia edd. by Van Sertima & Rashidi 1995). However, all rock-art is subject to considerable dating problems. On a stele from Zinjirli (Turkey), three figures are carved and the one claimed to be an African is denied by many expert authors cited by Peggy Brooks-Bertram (in Egypt: Child of Africa ed. Ivan Van Sertima 1994 & 2002).
A figure called Memnon is seen as ruler of the Kush seen in Hindu Kush (mountains in the Indian sub-continent) plus later Khuzestan (ex-Elam = southeast Persia/Iran). Eos (= Dawn & mother of Memnon) was linked to the east and Early Greek sources saw Memnon coming from the east to help Troy against the Greeks. Aeschylus (ca. 550 BCE) described Susa (ex-capital of Elam) as the city of Cissia (an alternative name for Eos) and Herodotus (ca.2500 BCE) as the city of Memnon. Some heads of Memnon show him as Thracian and white.
Giant statues mean they had giant heads. Giant heads include those of captives carved on a relief at Tanis (Egypt) plus that of the Great Sphinx at Giza (Egypt) that once again is the subject of problematical dates but the head has long been recognised as out of scale relative to the rest of the monument. Nowhere are Great Heads better attested than by those of the Olmec Culture of Mexico. However, there are numerous explanations by some very authoritative scholars for the look of the Olmec Great Heads that are cited in “West Africa & the Atlantic in Antiquity”
The giant Buddhas have hair we saw that has been “explained” as hair pulled out by the roots to look like tufts. It is known that religion can produce some strange activities but this seems positively painful. The story that snails voluntarily crawled on to a sweaty holy man’s head to cool him sounds like a joke but soon loses appeal on it being realised what lies behind it. It does not explain the mix of black colour, snub noses, thick lips, tightly-coiled hair, etc. The African link this implies seems confirmed by Krishna (= Black One), Shyama (= Great Black One), Juggernath (= originally a block painted black). Geoffrey Parrinder (Traditional African Religions 1953) saw the variously spelt Mulungu/Murungu/Murugan as the god of some 25 tribes across Africa. This deity seems echoed by that aspect of Krishna called Murukan/Skandar.
The Medina “Ishmael” may have uncertain dates but it has close affinities with the head of a Nuba chief from Kenya in works published by Ivan Van Sertima. The Zinjirli stele was one of four important works of propaganda, so any mistake would not have been tolerated by the Assyrian king as a god on earth and the sculptor would probably have paid with his life to atone for the insult to his god and king. It is curious the experts should have trouble seeing the third figure carved on it as proving to be the captured son of a Kusho/Egyptian Pharoah.
Memnon may be shown as coming from the east to assist Troy but as to where Kush was, Semitic scribes in Assyria plus Israel had good reason to know were it was and they consistently place it south of Egypt in Africa. Dictys Cretensis (= Dictys of Crete) says Memnon as ruler of Kush went on to conquer India then came west to aid Troy. Bernal (ib.) equates Memnon with Amenemhet II (son of Senusret II [= Sesostris?) and that he went on conquests in Syro/Palestine and Anatolia (= most of Turkey), so again approached Troy from the east. Cisse/Sisse as the name of Memnon’s mother is akin to Cissia and is also the clan-name of the ruling dynasty of the Old-Ghana Empire and by far most of the Memnon busts show him with all the traits of Africans.
It was seen above that the head of the Great Sphinx seems to have been re-carved at some time. It undoubtedly qualifies as the most famous Great Head in all Africa. An African connection for Egypt was outlined by Greeks and was taken up by such French scholars as messrs. Volney and Denon. The drawings of Vivian Denon plus those of Frank Domingo tell the same story as the photographs of Johnson Willard published by Ivan Van Sertima. That it is the face of a Kushite African.
Probably the most famous instances of Great Heads are those of the Olmec Culture having its heartland in southeast Mexico. The umpteen “explanations” put forward by some very expert opinions that are cited in “West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity” (online) could only agree on one thing, namely that under no circumstances is it to be allowed that they attest Africans in any way. My reasons for following a different line are also given in the same article; this is to the effect that such as those pioneers of Olmec as Jose Melgar, Matthew Stirling, etc, were correct about the Olmec Great Heads. Stirling in particular suggested that the Olmec Great Heads were Pre-Maya in date and that there were African affinities. Since he wrote that, he has been fully vindicated.
One reason why there is disbelief in any African link is because it is said there is no African tradition of Great Heads. When we realise that that the same is written about there being no evidence for braided hair or epicanthic fold of the eyes in Africa and this is a reason why the Olmec Great Heads cannot have any African link and the fact these traits are widespread across Africa, we can seriously doubt this.
Already, we have said that giant size implies giant heads. Thus there are giants called Wardai in Kenya, the figure identified as wearing the Hedjet (= White Crown) with the small mountain at Jebel Barkal (Sudan) the giant statues of Egypt (inc. the head of Ramesses II that Belzoni so much trouble), etc. Then there are the heads of prisoners as sculptures at Tanis (Egypt) that include Africans plus that of the Great Sphinx at Giza (Egypt) already seen to look African according to several writers.
In west Africa, there is the figure of Umlindi Wemingizuma (= Watcher of the South). He was a giant turned to rock by a goddess and it is still the Bantu for Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town (western South Africa). A story in the Fettach es-Sudan (= Hist. of the Sudan) tells of giant statue set up by a wandering Pharoah on the Guinea (?) coast. The oba (= king) of ancient Benin (Nig.) had Great Head as one of his titles according to Emma Ross (Benin Oba & Queen Mother online). Giant Heads as rocks are claimed to exist at Abuja (Nigeria) and Paynesville (nr. Monrovia, Liberia). Atlas (Morocco) was another giant turned to stone by a female.
A giant named Geryon figures in the 10th Labour Hercules that some online sources say was originally set somewhere in the Magreb (= north Africa west of Eg.) but is more usually seen as having happened further west that may attest Morocco but more usually seen as Gadir. At Gadir/Gadeira (in Huelva = s/west Iberia) he fought Hercules who cut off his head. A further African link is sought by Graham Campbell-Dunn (The Af. Origin of Classical Civilisation 2005) for the Gigantes (= Giants) and Cabezos (= Great Heads) of Iberian parades. Geryon’s head was buried at the opposite end of west Iberia under the Pharos (= lighthouse) near Corunna in Galicia (n/west Iberia). Further are the Basque terms for giants of Mauriaks (= Mauri/Moors) plus Gentiliaks (= Gentiles/Outsiders).
Brittany/Normandy in northwest France is at the opposite end from Galician plus Basque parts of northwest Iberia/Spain and southwest France. The Corunna Pharos marks an especially dangerous stretch of coast but though Galicia plus Brittany/Normandy are peninsulas, the latter may not be as treacherous but there are other parallels. The Corunna Pharos was compared by Richard Hornsey (Oxford Journal of Archaeology 1987) to le Grande-Menhir Brittany) and Tur Bregoin (Bregon’s Tower in Irish = the Corunna Pharos) in marking peninsulas. Geoffrey of Monmouth (12th c. Brit.) tells us here “King” Arthur slew and beheaded what he called the Spanish Giant.
Another peninsular area is Cornwall in southwest Britain/England. An ancient name for it was Belerion/Bolerion (in Greek) or Belerium/Bolerium (in Latin). This name is generally held to attest the southern tip of Cornwall or Land’s End and was named by the giant called Beler/Boler. There is no evidence there was a Pharos here but Charles Thomas (National Trust Studies 1979) shows there is some that signal-fires occurred in the Scilly Isles (off Cornwall) marking a peninsular region. So far as is known to this writer, there are no Cornish tales of Beler having been decapitated but another resident of Land’s End was Jack the Giant-killer who was a notorious beheader of giants.
