The development of toposemantic architecture (signs for migration, dwelling, food control)
The potential of derivates (traps, baskets etc.)
The development of domestic architecture
The development and implications of controlled fire.
The development of polarity and the cognitive integration of natural forms into human perception. Under the condition of harmony very heterogenous objects and environments can be perceived in polar categorial analogies. In this sense polarity can be considered the 'primary ontology’ of hominids since the 'Middle Paleolithic', maybe related already to early Homo sapiens.
The development of language (relatively late)
It is evident that our 'anthropological prehistory' - in great contrast to conventional reconstructions, describes an age of 'great cultural discoveries'. This age was triggered basically by the tools, but becomes effective only if seen in view of the tools' impacts on pre-existent fibroconstructive industries. If both are combined, they show a tremendous power to relate hominoids and hominids to their environment.
It is not surprising that, after this tremendous increase in memorizing capacity to which the hominid brain responded during this phase, is at its end with Homo sapiens sapiens. The brain of modern man did not considerably evolve further in size. This could indicate that this toposemantic and toposymbolic age of discoveries had on one side formed a tremendous stress on hominid memorizing capacity (resp. selection favouring those who developed this capacity), but that once this 'new order' was accomplished it became the basis of human orientation and could be used easily henceforth.
So far, we remained focussed on topics not related to territorial control. We wanted to deal with this topic separately, because it is the strongest argument supporting the present approach. We have indicated that toposemantic demarcation is closely related to an increase in territorial control. This aspect shall be dealt with in the following title section.
In the last three phases of the Ember's list prehistory tells us interesting things which imply that Homo sapiens sapiens had gained an increasing sense for place.
In the anthropological framework of material culture the discussion is very different. Arguments are systematic. The totality of phenomena related to 'constructivity' provides us with a wealth of technological, formal, functional and social conditions which can be used for the interpretation of sources. Thus all these different phenomena mentioned in the above five points show a common factor. They imply increasing topological or territorial control.
Of what nature this territorial control might have been is clearly revealed if we reconstruct it backwards from the Bronze Age
Nuclear demarcation and the access-place scheme
Ethnology tells us a very important thing which could never be found with the archaeological method. An evidently very primary type of territorial demarcation was central, not peripheral as is conventionally thought.(Egenter 1994b) The outer borderlines are defined geographically relatively vaguely from the centre towards outside. Nevertheless, this type of territorial demarcation is extremely strong. It functions entirely different. A high identification of the inhabitants with the centre is formed, expressed in high local ontological values. This type of demarcation has impacts on the distance of settlement clusters and on the behavior of their populations. It is effective through socio-spatio-behavioural conditions.
Such 'place making' could be extremely simple. In fact, the setup of a nuclear fibrous demarcation at the end of an access path was enough to define a settlement, indicating the transitional point between place and beyond. In a second step the place was marked with a couple of 'gate markers', separating the newly defined place from the accesszone as 'inside'. Repeated gate markers towards outside could define series of 'insides', all hierarchically related to the onotological focus (value-focussed axis).
Anthropologically, most sedentary arrangements, whether temporary or permanent, whether elementary or evolved, whether on the smaller dimensions of a hut, tent or house or on the larger extensions of a settlement, they all show this basic pattern of demarcation. Throughout the history of culture cross culturally, this 'access-place-scheme' shows a surprising continuity (see Oliver 1997) and remained widely intact into pre-modern times, particularly in sacred architecture (Dagobert Frey 1949). The Egyptian temple is essentially such an access-place scheme (or 'value focussed axis') originally demarcated with fibroconstructive signs (Andrae 1933).
In view of such sources, we must assume that 'nuclear demarcation' using the 'access-place scheme' was a fundamental sedentary arrangement that developed primarily with fibroconstructive techniques. We must consequently assume that such fibroconstructive toposemantic traditions were very important throughout prehistory.
Nuclear demarcation became particularly significant with increasing sedentary permanence and density. Neolithic villages
Processes of domestication of plants and animals can be interpreted in the framework of peripheral demarcation.
