The boat peoples who reached the North Atlantic and became seagoing hunters, continued to expand from there, first down the Atlantic coast to the British Isles and then further south. Archeology shows that a seagoing people emerged along the Atlantic coast and left remarkable megalithic constructions close to the coast near southwest Spain, Brittany, British Isles, and as far as the Jutland Peninsula. Where did the Megalithic Civilization  come from? Did it originate with the seagoing boat peopes that appeared in northern Norway, or was it an independent seagoing boat people arising towards the south?
Looking to the west Atlantic coast, we know from the Norse journeys to the North American coast, that the currents and winds could have carried earlier people by the same route to the vicinity of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Did such people originate or add to the boat peoples who expanded west, and became the Algoquian cultures? While answers to such questions are vague too, at least we can consider the possibilities.

The North Atlantic towards the European Side


    The sea-going peoples of the British northern isles obviously originated from the arctic skin boat peoples because they have always used skin boats. When walrus became extinct in the British northern isles, the people there, the "Picts", made skin boats from ox-hide. The Irish called them curraghs. The following illustration comes from an 18th century illustration. To my amazement, it appears to have an oxhead,  at the prow, adhering to the ancient tradition of the head of the animal whose skin was used being put at the prow.

Figure 21
18th century illustration shows 'wild Irish' in a 'curragh' - a skin boat of ox hides - note the head of the ox at the prow,. suggesting an origin in the arctic Norwegian skin boats

    The late author Farley Mowat,  searched historical material for everything he could find about the skin-boat peoples of the northern British Isles, and established from historical quotes with great certainty of British islands and coast being inhabited by peoples who travelled everywhere even long sea voyages in skin boats.(Farfarers, Toronto, 1998) However he failed to make any connection between them and the skin boat traditions across the Scandinavian arctic. It is all too easy to imagine a boat being created by covering a wicker basket with a skin. That could have been improvised as easily as a raft, when needed. But we are looking not just the technological innovation but the entire way of life. It is the entire way of life that migrated. Humans have always been able to solve immediate problems such as crossing rivers.  I believe the animal head on the prow speaks of origins in the peoples along the Norwegian coasts that left the rock carvings with animal heads on skin boats, and of course in historic times it was transferred to Norse ships with exotic head carvings on the prow.
    Why did the Norwegian coast boat peoples become involved with the northern British islands? The answer lies in the North Atlantic Drift, a warm current that originated in the Gulf of Mexico and known as the Gulf Stream. The warm current was ricn with sea life. It proceeded northward to the west of the British Isles, on its way to the arctic coast of Norway. But a branch of it turned eastward through the British northern Isles. The Orkney Islands there, are believed to have once had great walrus herds. Walrus skins would have been the skins used by early "Pict" sea peoples of the outer islands and coasts.
       In the first century AD, the Romans had invaded the British Isles and were establishing armies in various locations, including in the North, to assert control everywhere. There is no question that if there were people of the open seas in the outer British Isles, they would have fled from the Romans, and  settled elsewhere. I find it not a strange coincidence that, according to archeological dating, the Beothuks of Newfoundland appear there about the same time as the Romans are asserting control over the British Isles. The word that "Beothuk" represents, has similarities with some variations on names applied to the Picts.  For example Anglo-Saxon "Peohtas". Norse hardened it to "Peti"
    When Greeks and Romans ventured north into the British Isles, they  heard of  an island in the North Atlantic called "Thule" which has been identified as Iceland. (Note: The name "Thule" for the arctic North American archeological culture has no connection to the historical "Thule" name for 'Iceland'. Archeologists used that name based on the region, so named,  in northwestern Greenland where the archeological culture was first archeologically identified among the earlier "Dorset").


    There is no question that there once existed seagoing people who travelled the North Atlantic in a repeated circuit. They travelled the North Atlantic ocean, camping on islands, as we can see in the illustration of Greenland Inuit whale hunting. They were short people, and that is to be expected too, as an adaptation. People who travel extensively by boat need strong upper bodies, but can have short legs (Short legs on large torsos can be still seen among the Inuit - short legs are also good for reducing loss of body heat) 
    But how much evidence is there of seagoing aboriginal peoples in the North Atlantic in historical texts? Some scholars have speculated about the existence of seagoing skin boat peoples in the outer fringes of the British Isles, and that the original use of the word "Pict" applied to them. One of the authors of such speculation was Farley Mowat (Farfarers, 1998). Seeking an early British people who preceeded Celts or Romans, he pictured a people he called "Albans". He pictured them being most interested in walrus, obviously making their skin boats from walrus hide, and travelling as far as the Labrador coast to obtain walrus ivory to sell in Europe. Mowat, however, largely invented a fantasy people who were in his view not aboriginals, and so had no connection with aboriginals of Norway or even Greenland. He made no mention (didn't even think of it!)  of the rock paintings of skin boats in Norway, and made no connection between the Norwegian examples of skin boats and the skin boats of the British Isles, recorded in historical records and surviving through the centuries as the Irish "curragh". The hurdle he failed to overcome was his inability to identify his "Albans" with aboriginal peoples.
    But here and there, he unearths interesting details that are valid, if interpreted in a more realistic way. For example he included the image of an Irish curragh sketched in the 18th century, but did not attach any meaning to the ox-head on the prow. He also wrote about historic accounts by settlers to Iceland, of people who lived on islands and in caves. The most interesting information, which he interpreted in a wrong way is the following. Speaking of Shetland Islands (one of the British northern isles) he wrote:
    Existing Shetland traditions speak of a people called Finns who inhabited Fetlar and northwest Unst for some time after the Norse occupied Shetland. This name is identical with the one by which the Norse knew the aboriginals of northern Scandinavia. It is also the name given by Shetlanders (of Norse lineage) to a scattering of Inuit (sic). who, in kayaks, materialized amongst the Northern Isles during the eighteenth century.. (Mowat, Farfarers: Before the Norse, p 110, Toronto, 1998)
     But it did not occur to Mowat that these were the same people as the ones he was looking for, and not some other people.  He was looking for people closer to himself - settled people living on the coasts - and thus did not seriously consider "Finns" to have been identifiable with the later term of "Sea-Lapps" from the Norwegian coast. These "Finns" could have been a very real example of remnants of North Atlantic seagoing aboriginals. They were not lost, not outside their territory. They were exactly at a campsite they considered to be part of their territory. They probably travelled in the circuit of currents I labelled as "B" in Figure 17 above. These people would have included the Norwegian coast, Faero Islands, and sometimes  the east side of Iceland. When the Norse migrated to the Iceland, they did not travel blindly. They already knew how to get there from the aboriginal natives! Indeed it is likely that traders made occasional journeys as far as Iceland, and that the Greek traveller Pytheas accompanied such traders and learned the name "Thule" from them. Iceland is a volcanic island, and about once every generation a volcano begins smoking. The smoke would have drifted east and anyone in the eastern North Atlantic would have known about the island of fire. If the language from which "Thule" (Greeks used "TH" for the "D" sound so the word sounded like "DOO-LEH" which is exactly the FInnic word for '(island) of fire'. In modern Estonian the word tulemägi means 'volcano' (literally 'fire-mountain'). A Finnic word, at least fits the theory of ultimate origins of North Atlantic aboriginals in the boat peoples of northern Europe at the end of the Ice Age.
    Farley Mowat found plenty of evidence of the skin boat being the common boat of the original peoples of the British Isles. How they came there is common sense - the original seagoing skin boat peoples who were investigating rocky islands and underwater shelves beside the North Atlantic Drift (or Gulf Stream), found convenient islands and coasts where they could camp and access nearby sea-hunting locations.
  The difference between the Altantic seaharvesters that were called "Finns", and those who left a record of skin boat use in the British Northern Isles, may be simply that the latter became more localized by becoming more involved with the economies of the interior of Britain. In other words, as happened elsewhere in history, civilization sought natural resources from aboriginal native peoples, and offered exotic goods in exchange. Soon aboriginal peoples were heading to regularly to markets set up by the long distance traders. Here is an example: According to Mowat in Farfarers, the Roman poet Avienus, quoting fragments from a Carthaginian periplus (seaman's sailing directions) dating to the six century B.C. described a rendevous with native British in skin boats as follows.
To the Oestrimnides [Scilly Islands] come many enterprising people who occupy themselves with commerce and who navigate the monster-filled [ie walruses, seals, whales, propoises, etc] ocean far and wide in small ships. They do not understand how to build wooden ships in the usual way. Believe it or not, they make their boats by sewing hides together and carry out deep-sea voyages in them.  (quotes in Mowat, Farfarers)
