That simple datum implies the loss of so many amazing stories. Epic emigrations, epic conflicts, epic change.
It's a story repeated over and over. A hunter-gatherer group occupies a certain territory. The population density is naturally low. It takes a lot of territory to maintain enough game to feed even a small population (imagine trying to feed the population of Ohio or Pennsylvania solely by hunting deer). Then a bunch of farmers or herders show up. They look around and think, gee, this territory is almost empty. Lots of land here for crops and herds. So they start cultivating, and fencing things in. The original population protests: you're fencing off our hunting grounds. Initially, the hunters win. They're used to defending their hunting grounds against other hunters. Eventually, though, the farmers and herders win. They enjoy settlements, and the accumulation of fixed wealth. Either the hunter/gatherers decide to take up farming and herding, or they die out.
“That simple datum implies the loss of so many amazing stories. Epic emigrations, epic conflicts, epic change.”
The Niebelungenlied, survived into modern times in only a few manuscripts, and most of those were fragments. Three were more or less intact.
The Skaldic Edda, Beowulf and the Secret History of the Mongols survived as single manuscripts. Beowulf was singed by fire - it was that close to destruction - and the Secret History was allegedly edited and altered to satisfy later Moslem sensibilities, and to suppress the raw vitality of the tribal Conquest period.
Earlier narratives of such significant and dynamic peoples as the Scythians and Sarmations are lost entirely, or survive as mere hints of the original tales: swords in the earth, sacred cups, etc.
Knowledge, culture and art are fragile things.