The BBC in the UK are currently screening a archaeology series exploring the idea that the Neolithic peoples in the Orkney Isles (North of Scotland) were the cultural capital of the British Isles. There's evidence to show that the high standard of culture predated Stonehenge.
I have this fictional idea that this advanced culture was based on a superior understanding of mathematics.
The ancient Orcadians could:
- predict the seasons
- understood the phases of the moon and their effect on the tides
- estimate how many stones of what sizes could build a house
- estimate how many fish would see a family through the winter
- have a good idea of their worth of their goods in trade
In general, an appreciation of maths makes life more predictable.
In order to aid their relationship with tribes on the mainland, they need to convey this new concept to them, they need to teach numeracy and the communicate the advantages they bring to those others who manage nothing more than "making do" in their own settlements.
And here comes the stumbling block I have in this story.
How can the leaders of a more advanced tribe teach others, what strategies can be used to transfer this new knowledge onto others so that civilisation as a whole can grow and evolve on cultural and technological level?
Although I'm using numeracy as the example here, at heart this is a question of skills/knowledge transfer in Neolithic times.