Patrick Plumet: Peuples du Grand Nord (People of the Far North), éditions Errance, Paris 2004, 2 tomes.
Volume I: Des mythes à la préhistoire (From Myths to Prehistory). 322 p., 96 illustrations, glossaire, Préface de Louis-Edmond Hamelin . ISBN: 2-87772-270-8 (39 Euros)
The conquest of the Earth up to its furthest northern and constraining limits is one of the most challenging human venture.The colonization of the Far North during the last Glacial time, corresponds to the penetration of mankind into territories where environmental conditions were particularly harsh. But these very conditions stimulated its adaptability and its creativity. Although these "Men of the Cold" originated from tropical regions, they succeeded not only to live in latitudes which were biologically hostiles, but also to set up -incredibly- the first cultural, symbolic, and social systems, clearly recognizable by archaeology.
For centuries, the most northern areas of Earth were part of a mythical world for the Southern people. Greco-Roman and Middle Age geographers tried to clear up what was hidden behind these northern mists. In modern times, great explorations brougth accurate information upon these glacial territories. Later, archaeologists began their researches and attempted to discover the first remains of human settlements. These remains appear to be further and further removed both in time and in latitude, as illustrated by the recently discovered site of Yana RHS by 71° North in Siberia, which is 27 600 years old. Excavations bring information about the evolution and the way of life of the societies which succeeded one another in northern Europe and Siberia, and in Alaska, at a time when the Bering land bridge linked Eurasia and America in one same continent.
Volume II: Vers l'"Esquimau". Du mammouth à la baleine. (Toward the "Eskimo". >From Mammoths to Whales. 288 p., 81 illustrations, bibliographie, glossaire, 3 index. ISBN: 2-87772-276-7 (38 Euros)
About 40 000 years ago, in full glacial time, the first traces of human occupation appear in the Far North. The first settlement of America may have occured at the same period with populations who had to go through these northern areas; however, recent archaeological discoveries suggest that they were different from the present Amerindians.
The end of the last glaciation led to great ecological upheavals, which brought northern people environmental disasters , as well as new expansion possibilities in virgin territories. A new economy emerged, based upon maritime resources. The Bering Straight will open progressively in place of the Bering land bridge, thus cutting off the land route between America and Eurasia. Along the North Pacific coast, whales will replace mammoths in a few thousand years and will be used as food and raw material - a type of economy and cultural system which foreshadows the Eskimo - will announce the Eskimo type of economy and cultural system.
In the first volume (Des mythes à la préhistoire) Dr. Patrick Plumet studied the myths about theses boundless territories, and their discovery from the Greek period. In this second volume, he relates the prehistory of men , who managed to adapt themselves to the most extreme conditions of our planet and to participate to the great venture of the evolution of human cultures.
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