Re: re Integrating linguistics, archaeology, genetics and paleoclim

From: pielewe
Message: 43209
Date: 2006-02-01

--- In, "mkelkar2003" <smykelkar@...> wrote:
> the Vedic culture/civilization is the only continously
> practiced tradition in the "Indo-European" world that has been
> supported by a large fertile landmass, favorable climate, agriculture,
> writing (the undeciphered "Indus" script), etc. etc. to have a shot
> at an elite status.

It is these very facts that attract unscrupulous outsiders. A close
parallel is provided by Mesopotamia, where the language of those who
created urban civilization was eventually replaced by the language of
enterprising shepherds who came in from the desert and took matter in
hand. And went on developing the civilization they had disturbed. After
which their language yielded to the language of newcomers who took
charge. There is an interesting contrast between the continuity of
Mesopotamian civilization and the numerous discontinuities of the
linguistic situation.

The archeologists' use of the word "elite" is highly misleading. Any
group of ruffians who takes charge of affairs thereby becomes "elite"
in the archeological sense. This runs counter to everyday usage, where
the word elite tends to be reserved for those with "old money", with
above-average education and similar accomplishments. If organized crime
takes over a town, they are "elite" in the archeologists' sense. It is
in my view an extremely regrettible choice of terminology.

The essential point is the following. Life in the Eurasian steppe areas
puts a premium on the type of skills that come in useful if one wants
to exploit sedentary populations. Neither language nor genes has
anything to do with it.