May 23, 2013

Stanislav Grigoriev's "Ancient Indo-Europeans"

I had seen bits and pieces of SA Grigoriev's ideas in various publications, but it's nice to see this work in its entirety (although the reproduction of the maps doesn't seem to be very good). From the conclusion:
The Indo-European problem is a complex one, combining linguistic and archaeological evidence. In linguistics Gamkrelidze and Ivanov have suggested a system and a fundamental solution. Convincing linguistic models uniquely localising the Indo-European homeland in the Balkans, or even in the North Pontic area or Central Europe, are lacking. Often criticism of Gamkrelidze and Ivanov has been reduced to no more than a statement that archaeological evidence in favour of it is absent. As we see, this does not correspond to reality (and, by the way, did not correspond to reality before the publication of this book). There are a number of facts to prove the connections of North Eurasian and European cultures with the Near East, whilst convincing examples to demonstrate the reverse connections do not now exist. There is a purely historiographic tradition, not substantiated by facts. For the long years this tradition flourished it proved impossible to flesh it out with arguments, although skilled scholars attempted to do so. Therefore, hypotheses about the northern origin of the Indo-Europeans have practically nothing which can be used today in support, either linguistic or archaeological. The archaeological model suggested here is not complete in many respects. Many parallels may raise doubts, as it has not always been possible to back them up with completely identical artefacts. But in the consideration of distant migrations and subsequent cultural transformations, such complete similarity may be wanting. 
Interestingly, Grigoriev's reconstruction does not seem to agree with G&I's model in all its details, as the latter suggested the Halafian culture as the archaeological manifestation of the Proto-Indo-European community (picture from Wikipedia on the right).

For reasons of my own (i.e., finding the hiding place of the "West Asian" autosomal component which I believe was introduced to Europe by Indo-Europeans) it might be worth seeking a more "eastern" PIE homeland.

In any case it would be wonderful to get some archaeogenetic data from the Near East. Irrespective of one's opinion on the IE problem, most everyone would agree that this is a critical region for understanding the prehistory of Eurasia.

35 comments:

Dr Rob said...
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Dienekes said...

Only if you beleive that Hordes of Indo-Europeans roamed around and 'invaded' Europe. Even David Anthony doesn't uphold such a scenario these days, wherever the Ultimate "homeland"

My observation is that there's a ~10% of "West Asian" component in Europe today that seems to be lacking in the pre-5kya published samples. That doesn't requires "hordes" invading Europe, but would be consistent with a modest contribution of a post-5kya element.

Dr Rob said...
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Dr Rob said...
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Va_Highlander said...

Dienekes:

"For reasons of my own...it might be worth seeking a more "eastern" PIE homeland."

How far east would you suggest? The post to which you linked mentions an area stretching "from Anatolia and the Caucasus all the way to the Indian subcontinent".

Many thanks for bringing Grigoriev's book to our attention.

Dr Rob:

"Only if you beleive that Hordes of Indo-Europeans roamed around and 'invaded' Europe."

The idea seems rather anachronistic, at the very least, over and above a dearth of archaeological evidence.

There wasn't much roaming at all on the Eurasian steppe until the third millennium BCE and, as I recall, it took some centuries for it to become widespread. Great thundering hordes, at least as they figure in too many vivid imaginations, appear to have been more of an Iron-Age phenomenon, from what I've seen.

Dienekes said...

How far east would you suggest? The post to which you linked mentions an area stretching "from Anatolia and the Caucasus all the way to the Indian subcontinent".

Not sure what you mean by "the post". Grigoriev places the PIE homeland in Kurdistan.

The early Neolithic of Europe received gene flows from presumably Central Anatolia and the Levant. So, perhaps those regions were less "West Asian" genetically than they are today. So, I'd place the PIE homeland to the east of them, in some part of "highland West Asia".

Dr Rob said...

Va_Highlander

"The idea seems rather anachronistic, at the very least, over and above a dearth of archaeological evidence.

There wasn't much roaming at all on the Eurasian steppe until the third millennium BCE and, as I recall, it took some centuries for it to become widespread. Great thundering hordes, at least as they figure in too many vivid imaginations, appear to have been more of an Iron-Age phenomenon, from what I've seen."