Ireland abounds with tales about giants called Fomorach Afraicc (Fomoire from Africa) plus Fomoire (= From the Sea) and Daniel Donovan (Sketches of Carbury, County Cork: antiquities, history, legends & topography 1876) wrote of giants as rocks. Two Fomoire kings were Tethba (king of Mag Mor = Great Plain = Iberia) and Balar (k. of Ire.) Balar was the grandson of Net/Neit (= Iberian war-god). His massive head was cut-off by Lugh. He was buried at Carn Ui Neit (= Cairn of the Grandson of Neit = Mizen Head, County Cork). This is the southern tip of the west Cork/Kerry peninsula in west Munster (= southwest Ire.)
West African Group-L genes are not shown in the west Magreb but are seen in Iberia according to Serge Plaza et al (Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA Sequences of Multidirectional Gene Flow in the Western Mediterranean online). In short, west Africans were evidently capable of sailing directly from Guinea and/or Senegal to Atlantic-west Iberia. It is surprising the feature of dangerous seas around peninsular areas marked by lighthouses/signal-fires and/or stories about giants with heads chopped off marking most of those same places (to ward off the evil of those dangerous seas?) is not more often noted.
There will be more on the connection of Africa with the Celts of Iberia, Britain and Ireland below. Meanwhile having seen Africans could sail between west Africa and Iberia on distances equalling some of the routes across the Atlantic Ocean, it should have significance that giants with Africo/Iberian linkage and bearing Beler/ Balar names attest the most southwesterly points of Britain plus Ireland respectively.
AFRICAN FARMERS IN WEST EUROPE
When it is realised that what is now the hyper-arid Sahara was once verdant grassland that then savannah before becoming the desolate that it now is, it can now also be readily accepted that what has been called dryland farming will have arisen out of those circumstances.
Messrs. Blench (The Movement of Plants between Africa & India in Prehistory online) and Gadalla (Egyptian Romany: The Essence of Hispania 2004) are among those who have passed comment on this. So too has Roland Porteres (in Origins of African Plant Domestication edd. J. Harlan et al 1976). The name of Roger Blench is seen many times in this section and in this case, the title of his article is surely self-explanatory. Mohammed Gadalla (ib.) is basically concerned with the relationships between Egypt and Iberia. Blench (ib.) saw the practice transferred eastwards to India and Gadalla (ib.) saw the transfer as westwards to Iberia.
Blench also occurs as co-editor of “The origins & development of African livestock: Archaeology, genetics, linguistics & ethnography edd. Roger Blench & Kevin MacDonald 2000). He holds cats were probably first domesticated somewhere in east Africa. Opinion in recent years has veered to the conclusion that this most likely happened in the circumstances of farmers growing cereals needing somewhere to store them and this attracting rats and/or mice.
This led to the need for some form of mobile rodenticide that at first took the form of Viverridae (= mongoose family), Mustelidae (= weasel family) Messrs. Bourne & Bourne (Felis domesticus: Where & When = Feline History Group Newsletter 2000) show major factors in the change to cats. One was that they do not smell as much but the most important determinant was that they did not slaughter the poultry if they got amongst them.
Words for cats in east Africa include bis (& innumerable variants). The Bournes (ib.) cite Joseph Olumide Lucas (The Religion of the Yorubas 1949 & 1997) giving something similar in the bosi of ologbosi in Ijaw; followed by ologbi in Igala Isoko; ologbo in Yoruba; nwon-bo in Igbo/Ibo; bis/bisat in west Magreb. Other African words for cat include kadis in Kush/Nubia (= Sudan), kadiska in the Magreb, etc. Out of the last it seems comes the Latin cattus itself adopted into easily bulk of the languages of Europe in several spellings.
Mildred Kirk (The Everlasting Cat 1979) tied the spread of cats to tales of Gaedhel Glas bringing his Egyptian bride named Scota to Iberia. Something of the cat plus human seen in the Egyptian Bast is shown by Violet Alford (Pyrenean Festivals 1938). Alford (ib.) has no problem giving Pre-Christian dates to this in Iberia.
What we saw as the Atlantic seaways may be relevant here. This is particularly given the Iron Age dates for cat-bones at Halangy Porth? (Scilly Isles); Danebury (Hants); Bulford (Wilts.); Gussage All Saints (Wilts). The Bulford remains of adult cats plus kittens are especially suggestive of full domestication.
Kirk (ib.) plus the Bournes (ib.) note the legend that Scota’s cats reached and the Ballinderry (Offaly) excavations may belong here. Yet it may be that cats of Irish Celts were rather more in the nature of exotica no less than the Barbary ape found at Emain Macha (Armagh). This is shown by Senchus Mor (7th c.), Cormac’s Glossary (9th c.), O’Davoren’s Glossary (14th c.), etc. They tell us of Baircne (= Ship’s Champion), from his ability to catch rats aboard (?).
Domestication of dogs was long before that of cats. The more so if those taking this back to ca. 50,000 BCE are correct about what has been called the stage of ur (= Ger. start) canine domestication. These ur-stage dogs are what otherwise would be Undifferentiated or Pariah types. At so early a period, hunters with ur-types would have had a greater range of prey and a much greater chance of successfully bringing a meal home.
The Wikipedia article on the dogs called Afranis shows them to be of this ur/pariah stage and as said already, hunters with canine companions stood a much better chance of successful hunting. More basic is that without dogs, actual starvation is probable. It is this factor that leads to the expression that dogs are the friends of the hunter and cats are the friends of farmers. Given the herding plus guard-dog functions of dogs, this is not entirely accurate but the sentiment can be readily understood. In this respect, there is what has what is seen as the oldest strand of mankind, the Khwe are held to closely relate to Afranis.
Another African breed proven to be very ancient is the Basenji. It is one of those reported in such sources as Wikipedia (on Ancient dog-breeds), the New York Times, etc, that are placed among the 14 “Ancient dog breeds” reported to have very wolf-like attributes according to the genetic evidence. It is one of the pricked-ear/spritz that the author of the Wikipedia article says came to be known outside the continent of Africa.
On theory has it dogs very like the Egyptian Armant came with Magrebi shepherds to Iberia. Wikipedia says it became known as the Podango in Portugal and the Podango Gallego. Gallego tells for the Celtic link and can shorten to galgo and applied to small herding dogs. In the British Isles, the Irish term of colley (= useful) came to apply to a particular breed of sheepdog. However, there is also Brito/Welsh coilean (= whelp/pup). Messrs. Coombe & Hutchinson (The ancestral relationship of contemporary British herding dogs online) also hark to for the ancestry of British sheepdogs.
In “A history of pigs in Africa” (in Blench/Macdonald ib.), cites those wanting to put pig-rearing in Africa to Portuguese sources. He notes weighty evidence against this. Blench (ib.) shows for Pre-Portuguese domestication of African pigs by Africans. There are words in the Erythraic tongues relating to pigs that are decidedly Pre-Portuguese in east Africa. The Alis (ib.) that an Erythraean word from Ethiopia in was east Africa was doorfa. It was called pigs to food and was also known much further north.
For Marianne Berghaus-Gerst (in Blench/MacDonald ib.), there are more words from the Erythraic/Erythraean (= Afrasian) language of Omotic in Ethiopia are yet more words to do with pigs. Blench (ib.) showed black pigs are depicted in Egyptian mural art. Marie Parsons (Pigs in Egypt online) points to many other instances of Egyptian pig-rearing on an industrial scale in many cases. Blench (ib.) has further compared Egyptian pig-rearing methods with those of further west.
A westward path took black pigs via the Nuba of Sudan, the savannah of north-central Africa, Ghana, Senegambia (= Senegal & Gambia), etc and Ibrahim plus Ahmed Ali (The Black Celts 1991) wrote that Erythraic doorfu/doorfa became Magrebi tur-tur. Blench (ib.) was seen to state there is a raft of west African words for pigs having no European linkage. Nor will have been any connection with Islam as pig-meat of any kind is unclean for Muslims. The herding methods Blench (ib.) was seen to compare with further west especially means the dehessa (oak forests) and pigs feeding on acorns in the forest. Strabo noted this in Iberia and Cormac in Ireland.
This was mainly in the most Celtic/Celticised parts of Iberia. Pigs in Celtic (= mainly Atlantic-west) Iberia led to Classical writers extolling the virtues the cooked flesh of these Iberian black pigs. These authors also report what in Irish was called curadmir (= Champion’s Piece). This was said of Celts of Gaul (= mainly France) by Poseidonius (via Athanasius), Belgium by Strabo plus Ireland by native texts. It consisted of leading warriors coming to the roast pork to take the choicest part and if challenged, there was combat (often to the death).
Goats plus sheep were long held to attest the Near Eastern Neolithic in Europe near the Mediterranean but this is increasingly doubted and there is no valid reason why this does not apply to Africa. The more given the Erythraic words from Omotic plus Cushitic in Africa near the Mediterranean noted by Alfred Muzzolini (in Blench/MacDonald ib.). Glotto-dates show they had arrived in the Magreb by ca. 10,000 BCE and words for goat, sheep, ram, lamb, etc, were certainly known in Nilo/Saharan tongues by ca. 7000 BCE Underlying this is the Alis (ib.) saying Erythraic dirra-dirra linked to goats occurs abroad.
Berghaus-Gerst (ib.) says Magrebi sheep became an economic mainstay of Kush. In short, west/east not east/west but east/west movement is shown by Clyde Winters (The Spread of Cattle Domestication among the Mande-speaking people online) from the Magreb taking Magrebi sheep to west Africa. This is not the only example of cattle-based research touching on sheep, goats and their spread.
Another instance is the German scholars holding views summarised by Frobenius (ib.). This was that there were Magrebi sources for the sheep of Latin Europe then of Nordic plus Celtic Europe. The Alis (ib.) further that the Erythraic dirra-dirra is known in Celtic/Iron Age Britain with the same function of calling goats to be milked.
In “Prehistoric contacts across the Straits of Gibraltar indicated by genetic analysis of Iberian Bronze Age cattle”, Cecilia Anderung et al (online) touched on animals other than cattle , that in this case means goats plus sheep that may been accompanied by herd-dogs. In this light may be claimed African ancestors of Portuguese Water-dogs used by Iberian Celts to herd and hunt (?). The latter is given as part-ancestor of the Kerry Blue given a sea-borne arrival in Kerry already seen to be in west Munster (see above) in its origin-tale. This strengthens the Ibero/British link shown already.
In what archaeologists have called Syro/Palestine (= Syro/Pal.) lies much of may have led to Dynastic Egypt and looming large in Pre-Dynastic Egypt as part of this are sites of the Buto/Maadi Culture. At Maadi were found the remains of Syro/Pal.-type houses, donkeys, one of the largest amounts of copper yet found in Pre-Dynastic Egypt, etc. This may prompt visions of an earlier form of the Karum (= trader’s cartel) of Kultepe/Kanes (Anatolia) carrying copper on donkeys out of Anatolia to Assyria. Certainly, the importance of asses in Pre-Dynastic/Early Dynastic Egypt is shown by the bones of several excavated at Abydos (Egypt). Combining animal and human traits in the one image is well known and includes the ass-eared Anatolian Midas of Lydia.
A New Scientist article is cited on many web-sites as saying “Donkey domestication began in Africa”. What is being referred to is domestication of Equus asinus somaliensis (Somali wild ass) plus Equus asinus africanus (= Nubian wild ass). This tells strongly against Syro/Palestinian diffusion through such as Maadi and the rest of Egypt and then the rest for the antecedents of the donkey. The more so given that Blench (in Blench/MacDonald ib.) shows the Pan-African kuur softens into haar/harre in Erythraic-group tongues (esp. the Oromo language of Eth.). The savannah type of environment in which the wild ass became the domesticated donkey would be further shown by the striped legs of zebras and female donkeys.
This presumably represents the context of the Egyptian god named Set described as red-haired plus ass-eared by Ian Saunders (online). The more so given that such leading Egyptologists as Wilkinson (ib.) tells us that Set emerged in the Nubian/Eastern Desert and this is just where we have seen the genetic evidence shows the earliest domestication of the wild ass occurred. In any case, excavations have proven asses/donkeys in Pre-Dynastic Egypt but the earliest ass-bones further west in the Magreb and Iberia are of uncertain date.
Even more so must be the stories of ass-eared individuals as far west as Labraid yet the donkey seemingly only reached Britain with the Romans and Ireland in the 18th c. However, the Alis (ib.) state the Erythro/Egyptian drosh became British trush (& later Welsh truish & Scottish trosh) calling donkeys to food. However, the Celts of the Iron Age in Britain plus Ireland would have applied to the donkey-sized equid called a pony.
The rather larger equid called a horse attracts somewhat more attention but the donkey is of rather more practical use to the average man. Domestication of the horse probably began on the vast Eurasian Plain with a certain emphasis on the eastern or Mongolian/Kazakh end of things. This is a very long way from any part of Africa. Nor will it be any great surprise that as to when horses reached any part of Africa is mired in controversy.
What may be the oldest of any horse-bones in Africa are those reported by Walter Emery (Illustrated London News 1959), Bernal (ib.), etc. Emery (ib.) held they antedated the Hyksos rule of Egypt by 200 years but others put them to the Hyksos era in Egypt (ca. 1600- ca. 1500 BCE). Kush/Nubia proves how readily Africans took to horse-raising, as is shown in “Two horse skeletons from the cemetery of Kurru in northern Sudan” (online). They drew chariots and were evidently much larger than most in west Asia of the day. This fits with Henry Aubin (The Rescue of Jerusalem 2002) saying that the magnificent gift of Kushite horses to the King of Assyria had great military significance.
Most of west Africa knew little of the horse before the arrival of Islam in west Africa according to Roger Law (The Horse in West African 1980). Messrs. Stecchini (Hanno article online) and Lacroix (Africa in Antiquity 1998) felt Benin (= Edoland, Nig.) was known to Hanno (ca. 600 BCE) and the Pre-Ptolemy sources tapped by Ptolemy (ca. 150 common era = CE) respectively. Lacroix (ib.) also ties the Hypodromos Aethiopiae (= Racecourse of the Aethiopians/Africans) noted by Ptolemy to Benin and to what is said by Olfert Dapper (16th Dutch) about horse-breeding in that region of Nigeria.
Muzzolini (ib.) held the defeat of the “Sea-Peoples” plus Libyan allies had little to do with the chariots depicted on rocks in the Sahara. Yet a number of types of fort Sea-Peoples may illustrate certain points. Thus the tower-like ones variously called torre (Corsica), nuraghi Sardinia), talayots (Balearics). A possible comparable landward spread seems to the walled villages called ksour (= plural of kour) to as far west as the later Tichitt Culture (Mali/Senegal/Mauritania). Both the forts plus the villages had begun earlier than the Sea-Peoples but seemingly rose in number to meet some kind of threat. That of the threat of groups collectively lumped together as the “Sea-Peoples” may be reasonably obvious why the tower-like defences increase in number in the islands of the west Mediterranean.
Archaeologists generally argue against trans-Saharan commerce at this date but there may be evidence to the contrary. There was presumably something that attracted the attention of the Libyo/Berber allies of the Sea-Peoples who on Egyptian defeat(s) turned westwards. This presumably would be represented by the resources that paid for the building of the ksour. Then there are the famous “chariot-routes”. Messrs. Oliver & Fage (A Short History of Africa 1962) mapped a main route with a sub-route starting near Cydamus (= later Ghadames, Libya) plus another from near Jerma (= capital of the Garamantes, Libya) and both joining the main route to the Agadez (Niger). The other trail has a sub-route starting near the Wadi Dra (nr. The Atlas foothills, Morocco) and joining the other sub-route to form the main one running to near Timbuctoo (Morocco). Both the main routes stop just north of the River Niger.
The chariots were too light for carrying heavy goods but there is a possibility that is usually overlooked. Namely that they represent the vehicles of those what in effect would be riding shotgun by guarding traders on the trails. The significance of both the eastern plus the western routes petering out a little short of the River Niger is unknown and so too is the “flying-gallop” of Saharan rock-art.
