Man was living in Europe at a remote time. He was living there at a time when gigantic ice fields and glaciers covered a large part of the Continent ; when land-bridges connected what are now the British Isles with the mainland, Spain and Italy with Africa, and the Balkan Peninsula with Asia Minor; and when such animals as the woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, saber-tooth tiger, cave bear, bison, reindeer, and wild steppe horse ranged through the forests and over the plains. The duration of the Glacial Period in Europe must be reckoned by hundreds of thousands of years.
During the past century a number of human fossils, both skulls and entire skeletons, have been found in caves and rock shelters, especially those of England, France, Belgium, and western Germany. Such fossils are believed to indicate the former existence in this part of the world of two different types of man. One is called Neanderthal, the name being derived from that of the German valley where human relics were discovered as far back as 1856. More than thirty examples of this type are known. They indicate that in appearance Neanderthal man must have been quite unlike modern man, being only about five feet, three inches in height, thickset, with heavy jaws, a receding chin, low, retreating forehead, and projecting eyebrow ridges. This was the creature who lived in western Europe during the intense damp cold of the later Glacial Period, only, it would seem, to become as extinct as many of the animals which he hunted and which hunted him. Thousands of years passed before there appeared in western Europe another human type, called Cromagnon,from the name of a French rock shelter where five skeletons were unearthed in 1868. Cromagnon , as we know from these and other examples, was tall, with a broad face, a prominent nose, slightly developed eyebrow ridges, well developed chin, high forehead, and a large brain. Physically, and perhaps mentally, he resembled modern man. Human fossils, probably more or less contemporary with those of the Cromagnon, but in some respects unlike them, have also been found at several sites in both England and on the Continent. It is clear that during the latter part of the Glacial Period and early post-glacial times Europe was already a meeting ground of different peoples.