Re: [tied] Danubian homeland?

From: Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
Message: 9229
Date: 2001-09-09

On Fri, 7 Sep 2001 23:26:31 +0200, "Piotr Gasiorowski"
<gpiotr@...> wrote:

>Any model of IE expansion has to explain how northern and central Europe became IE-speaking. The "steppe impulses" of the classical Kurgan scenario appear questionable, while there is at present good evidence of the spread of the Globular Amphora culture from north-central into eastern Europe ca. 3000 BC, and an even earlier (4000-2900 BC) penetration of western Ukraine of by the southestern branch of the Funnel Beaker culture. A consistent picture emerges if we observe that the Funnel Beaker culture displays most of the material and sociopolitical elements attributed to the "IE culture" as reconstructed on the basis of linguistic palaeontology (including wheeled transport, farming, villages with longhouses, palisaded fortifications, emergence of low-level hierarchical societies, etc.). It is therefore tempting to attribute it to early IE-speakers.
>The Funnel Beaker culture collapsed (in different ways in different regions ca. 3200-2900) because of an unfavourable combination of climatic and anthropogenic changes, but some groups within its area developed a new style of subsistence, depending more upon herding and transhumance than sedentary farming. This way of life assured them some considerable success in colonising the steppe (especially after domestic horses became available). This process, perhaps combined with the Indo-Europeanisation of indigenous communities, led to the formation of the eastern block of Indo-European languages (the Satem languages, with the later Proto-Balts/Slavs in the forest-steppe zone of Eastern Europe, the Indo-Iranians in the steppes, and minor Satem groups roughly along the Black Sea coast). The Proto-Tocharians and the Proto-Greeks were presumably the first groups to move east, perhaps during the the Funnel Beaker times if not earlier (see below), the Greeks spending some time in the vicinity
>of the Tripolye culture and staying close enough to the Indo-Iranians, Proto-Armenians and Proto-Albanians for a vaguely defined Sprachbund to emerge.
>My further claim is that, since the Funnel Beaker culture emerged within the northwestern part of the central European Linear Pottery area, there was continuity, at least in terms of linguistic descent, between Linear Pottery and Funnel Beaker communities. Depending on how early the Proto-Greeks and the Proto-Tocharians separated, it is either the Funnel Beaker culture or the central European Linear Pottery culture that can be correlated with the most recent common ancestor of the extant non-Anatolian IE languages.
>Linear Pottery farmers colonised the loess belt of the North European Plain moved towards the Black Sea along the Dniester Valley during the period 5500-4500, after migrating rather rapidly from the Middle Danube Valley (later regional variants derived from the Linear Pottery culture expanded via similar routes, though much less widely). Note the chronological coincidence with the Black Sea event, perhaps not entirely accidental; note also that this is the only part of the scenario where I agree with Renfrew and rely on a Neolithic wave of advance model to explain the thorough initial IEisation of north-central Europe. Accordingly, it is in the Middle Danubian region that the "ultimate" PIE homeland can be located, assuming that the (very distant) ancestors of Anatolian-speakers were the IEs who stayed behind. What happened to them later is a whole nother question.
>That's it in a nutshell. Comments welcome.

This is more or less the position I have been defending here and there
for the last five years or so.

I have some questions, though, about the "steppe" horizons, as
described in Mallory's "In Search of the Indo-Europeans". The
earliest (Sub-)Neolithic culture in the area is the Bug-Dnestr
culture, which Mallory recognizes as of Balkanic origin (and therefore
intrinsically "Old European", i.e. non-Indo-European in the Gimbutas
paradigm, and in principle at least pre- or para-Indo-European in my
views). The next stages, more to the east, are roughly the
Dnepr-Donets culture (appr. contemporary with the Linear Pottery
culture [LBK]) [and its eastern offshoot the Samara culture], the
Sredny Stog culture (somewhat earlier than the Funnel Beaker culture
[TRB]) [and its eastern offshoot the Khvalynsk culture], and from 3500
BC the Yama (Yamnaya) culture, covering western and eastern steppe,
which can safely be marked as Indo-European. If I understand your
argument above correctly, it was the post-TRB transhumant "herders"
(presumably eastern Corded Ware groups such as represented by the
Fatyanovo culture) that colonized and Indo-Europeanized the steppe
area. However, according to Mallory (e.g. the diagram on page 246),
the Yama culture slightly preceded the Corded Ware culture, which
makes this scenario doubtful. A related issue is the position of the
Tripolye culture, which connects with all the relevant areas: the
Balkans, North-Central Europe, and the Steppe. What was in your
opinion the linguistic affiliation of the "Tripolyeans"?

My own views on these issues are not clear. One possible scenario is
that the steppe was already Indo-Europeanized very early in the
Bug-Dnestr period (before 6000 BC), but that is clearly too early for
anything to have survived linguistically ["Eastern IE" is not of an
archaism comparable to Anatolian]. A second scenario is early
Indo-Europeanization in the Dnepr-Donets era (from ca. 5500 BC).
Likewise slightly too early, but consistent with the NW origin of this
culture that Mallory ascribes to the archaeologist Telegin. The
steppe area would then have been colonized by eastern parties of the
same LBK movement that colonized North-Central Europe. An attractive
possibility at least for the ultimate origins of Tocharian. A third
scenario would be acculturalization of the steppe region at a later
stage (5000-3500 BC) from the culturally dominant Tripolye area. That
would require Tripolye to have been linguistically more akin to the
LBK->TRB area than to the "Anatoloid" (as well as "Etruscoid"?) Balkan
cultures (Vinc^a, etc.), which is not unlikely in itself.