The flying-gallop applied to such as cheetahs, horses, griffins, etc, in the Aegeo/Greek homeland of the Mycenaeans. However, in “An Accomodational Esthetic”, Henry Michaux (Journal of Black History 1977) showed this motif also applies to animals other than horses in “Black” Africa. Jean-Loic le Quellec (What’s New in the Sahara online) is one those adding the Saharan rock-art to this, so may mean we need not look to Mycenaean/Bronze Age Greece for this motif. Several works argue for Africo/Saharan horses in the Magreb plus Iberia.
The striped legs common to male zebras, female zebras plus female donkeys was seen as an especially archaic feature and they appear on the legs of wild horses depicted in Iberian cave-art. Further Africo/Magrebi linkages for ancient horse-breeds in Iberia emerge from genetic research by messrs. Jansen (Mitochondrial DNA & the Origin of the Domesticated Horse online), Royo (The Origin of Iberian Horses Assessed via Mitochondrial DNA online), etc. Later still may be the Kushites see above as noted horse-breeders and their several conquests across the Magreb plus Iberia according to several Greek, Roman, Arab, etc, writers. Sir William Ridgeway (The Influence & History of the Thoroughbred Horse 1905) says the Carthaginians also brought thousands of horses from the Magreb to Iberia.
Ridgeway (ib.) also wrote that Magrebi horses were described as “Drinkers of the Wind” and matches those of Iberia being “as fast as the wind”. This was used of those from that part of west Iberia named by Celts called Lusitani naming Lusitania (= mainly Portugal). The allusion is to speed and this was the reason why horses bred by Celts still in the west of Iberia but this time the northwest were imported to pull many of their chariots in the races of the Roman amphitheatres. This especially means the Celts of what became called Asturia plus Galicia. This led to the terms of Asturcones plus Celdones (one of the numerous variants of Celt/Galician).
Ridgeway (ib.) further reports that that the Celts of Galicia exported horses across the Pyrenees to their fellow Celts naming Gaul (yet another variant of Celt & now mainly France). The Galician Celts were not the only inhabitants of northwest Iberia/Spain as here too were also the Basque Provinces also stretching to both sides of the Pyrenean Mountains. Don Pritchard (Don’s Maps online) shows the striped legs already seen as an archaic feature of equids occurs on the legs of horses depicted in cave-art at Ekain in the Basque-lands and occurs on legs of the Sorraia breed of the same region of northwest of Iberia.
The same site tells us that that Charles Darwin described this on horses in Britain. Something similar would appear to connect the Ekain/Sorraia breed of Iberia/Spain and the Exmoor breed of pony in Britain. The Alis (ib.) further have it that the Erythraic word hutch for horses became the hotsh of the Celts of Britain in the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age transition.
John Major (16th c. Eng.) is quoted by Ridgeway (ib.) as saying the Iberian Asturcones became the ancient pony-breed known in the region of west Ireland as the Connemara (Mayo). The inhabitants of northwest Iberia/Spain called Basques and those of Ireland called Gaels (yet another variant form of the ancient terms of Celt/Gaul) practiced the same type of cavalry warfare according to Giraldus Cambrensis (11th /12th c. British).
Cattle stand for domesticated livestock what wheat does among domesticated grasses, namely the clearest testimony of the Near Eastern/west Asian origin of agriculture to the west in Europe plus Africa. That this has been challenged for Europe means that this can be doubted that this is the whole picture for Africa too.
Even if the ca. 15,000 BCE put forward for cattle-bones excavated in the Lukenya Hills (Kenya) by Charles Nelson (cited in Blacks in Science ed. Ivan Van Sertima 1993) is set aside, there are remains carrying early dates in Africa. There is also what used to be called the PN. Alternative names tend to revolve around the word cult. However, the cattle of the PN was/is integral to their way of life and it is not just a cult and we will stay with the earlier label in these pages. Showing just how integral is well shown by an especially well known trait of the PN.
It marks the PN/Erythraic cattlemen from Kenya/Uganda to Sudan and is not just the naming of cattle but also of pet-naming cattle. It seems this seems also reached Egypt. Frederick Wicker (Egypt & the Mountains of the Moon 1991) is one of those showing that east Africa (esp. Uganda) still has the Ankola-type cattle closely matched in Egyptian mural art of Dynastic times. The PN-type deforming the horns of their cattle also occurs in the mural art of ancient Egypt and further compares with some depicted as part of Magrebi/Saharan rock-art. Yet it should be noted there is much controversy about the earliest cattle-raising in Egypt.
The earliest cattle in west Africa is also controversial but Clyde Winters wrote of “The Spread of Cattle Domestication among Mande-speaking Peoples online). This is held to be due to the migrations triggered by the increased aridity of the Sahara. Winters (ib.) gives a string of words stretching from Egypt to parts of west Africa it is presumable came west out of the Sahara with such as the Proto-Mande en route to west Africa. This would be reinforced with further evidence of African cattle also being known further west.
In point of fact, there are numerous studies confirming the movement of Africo/Magrebi cattle to such as Iberia. Thus teams led by Anderung (ib.); Beja-Periera (Genetic characterisation of southwestern bovine breeds: a historical & biographical reassessment with a set of 16 microsatellites); Magee (A partial African ancestry for creole cattle of the Caribbean); Miretti (Predominant African-derived mtDNA in Caribbean & Brazilian cattle). The point about the African genes in cattle in the Americas is that they were introduced by cattle imported from Iberia.
This does something to answer some of the problems arising from the removal of the Bos (= cattle) called Bos ibericus from the archaeological record as noted by such as Caroline Grigson (as Blench/MacDonald ib.). Further is these apparently mainly red cattle of Africa plus Iberia are the origin of the Soler cattle of Gaul/France according to the Devon Breeders Society of Australia (online). That same site also says Sir Nicholas White (17th c. Secretary for Ireland) wrote Coon Edaf Dearg (= Haven of the Red Cow) was the Irish name for Dingle (Kerry). Red cattle attested in the lore of Celts of Ireland and elsewhere will usually mean something supernatural.
The significance of the implied Africo/Iberian or Atlantic direction will be shown shortly but the same Australian website adds to this when harking to these very sea-routes by citing Clive Thornton (online) for the sources of the “Red Rubies: A History of the Devon Breed” in southern Britain. On similar lines, the Alis (ib.) have argued the Erythraic sic/Egyptian zag reached Britain in several guises. Thus in England, there was zeck (in Devon), seck (in (in Kent), sac (in Shropshire), etc. In Scotland, there was sac/sak. All are call-words for cattle.
Bones of chicken plus cattle occur at Kuumbi (Tanzania) and are part of the excavations by Chami (ib.) plus his colleagues at Juani (Mafia Island, Tanz.), Kuumbi (Unguja/Zanzibar, Tanz.), Machaga (Unguja, Tanzania), etc. The dates of 5000/4500 BCE for these sites would take us well to when tongues variously called Afrasian, Afro/Asiatic, Erythraic, Lisramic, Hamito/Semitic, etc, were still spreading. Such languages are almost solely confined to Africa with the exception of Semitic which has expanded enormously since that spread. This has led to the obvious conclusion that these Erythraic tongues are of African origin. Included are mainly Omotic, Cushitic, Old-Egyptian, Chadic, Old-Egyptian, Berber, etc.
Blench (in Blench/MacDonald ib.) refers to African poultry under such terms as djaj el-Hind (= chicken of India) plus djaj el-Habeshr (= chicken of Ethiopia). The notion of Indian trade as possibly the cause of the spread of domesticated poultry to east Africa shown by such terms as djaj el-Hind plus the Chami-found Indian pottery at the island sites already seen off east Africa.
