How can a sapient species build an advanced civilization, while remaining on one continent?
Firstly let me describe your relationship to your home continent:
- Sapience does not signify a lack of superstition, the question refers to Ancient-Egyptian technological level culture. This is congruent with a pantheistic, or polytheistic civilisation. Your other more primitive culture may be animistic.
Your religion and traditions include mythological significance for all the animals and plants on your home continent. They all have personal meaning to each of your population, representing a connection to the ancestors, to friends and family, to the spirits of good and bad fortune and harmony and order.
Your medicines are here and are linked to a strong spiritual tradition on which your people can rely. Your household Gods are to be found in the sacred places here and in signs familiar and understood by your people for ages past, in the rocks, in the trees in the sight of the distant mountain of bones, where burials take place, and in the change of seasons that characterises the rythyms of sewing, tending, harvest and renewal - the rythyms of your life.
Your Life tree has already been planted in the garden of your people, it is growing strong, but you must tend it regularly and pay the ancestor's trees with tending - whispering to them the secrets of your heart.
The seasonal celebrations give you hope and good cheer, and you know that soon you are destined to bond to the life-mate your people have chosen and start planting trees for your younglings in the garden of life.
The new land:
The exploration party pulls the boat to the shore dragging it a little way. What is this foreign land?
Exploring the land, your gods are not to be found. Everything is different - even those plants and animals that appeare familiar - they are different in ways that make them seem alien and threatening. Your sacred places are far away, you seek for signs of the spirits of ancestors - ambiguity and confusion is all that can be found - spiritual desolation.
The weather changes suddenly to a cold North wind and there are storm clouds. A sense of intense gloom overcomes the party. Unknown predatory eyes, movement are glimpsed in the dark, unaccustomed sounds - eerie in the strange light. Everyone is on edge. What foul and ravenous demons would we find in these shadows you shudder to ask yourself.
Your supplies run low and the local plants are strange to taste. You miss your family, you miss your home, you fear to miss out on the life you could have. You vote to leave these unknown shores, so do all - there is relief and merriment as the boat is launched again for familiar shores.
The journey home, we delight each other with stories of terrors of the evil place that almost took our lives. We take comfort that we will tell these stories of terror and almost-heroism to our kin at home, for we have no gold or riches plundered. No vanquished giant's skulls, no dragons teeth.
Home. Familiar sounds, the smell of cooking. They ask "Well" ? No there was nothing there, barren landscape, soulless - no point in going there again, glad to be home again.