Later, during Bronze Age, this toposemantic cyclically renewed systems had gained enough importance and stability to be superseded by a higher level of 'metabolised' or monumentalised arrangements using durable materials. They always figured in a spatial nucleus of settlements in the framework of high ontological values.
We could then infer that these patterns had been highly efficient in the process of sedentarisation. In forming the focus of local identification, nuclear demarcation increasingly protected a domain or settlement. First, because the population increasingly identified with it. And second, the population could be organised in unity against outsiders and aggressors. Evidently the concept of 'nuclear demarcation' could explain what supported sedentarisation as a process. Note that the semantic aspect is crucial.
Settlement core complex
The concept 'settlement core complex' is an ethnological reconstruction (Egenter 1994a, b). It describes systems of 'cyclic nuclear demarcation' related to the founder house of a settlement and its descendents. Their heads form the elite of the agrarian village. The representant of the founder line is chief of the settlement and priest at the cyclic renewal of nuclear demarcation. As the descendent of the founder he is often considered the primary ruler over agrarian land.
Prehistorically speaking we can assume that the settlement core complex developed already during mesolithic times, but it became very important during the Neolithic period. With increasing density based on agricultural production, and consequently permanent settling, cyclic demarcation at the same nuclear place became an archive for social hierarchy, distinguishing between founder lines and newcomers. The lineage of the founder house was of primary order in the cults, its representants took the titles of chiefs, rulers and priests of the settlements, based on the greatly increased territorio-semantic and structuro-ontological values projected on nuclear demarcation.
It is fairly clear that early state formation developed from this Neolithic 'settlement core complex' (Kees 1980). This might also be valid for China (Moriya 1950, Köster 1958).
Note that the larger part of the toposemantic system of the Ainu must be considered as an evolved type compared with the signs produced by manipulating grasses. It is done by shaving sticks of wood with a sharp blade to produce freely moving white locks. And the signs are staked into the ground, thus using elementary artificial stability. Many other objects of Ainu material culture indicate that parts of it remained on the level of a 'staking' culture, which might have developed in dry or cold climates where grasses were not available. As a technique it was very likely already present in certain regions of the Upper and Middle paleolithic. Note that the bundling type is still present in the Ainu sign system.
Most striking is the fact that the Ainu did hunting and gathering in very systematical ways relying on their all embracing system of polarity. Spatial, social and temporal polarities formed the basic grid on which all activities were organised. Thus taking the Ainu as a model does not mean a simple retroprojection. It means rather gaining new arguments for shedding new light on prehistory. How broad food collection developed and how it was supported, can be theoretically understood in using such ethno-prehistorical analogies.
In short, there are a lot of sources supporting the hypothesis that nuclear demarcation with cyclically renewed 'semantic architecture' played an important role in the evolution of culture. Beginning with the use of tools for cutting fibrous construction materials, an architectural revolution was triggered which by its immanent potential for topological and territorial control was not only the 'hidden mover' of brain size in hominid evolution, but prepared a process which has become the most striking characteristic of most humans today: sedentary life offering a high degree of control over food and other goods.
2. a methodology adapted to this wider horizon,
3. reconstructing settlement structures in ethnology, AND in primatology,
4. collecting a wider circle of sources and using systematic behavioural, structural and environmental principles for reconstruction.
We gain a new method, namely to reconstruct culture as an evolution of subhuman and human settlement.
We gain also a theory: Evolutionary processes related to constructivity, beginning very likely with Proconsul 22 million years ago as a hominoid fibroconstructive industry with toposemantic functions developed into complex systems of territorial control among hominids and modern humans. Very likely, these processes stuctured hominids and humans in regard to three characteristics, body erection, increased brain size and sedentarisation.
Homo constructor structurans? We might have gained a definitely environmental theory of culture. We can also simply add our paper as a 'history from below' to what J. P. Wilson has developed in his recommendable book 'The domestication of the Human Species'.