Re: [tied] Re: Gimbutas.

From: Marc Verhaegen
Message: 3016
Date: 2000-08-08


Dear Marc,

In a way, I’m more pro-Beaker than the proponents of a Pontic homeland, since I believe the Funnel Beaker (= Trichter[rand]becher, TRB) Culture was IE-speaking too. The more I experiment with various scenarios, the more likely it seems to me that TRB roughly coincides with non-Anatolian IE. Gimbutas’s invasionist narratives have been challenged by Central European and British archaeologists (not only Colin Renfrew’s disciples), who question the reality of massive population shifts at the end of the TRB period and consider the Globular Amphora and Corded Ware cultures to be indigenous developments -- a response to the ecological crisis that led to the collapse of Middle Neolithic settlements. Recent datings do not support the idea that Corded Ware migrated east to west, notwithstanding the traits it shares with the Ukrainian and Russian Pit-Grave Culture. In fact, the oldest dates established so far for the NW part of its range are marginally deeper than those for SE Poland and W Ukraine (though the precision of radiocarbon dating is not sufficient to indicate the exact location of the starting point). The more easterly satellites of the Corded Ware complex, such as the Middle Dnieper, Fatyanovo and Balanovo cultures, are still younger.

If Sherrat's maps on the corded>bell beaker dispersals are wrong (Cunliffe ed.1994 "Oxford ullustrated prehistory of Europe" OUP), other scenarios become more likely of course. Perhaps different waves out of Ukraine? (or, earlier, Anatolia?)  What about common innovations in Balto-Slavic, Germanic & Italo-Celtic, not seen in Greek & I-I? If there are common innovations, they left first (but Slavic remained in contact with Ukraine), than Greek, than I-I?

As Glen remarked, everybody loves Cavalli-Sforza. Curiously, Renfrew has come to love him too and now invokes C-S’s publications in support of a scenario entirely different from the Kurgan origins theory and incompatible with it. C-S has gratefully acknowledged Renfrew’s conversion and some sort of reconciliation or even “grand unification” may yet emerge from this new alliance, especially as they have a mutual enemy: the team of Oxford University's Institute of Molecular Medicine, whose analyses of mtDNA markers challenge the demographic theories of both Renfrew and C-S.

Do they have alternative gradients or other information?

It must be borne in mind that the distribution of Ammerman & C-S’s “principal components” (including the NW-SE gradient of the “third component”) is derived from modern population studies. Its prehistoric interpretations are to a large extent simulation-driven (being largely dependent on crude models of demographic expansion) and, as critics have pointed out, prove too coarse even to approach the time and space resolution offered by the historical and archaeological data.        Piotr

The 3d component has its centre in Ukraine, doesn't it? IOW, not NW-SE, but E>W in most of Europe? see, eg, C-S 1997 "Genes, peoples & languages" PNAS 94:7719-7724, or his book "Great human diasporas". If the Ukrainian component is real (but what about Oxford Univ.Insitute?), are there other possible explanations than PIE?

Marc wrote:

Dear Piotr, thank you very much. I thought Glen & John might have found it interesting and I'd liked to hear their opinion. I agree with all your objections (many of which I had heard from you or others before or thought of myself), but it's the combination of the linguistic & archeol.evidence that fits with Gimbutas' theory, esp. Sherrat's maps in Cunliffe ed.1994 "Oxford ill.prehist.of Europe" OUP of how the beakers dispersed over Europe. The dispersal of the beakers out of Ukraine over Europe was the most obvious "movement" in European archeology. Cavalli-Sforza says a gradient with its centre in Ukraine was the 3d most important gradient in European gene distributions (the most important has its centre in the middle East, the 2d in Lapland, the 4th in Greece, the 5th in Biskaya). If the western branch of PIE (Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Celto-Italic) is linguistically a unity (with the Slavic languages later still in contact with Ukraine), most of C-S's 3d gradient & of the dispersal of IE languages over Europa might coincide with the beaker cultures, although I know this is not your favorite idea. ...