Blench (ib.) saw djaj el-Habeshr as showing something different. It seems that such terms as Zanj, Habeshr, etc, are evidently Persian-tied words evidently passing into Arabic to label various groups of Africans. Habeshr in the evolved form of Abyssinian gives us one of the former names for the nation now called Ethiopia but Ethiopia comes from the Greek term of Aithiopes (= Burnt-faces) used of all Africa. So in this sense, Habeshr plus Aithiopes/Ethiopian means African. This fits with Blench noting the mainly Berber or Saharo/Magrebi term of djaj el-Habeshr applied originally to the crested guinea-fowl not the domestic chicken. This guinea-fowl is one of the few animals that can be definitely be given an African domestication.
The term of Guinea in guinea-fowl indicates west Africa as the place of that domestication. The young are called keets. The Alis (ib.) would add the Erythraic kudu-kudu as a call-sound for poultry plus east African use of bird feathers for cloaks to what has just been written about the west African guinea-fowl and Michael Bradley (Dawn Voyage 1991) does so west African feathered cloaks. We have also seen that the Berbers of the Magreb knew the guinea-fowl. The Alis (ib.) would see the African kudu/kit/keet as the origin of the British kuit-kuit for calling poultry in general to food. Nowhere in the British Isles is the feathered cloak better known than that of the Arch-Druid of Munster (= south/southwest Ireland) named Mogh Ruith.
EAST AFRICA, IBERIA & BEYOND?
It was seen the oldest known strands of humanity are recognised to be to have been by Khwe-like inhabitants and are proven to as far north as the northeast of Africa as decidedly Pre-Dynastic Egypt (as part of Out-of-Africa movements?). Something like the Khwe-type was seen to be in the northwest, as when the Khwe/Venus was seen to have spread westwards to the Magreb plus Iberia.
Of much later date is the archaeological entity called the Eburran that is sometimes called the Kenyan Capsian. It remains a decidedly open matter whether this Kenyan Capsian is connected to the Capsian proper named by El Gafsi/Capsi (Tunisia). Also whether between the Capsian, Oranian (named by Oran, Algeria) and Mauritanian/Maurusian (named by Mauritania [= ancient Morocco]) Cultures relate. It may prove that the Capsian had coastal variants in the Oranian plus Mauritanian. The more so given that there are Iberian variants of both the Capsian and the Mauritanian in the Iberian Capsian and the Mauruso/Iberian Cultures respectively.
Crops shown to have arisen in the dryland conditions (esp. well attested by the early stages of Saharan aridity) of Africa are known to the east as far as India and to the west as far as Iberia. We also saw there is some suggestion that African sheep were raised by some of the earliest farmers in Europe. It also seems there are African sources for most early African cattle-breeds. The most immediate thing for us here is African cattle in Iberia is accepted in both above-seen articles plus some not cited in these pages.
Pottery of Saharan/Sudanese type can be shown to connect with that of Pre-Dynastic Egypt called Badarian plus that of Sudan called Khartoum. It seems that as part of this pottery there emerged the decoration consisting mainly of impressions, hence the term of Impressed Ware(s). It seems that what has been called Impressed Ware has a spread along the northern coasts of the Mediterranean from Anatolia to Iberia with matching spreads in the islands from Cyprus to the Balearics. This means it stretches from what elsewhere is called the Alexandria (Egypt)/Antakya (= Antioch, Turkey)/Athens (Greece) or A/A/A arc of the east Mediterranean to the Messina (Sicily)/Marseilles (south France) /Malaga (east Iberia/Spain) or M/M/M arc of the west Mediterranean. A balancing distribution occurs along the southern coasts of the Mediterranean from Egypt to Morocco
Somewhere in the mid-Med, it would appear that the impressions were increasingly being done using shells of molluscs of the Carddidae or cockle family. This has led to the label of Cardial-Impressed or the simpler Cardial Ware(s) increasingly applied to the pottery of the mid to west Mediterranean. It may be that this is to be seen as the maritime component of these Africo/Magrebi-derived Impressed/Cardial Wares. In Iberia (= Spain & Iberia), this ceramic has also been called Cave Ware(s) and is known on the Atlantic-facing coasts of west Iberia. According to such as Christopher Scarre (in Ancient France ed. C. Scarre 1985), this same pottery occurs as some of the earliest in the Early Neolithic of the west French coast from Pyrenean or southwest France up Brittany in northwest France.
Graham Campbell-Dunn (The African Origins of Classical Civilisation 2005) would add a basic architectural form to this. He wrote of round huts of wood on drystone footings to deter termites from eating the upper parts of the structures and would regard this as ancestral to what archaeologists have called tholoi from the Greek term of tholos. The tholos is built of drystone walls and basically had a passage/entry feature leading to a round chamber having a domed or beehive roof.
The earliest examples of the tholoi-types would appear to have been those of the Natufian of the Levant parts of the A/A/A-arc. This is may be a continuation of the Kebarran Culture of the same region. It has some cave-dwelling but is probably most famous for the round houses with domed roofs and some of which have a pronounced entry/doorway giving a ground-plan resembling an old-style keyhole. The Wikipedia entry on the Natufian notes that Africo/Magrebi dryland/savannah economic modes were practiced by the Natufians. The Natufians had domesticated dogs and were among the first to follow African methods in moving from gathering wild grasses to turning those grasses to farmed cereals (esp. wheat). The latter is said by to be shown by gloss on lithics. The lithics further include use of microburin techniques, arch-backed bladelets, La Mouillah points, etc, according to Ofer Bar-Yosef (as Wikipedia ib.).
It has some cave-dwellings but is probably more famous for round houses with domed roofs and some of which have pronounced door/entry features resembling old-style keyholes in ground-plan. Below-earth burials appear in caves plus the houses and are thought to represent the African concept of the ancestors being included in family affairs. Funerary practices include both multiple plus single burials. David Jones (The Origin of Civilisation: The case of Egyptian & Mesopotamia from several disciplines 2008) cites opinions saying the burials are typically skeletally African with teeth deformed according to African norms and still to be found in Africa. Other expert opinions are cited in the Wikipedia article as saying the oldest hints of an African language found outside Africa may be that of the Afrasian/Erythraic type spoken by Natufians.
Houses with the typically dry-build, round-plan interiors, beehive/domed roofs, keyhole/tholos plans, etc, appear at the Khirokitia Culture (Cyprus), Halafian Culture (Syria), the ancestral forms of the tholoi of Crete, the trulli structures of south Italy, etc. However, the symmetry of the round-plan became increasingly difficult to maintain with ever-growing use of megaliths (from Greek megas [=large] & lithos [= stone]) and it is these large-stoned structures that greatly increase the further west they are found (see below).
To what has written by Campbell-Dunn (ib.) about the domestic side of these buildings is added what was said by Lewis Spence (the Mysteries of Britain 1928, 1995, 1998, etc; The Origins & History of the Druids 1949 = Druids: Their Origins & History 1995). Spence (ib.) was looking at the funerary aspect that he too thought had African sources. He called this a “Cult of the Dead” that he attached to the megaliths plus Druidism in the west. He compared the use of a sickle to cut the first corn of the harvest by Pharoahs in Egypt with the cutting of the sacred mistletoe by the Druids. Spence (ib.) saw this cult of the dead as mutually drawn on by Egypt to the east and Iberia to the west.
Various east African elements are known to have been among the influences on the rise of Dynastic Egypt. This basically means what was once called Kush or Nubia (= either part or all of Sudan). Several authors have attributed the rise of the 00 plus 0 Dynasties of Pharoahs to mainly Kush/Nubia. Alongside this is what is said by Flinders Petrie (The Making of Egypt 1939) about Dynasties 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12 & 25 originating in Kush/Nubia.
The 25th Dynasty of Pharoahs is those frequently labelled as the Black Pharoahs. There is more about them in “Africa, Egypt & Prehistory”. Undoubtedly, the most famous Pharoah of this dynastic line is Taharquo. He has been seen as having made conquests in the Mid-East, the Magreb, Italy plus Iberia.
