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View Full Version : Danubian Bassin: the Indo-European Urheimat?



beowulf_
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 03:31 AM
Personally, I regard the glacial refugee area in the Danubian bassin as the most probable kernel for the IE expansion. As time frame I´d like to suggest the Atlanticum climate optimum around 6.500 BC.

Just some thoughts of mine:

Lexical components of IE indicate a moderate climate (e.g. there existed words for beech and oak, but not for camel or cypress).

The Danubian centre historically shows the greatest linguistic diversity with ties to all four major IE meta-families:
Balkan-IE (Albanian, Armenian, Phrygian, Thracian, Illyrian, maybe Messapian),
NW-IE/Old European (Germanic, Celtic, Italic, Veneto-Liburnian, Balto-Slavic),
East-IE (Indo-Aryan) and even with the Hethito-Luvic group - which some archaeologists tend to link with Starcevo-Körös-Cris.

Modern archaeology is emphasizing a mesolithic-neolithic continuity in most parts of Europe.

The TBK and Bandkeramik culture, respectively their successors and mixture forms like SK and laterly Adlerberg-Mondsee or Aunjetitz culture show a commmon hydronymic base, the so-called "old-European" which one could try to identify with the north-west group and which proofs ethnic continuity since the neolithics in central Europe.

Commenting on the most important opponent theories:

C14 data confirm that SK expanded from west to east, so there is no indication of a Kurgan invasion into central or SE Europe.

Concerning the Anatolia thesis I only want to underline one point among many others: If Asia minor really has been the original homeland then the neolithic culture of Greece and Bulgaria, namely Sesklo-Dimini is a perfect candidate for a missing link between Anatolia and the Balkans.

The problem with that is that the inhabitants of the southern Balkan peninsula before the first Hellenic wave most probably have been non-IE as the strong non-IE substrate in Greece much place names indicate.

Place names even indicate that the unknown pre-IE "Pelasgian" language also existed in southern Italy, western Anatolia and the valleys of the Pindos mountains.

Genetically Europe has been developed out of its own UP gene pool. The minor "neolithic" contribution attributed to farming came to Europe via two ways: from Turkey to SE Europe and from Northern Africa to the Mediterranian coast of Italy, France and Spain. Only the first one is relevant in this context despite both are clumbed together to found the Renfrew thesis.

Because of a lower sea level during the ice age, there was a land bridge between Anatolia and Europe. And remember that the Gravettian culture was introduced into Europe via Anatolia and the Middle East in the Würm II-III-interstadial.

So I claim: Much of the "neolithic" genes are in fact UP or mesolithic and spread to Europe in a many milennia lasting diffusion process.

Also note that the dissemination gradient of "neolithic genes" towards north is decreasing fast which is more in-line with a diffusion model than a invasion scenario.

So why not assume that the IE tribes originated where the bulk of them historically appear?

morfrain_encilgar
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 04:16 AM
The Danubian centre historically shows the greatest linguistic diversity with ties to all four major IE meta-families:
Balkan-IE (Albanian, Armenian, Phrygian, Thracian, Illyrian, maybe Messapian),
NW-IE/Old European (Germanic, Celtic, Italic, Veneto-Liburnian, Balto-Slavic),
East-IE (Indo-Aryan) and even with the Hethito-Luvic group
which some archaeologists tend to link with Starcevo-Körös-Cris.

Because Phrygian, Thracian and Illyrian are poorly known, their reltaionship is speculative, and I doubt there is a Balkan lineage of Indo-European languages.


Concerning the Anatolia thesis I only want to underline one point among many others: If Asia minor really has been the original homeland than the neolithic culture of Greece and Bulgaria, namely Sesklo-Dimini is a perfect
candidate for a missing link between Anatolia and the Balkans.
The problem with that is that the inhabitants of the southern Balkan
peninsula before the first Hellenic wave most probably have been non-IE
as the strong non-IE substrate in Greece much place names indicate.
Place names even indicate that the unknown pre-IE "Pelasgian" language
also existed in southern Italy, western Anatolia and the valleys of the Pindos
mountains.

In the Mediterranean, unrelated languages can be spoken by nearby communities, so I imagine that languages seperate from Indo-Hittite were also introduced by prehistoric populations entering Europe so pre-Greek languages could be introduced in the Neolithic themselves.

beowulf_
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 01:03 PM
@atlanto-med

I base my opinion mainly on a classical German language encyclopedia,
Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaften (großer Pauly).

Yet antic historicians has said that Phrygian and Armenian together came
from the surroundings of the Rhodopes. Phrygian shares some
characteristics with Greece, for example the -menos participle, and a
Thraco-Phrygian subbranch has been postulated.
So the idea of a Balkan group is not so far fetched although an
intermediate proto-Balkan-IE language is highly questionable.

But I must concede that some of these languages are meagerly
documented and there remains much uncertainty. Especially problematic:
The kentum/satem division runs in the middle of the hypothetical Balkan
group and the place names seem to indicate early contacts with
Balto-Slavic.

In my view the problem with Greece and Anatolia is: Pelasgian is not the
only documented or reconstructed non-IE language there, so are Minoan,
Tyrrhenian, Hurrian and proto-Hattian among others. The IE languages of
Anatolia all seem to be not autochtonous because of a strong substrate
influence and cultural relations with the Balkans during the migration
of the sea folks (Seevölkersturm), a fact which becomes important for
locating the supposed split of Indo-Hittite into IE and Hittite.

morfrain_encilgar
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 04:43 PM
In my view the problem with Greece and Anatolia is: Pelasgian is not the only documented or reconstructed non-IE language there, so are Minoan, Tyrrhenian, Hurrian and proto-Hattian among others. The IE languages of Anatolia all seem to be not autochtonous because of a strong substrate influence and cultural relations with the Balkans during the migration of the sea folks (Seevölkersturm), a fact which becomes important for locating the supposed split of Indo-Hittite into IE and Hittite.

As far as Im aware, Anatolian, Armenian and Greek share a substratum thats Caucasian and because Caucasian languages turned out to represent a sprachbund between three unrelated language families, the substratum of the earliest branches in Indo-European suggests a geographical area of origin.

The Pelasgian language is unknown, unless Lemnian represents Pelasgian. In the catalogue of ships, Homer describes the Pelasgians as inhabiting the border of Thrace and the Hellespontine cities which is around where Herodotus described them later. Although the Pelasgians were a nation, by the time of Theucidides the name was used to describe other pre-Greeks. This is why I feel that Lemnian writing mignt notbe Pelasgian, because Lemnos was associated with the pre-Greeks called Minyans.

The Lemnian inscriptions mignt suggest an affinity between Lemnian and Tyrrhenian, which would seem to confirm the origins of the Tyrrhenians in the Agean. They mignt both be Anatolian languages.

AryanKrieger
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 07:40 PM
I voted for between North and Baltic sea but no-one can know or prebably never will know the answer to that enigma.

beowulf_
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 09:16 PM
@atlantomed

I find it rather unfair to say that the origin of IE languages must have been in
the south because the oldest records of IE languages lie there while at the
same time the south is favoured through the early and opportune reference
situation at the Mediterranian Sea.

Today by convention Pelasgian often means the language which is responsible
for the pre-Greek -ssos/-nthos element in narcissus, Korinth or Knossos
and maybe is the language of Linear A. It formerly must have been more
widespread as more northern names as Nis (old Naissus) or the -nda and -ssa
suffix in Luvian names confirm.

About the character of the pre-IE substrate being either Nakho-Dagestanian,
Abchaso-Adygian or Kartwelic I´ve not yet read something, but my knowledge
on this topic is very limited.;(

Homer writes with an aristocratic traditionalist background 500 years after the
destruction of Troy VIIa about the good ol´ Mykenian time before the arrival
of the Dorian intruders. The remembrance of the Pelasgians is rather dark,
they are mentioned in the ship catalogue as inhabitants of the district of
Larissa whose localization is insecure.

And yes, the Aeneas myth which the Romans borrowed from the Etruscans
perhaps was not so displaced:
http://www.etruskisch.de/pgs/og.htm

@AryanKrieger

Right, it´s not about a stringent mathematical proof but about weighing
the validity of each argument and seeing which one has the greatest
plausabalitiy.

I would have liked if the left-wing pseudointellectual German magazine
"Der Spiegel" had had the same approach when they wrote:
"Riddle solved - proto-language came from Anatolia" and in the same edition is a pro-EU-membership article about Turkey:
http://www.hamarsiske.de/Artikel/Indogermanisch-spo (in German)

morfrain_encilgar
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 09:54 PM
I find it rather unfair to say that the origin of IE languages must have been in the south because the oldest records of IE languages lie there while at the same time the south is favoured through the early and opportune reference situation at the Mediterranian Sea.

I think this is fair but Im not referring to the the record of Indo-European languages in the Mediteranean, but to glottochronology.

beowulf_
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 10:14 PM
Well, if there also were as much written records from the 2nd millenium BC
in central Europe, like at the discovery of Tocharyan and Hittite-Luwic, some
adjustions in the overall model would have to be made.

Glottochronology has the inherent difficulty that the rate of change and various
substrate/superstrate and assimilation effects are unknown. Don´t worry
but many Indo-Europeanists think it is junk science.

morfrain_encilgar
Thursday, December 2nd, 2004, 11:21 PM
Glottochronology has the inherent difficulty that the rate of change and various
substrate/superstrate and assimilation effects are unknown. Don´t worry
but many Indo-Europeanists think it is junk science.

The Atkinson and Gray study produced results from a set of data, based on the similarities between the languages. If you disagree with the time depths they suggest, then the sequence of seperation in their study is still interesting, and supports relationships within Indo-European such as North-West Indo European, or the association of Greek with Armenian.

And they found the order of divergence within the Indo-European languages to be stable. Most of the uncertainty in their results was about the relatoinships within North-Western Indo-European, but a minority of their results questioned the association of Greek with Armenian, and Albanian with Indo-Iranian. But where these relationships werent supported, they still formed lineages that diverged next to each other.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Friday, December 3rd, 2004, 04:48 AM
Every Prof. I cross-examined in college (a long time ago) told me IE language originated near the mouths of the Dom, Dnieper and Donau (Danube) rivers. This would put it slightly on the northwest side of the Black Sea if my memory is correct. This was based on linguistic and archaelogical evidence with really hasn't changed since I asked them.

Shapur
Friday, December 3rd, 2004, 09:46 PM
Only two words:
Iranian Highland

Awar
Saturday, December 4th, 2004, 12:15 AM
Only two words:
Iranian Highland

That's three words :D


Seriously:

@ Everyone:
Which language family is closest related to the IE family?

morfrain_encilgar
Saturday, December 4th, 2004, 03:24 AM
Which language family is closest related to the IE family?

Nobody knows. One theory recognises an Indo-Uralic group, while one suggested is that Indo-European is an offshoot from "Macro-Cushitic" and related to Berber, Cushitic and Semitic languages. (This isn't counting wether Anatolian is outside Indo-European or not.)

Triglav
Saturday, December 4th, 2004, 04:41 AM
@ Everyone:
Which language family is closest related to the IE family?
A few links of interest:

http://popgen.well.ox.ac.uk/eurasia/htdocs/nostratic.html
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0804738122/ref=sib_rdr_ex/002-0281214-3444828?%5Fencoding=UTF8&p=S005#reader-page
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~jamesdow/Tech/lmclade.htm
http://www.fastload.org/no/Nostratic_language.html

beowulf_
Saturday, December 4th, 2004, 05:06 PM
@Shapur

Sorry, I should have offered an opportunity to vote for other places as well.

We had this dicsussion before, so here´s a short summary of my view:
The IE history of Iran goes back at least to the Bactrian culture from 3500 BC
on but the genetic and linguistic surveys are incapable to substantiate this claim:
(i) Diversity of R1a is highest in the northern steppes, present-day Ukraine.
(ii) Some Iranian haplogroups like mtdna subclade U7 have not or to a neglegible extent
been introduced into the European populations.
(iii) Iran shows very few linguistic diversity with only one IE subbranch present.
(iv) Archeology is indicating European continuity and no emigration from Iran.

@Awar

Phonetic statistics is hinting at some relations with the Uralic and Afro-Asiatic
families but it isn´t really statistically significant and therefore pure speculation.

Lately some progress has been made about Uralic whose relationship with
Yukagir has been fairly commonly accepted. From there now the other
palaeo-Sibiric languages (Koryak and Chukchi) are looming.
This also might shift the Uralic homeland far into the east.

Shapur
Sunday, December 5th, 2004, 01:49 PM
@Shapur

Sorry, I should have offered an opportunity to vote for other places as well.

