Traces of the first people in Europe are found near the village of Vertessölös in Hungary and in the Italian town of Isernia, which are dated back 850-700 thou years BC (DAVIES NORMAN, 2000, 87). There is a point of view that the southern regions of Eastern Europe were first populated by people of Abbevillian culture about 700 thousand years ago, before Mindel Glaciation. This is the area around the Black Sea, where it was warm even in winter months of the year (Istoriya SSSR , 1966, 18). However, dating sites found controversial and is not excluded that they belong to the next, Acheul period. Relics of Acheulean culture in the Ukraine were found in several places along the banks of the Dniester, in particular near the villages of Luka Vrublevetska and Babin (TOLOCHKO P.P. , 1994, 14). The data about the Acheulian remains in other parts of Eastern Europe are not available. In what was, at least, two Glaciation and three periods of warming during which the men retreated to the south, then back north again. Anything definite about their role in the ethnogenesis of the modern type of man can be said. In very warm Mindel-Riss interglacial period, ie approximately 400-200 thousand years ago, a man not only settled the south-west Europe (Sites Kasperivtsy, Korman on the Dniester, Peştera Kurate, Ohaba-Ponor Romania, Bojnice in Slovakia and many others), but also penetrated to the Upper Kama, and "In the early and middle Valdai he dwelt on the Pechora" (GORIETSSKIY G.I., TSEYTLIN S.M.,1977, 17; GUSLITSER B.I., PAVLOV P.Yu.,1987, 21).
At the Mousterian epoch, which began about 80 thousand years ago, Neanderthal man, who not belong to Homo sapiens sapiens, colonized much of Europe, especially Eastern one. Settlements of the Mousterian era with artificial dwellings in Ukraine were found on the Dniester near villages Molodovo, Voronovitsa (TOLOCHKO P.P, 1994, 15). In Russia, the most ancient evidence of Mousterian era discovered, in particular, near the hamlet Chelyuskinets on the right bank of the Volga, in tracts Zaikino Popelishche and Sukhaya Mechetka in the Volgograd region (TURETSKIY M., 2007, 31-32). In Hungary, the Paleolithic sites of the same epoch were found in caves in the north-west of the country and in Transdanubia (SHUSHARIN V.P., 1971., 10). Then Grimaldi man of Negroid race appeared , but his fate remains unknown. He could have partially or completely assimilated into the later newcomers, be killed by them, or be forced out to other places of settlements.
Our direct ancestors Homo sapiens sapiens appeared in Europe 40-30 thousand years ago in the middle of the last, Würm Glaciation, paving the way through the isthmuses existed on the place of modern Tunis and Gibraltar straits at that time . According combinations of physical traits experts distinguish among these men two (or three) variants and connect them with the territorial "thickening" of the Upper Palaeolithic sites. One of them is located in France in the valleys of large rivers, and the other one in Central Europe in what is now the Czech Republic and adjacent areas (BROMLEY Yu.V., 1986, 25). According to an old but well-established terminology, they are known commonly as Cro-Magnon men. The Cro-Magnons anthropologically different from today people except that the more massive body structure, but it pertains to the oldest representatives of Homo sapiens. Over time, in the process of cultural development (the transition to meat eating and cooking it on the fire, etc.) structure of the human body was changed, until it has acquired a modern look (JELINEK JAN. 1985. , 1972, 110).
Definitive data about the settling of the Caucasus are not available, but studies of Sino-Tibetan languages by the graphic-analytical method give reason to believe that their ancestors of modern speakers dwelled in the South Caucasus and the Armenian Highland during the Upper Palaeolithic . This could be confirmed by the cranial findings, because these people were supposed to be of Mongoloid type.