    Finding good conditions in the British Isles, and the ability to trade wares from the sea for other goods, they would have been influenced by civilizaton and formed an intermediate seagoing culture inhabiting the outer islands of the British Isles.  They would have become the British aboriginal Picts who travelled the outer islands beside the North Atlantic Drift and learned to leave domesticated animals on grassy islands, which they could harvest from time to time when they came by again.
   After the Roman Age, developments of boat peoples along the Norwegian coast lead to the continued use of the principle of the skin on the frame in boats covered with planks. With the connection between the skin and the head on the prow gone, builders were free to make up their own wood carvings to put on the prow..  It gave  rise to the "dragon boat" concept. The presence of the "dragon-head" in Norse vessels demonstrates that the Germanic conquerors of the Norwegian coast (800-1000AD) became identifiable with seafarers purely from the Finnic natives starting to speak the Germanic language (Norse), and participating in the new Norse culture. The idea of Vikings originating from Germanic heritage is ridiculous. Vikings originated from the indigenous boat peoples, and became speakers of Germanic Norse in much the same way that North American Native peoples have recently become English speakers. The Germanic languages are filled with imagery that connects the source of Germanic languages in farming and pastoral meadows, not in seafaring. Of all the languages across northern Europe, only Finnic is filled with original word concerning boat use, water, marshes, aquatic plants.
  Another important historical reference presents us with another truth that ought to be obvious - that the skin boats of the British Isles crossed the waters to Norway as well. This comes from Pliny the Elder dated to 77 A.D. in which he writes about information from an earlier historian Timaeus whose original work has been lost.
    The historian Timaeus says that there is an island named Mictis lying inward six day's sail from Britain where tin is found and to which the Britons cross in boats of osier covered with stiched hides. (Pliny, NaturalHistories, IV, 14, 104.)
   Mowat suggested that this place called Mictis might have been Iceland. However if the skin-boat seafarers of the British Isles had an intimate relationship with any location it may have been the Lofoten Islands of Norway. We also note that since the Gulf Stream flowed past the British Isles and north towards the Lofotens, then the sailing was with the current. If "MIctis" is a distortion of the original word, then it could have originated from a Finnic word like MÄGED/ES which means '(place) of the mountains'
     To summarize: we can accept that many of these oceanic skin-boat peoples, who ventured away from the Norwegian arctic waters where they began, and then became localized among the British Isles,  tended to sheep on land behind their huts, and traded with interior peoples; but at the same time the traditional way of life would have continued as well: there were also the long-range migrations of  traditional oceanic people, who made circuitous migrations from one sea harvest area to another. They would be the ones who would camp for a time on outer islands (like the Shetlands) to use as a home base for harvesting the surrounding seas. The "Finns" of Shetland traditions were not, I'm certain, accidental visitors of Inuit. I think they were people who deliberately migrated in a circuit which touched on Iceland, Faroes, Shetlands, and Norway.
    Author Farley Mowat searched for all evidence he could find about the mysterious early peoples of the British Isles who used skin boats.
   According to historical references after the arrival of Christianity Irish monks sought to get away from civilization to live a solitary meditative life. They headed north into the outer islands, and there they encountered short people who created dwellings that resembled igloos made of stone, that is, domes (or near domes with a small roof) created by piling rocks round and round, sealed on the outside with sod so that they were like underground houses. (Note that arctic Norwegian dwellings were similarly semi-buried and often using sod to seal the roof.)  These short "Peti" (As a Norwegian text called them) that the monks encountered, appeared also to have left   goats and/or sheep to run wild on grassy islands, so that when they returned to these islands they would be able to harvest them for meat to supplement their seafood diet. Obviously those "Picts" who became more settled, if any did, became more diligent breeders of these sheep and goats. Such islands would have been ideal for monks - there they would have solitude but also have familiar goats and sheep to survive on. We are speaking of early Christianity in Ireland, shortly after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
   Thus the absence of any early permanent settlement on Iceland before the Norse should not be construed as Iceland being unknown. It was known, alright - by aboriginal peoples. But Mowat was wanting to find people he could identify with, not aboriginal peoples. He could not accept that the people he envisioned - the "Albans" were more native, more like Greenland Eskimo, than he wanted. 
    Archeologists and anthropologists are not discriminating in this way. For them it is perfectly acceptable to envision aboriginal seafarers who may have migrated throughout the arctic waters, and known all about Iceland, the North Atlantic, Labrador, etc. - already maybe 5000-6000 years ago. But in our common culture, there remains a racist perspective which implies "aboriginals do not count", and so there are endless debates as to whether the Norse landings around 1000AD were the "first" or  whether there were earlier landings on Labrador or Newfoundland coasts, by Irish monks; or some other group. (It is the same mentality by which people speak of "Columbus discovering America".
    Who cares? Aboriginals always knew, and European seagoing aboriginals from the Alta area, visited and perhaps stayed millenia ago. Archeology has found evidence of contact with Europe - primitive aboriginal Europe -dating long before the "Norse" visits to "Vinland".
    In our pages here, we do not discriminate between aboriginal people versus "civilized" people. The very concept of "civilized" people "discovering" aboriginal people and lands, is inherently weird.

Did the 'Megalithic Civilization' evolved out of the North Atlantic sea peoples?


On the European side there would have been southward migrations as well, but nodern evidence of it would be more difficult to detect owing to accumulated historical developments. Archeology, however, identifies seagoing peoples on the Atlantic coast of Europe as early as 4500BC, on account of the "megalithic" (made of enormous stones) constructions from southern Portugal to northern Britain, taking either the form of large burial chambers covered with mounds, or stone circles and alignments.  The oldest constructions were all found close to the sea, and widely distributed in southern Portugal, Brittany, coasts on either side of the Irish Sea, Orkney Islands, and even across to the north end of the Jutland Peninsula by 2000BC. The famous "Stonehenge" was a relatively late development from the same general culture.  It suggests a trading people that eventually promoted their culture inland up the rivers, eventually making eastern Europe generally a culture of this nature. But how did this seagoing culture arise? Can we propose it originated in the north and migrated south?

Figure 19

Nice image of European megalithic cultures from internet
source: internet. url not found
The above map is a good one showing the early and later cultures that build constructions with large stones. Do not be confused by the large coloured areas. In reality they should be dots. But it generally shows (orange) that there were people who travelled the Atlantic. They may have begun following whales, but then became traders to interior less mobile peoples (yellow). In any event, there were boat peoples in the Atlantic about the same time as arctic skin boats spread around the arctic. See text for our argument as to where it came from.

    Any thinking that these  megalith building boat peoples originated anywhere else but in the north begs us to wonder what environmental circumstances occurred elsewhere to force humans - land people - to go out into the frightening open sea. As we discussed earlier, the postglacial flooded lands of northern Europe provided no alternative but to develop the use of boats, but did such sustained pressures occur anywhere else. The reality is that in the beginning, the melting and retreat of glaciers was gradual, producing little pressure to abandon land-based ways of life. But as the area of snow and ice diminished, less of the sun's rays were reflected into space, and more was absorbed by the dark earth or sea. The warming of the climate was proportional to the changes in area. Thus as the world approached about 12,000 years ago, the warming was so rapid that water accumulated on the land, as it was unable to drain as quickly to the sea. Thus the first development of a boat-oriented way of life would have occurred only around that time, from around 12,000 -8,000 years ago just south of where the glaciers were located. Maps on these pages show that the first development of boat peoples probably developed around 12,000-11,000 years ago with the "Maglemose" archeological culture, and then continued with the "Kunda" towards northeast Europe. If we look for an independent development in North America, the situation of the remaining glaciers shown in Chapter 2 Figure 7, does suggest such extreme flooding could have independently promoted boat peoples arising there to produce the Algonquian boat peoples, but if it occurred earlier in Europe such as at 12,000 years ago, skin boats could have crossed the North Atlantic earlier and at least influenced the native parallel development.
    But let us return to the European coast. The megalithic constructions have been dated to around 5,000-6,500 years ago. If the "Maglemose" culture developed from about 12,000 years ago between southern Scandinavia and Britain, that certainly produces enough time for a seagoing boat culture to develop and migrate south. But if we date the development of arctic Norwegian skin boat peoples to around 6,000-7,000 years ago it is also possible that the seagoing North Atlantic seagoing culture  was already expanding south. Perhaps the first whaling peoples followed the Atlantic coast south to the Strait of Gibraltar and did not continue. Whale hunters do not chase whales, but as seen on the Pacific coast of North America, establish themselves at a midpoint of the migration, so they can harvest whales twice a year - when they were migrating south and migrating north. Did they 'settle' on the south coast of Spain. The Strait of Gibraltar also offered another source of food - the Atlantic eel migrations. Since such people do not chase the animals, like reindeer hunters, they would have been able to establish themselves in more or less permanent ways. It is possible that these people developed trade, and were able to establish permanent markets. Once humans were settled in a permanent location, they were able to accumulate material developments that signify civilizations.
    Did these people come from the north?
    I believe so because their megalithic contructions looked like monumental versions of their common structures of semi-buried huts made of rocks, and stone alignments to help navigation. If they did not originate from the skin-boat peoples descended from "Kunda" culture, they could have originated from dugout peoples descended from the "Maglemose" culture. It is interesting to note that all rock carvings of skin boats in the arctic are accompanied also by a few carvings showing single-person dugouts.  Archeology has also found early giant size dugouts in the Baltic. But there could have been independent innovations.One manner of creating a seagoing watercraft was based on the raft concept. A few streamlined logs, with an elevated platform above, so that the logs are forced to be submerged. Then the waves would pass through the poles of the platform structure, over top of the submerged logs. Such a design would avoid resistance from waves, and if the logs were smoothed and streamlined there would be little resistance underwater as well. Rowers on board would then get the ship moving, and the ship, because of the logs would have plenty of inertia and momentum, which is also useful in large waves and currents. It would be the perfect watercraft for long-distance ocean voyages. The advantage of the skin boat was that it was light and portable, and very pliable to the forces of waves.
    It is therefore certainly possible that the ship made of a platform held above waves by submerged log-flotation, could have been another innovation, exclusively used on the Atlantic coast. (They were so specialized for rough oceans and  uncommon that they do not appear often in ancient art images. To identify them in ancient art they look something like sleighs viewed from the side.)
    These mysterious  megalith building people certainly knew how to travel in the open sea, and may have created more wealthy cultures towards the south, off Portugal, and been the source of the legends of Atlantis, first brought forward by Plato, which were conveyed to Greeks via wisdom aong Egyptian priests. They may have crossed the Atlantic in the middle, leaping from island to island, with the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic being the half-way point. This would especially be true for people who began to harvest eel migrations coming through the Strait of Gibraltar and English Channel, because Atlantic Eels are born at the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda etc. A people who discovered this would have learned about North America and "Atlantis" would have been, in fact, North America, since originally the pretense of a continent between Asia and Europe was unknown.
    But the southward-migrating  sea peoples, may have merged in their southward migrations with dugout-peoples, and the skin-on-frame approach of boat design, caused the evolution of the boat made of planks on a frame. The original dugout became  the keel, and ribs arising from it could then take boards, to initiate a new approach that combined the best features of both original designs.
  The most important principle in boat design was the displacement of water. The boat with a hull that displaced water with essentially air achieved greatest buoyancy with least weight. The frame with skin/hull was the way to create to greatest water displacing space with least materials.

Figure 20
These images from
the Alta carvings depict skin boats made of reindeer skins engaged in fishing with nets

    Regardless of how Atlantic seafarers evolved towards the south,  their northern cousins carried on generation after generation. The activity was not focussed entirely on large sea-mammals (whales, porpoises, seals, walrus, etc) but there was plenty fishing. Nets could bring in large quantities which could then be salted and smoked.
    If these seagoing skin boats were at Alta, they were also elsewhere in the sea too, down the Norwegian coast, and in the British northern isles.

The  Basques as Southern Descendants of Sea Peoples

    We have above explored manifestations of sea peoples on the European side of the North Atlantic above, expecially their manifestations in the British Isles, Norway, and Iceland in the Norse period.
    What can we say about peoples further south. In recent history the Basques were marvelled as expert whalers. Where did their attraction towards whaling come from? Did it have deep roots in the Norwegian aboriginals who followed whale migrations south, and established themselves in the midpoint of their migration routes?
   The Basques in recent centuries have been well known as harvesters of the Atlantic, including whaling in the waters off the North American coast from as early as the 17th century. It is easy to believe that they are descended from the same world of oceanic seafarers we are discussing. One does not learn to be at home on the waters of the Atlantic overnight. There will have been long traditions behind continued interest in life on the Atlantic ocean. (Similarly the Portuguese have the same origin, except that the coastal Portuguese have lost their original language.)
 The Basque language, is acknowledged to be pre-Indo-European.
    Some scholars assume that the Basques are descended from the original peoples of nearby regions dating back to the cave people who left art on cave walls. However, we have to recognize that there were two types of people during the pre-Indo-European civilization in Western Europe - the seagoing people and the interior people. The Basques display strong seafaring traditions, and therefore it is reasonable to propose that they are descended from the Atlantic seagoing peoples and not interior peoples. The Portuguese too would have roots in sea peoples, except they changed their language during the Roman Era.
   The whole story of the expansion of boat peoples of the Kunda Culture also to the oceans, starting with the White Sea, presupposes that all the peoples that followed carried elements of the original culture. Is it possible Basque culture offers such elements?
   Linguists have observed that the grammatical structure of Estonian and Basque are  similar. There are also many similar words.We will explore the linguistic evidence of the expansion of the seagoing boat peoples in a separate article, to keep the discussions of languages separate. However, something can be mentioned here:
    The most interesting word in Basque from the point of view of sea-peoples  is the Basque word for 'water' which is ur. This word exists, in my view, in the name "Uralic Mountains".  Perhaps we can  allow ur to be an abbreviation of UI-RA. The -RA is a widely used element of the ancient world, appearing in association with travel-ways. Furthermore, the Basque allative case ending (motion towards) is -ra. Combining this with the appearance of UI in the name Uitoriges, the name of the chief tribe of the Garonne River, menioned in several ancient texts including Julius Caesar, suggests it is possible Basque ur is indeed an abbreviation of UI-RA, 'the way of the floating, swimming'. Caesar indicated the language in southwest France (Gaul) was "Aquitani". Some scholars have proposed Basque is descended from Aquitanic.
    If the modern UR, comes from UI-RA, It is obvious that the ancestral language to Basque did not view 'water' originally as the liquid but as the sea over which the seafarer travelled, the water surface over which boats travelled..
   The Basque word for 'earth' appears to add an L to ur producing lur. But from a FInnic perspective, it is more likely contracted from ALU-RA, 'base path'. ALU (Estonian alu 'base, foundation, territory') is reflected in Basque ola meaning 'place (where something is done)'.
    Here are some interesting examples of coincidences in words between Basque and the Finnic language of Estonian.
    Basque su 'fire', compared to Estonian süsi 'coal, ember', süüta 'fire up';
  Basque oroi 'thought' compared to Estonian aru 'understanding';
    Basque ama 'mother' compared to Estonian ema 'mother';
   Basque uste 'believe' compared to Estonian usk 'belief', usu 'believe';
    Basque ola 'place' vs Estonian ala 'field (of endeavour)';
    Basque ke 'smoke' vs Estonian kee 'boil';
    Basque leku 'space' vs Estonian lage 'wide open (place)';
    Basque  hartu 'take' vs Estonian haara 'grab hold';
    Basque ohar 'warning' vs Estonian oht 'danger';
    Basque tira 'pull' vs Estonian tiri 'pull away, pull loose';
  Basque gela 'room' vs Estonian küla 'living place, abode, settlement';
   Basque lo 'sleeping' vs Estonian läheb looja '(it, like the sun) sets, goes down, goes to sleep';
   Basque marrubi 'strawberry' vs Estonian mari 'berry';
   Basque txotx 'twig' vs Estonian oks 'branch''; Basque ohe 'bed' vs Estonian ase 'bed';
    Basque izen 'name' vs Estonian ise(n) 'of oneself';
    Basque lau 'straight' vs Estonian laud 'board, table' (ie straight piece of wood);
    Basque lasai 'calm' vs Estonian laisk 'lazy' or lase 'let go';
    These examples are not obscure words in Basque or Estonian, but from the common vocabulary of about 1000 words. The reason the academic world has not noticed the relatively high portion of affinities to Estonian, is because very few scholars interested in origins of languages actually know Estonian. Furthermore, as I discovered, a large number of Basque words, perhaps more than half, have obvious Latin origins, either directly from the Roman Empire, or indirectly from Spanish. In my investigation, I began by eliminating the obvious Latin borrowings.
    .Basque is considered to be descended from the people the Romans generally called Aquitani, located mainly in the Garonne River water basin as far as the Pyrennes mountains. Aquitani in fact implies 'water-people' in Latin. The name may have been inspired by Uituriges or Uitoriges ( Caesar Gallic Wars, I, 18) the name of a people who controlled Burdigala the town on the lagoon formed by the outlets of the Garonne River. The word Uituriges or Uitoriges resembles Estonian/Finnish because the the first part corresponds well with UI- words meaning basically 'swim', such as Estonian uju, Finnish uida.  The latter part of Uituriges, is the word meaning 'nation' (as in Estonian riik, riigi), hence the name Uituriges means 'floating nations'. An alternative name for them in the historical record was Bituriges. If this was a true alternative name, then we should look to BI in the meaning of 'water', and the full word paralleling modern Estonian Veederiigid, meaning 'water-nations'. This latter version would be the most applicable inspiration for the Latin Aquitani. I believe in a pre-literate world where people and places were named by describing them, that it is possible BOTH versions Uitoriges and Bituriges were used. Today there are geographic names surviving in the area, that resonate with Estonian. For example, Spanish call the Bay of Biscay, the Mar Cantabrico. The word can be interpreted with Estonian with Kandav  riigi  meri  'sea of the carrying nation). Another obvious name is the Pyrenne mountains across the neck of the Iberian Peninsula which resembles Est, piirine  'in tha nature of a boundary, barrier'
    (There is a possibility though that an Estonianlike language may have been a large scale trade language in Europe before the Roman Empire, which would have had an impact on the native language in the regions where trade was carried from the Bay of Biscay to the Ebro River - but that is another subject dating to before 2,000 years ago. It is possible that the Basques originated from am international trade colony originally speaking an Estonian-like language. Hence the Basque story is very complex. Basque could in fact be a Finnic isolate like Hungarian, created over a thousand years earlier than Hungarian. But that is a completely different direction of study. Our interest in these articles are more in events that occurred more than 4,000 years ago, Still, regardless of large scale trade language, there still is significance in the Basque historic affinity to whaling and fishing, along with the Portuguese.)


    The theory of an eastern north Atlantic aboriginal seafaring people who moved with the currents in a circuit that touched the coasts of Norway, Iceland, Faeroes, Shetlands, northern Britain and back to Norway is undeniable, and it gives us a framework for interpreting historical accounts about "Finns" in the ocean.
    But as we look southward, the millenia of involvement of civilization, has made it more difficult to interpret early events in the British Isles and southward along the Atlantic coast. It is easier to look westward, where aboriginal cultures endured, less mixed up with other peoples and their influences.
    The only clear whaling peoples in the east Altantic are the Basques. Basques are today modern people and it is difficult to find the evidence of the deep past. But there are two ways of doing so. First of all a people so dedicated to the Atlantic ocean, and to fishing and whaling, is likely to have had it a long time. Just like reindeer people, the way of life is so specialized, and intimately tied to the environment, that people who have it cannot easily switch. Whaling, like reindeer management, isn't only a recently acquired interest.


More background and detail to the seagoing peoples of the Atlantic coast around 6,000 years ago


Since this webpage has been constantly updated - edited and changed - many sources and references are acknowledged where possible in the text or beside the picture. If a statement is made or picture shown, without a source, that means the image is either fully original by the author (A.Paabo)or significantly modified artistically.

Clark, G, 1967 World Prehistory, Cambridge A celebrated text that summarized the accumulated archeological discoveries up to that time. Since then the ideas have simply been refined.

Jaanits, L. et al, 1982, Eesti Esiakalugu, Eesti Raamat, Tallinn In Estonian, the product of Estonian archeological work during the Soviet period, where the authors were able to access the work of other archeology within the Soviet Union, not as accessible in the west.

Kozlowski J, and Bandi H-G 1984 The Paleohistory of Circumpolar Arctic Colonizationm, Arctic 37 (4): 359-372 Article in English, where the investigation of the northeast Europe and the Urals was only one section. I chose to use it for reference because of this focus, and because it was a summary.  

 Rootsi,S., et al. 2006, A counterclockwise northern route of the Y-chromosome haplogroup N from Southeast Asia towards Europe”  European Journal of Human Genetics 15 (2): 204-11  Comment: This is regarded as the authorative study suggesting the N1c1 haplogroup migrated up the Ural Mountains and then continued west along the arctic coast of northeast Europe to the northern Finland area, and then diffused into the Finno-Ugric speakers from the locations of the reindeer peoples.  .


author: A.Paabo, Box 478, Apsley, Ont., Canada


2013 (c) A. Pääbo.