From: Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
>OK, in more detail:Aha, that changes things. What about the Caspian groups: younger
>There are series of new radiocarbon dates for many of the East European cultural units, including the Yamnaya culture. Those cultures have often been dated on insecure typological grounds. In recent studies care has been taken to include as much datable stuff as possible and to exclude errors due to such problems as the old wood effect. It seems that earlier estimates (like Telegin's 3400-2350 BC, or even Shaposhnikova's 3050-2450 BC) were seriously exaggerated. The latest "rejuvenated" brackets are ca. 2600-2170 BC (the Dnieper groups being apparently somewhat older than the Dniester ones).
>The Yamnaya culture is thus significantly younger than the Volhynia/Podolia Globular Amphora groups (3000-2300 BC), the Sub-Carpathian group of the Corded Ware culture (2900-2400 BC), and even the Fatyanovo and Middle Dnieper groups (beginning ca. 2700 BC). The pastoral, horse-breeding communities of the Yamnaya culture would nicely correlate with (the earliest stages of) Indo-Iranian.Indeed. Because of the early dating, I was more or less forced to
>The "pre-Yamnaya" Mikhailivka I culture of the late steppe Eneolithic is difficult to date precisely (there are few reliable radiocarbon dates); tentative estimates span the period 4000-2800(-2350?) BC. This semi-pastoral culture was a rather complex phenomenon, absorbing all kinds of influences from a variety of sources (especially from Tripolye, Sredniy Stog, pre-Maikop and Maikop), with a "local Neolithic" substrate including possibly Indo-European-speaking groups (the Linear Pottery and Funnel Beaker cultures had penetrated western Ukraine along the Dniester Valley). Who knows if Proto-Hellenic did not originate in such an environment. The separation of Tocharian must have happened early enough to account for its centum character and the conspicuous absence of common innovations with Indo-Iranian (or, for that matter, with any other non-Anatolian branch). On the other hand, Tocharian has some lexical affinities with the "North European" areal grouping.So that means that there's something to my suggestion that they may be
>I have no clear opinion onThe Afanasyevo hypothesis is difficult to prove, but it's the best
>the cultural identification of the Proto-Tocharians, and any separation date from the mid-fifth to the late fourth millennium BC seems defensible. The earliest possible archaeological correlate would be the Neolithic avant-garde in Kazakhstan and the Upper Yenisey Valley, including the Afanasyevo culture -- but this is _extremely_ tentative (far be it from me to insist that all pioneers must have been Indo-Europeans).
>The Corded Ware cultures seem to be quite heterogeneous (and not necessarily 100% Indo-European), as various elements of the Corded Ware "package" diffused independently and could presumably be borrowed without population movements or linguistic shifts. I am not sure at all if the Fatyanovo culture was IE-speaking (why not Finno-Ugric, for example?). Any formative impulses affecting the linguistic character of the Yamnaya culture are more likely to have come from the eastern groups of the Globular Amphora culture located along the forest/forest-steppe boundary, which was colonised as far east as the Middle Dnieper. Ca. 2750-2400 there was a solid belt of genetically related Globular Amphora groups reaching the Moldavian Uplands in the south (and meeting the latest stage of the Tripolye culture in that area). This seems to have been a suitable time for the Satem innovation, and for the subsequent full Indo-Europeanisation of the western steppes.I assume you're talking about Georgiev/Merlinge/van Windekens
>The Globular Amphora communities were characterised by advanced social differentiation, the presence of prestige indicators (carefully polished flint axes, luxury artifacts of amber and bone) and quite sophisticated territorial organisation (from village to microregional and regional groupings). They also seem to have been more warlike than their Funnel Beaker predecessors (a tendency further developed in the "Corded Ware/Battle Axe" circle). One possibility is that the political and military skills of the Globular Amphora elite enabled them to dominate the pre-Yamnaya pastoralists (perhaps already partly Indo-European), at the same time transforming and complicating the social hierarchy of the host communities, their ritual, institutions, etc., and eventually imposing their language. The Proto-Indo-Iranian period would thus have spanned the period from ca. 2600 BC to the end of the third millennium.
>I have no clue who the Tripolye/Cucuteni people were. Given the Balkanic patterns of their culture, they may have been "Para-IE" or even Proto-Anatolian-speakers (to be pushed southwards in the circum-Pontic "chain migrations" that began after 2600 BC, no doubt in connection with the cultural transformations taking place in the steppes). On the other hand, why shouldn't they have been "Tyrrhenoid" or "Semitoid", or whatever? Perhaps substrate studies will eventually suggest an answer (supposing, for example, that the so-called "Pelasgian" substrate in Greek is partly "Tripolian").
>Tripolye communities may also have absorbed groups migrating from Central Europe along the Dniester "conveyor belt". There were, in particular, close relations between the southeastern (Proto-Hellenic-speaking?) group of the Funnel Beaker culture and Tripolye. However, later links with the Globular Amphora culture were surprisingly weak and asymmetrical (the diffusion of cultural traits happened on a limited scale and only from Tripolye to GA).I think we're in agreement then. Let me try to resume in my way: