By Tarmo Kulmar


Rein Sepp maintained that what is North Germanic in the “Eddas” is only its outward shell whereas the deeper layers reflect the original ancient Nordic culture (or, archeologically, the Kunda culture and its contemporaries - the archaeological cultures of Baltoscandia) instead. However, he made one step further still, presuming that the development of the oldest passages of primarily Poetic-Edda, in particular “Völuspā” and “Hāvamāl”, is associated with the ancient Nordic original and goes back to a very distant past.

Rein Sepp supposed that the oldest strata of the beginnings and development of Poetic-Edda may originate from the Mesolithic proto- European Kunda culture in the Eastern Baltic region, one of the common sources for Balto-Finnic, Baltic and Old German (particularly, of course, Old Scandinavian) cultures, ways of life and mindsets. This standpoint was unexpectedly supported by recent studies conducted by the Finnish linguist Kalevi Wiik and the Estonian linguist Ago Künnap, which suggest that the vestiges of substrate tribes in the languages and cultures of the Nordic peoples are much better observable than tribes, which later immigrated from the east. Without ruling out waves of immigration and other subsequent influences, this original ancient Nordic home has covered an extensive area in North Europe. Hard on the heels of the receding glacier, representatives of the proto-European race reached the north in the late Palaeolithic period.

There, they maintained their ethnic characteristics until the arrival of the Indo-Europeans. Their heritage has been preserved to date as a substratum in any nook and cranny around the Baltic Sea. In the Eastern Baltic region as well as, to a great extent, in Scandinavia, that substratum is the very proto-European Kunda culture, along with its archaeologically established neighbouring cultures. This would mean that the deepest roots of Poetic-Edda, which was written down in Iceland in the 13th century, reach back in time for at least seven thousand years, to the ancient Nordic period, which was the oldest common prehistoric period for the entire Nordic region.