Sunday, 10 April 2011

Face to face with Europe's First Peoples?

In 1884, Roland Bonaparte, a French member of the Society of Geography, made a trip to Northern Scandinavia, a frigid area unsuited to any kind of agriculture. There lived the Sami, a Reindeer-herder people who likely inhabited a much greater area of the peninsula until Medieval times.
He had an Anthropological interest, and said some sensible things together with lots of nonsense like many contemporaries. Here are the photos he took, some using newly developed colour photography techniques (the colours are real) of contemporary Sami peoples still mostly with thousand-year old lifestyles in the late 19th century.
There's also this photo (it's 130 years old and obviously in the Public Domain, but I'll link it instead of "using" it).

Today Sami look more often like this, or this.

Let's assume the Neolithic Replacement hypothesis holds, and that the Sami might be Europe's last Native Peoples. They are the genuine descendants of the Cro-Magnon, related to the authors of these and these works of Art, admired by Picasso himself, who said "after Altamira, all is decadence" (thinking his own ancestors had painted them, but certainly truthfully). They had perhaps the most effective contemporary stone tools in the World. Some of them maybe invented a new lifestyle away from land during the last Ice Age, living in the Ice floats of the Atlantic hunting seals, whales and fishing. They possibly made it to the empty American Continents with only Stone Age technology. Today, in Europe, they're maybe reduced to the Sami (admixed in varying degrees with Scandinavian and Finnish Fertile Crescenters) and a few percent in some populations' genome, their probable former diversity largely lost for ever. Such is the power of a Neolithic Revolution.


  1. Renée Zellweger is half-Sami and half-Swiss, so she is not a good representative of the Sami people.

  2. Some rather common looks among Saami:

  3. Why are the Saami, Europe's first people?

    Aren't they just recent blow ins from east of the Urals, essentially primitive hunter/gatherers following herds of animals and fishing for their livelihoods.

    Just because they are backward and primitive with simple pre Neolithic cultures does not make them the First People or even Europeans.