A little-known aspect of Africans in the Iberian Peninsula is just how many times the figure of 30,000 attaches to this. Thus a passage by the obscure writer named Dionysius of Mytilene (ca. 50 BCE) has 30,000 Amazons rampaging across the Magreb according to Livio Stecchini ( in the online article about Hanno of Carthage) in an account noting Phoenicia founding Carthage (Tunisia). The ancient text called The Periplus (= Voyage) of Hanno details setting off down the Atlantic-facing coasts of west Africa with 30, 000 of these Carthaginian Phoenicians as would-be settlers in west Africa. A passage in Appian (ca.100 CE) has Carthage sending another 30,000 African migrants to Iberia according to the interpretation by Andrew Fear (Rome and Baetica 1998).
The very much later conquests of Vandalusia (Arabised as Andalusia) by the Almohades is also said to have involved 30,000 Africans. By this time, we are the cusp of the tide having largely turned against African invasions of Iberia. However, there was one twist here in that blacks from what was then Spanish-ruled Morocco were the crack troops that brought Francisco Franco to power in Spain as the victor in the Spanish Civil War.
However, movement/contact between Africa and Iberia has been frequently considered as largely confined to (a) as slaves arriving during the Islamic rule in Iberia/Spain; (b) as part of the asiento (= slave-trade) from the later 15th c. onwards; (c) something of both.
However, if it is accepted that Anatolia acting on the Balkan Peninsula in southeast Europe matches that part of Africa called the Magreb acted on the Iberian Peninsula in southwest Europe, something else is indicated. It is well known that no part of the continent of Africa and the continent of Europe actually touch yet the idea that they did remained until relatively recently. There is also the opinion that Africa began or ended at the Pyrenean Mountains separating Iberia/Spain and what is now mainly France.
This seemingly reflects notions of cultural continuities. This will receive more discussion in the next section but with the title of this one in mind, Ibrahim and Ahmed Ali (The Black Celts 1991) are returned to once more. This time it is on grounds of our recalling just how many times the call-words apparently beginning in the Erythraic/Afrasian tongues of east Africa evidently appear as terms in a language spoken by Celts to as far away as Britain and Ireland
WEST AFRICA, IBERIA & BEYOND?
However, it is still all too often said the west African presence in the Iberian Peninsula (= Spain & Portugal) is due to their being slaves during Islamic rule of Iberia and/or the later asiento (= slave-trade).
Yet this does not square with views that Anatolia (= most of modern Turkey) acts on the Balkan Peninsula (= southeast Europe) in the way that the part of Africa that is the Magreb acted on the Iberian Peninsula (= southwest Europe). Nor with the long-held hypotheses Africa ends or starts at the Pyrenees Mountains separating Iberia/Spain from France.
For certain writers, this belongs to a period of what have been described as great intellectual advances for the early stages of humankind, they include some very early stirrings of artistic expression, crossings of short stretches of water, etc. Among the latter are claimed to be such as those from east Africa across the narrow Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula, those from that part of Africa that is the Magreb to the Iberian Peninsula, etc. The Magreb-to-Iberia voyages are briefly touched on by Sean McGrail (Boats of the World 2004 & in other works) who placed them among the earliest of all such sea-voyages.
This may be confirmed by resemblances of lithics of the African Aechulian and some the early material of the Iberian Lower Palaeolithic (esp. Ambrona). The most ancient known strain of humanity still extant are thought to be the Khwe. It is traceable to as far north as Egypt plus the Magreb according to such as Mike Elliot (The Bushmen in History online). It resembles the form in early sculpture by a specimen of the Venus figurines for form and seen in Africa to as far north as Tan-Tan (Morocco). The basic Khwe/Venus shape was seen to be repeated at early dates by tools of the Acheulian in Iberia. Further echoes in cruder form may be tools of the Asturian (= Early Mesolithic? of west Iberia). It should be noticed how wide the chronological gap there is between the Aechulian and the Asturian.
There is growing testimony that the voyages also continued from the Palaeolithic (= Old Stone Age) into the Mesolithic (= Middle Stone Age)/EpiPalaeolithic plus the Neolithic (= New Stone Age) and beyond into the Bronze Age. Showing this would be the likes of the research into bovine genetics by messrs. Periera et al (African female heritage: a reassessment of mtDNA lineage in present times online); Gonzalez et al (online extract of Mitochondrial DNA affinities at the Atlantic fringe of Europe); Anderung et al (Prehistoric contacts over the Straits of Gibraltar indicated by genetic analysis of Bronze Age cattle online).
Even more to the point is Serge Plaza et al (Joining the Pillars of Hercules: mtDNA shows multidirectional gene-flow in the western Mediterranean online). Shown there are the probable voyages from west Africa bypassing the Magreb en route to Iberia shown by genetics. This would indicate the covering of distances equalling some of those across the Atlantic. This surely means the earliest west Africans in Iberia are there in their own right not just as the slaves of later ages that they are so often assumed to be and at dates very considerably anterior than is generally supposed.
It may be noting what is said by Henry Parker (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute = JRAI 1923), Richmond Palmer (The Carthaginian Voyage Down the West African Coast 1933) plus others. It was seen that a part of the growing aridity scenario of the Sahara were the Proto-Mande. It was also shown that these migrating ancestors of the Mande continued to parts of west Africa. Parker (ib.) wrote that words in Mande could translate the placenames attributed to a people called the Garamantes were the Mante/Mande and the Garamantes. Given the reputation of the Mande as traders, it is interesting just how many of the Mande-rendered Garamantian words mean market.
Palmer (ib.) traced more Mande words even further west, as words in the Canary Islands. Notable here are Mande mansa (ruler/king) as Canarian mencey (= lord), Mande ashamansa (= royal family) as Canarian achimency (= nobles), etc. This may attest Mande rulers and/or nobles among the otherwise mainly Berber-derived folks of the Canary Islands. It may be worth noting that such as messrs. Delgado et al (Animal Genetics Information Bulletin 2000), Morales et al (Environmental Archaeology 2009) plus others refer this to much earlier dates than generally supposed. Also Pre-Spanish Canarian populations included Negroes alongside Cro-magnoids and “Mediterraneans”.
The more so given that the Canary Islands are as geographically close to Guinean parts of west Africa and/or Magreb as it is to any part of Iberia/Spain. It may also be legitimate to follow the tentative connection of Guinean (esp. from Senegal) pigs and those of the Canaries made by Blench (ib.). One of the cited articles carries the implications that Africo/Magrebi cattle were exported into the Iberian Bronze Age. Historical texts attest that Africo/Magrebi horses were still being traded into Iberia well beyond the Bronze Age.
This slots alongside some of what was traced in the “Trade in the 3rd & 2nd Millennium between Magreb & Iberia” by messrs. Harrison & Gilman (in Ancient Europe & the Mediterranean ed. Vladimir Markotic 1977). They observe that to what was already said about items from the Africo/Magrebi side of things can be added ivory, ostrich-shell, etc. If it is correct, out of the earliest Africo/Magrebi pottery emerged the “Cave”/Cardial Wares of Iberia and that out of this Cave Ware(s) then the Iberian Bronze Age pottery called Beaker Ware of the Maritime variety. Harrison and Gilman (ib.) observe Beakers found in the Magreb are part of what was bartered from Bronze Age Iberia to Africa.
Ivory also figures in the much-cited list of “gold, silver, ivory, apes & peacocks” in the King James Version (= KJV) of the Bible. More specifically, it is in the KJV version of Old Testament book of known as Chronicles II and is part of detailing what was in the cargoes sent from somewhere called Tarshish to the Israel ruled by King Solomon.
There are several claimants for being Tarshish. Nor do we know if the ivory was that of elephants or from Africa but it is fair to assume that it was on both counts. If they were African elephants, were they east African, west African or north African/Magrebi? The latter can strongly suggested, as elephants were still reported from the Magreb until ca. 500 CE.
