THE FIRST CIVILIZATIONS
WHEN the Aryan way of speech and life was beginning to spread to the east and west of the region in which it began, and breaking up as it spread into a number of languages and nations, considerable communities of much more civilized men were already in existence in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, and probably also in China and in (still purely Dravidian) India. Our story has overshot itself in its account of the Aryans and of their slow progress from early Neolithic conditions to the heroic barbarism of the Bronze Age. We must now go back. Such a pre-Keltic gathering as we sketched at Avebury would have happened about 2000 b.c., and the building of the barrow for Hector as the Iliad describes it, 1300 b.c. or even later. It is perhaps natural for a European writer writing primarily for English-reading students to overrun his subject in this way. No great harm is done if the student does clearly grasp that there has been an overlap.
Here then we take up the main thread of human history again. We must hark back to 6000 b.c. or even earlier. But although we shall go back so far, the people we shall describe are people already in some respects beyond the Neolithic Aryans of three