The territory of Eastern Europe began to be settled by the Cro-Magnons 15 – 12 thousand years, as soon as the last period of glaciation ended due to a sharp warming and reduce the continentality of climate. Originally they were hunters of large mammals: mammoth, elephant, rhinoceros hairy coming after the retreating ice northwards. In the process of the gradual retreat of the glacier the periglacial tundra zone was formed on its place and forest vegetation was developed to the south represented mainly by pine and birch. Simultaneously the role of herbaceous and shrub formations, typical for Late Glaciation, was reduced (KHOTINSKIY N.A. 1977, 57).
Changing environmental conditions have caused, according to V. Shumkin, a crisis specialised economy of the population of Central Europe, consisted of hunters and gatherers who were now forced to adapt to new environmental conditions between the tundra and forest, and this prevented the rapid growth of productive forces (SHUMKIN V.Ya., 1990 , 10). In addition, there was no such species of plants and animals that would be fit for cultivation and domestication. All this contributed to the movement of people in search of new hunting grounds. Basing on the analysis of archaeological finds one can say that the general direction of the motion of the first group of hunters in Europe was from west to east (SAHRHAGE D., LUNDBECK J., 1992, 15). Thus, freed from the glacier land in Eastern Europe gradually was settled by people who knew the bow and arrow, so he could hunt not only by baying large mammals, which also have begun to disappear at that time, but the smaller ones – deer, elk, bears, deer and hares. The transition to the hunting of small animals has been prepared by the development of tools, especially projectile weapons in the late Palaeolithic era (FORMOZOV A.A. 1959., 68). This happened in the final stages of cultures such as Madeleine (XV – X mill BC), whose center was in the south-western France and eastern Spain, but the elements of which can be found in Germany and Poland (BRAY U., TRUMP D., 1990). Obviously Arensburgian culture that existed in northern Germany and the Netherlands during the IX century BC was the development of Magdalenian tradition. The most important staple food of the carriers of this and similar cultures were reindeer meat.
Going after the reindeer, which retreated further northward during melting the glacier, groups of hunters of periglacial Europe moved from the west to the territory of present Poland and to Belarus and Lithuania from the south or south-west. Here developed two Late-Palaeolithic-Mesolithic culture, the Sviderian and slightly north of it the culture of Early Magdalenian type which was dissolved in Sviderian one in later time. The Sviderian culture concentrated in the area of Lithuania in the 9th – 8th mill. BC, occupying also a part of Poland, Byelorussia in the south and reaching the Carpathians but some of its elements are found even in the Crimea. The eastern boundary of this culture reached the headwaters of the Dnieper and the Volga (RIMANTENE R.K., 1971, 70, 117; KOL’TSOV L.V.,1977, 119; MEYNANDER K.F., 1974). The reason for the formation of Mesolithic cultures on these territories can be explained not only by the periglacial zone, which followed the reindeer, but also by the presence of raw materials to make tools and weapons for hunting. As pointed out E. Kalechits, the territory of Belarus is rich in easily-accessible deposits of flint, especially in the Belarusian Dnieper Region (KALECHITS E.G., 1984, 16).
Over time, people of the Arensburgian tradition has moved far to the north Fennoskandinavia (the Komsa culture), as well as the Baltic and southern areas of Finland (the Kunda and Suomusjarvi cultures). An important role in the formation of the last was played by carrier of the post-Sviderian traditions (SHUMKIN V.Ya., 1990 , 11). With the introduction of these cultures in Europe begins Mesolithic period which generally coincides with the transition of Earth's history from the glacial Pleistocene to the present Holocene. It is believed that Mesolithic continued in Eastern Europe from the 9th to the 6th mill BC. (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR., 1985). Until the early Mesolithic period, about 15 thousand years ago the total population of the Earth consisted of only a few million people, and in the early Neolithic (the 5th mill BC) – about 10 million did. (KOZLOV V.I. 1982. 1982, 12). The majority of the population concentrated in the South and East Asia, Africa and Southern Europe, and vast expanses of the northern half of Eurasia remained almost completely deserted.
