The term "Lost Tribes" refers to any of a number of humanoid population groups whose origins lie outside of the Medial, Rostral, or Caudal Tesseracts. The Lost Tribes cultures are almost entirely extinct, though their archeological artifacts and small groups of Freelander descendants can still sometimes be found in otherwise unsettled tesseracts. Some Lost Tribes also belonged to Human offshoot species which are now functionally extinct in the Manifold, such as the Lepidosians. Curiously, Lost Tribes artifacts are sometimes discovered in layers of sediment which would indicate that the peoples had inhabited distant tesseracts before the advent of airships which could traverse inflection layers. The middens in the environs of the Glass-Block Fortress are one such example of this evidence. This indicates that the Lost Tribes were either placed in these regions at the end of the "Curved Time," or - less plausibly - that these cultures were peoples who somehow managed to emigrate from their native tesseracts before any historical records. Skeletal and mummified remains from the era of the Lost Tribes indicate no generalizable cause for their disappearance from history. What is known of the Lost Tribes is that they never existed in groups of over 10,000 individuals and that, between the 69th and 71st centuries, Lost Tribes settlements across the Manifold began to fragment into smaller, nomadic groups. The most prominent theory among modern archaeologists is that some sort of environmental change - coupled with the inherent difficulties of humanoid habitation outside of the Medial, Rostral, and Caudal tesseracts - rendered agriculture difficult for pre-industrial societies. Ice cores from Caudal A do indicate an unusual amount of volcanic soot in the strata relating to this time period, which might indicate some sort of eruption in the Ventral Tesseract potent enough to dim daylight and, therefore, induce famines in already marginal regions of the Manifold. In any case, landed and nomadic Freelander groups which claim Lost Tribes ancestry generally lack any oral traditions predating the year 8500, so they cannot shed any further light on the matter. Extant descendants of the Lost Tribes are generally Human, though morphological evidence indicates interbreeding with Rostrans in the distant past; some carry Caudal lichen symbiotes and are thus considered Verdials. In general, modern descendants of the Lost Tribes closely resemble whichever major power with airship technology lies closes to them in the Manifold.
Major language groups and dialects
The many, varied language groups of the original Lost Tribes remain undecipherable by modern archaeologists. Most Lost Tribes groups appear to have relied on oral traditions and simple writing systems with no modern equivalents. In modern times, Lost Tribes descendants are so heavily intermixed with Freelanders and settlers from the major powers that any connections to ancestral languages have been erased in favor of extant languages.