The word in the cited Chronicles passage usually translated as peacocks probably originally only meant crested bird. Denis Montgomery (Seashore Man & African Eve 2007) is one of those pointing out that the New International Bible has baboons instead of peacocks. This brings us back to west Africa with some confirmation from the ancient text called the Periplus of Hanno in the “gorillae” in the translation of “Hanno”. This in turn probably does something to tell us where Tarshish actually was. Raphael Patai (Children of Noah: Jewish Seafaring through History 1997) was probably the leading Hebraicist of the later 20th c. His opinion was that Tarshish was none other than the Tartessos or what more or less equates with the west of what was later known as Andalusia (= southwest Iberia).
The above-noted Group-L gene is that seen as present in Guinea, absent in Magreb but known again in Neolithic/Bronze Age Iberia should have us looking at the seaworthiness of the west African dugout-canoe. It has been said above that this indicates distances comparable to this across the Atlantic themselves the subject of the successful crossing by Hannes Lindemann (Alone art Sea 1958). It may also be fair to connect this with the canoes that Antonio Arribas (The Iberians 1964) says were still bringing minerals from metals-rich inland areas to the coast. The sources cited in “West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity” (online) are probably worth looking at.
A number of traits traceable across the Mediterranean a later date the further west they are they are. They include the trend during the Mesolithic tendency of evermore smaller tools called microliths; the Earlier Neolithic one of Impressed Wares becoming more like Cardial Wares plus raising of stock and crops; the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age trend of tholos-types plus their megalithic kin.
Such changes become even more pronounced where the Palaeolithic Continuation Theory (= PCT) operates, as this would lasted through into the Late Mesolithic (= LM) and into the Early Neolithic. On the coasts of Atlantic-facing Europe, the LM seems to have come under the influence of Atlantic forms of Impressed Ware(s) and this pottery occurs under and in the megalithic structures of Atlantic-west Europe.
As this Atlantic Impressed Ware became plainer, some took on the shouldered form that for some writers typify what became the Western Neolithic (= WN) bowls found in the early megaliths called Passage-graves. The emergence out of the Atlantic version of Impressed/Cardial Cultures of the WN seems to parallel what is also seen in the case of the Cave Ware/ Maritime Beaker sequence in Iberia. This is because other forms of Beaker in parts of Europe not linked to Iberian/Atlantic parts of Europe.
The case of the drystone tholos becoming the more irregular megalithic monuments has been touched on. However, the drywall construction, domed/beehive roofs, pronounced entry feature becoming long passages, etc, with remarkable fidelity in the case of some of what have been called the Atlantic Passage-graves from their spread from Huelva in southwest Iberia to Brittany in northwest France. This is in effect, the entire Atlantic-west coast of Europe.
The WN pottery plus Passage-graves appear in parts of Britain that usually mean western sites where even the megalithic structures are not of Passage-grave type(s), they are rarely more than c. 50 miles from the nearest coast. The African-derived Cult of the Dead not only lead on to the megaliths but also to the rise of the Druids. What we saw as the PCT followed through the Mesolithic became Neolithicised over time that would have influenced both the forms of megalith-building plus that of Druidism.
The suggestion thus made is of African-derived cults altered by the PCT on the so-called Atlantic façade and that this came via Iberia. A lot is made of the fact that no mention is made of the Druids by Classical writers. There is however, the so-called “Lost Chapter”. It stands with such as The Myrvian Archaeology by Iolo Morganwgg for Britain west of Offa’s Dyke; History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth for Britain east of the Dyke and south of Hadrian’s Wall; The Poems of Ossian by James MacPherson for Britain north of the Wall; Lebor Gabala Erenn/Lebor Gabala (= LG) for Ireland.
The one feature shared by all these works is denial on grounds of being artificial concoctions of history. Further is that the Sonini manuscript (= M/S) or so-called “Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles” is based solely on a single manuscript found the variously labelled Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul Archives, as described by Raymond Capt (online).
Capt (ib.) says Sonini was found in the Constantinople Archives; looks like ancient M/SS; is written in Greek in the Acts style; peoples and places have their ancient spellings; the brevity, Divine plan & concept; the Gospel-like, dignified & spiritual character; prophecies in Biblical style; the Lost M/S ending in Amen.
The Sonini M/S is far from being the only one being based on neither a single M/S nor a single one having been found in these Archives. This is also shared by such as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, the Piri Reis Map, etc, as found in the Istanbul Archives plus being based on a single M/S that are accepted as being genuine. The Lost Chapter refers to Iberian Druids, as do Old-Irish texts. These two sources further share something else, namely that neither is mentioned by Classical writers as having had Druids. Yet Irish Druids are definite. Moreover, Old-Irish has the third oldest literature in Europe, has the oldest native literary corpus in west Europe and is the most completely authentic of all Celtic literatures. Moreover, the study of LG by Monica Vasquez (Myth & Ritual between Ireland & Galicia online) show it is authentically Celtic literature.
Despite the best scepticism of many expert opinions, folklore persistently tied megaliths to the Druids. Brian Sykes (Blood of the Isles 2007) is one of those pointing up the value of such tradition(s) when noting the “Indonesian” origin of the Polynesians; the Mongol ancestry of the Hazara of Pakistan; the Iberian ancestry of the Irish Celts. A number of African strains in Britain have given experts a number of headaches, particularly if the Ibero/Atlantic sea- routes are followed.
These Africo/Ibero/Atlantic seaways appear further shown by names ending in –tani/teni plus silla/silur ones. Some ending in teni/tani occur across Africa with examples in Capsitani, Tingitani, Mauritani, etc. They abound in Iberia, most relevantly for us here are the Lusitani naming Lusitania (mainly Portugal). They stretch up into Gaul (mainly France) with the Aquitani naming Aquitania (= southwest Gaul/France). Beyond this is Qretani (mainly Irish = later Cruthin) that is a Q-Celtic spelling of Britani itself from Celtic tongues having c/k/q instead of the b/p of P-Celtic tongues. Another Q-Celtic spelling may be Coritani of mid-Britain/England with the P-Celtic Britani/Brittani evolving into Prydein as Late British became Welsh.
An African word actually meaning route according to Clyde Winters (Atlantis in Mexico) is silla. He says it occurs across west Africa, especially with a meaning of road. It has also been associated with the major waterway that is the River Niger for both the Pre-European commerce across the Sahara and for Europeans penetrating into west Africa. More echoes as placename appear to be Mons Silurus (= now the Sierra Nevada (Iberia/Spain) and Silura (= Scilly Isles (Cornwall, Britain). Further expression seems to be the Welsh Silures.
Welsh traditions drawn on by Tacitus plus Geoffrey bring us to both Africans and the Silures. The African giants mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth (12th Brit.) as having built Stonehenge is part of what were seen to be described as fantasy. The description of the Welsh/west British Celts called the Silures by Tacitus (1st c. CE Roman) plus north British Celts by Claudian (4th c.? Roman) as dark is taken in this light as meaning no more than indicating they were swarthy. The Revis-family genetics that might also apply to north British Celts has instead been attributed to Roman garrisons, slaves brought in by Vikings, slaves of the 18th c. slave-trade, etc.
The African Mauri is echoed in west Iberia by giants called Mauriaks alongside those called Gentilaks according to Ellie Crystal (Giants online). Giants relevant here will be seen to include Tethba in Iberia and Beler in Belerion (= Cornwall). Further tying west Iberia and Cornwall is Eric Leeds (Archaeologia1927) about Castros (= Iberian hill-forts) and Chun-type (Cornwall) forts. He showed they shared guarding tin-sources; multivallate defences; this being wide spaced; circular ground-plans; round-houses; polygonal masonry; centre-posts/stones; pottery with the “ducks” stylised into S-motifs. Iberian-type brooches occur in Iberian Castros plus southwest Britain/England according to Leeds (ib.)
