Misanthropic Quote of the Week: About Stone Age People

The Lovas [Hungary] find [of an ochre mine dated to 30,000 years ago] … appears unexpectedly, out of nothing, as it were. [It] consisted of tools suited to quarry red paint — a purely ‘luxury’ article, according to our present outlook. The quantity and perfect finish of the tools, together with the difficulties involved in obtaining the raw material, demanded an astonishing degree of concentration … on the part of primitive man. Such qualities are not usually associated with palaeolithic man who is regarded as being unable to concentrate his attention, rather clumsy and heavy in his cerebral activities except those connected with the fundamental functions of self-preservation and the propagation of the race.

Mészáros and Vertes, quoted in The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age by Richard Rudgley, pp. 179 – 180

This academic-ese for, “Gee, we thought that paleolithic people were stupid brutes, but now it turns out they were people after all.”

I especially love the snooty euphemisms except those connected with the fundamental functions of self-preservation and the propagation of the race. It might be couched in academic terms, but this is clearly a reference to our mental picture of a cave man clubbing a saber-toothed tiger and then dragging some poor woman away by her hair.

6 thoughts on “Misanthropic Quote of the Week: About Stone Age People

    1. Wow. You know me so well.

      I was just reading about this last night because Google is now trained to show me archaeological stuff. But the article you linked to included some fun details that weren’t in the one I read. Thanks.

      I mean, it’s cute until you realize that … oops … these kids died as children.

      Liked by 1 person

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