We had this dicsussion before, so here´s a short summary of my view:
The IE history of Iran goes back at least to the Bactrian culture from 3500 BC
on but the genetic and linguistic surveys are incapable to substantiate this claim:
(i) Diversity of R1a is highest in the northern steppes, present-day Ukraine.
(ii) Some Iranian haplogroups like mtdna subclade U7 have not or to a neglegible extent
been introduced into the European populations.
(iii) Iran shows very few linguistic diversity with only one IE subbranch present.
(iv) Archeology is indicating European continuity and no emigration from Iran.

To (I) is this a proof for an Ukraine origin theory? No!
To (II) is the mtDNA important by an agricultural expansion? No!
To (III) linguistic diversity? Could you detail your opinion. Thx
To (IV) have you ever read some genetical statistics? So on which studies do you base your statements?

;)

Awar
Sunday, December 5th, 2004, 02:14 PM
To (I) is this a proof for an Ukraine origin theory? No!

Well, it's proof that R1a spread from there. And it appears everywhere Satem branch IE appears :P



To (II) is the mtDNA important by an agricultural expansion? No!

I don't think so either.


To (IV) have you ever read some genetical statistics? So on which studies do you base your statements?
;)

Well, where's your proof that there was migration FROM Iran into Europe?

rbanerjee
Sunday, December 5th, 2004, 05:35 PM
@Shapur

Sorry, I should have offered an opportunity to vote for other places as well.

We had this dicsussion before, so here´s a short summary of my view:
The IE history of Iran goes back at least to the Bactrian culture from 3500 BC
on but the genetic and linguistic surveys are incapable to substantiate this

Actually there is no proof that bactrian culture was indo-european. Simply because no script or language can be discerned. Elamite I believe is the earliest language attested in southwestern Iran.

There is no proof that people with NRY groups R1a M7 spoke indo-european its just conjecture. Moreover R1a diversity in India -pakistan is higher than that of Ukraine.

Hittite I guess is the earliest evidence of IE but it is full of hurrian loan words. Vedic and avestan languages are very pure IE languages with very little loans( > 95 percent ) but they cannot be reliably dated.

Raj

beowulf_
Monday, December 6th, 2004, 01:32 PM
@Shapur

some additions:

(ii) I wouldn´t simply count any mtdna argument out because the culture
of the IE urvolk must have been patrilocal.
(PIE knows no names for relatives on the maternal side whereas on the
paternel side *swekros brother-in-law, *snuros daughter-in-law and others
have been reconstructed.)

(iii) linguistic diversity = variety of only distantly related IE languages

(iv) archeological evidence: There are some indications that the
expansion of neolithic cultures into Europe was more of a cultural movement than a movement of people.

For example, let´s have a closer look on the propagation of LBK into middle europe:

-cultural continuity with some foreign technical improvements
-very fast expansion rate
-Weapon finds do not found a major combat which would be obvious between
ethnically different populations.
-Geographically hunter-gatherer communities weren´t seperated from the
agricultural movement. E.g., in contrast the ethnically different bell
beaker and SK communities avoided each other and were divided by large
forests.
Furthermore the mesolithic people had cultivated the primitive grain
sort Triticum monococcum, so the neolithic "revolution" was in fact more
of an improvement of agricultural efficiency.

@rbanerjee

The non-IE substrate in Hittitic is mainly proto-Hattic from where the
Hittites even borrowed their own name.

I can´t proof the IE character of the Bactrian culture but it has a
high degree of historic probability. Excuse me if I don´t further comment
on this special topic. You know Bernard Sergent, don´t you? Although I
strongly disagree with his hypothesis of an inner Asian IE homeland I
share his opinion about the time frame of the appearance of Indo-Aryan
in Iran and India.

beowulf_
Monday, December 6th, 2004, 01:47 PM
And, with best wishes to our Anatolian friends: ;)

Identification of the Initial Site of Einkorn Wheat Cultivation

http://www.athenapub.com/einkorn1.htm

Edwin
Tuesday, January 11th, 2005, 08:24 AM
Where is the Danube option? Remember DANU everyone?

beowulf_
Tuesday, January 11th, 2005, 01:16 PM
Danube = between North and Black Sea according to geographics.

I chose this formulation because it describes the large urheimat
concept and essentially contains the territories which were recolonized
from the Danubian bassin after the Würm IV ice age where nowadays
haplogroup I is prevalent.

Edwin
Tuesday, January 11th, 2005, 11:30 PM
My fault. I must have read "north of the black sea."