Gradually moving to the northeast, the carriers of the Sviderian traditions VII – VI millennium BC reached the basin of the Oka in the 7th-6th mill BC and seems to have moved even to the Kama, taking part in the creation of a number of so-called circumpolar cultures. This group of related cultures in the forest zone of Europe was extended to the north of the zone in which it was possible to sedentary farming. According to Gordon Childe, all forest cultures of boreal phase without exception are derived from the Upper Palaeolithic cultures of Eastern and Central Europe (CHILDE GORDON. , 1952, 33). Already when the Neolithic established in the south , the population of this area has continued to engage in hunting and fishing. These people wove fishing nets from bast as linden, as well elm migrated northward since the start of warming in the Boreal period, ie since the 6 mill BC (KHOTINSKIY N.A.,1977, 59). Later they learned from south neighbours pottery and produced ovoid vessels with patching or comb patterns (BRAY U., TRUMP D. 1990).
One can assume the resettlement of Eastern Europe in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic also from the Caucasus. At the time, A.A Formozov identified in Eastern Europe since the Mesolithic three ethno-cultural regions – the Southern-Russian, West-Russian and Central (FORMOZOV A.A., 1959, 71). He believed geometric forms as characteristic feature of weapons of the southern Mesolithic sites. Such forms have been spread in Crimea, the Caucasus, near the Dnieper rapids, on the Middle Don region. The western boundary of the area took place somewhere between the Dnieper and the Dniester and between the Volga and the Urals in the east. The sites having geometric shapes on the South Caucasus merge with similar relics in Iran. The northern boundary passed through the Middle Donets and vicinity of Poltava. Central Russian region enveloping the basins of the Oka, Upper Volga, Desna, Belarus and Lithuania was characterized by sites having tips of knife-like blades. These sites merge with Polish sites of Sviderian culture, but the full identity is not here, so A. Formozov share this whole area into the "West Russian" and Oka groups (as it was allowed by P.P Efimenko earlier). However, a lot to do with the Mesolithic of Poland we can find only at the western group, which includes sites of Lithuania and Belarus (ibid., 75-77). Borders of the Central and western Russian cultural regions remain unclear. Later A. Formozov abandoned his three-term division, as well as geometric instruments were also widely spread in Europe, and he admitted that "the Mesolithic characterized by geometric forms is the not narrow territorial phenomenon of not narrow " (FORMOZOV A.A, 1977, 59). Indeed, the geometric shape was characteristic for the arrowheads of Tardenoisian culture and this tradition spread from France through Poland to Lithuania and Belarus. However, the resemblance of geometric forms does not prove their common origin. They could be enrolled in Eastern Europe as from the west and from the Caucasus, from where the migration of carriers different ethnic and cultural traditions different from Tardenoisian one in other grounds, should have occurred.
In the course of the study graphical models of kinship Nostratic and Sino-Tibetan languages were obtained on the basis of lexical-statistical data. The similarity of these models let to suggest that the formation of proto-languages, which gave rise to these large macrofamily, occurred in the same place. As previously, it was determined that the Nostratic proto-language were formed in the Caucasus and the Armenian highlands around the turn of the late Paleolithic and early Mesolithic period, the carriers of the Sino-Tibetan languages have been previously inhabit these places, otherwise their presence would have been recorded in historical documents. One might think that this ethnic group originally belonged to the yellow race, but this assumption should be confirmed by anthropologists on the findings of skulls of Paleolithic times in the Caucasus. Until such information is not available and if it ever made clear that the people of the Caucasus has never had Mongoloid traits, then the Sino-Tibetans have acquired these traits in Central Asia after the cross-breeding with the Mongoloids, which should be considered the first Neanthropine in Asia and Eastern Europe in any case. In the latter case, the initial race of the Sino-Tibetan is unclear – whether they were Cro-Magnon men, or Negroids, or presented a particular disappeared racial type. This issue can be resolved finally after clarification of the origin of the Mongoloid race, and in particular its characteristic features – slanting palpebral fissure, and epicanthus, the folds of the upper eyelid. These features could be formed as a reaction to the Central Asian climate, because some Mongolians do not have them, but it is possible that they were laid down genetically. In addressing this question one should pay attention to the fact that American Indians who belong to the Mongoloid race, have no epicanthus, and the Ainu, an ancient people of Japan, Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, generally have some clear Caucasoid features. A complete set of Mongoloid traits can be found in the population of Southeast Asia, the peoples of the Mongolian and Tungus-Manchu groups. Languages of the latter do not contain clear evidence of kinship with the Sino-Tibetan, ie formed far from the settlement of the Sino-Tibetan, so we can assume that the yellow race people inhabited a vast area in Eastern Europe and Asia at a time when human speech was held only the initial stage of its development. Since Laponoid race is intermediate between the Mongoloid and Caucasoid, the presence of Laponoid element in Epi-Palelitic finds of skulls in Eastern Europe may indicate that cross-breeding of anthropologically different ethnic groups occurred here in the Upper Paleolithic, which eventually led to a special variety of racial types, which are now generally refer to the yellow race.