That was my point - the sentence was one of doubting. In fact, not even the Scythians or Cimmerians conquered much of EE. All accounts of their rading actually refer to the Near East. The presence of Scythian and Thraco-Cimmerian artefacts in EE , even Carpathian Basin itself, has recently been disproven on the very archaeological evidence cited in support. Earliest real conquest of EE/ CE by nomadic tribes = Huns (!)

Dr Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Va_Highlander said...

Dienekes, I meant your post from last July, "The Bronze Age Indo-European invasion of Europe".

Thanks for the reply.

Dienekes said...

Dienekes, I meant your post from last July, "The Bronze Age Indo-European invasion of Europe".

In that post I refer to the area occupied by the "West Asian" component. That is a superset of the PIE homeland, because clearly a variety of linguistic groups emerged in this vast territory.

Va_Highlander said...

Dr Rob:

"That was my point - the sentence was one of doubting."

My apologies and suppose I could have made my intent more clear. I was attempting to elaborate a bit on the doubt you raised, not suggest that you were in error. My eagerness got the better of me.

"The presence of Scythian and Thraco-Cimmerian artefacts in EE , even Carpathian Basin itself, has recently been disproven on the very archaeological evidence cited in support."

Fascinating and I may have missed that. Could you point me in the right direction?

Dienekes:

"That is a superset of the PIE homeland, because clearly a variety of linguistic groups emerged in this vast territory."

I understand. I was merely curious whether you had in mind a preferred location within that vast territory, since you seemed to think Kurdistan a bit far to the west.

Kepler said...

Could someone recommend me a recent book about the proto-Indo-European language? I know people have been writing about this for over 200 years now, but: is there some rather recent, respected, general book? I see a book by a Fortson "IV"
Thanks!

Kurti said...

The Indo European origin has a strong connection to the Caspian See, especially South, West and East of the Caspian (where I believe both R1a-R1b as well not far J and G originated). Mark my words.

Kurti said...

And to be even more precise. Southeast of the Caspian southwestward into the Zagros.

Kurti said...

Sorry for my triple post.

@Dr Rob good that you brought up the Scythians and Cimmerians.

I had a debate about the Cimmerians here I will just quote it

There is no doubt that all known reliable sources attest Cimmerian presence in Western Asia but not the steppes.


Another interesting fact is, that Medes were a general ethnic term also often used by Cimmerians and even Scythians

Carola Metzner-Nebelsick: Kimmerier In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, Band. 16 (2000), S. 505–507.



which again indicates that the Cimmerians must have been a part of the Medes or at least lived in close connection to them. Since even the Cappadocian part of the Cimmerians used to call some regions Matiene, just like their original(?) homeland in west of Manna.


If we take all the sources and facts together there are heavy pro's for an origin rather South than North. I absolutely can't find any source which could indicate a Northern origin of them.

If someone knows any archeologic or historic sources which could indicate an origin North of the Black Sea please share it with us, since even Heredotus seems to slightly contradict himself. On one hand he attests a Cimmerian rade from North of the BlackSea into Asia Minor but than he attests the Cimmerian origin in Matiene and says that the Cimmerian raid startet from there.


The only source really mentioning a Cimmerian raid from North of the Black Sea is Heredotus ( note he is talking about a Cimmerian raid and not their homeland) but than just like the Assyrians Heredotus mentions Western Asia and not the Pontic Steppes as their original homeland. To be precise according to Heredotus they originate from Matiene, this was a kingdom west of Manna (most likely part of Media) somewhere Southwest of the Caspian.

Slumbery said...

Dr Rob

"The presence of Scythian and Thraco-Cimmerian artefacts in EE , even Carpathian Basin itself, has recently been disproven on the very archaeological evidence cited in support. "

Please present your source for this.

One would think that such a drastic change in the interpretation of archaeological sites in the Carpathian Basin would cause some echoing in the Hungarian literature, but I could not find anything.

Va_Highlander said...

Kurti:

"And to be even more precise. Southeast of the Caspian southwestward into the Zagros."

I think that would provide a somewhat elegant solution to at least part of the problem.

Why do you favor that particular area?

Matty K said...

"Could someone recommend me a recent book about the proto-Indo-European language?"

I thought "The Horse, The Wheel And Language" by David Anthony, was pretty definitive - though Im sure their are many here who will disagree

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Horse-Wheel-Language-Bronze-Age-Eurasian/dp/069114818X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369627041&sr=1-1&keywords=the+horse+the+wheel+and+language

Kurti said...

@VA_Highlander becase many Indo European or Indo European like groups are attested to have lived in this area and its also some of my instinct. It was also my instinct which told me 2 years ago that the Majykop culture is connected to Indo Europeans and Yamnaya culture is influenced by it. You can read it up all on Eupedia. I had these theories for very long time.

Simon_W said...

Stanislav Grigoriev wrote:
Often criticism of Gamkrelidze and Ivanov has been reduced to no more than a statement that archaeological evidence in favour of it is absent.

It's a shame if that's really the way it worked. I think linguists should develop their theories based on linguistic evidence alone. If they can't arrive at a narrow solution to the homeland problem, they should accept it and state it. Sure, it's also deplorable if archeologists disregard the linguistic evidence, like Renfrew did. In the end, each discipline should basically work with their own type of evidence. And a good interdisciplinary indoeuropeanist should know the results and theories of both of them.

Dienekes wrote:
Interestingly, Grigoriev's reconstruction does not seem to agree with G&I's model in all its details, as the latter suggested the Halafian culture as the archaeological manifestation of the Proto-Indo-European community

Interesting, from what I've read G&I favoured a homeland in eastern Anatolia and Armenia. See here: http://rbedrosian.com/Classic/Indop2.jpg Apparently they changed their mind once? The question is, which is their latest theory? In any case, a homeland in eastern Anatolia and Armenia would fit better the genetic evidence you mentioned.

Kepler wrote:
Could someone recommend me a recent book about the proto-Indo-European language? I know people have been writing about this for over 200 years now, but: is there some rather recent, respected, general book?

I don't know if there's much of a consensus... From what I've read, there's even disagreement on the PIE vocabulary. According to some, PIE included words for northern animals like elk and beaver. According to others it included words for panther, leopard, ounce, elephant and monkey.

Also it has to be noted that Gamkrelidse had arrived at a very different reconstruction of the PIE vowel system, with his Glottalic theory. This theory became quite fashionable in the 80ies of the last century, but at present it's relegated to the fringe again.

Grognard said...

"If someone knows any archeologic or historic sources which could indicate an origin North of the Black Sea please share it with us, since even Heredotus seems to slightly contradict himself. On one hand he attests a Cimmerian rade from North of the BlackSea into Asia Minor but than he attests the Cimmerian origin in Matiene and says that the Cimmerian raid startet from there."

But we can't really mix historic and prehistoric times too much. A thousand years is a long time and if we place them as far back as 2000 BC it till doesn't mean a lot in this case when we are talking about 10K+ years BC.

But I think it's safe to say no one large demographic group suddenly originated on the steppes out of nowhere. We know that messopotamia, indus and others went through dramatic climate changes that made them much less inhabited so it's no big stretch to think this is where all the PIE originated but it would be hard to point to exact spot for any one group over that much time.

Dr Rob said...

@ Slumberry
"The presence of Scythian and Thraco-Cimmerian artefacts in EE , even Carpathian Basin itself, has recently been disproven on the very archaeological evidence cited in support.

Please present your source for this.

One would think that such a drastic change in the interpretation of archaeological sites in the Carpathian Basin would cause some echoing in the Hungarian literature, but I could not find anything."

Well Hungarian scholarship, just like all EE, is renowned for still using the "culture - historical" approach of pots / graves = 'ethnic groups' names by Herodotus, etc. OHowever, thankfully, more nuanced approaches to archaeology-based identity are arising with the new generation. See this symposium, esp bootom pg 4 http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/iron_age_conference_2011/abstracts.pdf; also this paper which autotranslates to English http://apar.archaeology.ro/ds_artrja.htm.

@ Kurti : despite your sourced statement, I do not think any anceint text, that Im aware of, calls the Scythians or Cimmerians "Medes". So i do not think that is correct; however, the Scythians and Cimmerians were indeed players in the Near Eastern / central Asian theatre. Herodotus only later transferred this name unto the peoples living north of the Black sea, in the Russian steppes, based on perceived similarities, etc - as was done time and again by anceint authors. See Robert Drews "early Riders" for a good discussion on this.

Dr Rob said...

@ KUrti "I absolutely can't find any source which could indicate a Northern origin of them."

Two things - (1) dont listen to Herodotus !

(2)Following from my above point, it then becomes clear that we are dealing with two different people - the Near-Eastern/ Central Asian Scythians & Cimmerians, and Black Sea ""Scythians"". Each were from where they are exactly attested, resp


@ Matty K

:"I thought "The Horse, The Wheel And Language" by David Anthony, was pretty definitive - though Im sure their are many here who will disagree"

I cant comment on that ,yet :)

Va_Highlander said...

Matty K:

"I thought "The Horse, The Wheel And Language" by David Anthony, was pretty definitive..."

The problem with Anthony is that he is professionally committed to a certain interpretation of the archaeological evidence, one that in some cases falls apart on close examination. Among other things, nomadic pastoralism emerged too late on the Eurasian steppe to support all that he claims.

Slumbery said...

Dr Rob

I read these abstract and I don't see how they do the work of disproving the Scythian artefacts in the Carpathian basin.

The first, shorter one focuses on some artefacts in Transylvania and Transylvania never thought be a particularly "Scythian", also these results do not have general consequences outside of that particular place.

The second says that the Cimmerian/Scythian culture was much too diverse to be seen as homogeneous and shared many attributes with neighbours, so borders are often cloudy. It is very probably true, but even if I take it more than one opinion among the others, still not a death blow. Probably many archaic culture with great geographical coverage were more diverse than they seem to be at first glance after millennia.

Jim said...

Also Anthony doesn't say much about the actual language or daughters

Va_Highlander said...

Kurti, thank you.

Slumbery:

"The second says that the Cimmerian/Scythian culture was much too diverse to be seen as homogeneous and shared many attributes with neighbours, so borders are often cloudy. It is very probably true, but even if I take it more than one opinion among the others, still not a death blow."

If it is so diverse and heterogeneous, why assume that it represents a single culture at all?

Kurti said...

@Dr Rob

Its not my statement but Carola Metzner-Nebelsick claims it. It doesn't need to be attested historically. since according to her Med was a term used in similar fashion as Scythian in the Steppes. Med was more of an title of Iranic priest cast, while Sythian was often used to describe Iranic nomad tribes in the steppes.

Also a lot of tribes among the Medes were attested to be either of Cimmerian or Scythian (often even Alanic) origin.

Kurti said...

@dr Rob but without doubt the Scythians in the Russian steppes did not only have similarities but most likely originated from these in the Near East and Central Asia (most likely from the once East of the Caspian using the Caucasus as raid road into Southeast Europe).

As I said one of the scenarios in my opinion is the Indo European origin Southwest of the Caspian-Zagros. from there a large population of herders domesticating animals moved into the Western Caucasus-Northeast Anatolia (Maykob Culture) and another wave across the Southern Caspian border to the East of it.

AdygheChabadi said...

Hi, Dienekes

What happened to my comments about Afroasiatic sharing vocabulary with IE, Sumerian, and Elamite? Nostractic and A. Militarev's suggestion concerning the Afroasiatic homeland?

Also about how the "Sumerian problem" having been mostly debunked and how there was never any such "Euphratean" or "Tigridean" substrates?

Did you decide to not post it? It is fine if you did...I was just wondering.

Dr Rob said...

@ SLumbery, I dont want to go into it too much simply because its beyond the scope of this topic, and blog. However, what I mean is the concept of a broad pan-Euraisan scythian culture and scythian identity is simply a construct, and thus false.

szopeno said...

I've read that the problem with "The Horse, The Wheel And Language" by David Anthony was that he doesn't really know Slavic languages; I haven't read the book, mind you, but supposedly by discussing vocabulary related to vagons, horses etc he omitted dozens of Slavic words (e.g. kółko, kula, kulka).

Xaver said...

There were a lot of postings about cimmerians, scythians and the like.
Their relationship to the topic: "The Indoeuropean Homeland" is marginal.
Their cultures startet at around 1.000 BC, Protoindoeuropean language is positioned at least 2.000 years earlier.
I have to admit, since having read Anthony and Mallorys books about this topic, their reasoning seems a lot more plausible to me than the anatolian homeland theory:
Steppe folks talking a uralic (or other) language conquering the whole balkan destroying most of the tell settlements, bringing with them kurgan burials, a new culture, setting themselfs up as the new elite, only to adopt the language of the defeated???
But it goes on (form here on I agree): After having merged with the locals, their culture (and some people) spread first to northeast and central Europe, in the end to Iberia and Britain.
Interestingly, from this point on, even if there was marginal demic movement, their language (Indoeuropean) was implemented in all parts of Europe(except Basque).
My thoughts: why should neolithic balkans be conquered by bearers of a steppe culture, after this adopting the language of the defeated, only to !never! again change their language in all following expansion of bronze age cultures?

Indistinctive of ones personal opinion of the Indoeuropean origin, David Anthonys Book "The Horse, the Wheel and Language" is one of the richest sources on the archeology and cultures of this place and time.



Dr Rob said...

@ Kurti

* I wholly agree that the real Scythians and Cimmerians were in the near east and central Asia. But they are not Medes. The Medes are Medes, and Scythians are diffuse groups of warrior equestrians on their northern frontier. Apart from common Iranic language, they were distinct and oppositional groups, or at least certainly a separate social group - which is what she says.


* "but without doubt the Scythians in the Russian steppes did not only have similarities but most likely originated from these in the Near East and Central Asia"

:-> incorrect. The "Russian' Scythians originated in the forest steppe of Ukraine/ Moldavia, and the piedmont of the Caucasus mountains. These were a wholly different people to the Sakae-Scythians known to Assyrians, Achamaenids, etc Same with those in Transylvania, etc. See Metzner's article http://www.csen.org/BAR%20Book/05%20Part%204%20(1.0).%20Iron.Int.pdf page 160 -164.


@ Xaver

"distinctive of ones personal opinion of the Indoeuropean origin, David Anthony's Book "The Horse, the Wheel and Language" is one of the richest sources on the archeology and cultures of this place and time."

-yes its a a great book with great overview. Its conclusions on the other hand . . . :)

Aren Allahverdian said...

"Indistinctive of ones personal opinion of the Indoeuropean origin, David Anthonys Book "The Horse, the Wheel and Language" is one of the richest sources on the archeology and cultures of this place and time.


-yes its a a great book with great overview. Its conclusions on the other hand . . . :) "


While the book is a comprehensive introduction to and the most recent summary of the Indo-European problem, it is essentially an overview of the archaeology in the region thought to have been the Proto-Indo-European homeland. It constructs an archaeological paradigm over the urheimat location proposed by Childe and advocated by Gimbutas, and only then attempts to incorporate the spread of the language family within this framework.

Since the domestication of the horse and the invention of rapid wheeled transport have consistently been regarded as the catalysts of the expansion in the Steppe hypothesis, the relatively intact cognates for horse and wheel-related terminology are once again utilized to limit the time and space of the archaeological developments assumed to have been responsible for the migration of the ancestral population. In light of the new archaeogenetic approach, the only major change to this narrative has been the abandonment of the notion of aggressive invasions responsible for wholesale population-replacement in favor of a more plausible economic model.

The core problem with this modified argument, however, remains the same: it equates the domestication of the horse with mastered riding, and the invention of the wheel with the advanced battle chariot, and the movement of the whole technological package with the speakers of Indo-European without a thorough linguistic reconciliation.

The first chapter of the following monograph addresses this issue, with a specific emphasis on the empirical unreliability of unearthed horse bits as evidence of advanced horseback riding.

http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp192_vol1.pdf

Even though it ultimately favors equally-problematic Anatolian Neolithic hypothesis, it is nonetheless a thought-provoking criticism of certain conditions that are usually taken for granted in the discussion of Indo-European origins. The sheer complexity of the question demands a rigid analysis of any proposal, established or otherwise.

Also, I know for a fact that Grigoriev’s methodology used for formulating his scheme hasn't been free of criticism (Elena Kuzmina was the critic, but I’m having little luck fining the paper), but to the best of my understanding, there are no such exhaustive archaeological ‘counterparts’ to the linguist models favoring the Pontic-Caspian homeland.