A Different Look
The Swiderians were a different kind of people. They looked different. They traveled west to east: opposite of all other cultures. The restless people didn’t stay long in most places, as seen by relatively few hunting remains. Traversing the treacherous territory of Eastern Europe and the western Near East required humans of tremendous willpower and endurance.
Like vacuum cleaners, the Swiderians sucked up the cultures, skills, territory, resources, and learning of others until they emerged the dominant culture.
A Different Look
The Swiderians had skulls that were dolichocephalic. That is, the anterior-posterior length was unusually long compared to the width of the skull. Their faces were thin with prominent and massive brow ridges, slanted foreheads, high cheekbones, and strong chins. They were significantly taller and larger than other people.
Swiderian travels can be traced by their unique tanged and leaf shaped points. We see settlements first along the Vistula, Oder, and Warta Rivers of northern Poland. The Swiderians then ranged east to settle on the Dneiper, Volga, Oka, and Don Rivers in Russia.
Then came a major shift: in central Poland the Swiderians developed efficient mining of exotic forms of flint, hematite, and ochre. They commanded these important resources of paint and points and discovered that they loved to trade.
But the Polish mines lacked the volcanic glass called obsidian that everyone craved for scalpel-sharp points on weapons and tools. The Swiderians set out toward the known sites of this mineral, determined to dominate that trade also.
They traveled south into the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, which held three sources of obsidian.
From there, some continued south to the Crimea. Whereas there were no sources of obsidian in the Crimea, the area has always been a trade crossroads. Perhaps that it why the Crimea was chosen as their destination. And there, the Swiderians would have met the Zarzians!
It was probably the eastern Swinderians who travelled south to the Caucasus Mountains where there were five sources of obsidian.
A short but difficult trip south from there would find them reaching the three sites in the Armenian highlands—and the Zarzian mines.
It is at this time in history when the Zarzians, their unique culture, and their trade empire vanish.
Were the Zarzians forced to give up their trade by right of conquest? Perhaps.
But the Swiderians seem to be more inclined to diplomacy, perhaps sharing cultures and knowledge with the Zanzians.
Then, like an amoeba, they may have figuratively surrounded the Zanzians and absorbed them into an enriched Swiderian culture.
Collins, Andrew. Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods. Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2014, p. 168-194, 215-217.
Photo credit: Julia Bogdan at Unsplash