The resettlement of people in those ancient times was caused by the local population pressure or due to its increasing within a community, or through his increasing among neighbouring tribes. (KOZLOV V.I., 1982, 17). Hunters moved by groups of about 25 people. Clearly, this team can not be a tribe. It does not coincide with a father kin. As it was pointed out by S. Arutyunov, "tribe, consisting of such groups, each of which requires at the most favorable conditions not less than 400-500 square meters of hunting territory, but often the area 2-3 times greater, can not be soldered, or numerous" (ARUTIUNOV S.A. 1982, 65). Thus, the resettlement of primitive people on the vast expanses of Eastern Europe could itself delay their progress than to promote it, because arriving in an unfamiliar environment people had to spend time and energy to adjust to new conditions of existence (KOZLOV V.I, 1982, 14).
The direction of movement of people steams was determined in large extent by the structure of the hydrographic network and facilitated by the existence of natural conditions for the construction of permanent trails:
“Pathways were created in ancient times, above all, along watercourses due to the fact that after the settlement a human by their involuntary efforts paved hiking trails mostly on the nearest to water flow terrace… The existence of other opportunities for passing of area along other lines at later times, for example, "on top track, "entirely on dry land does not change anything in the way of paving the main roads. Preconditions for the emergence of hiking trails were primarily Physic-Geographical. Physic-Social-Geographical aspects arise from the movement of people by trails and lifestyles around them. Paths form a basic skeleton of human residence, and not just communicative one. The emergence and continued existence of settlements was the most important manifestation of the trails network.” (KVĔT RADAN. 2000, 295).
As we shall see later, human settlements in certain places existed since ancient times, as evidenced their place names.
The made above picture of the resettlement of the primary population of Eastern Europe is hypothetical and greatly simplified. All these questions are not resolved, so the purpose of this chapter was to show the options for primary ethnogenic processes until such time as they can be spoken more confidently. However, in keeping with the theme of this work, we will be more interested in the question, if could the first gatherer-hunters to create a persistent ethnic groups. In considering the item we have in mind such statements:
“Ethnic community is usually defined as a collection of people with a common culture, speaking generally the same language and perceiving as their community as difference of people belonging to other similar communities” (SEMIONOV Yu.I. 1986, 73).
"Ethnicity is a stable, historically developed community of people characterized by such features, attributes as a common territory, language, economic ties, cultural way of life and ethnic identity, which is expressed primarily in the minds of the real or imaginary community of their origin" (KOROLUK V.D. 1985., 134).
The appointed above features, attributes consist stable structure that allows ethnic group to persist for a long time in different historical periods, even after the loss of one of the features while maintaining self-consciousness. Also endogamy is a characteristic feature (or a consequence of the other?). If during the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic prevailed promiscuity, then we can speak about ethnic units only since Neolithic times. Taking into account all known facts, we must admit that the first settlers in Eastern Europe stood at a such low level of social development that there no question of the existence of any ethnic units can be. However, these people formed the anthropological basis of ethnogenic processes which began in later period.