Re: [tied] Danubian homeland?

From: Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
Message: 9279
Date: 2001-09-10

On Sun, 9 Sep 2001 22:03:29 +0200, "Piotr Gasiorowski"
<gpiotr@...> wrote:

>OK, in more detail:
>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).

Aha, that changes things. What about the Caspian groups: younger

>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
include at least Pre-Greeks in there as well, but that doesn't seem to
be necessary anymore.

>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
descended from earlier (LBK/Lengyel era?) penetrations into the steppe

>I have no clear opinion on
>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 Afanasyevo hypothesis is difficult to prove, but it's the best
thing we have right now.

>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.
>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").

I assume you're talking about Georgiev/Merlinge/van Windekens
Pelasgian, and not the Herodotus variety? Well, I'm pessimistic about
the chances of tracing that demonstrably back to the Tripolye area.
Even so, this "Pelasgian" substrate is sometimes curiously reminiscent
of Germanic and sometimes of Armenian (which I consider to be the most
"archaic" West and East IE languages, respectively [taking Anatolian
and Tocharian out of consideration]). Tripolye as the Proto-Armenian
homeland? Why not?

>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:
Proto-Indo-European was spoken ca. up to 5500 BC by "Balkan Neolithic"
peoples, specifically in the middle Danube area (Körös culture). Ca.
5500 BC the Linear Ware culture (LBK) spread out from that area along
the rivers and loess-covered areas of Central and Northern Europe.
This marks the separation of what was to become the Anatolian group
[which in fact were the ones who stayed behind]. The LBK complex
split into several local varieties (SBK, Roessen, Lengyel etc.), but
before 4000 BC a new culture (TRB = Funnel Beaker) reunified most of
the area, absorbing also the hitherto non-agricultural autochthonous
peoples in N.Germany & Denmark (Erteboelle-Ellerbek culture) [which
may account for the substantial non-IE substrate in Germanic]. At
some time during the LBK/TRB era, Indo-Europeans also infiltrated the
steppe from the north-west, ultimately to become the historical
Tocharians. The exact position of the Tripolye culture, maintaining
contacts with the Balkans, the Steppe, and North-Central Europe,
remains to be determined. At the end of the TRB stage (ca. 3500/3000
BC), important social and economic transformations took place,
resulting in the Globular Amphora, Corded Ware and Bell Beaker
phenomena. As a result of this, Indo-European languages eventually
spread out into Western and SW Europe (Italic and Celtic), into the
Balkans ("Daco-Thracian", Albanian, Greek, Armenian) [in the process
pushing pre-Anatolian, "Tripolyean", and possibly Etruscoid languages
into Greece and Anatolia], and into the steppe area (Indo-Iranian).
This assumes that Germanic and Balto-Slavic more or less stayed behind
in the western and eastern parts of what had been the home area [of

Whether the Balkan Neolithic itself was an autochthonous phenomenon or
of ultimately Anatolian origin is irrelevant to the development of PIE
itself. If a new language was indeed introduced by Anatolian farmers,
it was not PIE, but a language ancestral to it ["Indo-Tyrrhenian" is a
plausible hypothesis].