Folklore in England tying African giants to the stone circle at Stonehenge (Wilts.) is tapped by Geoffrey. If the Caledoni of Scotland described by Tacitus as Germanic stands, there is no valid reason to doubt his description of the Silures of Wales as very dark and curly-haired Iberians. As to the description of north British/English Celts by Claudian as meaning no more than swarthy, this is surely fully answered by Pliny (1st c. CE Roman) also reporting on north British Celts as “Ethiopian” (= African). This is to be placed alongside the genetic research into the Revis family also showing an African element in north Britain/north England. Certainly, for Pliny to be able to describe some north British Celts as African in the 1st c. CE is surely far too early for this to be attributed to Roman troops in north Britain who had only just arrived in that part of England.
Callanish (Lewis, Scotland) is oft-called the Scottish Stonehenge. David Dunbabin (Under Ancient Skies 2005) has established its builders practiced astronomy and with folklore linking it to local Druids in mind, we can note so too did the Druids and Sean McGrail (Boats of the World 2005) ties this to sea-lore. Pytheas (ca. 350 BCE Greek) is usually held to have taken ship from Iberia but Barry Cunliffe (Pytheas the Greek 2002) suggests Gaul, en route to points north. His accurate astronomy may relate to the position of Stornoway (Lewis). If accurate, this is a consistent pattern of tradition having added to it the attribution by John Sinclair (Dissertation on Ossian 1806) of the emerging Scottish form of the Finn/Fingal Cycle to the island of Lewis. Sykes (ib.) found an African strain at Stornoway that puzzled him but Africans were seen by Lewis folklore as having taken ship en route to building Callanish.
Irish texts mention giants called Fomoire. One of their kings was Tethba who ruled Mag Mor (= Great Plain = Iberia) and another was Balar who ruled Ireland. The great single eye of Balar relates to the Deirderg (= red eye) byname of An Dagda plus the wheel aspect of Mogh Ruth (= Slave/Servant of Mogh) in that all are facets of the sun. The wheel aspect of Mogh Ruth comes into line with Rothair Cruimm Dubh (= Wheel/Ring of Black Crom) as the Irish name for the Lough Gur Circle (Limerick), itself apparently the largest stone ring in Ireland. With An Dagda described as dubh seen as making him as swarthy yet Crom was seen as dubh but was just seen as black.
Here we surely have an Irish equivalent of what was seen about British Celts and whether they had an African component amongst them. The more so given that the Fomoire (= From the Sea) are described as Fomorach Afraicc (= F. from Africa); Crom was definitely seen as black; Mogh Ruth wore the feathered cloak that the tradition already seen on the Scottish island of Lewis were worn by the African builders of the Callanish stone circle. Mogh Ruth related to a megalith in the form a standing-stone at Cleghil (Tipperary) and Crom to other megaliths in the form of stone rings at Lough Gur (Limerick) plus Crom Cruach (= Circle on the Hill? = Killycluggin, Cavan). Mogh Ruth was the Chief Druid of Munster (the southernmost province of Ire.), whereas An Dagda was the god of Irish Druidism.
He was also “the god of all the tribes of Ireland” yet Crom was the god who honoured by King Tighearnach, his queen & “the people of Ireland”. This was on Magh Sleacht (= Plain of Prostrations) where Crom Cruach/Killycluggin Circle was located. The other feature that the figures of the last three paragraphs share is probable Pre-Celtic sources. Of them, Tethba was seen to be given an Iberian linkage. More of the same comes with Barry Raftery (in The Iron Age in the Irish Sea Province ed. Charles Thomas 1972) comparing Iberian castros with the Irish hill-forts of his tentative Class II category.
In particular, the stone uprights called chevaux-de-frise or abattis are shared by castros and Class-II. Raftery (ib.) also compared Chun with a Class-II at Ballykinvarga for Iberian-like traits already seen for Chun and means abattis for the Clare site; sharing circular ground-plans; near-identical internal diameters; huts in identical arrangement along the inner edge of the enclosing wall. It is proposed that this shows separate interactions in the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age between Iberia and Cornwall on the one hand and Iberia and west Munster (= southwest Ireland) on the other.
Probably the most famous example of Irish abattis is at Dun Aengus that helps the coastal emphasis of the Irish abattis by being in the Aran Islands off Galway. Ballykinvarga is one Clare site with Iberian ties and Cahercommaun is another for Seamas Caulfield (in Irish Antiquity ed. Donnchadh O’ Corrain 1981). Both Raftery (ib.) plus Caulfield reject the Hencken (Cahercommaun = Special JRSAI volume 1950) date for this site. Caulfield (ib.) shows the disc-shaped quern, two-link iron horse-bit, iron penannular brooch of castros appear at Cahercommaun and that they contrast with the beehive-shaped quern, three-link bronze horse-bit, bronze fibulae of the later Celtic phase named after La Tene (Switz.) seen in Britain plus mainly Ulster in Ireland.
More bronzework in the form of what have been called Type A/Atlantic bronze cauldrons of a particular type are shown by John Coles (Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society = PPS 1961) in Iberia, west France, west Britain and Ireland. Etienne Rynne (NMAJ 1979) says division of the non-La Tene and La Tene Late Bronze/Early Iron Ages in Ireland is confirmed by the Irish tale-cycles. This was in an article that he says shows “An Early Celtic Spanish-North Munster Connection”. He shows this via an Iberian/Spanish spearhead found in Ireland at Castleconnell (Limerick). Terence Powell (in To Illustrate the Monuments ed. John Megaw 1967) discussed the carvings of shield having V-shaped or U-shaped notches of Iberia. Such studies of these shields as those of Bo Graslund (Acta Archaeologia 1967) show both types of notch in Iberia and the west of Ireland.
Eoin MacWhite (Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ire. = JRSAI 1946) cited expert opinion that African elephant-tusks were the source of Irish Late Bronze Age “horns”. John Coles (Antiquity 1965) linked forms of horn in Iberia and Ireland. Also they had Class I or northern and Class II or southern classes with much of the grouping confirmed by John Coles (PPS 1961).
Terence Powell (North Munster Archaeological Journal = NMAJ 1973) sought an origin via the Iberian Peninsula for goldwork in the form of gorgets. It seems the floral design of various items of Iberian goldwork evolved into a particular form in the terminals of the Irish gorgets, so would again speak very strongly for the exploitation of the western sea-routes of Atlantic-facing Europe.
So too would some extremely persistent native stories of coastal and/or island also of Atlantic-west Europe, this is despite the very best efforts of some very expert opinions. Just how consistent these Atlantic traditions are in telling us have been shown using genetics, archaeology plus folklore.
One line emerging from the folkloric tradition(s) has Africans on these same coasts. In particular there is what we saw as the Beler/Balar tales. There are a series of tales about heads only stretching from Africa up to Atlantic-west Europe and the British Isles. Wrapped up in this are the Greco/Roman mentions of Belerion itself linked to the story of the giant named Beler at Land’s End (Cornwall), This Cornish giant relates to Balar closely linked to western parts of the southern province of Ireland, Munster.
Also tied to this are the accounts called Cath Magh Tuired Conga (= Battle of Moytirra at Cong = Moytirra I) plus Cath Tuired Tanaste (= Second Battle of Moytirra = Moytirra II). Despite the tag of Moytirra II, the view of such as Thomas O’Rahilly (Early Irish History & Mythology 1946), Dathi O’ h-Ogain (Encyclopedia of Irish Folklore, Legend & Romance 1990; The Lore of Ire.: An Ency. of Myth, Legend & Romance 2006) was that Moytirra-I has the older material by far, so reinforces what O’ h-Ogain (ib.) terms the “southern tradition”.
Balar was beheaded and buried at Carn Ui Neit (= Cairn of the Grandson of Neit) at Old Kinsale Head (west Cork). As Net (the Iberian war-god) has his name echoed as Neit in Irish, this reinforces the Iberian/Spanish connection seen on so many counts. With Beler marking Land’s End in southwest Britain and Beler marking Old Kinsale Head in southwest Ireland, we find that giants seen to have close African links attest the most southwesterly points of Britain and Ireland respectively. Taking this further is the Scottish folkloric evidence seen to link Africans to the Scottish islands of the Outer Hebrides.
Harry Bourne (2011)
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Harry Bourne and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana.