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By G. Mokhtar

Quantity 2 covers the interval starting on the shut of the Neolithic period, from round the 8th millenium earlier than our period. this era of a few 9 thousand years has been sub-divided into 4 significant geographical zones. Chapters 1 to twelve hide the Nile, Egypt and Nubia: through a long way the biggest a part of the e-book is dedicated to the traditional civilization of Egypt as a result of its pre-eminent position within the early background of Africa. Chapters thirteen to sixteen relate to the Ethiopian highlands. Chapters 17 to twenty describe the Maghrib and its Sahara hinterland, and Chapters 21 to 29 the remainder of Africa together with a number of the Indian Ocean islands. The sequence is co-published in Africa with seven publishers, within the usa and Canada by way of the collage of California Press, and in organization with the UNESCO Press.

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Ancient Civilizations of Africa flourish - was probably stimulated in the beginning not by the desire to m a k e better use of the flood for agriculture, but more especially to prevent damage by the rising waters. It is sometimes forgotten that the overflowing of the Nile is not solely beneficial: it can bring disaster, and it was no doubt for themselves that the valley's inhabitants learned to build dikes and d a m s to shield their villages and to dig canals to dry out their fields. So they slowly acquired experience that became vital for them w h e n the climate of Africa between the thirtieth andfifteenthparallels north gradually became as dry as it is today, transforming into absolute desert the immediate neighbourhood of the Nile valley, both in Egypt and in Nubia.

T h e system was simple in principle, complex in operation, and demanded synchronization. It m a d e use of two natural higher ridges created by the Nile along its banks in the course of thousands of yearly floods. These natural defences, gradually reinforced by the shoredwellers to protect themselves from too sudden aflood,were supplemented by retaining embankments, veritable artificial d a m s , which undoubtedly owed their origin to those built by the earliest inhabitants to protect their settlements during the river's rise.

In his 'Lutte des races' (1883) L . Gumplovicz asserts that the diverse classes making up a people always represent different races, of which one has established its domination over the others by conquest. G . de Lapouge in an article published in 1897 postulated no less than a dozen 'fundamental laws of anthropo-sociology' of which the following are typical: his 'law of distribution of wealth' posits that, in countries of mixed European-Alpine populations, wealth is greater in inverse proportion to the cephalic index; the 'law of urban indices' given prominence by A m m o n in connexion with his research on Badener conscripts asserted that town dwellers exhibit greater dolichocephaly than the people in the adjacent countryside; the 'law of stratification' was formulated in the following terms: 'the cephalic index decreases and the proportion of dolichocephalics rises the higher the social class, in each locality'.

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