Late Indo-European Eneolithic (i.e. Chalcolithic or Copper Age)
Cut-out from the Top Map showing the focus of today’s post
Last week, in Post 220, we looked at the early “cultures” of the Eurasian Steppes. We saw that the first kurgan burial appeared in the Samara culture on the Volga River. We then discussed the 70-year jousting between Marija Gimbutas’s “Kurgan Hypothesis” and alternative hypotheses of which the Anatolian Hypothesis of Lord Colin Renfrew was the last serious contender before DNA proved Gimbutas closest to the new data. We saw that the Yamnaya culture is considered the leading contender as the source of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language and, while extending East to form the Afanasievo culture, the Yamnaya spawned the Botai culture at the halfway point, where the earliest evidence of horse domestication is radiocarbon dated to 3600 BC.
Today, we will look at what happened between that earliest Kurgan-burial at the Samara culture (ca. 5000 BC) and the formation of the Yamnaya culture (3300-2600 BC) which is hypothesized to have produced the prototype (see PIE above) of the 445 Indo-European languages spoken by 3.2 billion people, i.e. 46% of the world’s population. From the Yamnaya came the horsemen who conquered Old Europe (see link to Post 220 above). The intermediate cultures linking the two are the Repin, Khvalynsk (4700-3800 BC) and Sredny-Stog (4500-3500 BC) cultures. Carlos Quiles has produced this DNA-oriented summary of this sequence.
Carlos Quiles, cited above, is not immune to heated controversies regarding the DNA data and its implications, as seen here (not a secure site). There is a lot of sniping in all directions as archaeologists, DNA experts, uber-nationalists, jingoists and other contenders form a circular firing squad. To me, the controversies are expected because of the huge impact DNA analysis is having upon long held hypotheses and ulterior motives. Such arguments are natural, healthy and necessary for the scientific method to work. I wish others saw this value and would refrain from calling scientists who disagree with the latest hypotheses as X-deniers and blocking their publication. That behavior is too often culpably dishonest and a blatant perversion of the Scientific Method. And it covers huge areas of criminal profiteering at public expense.
We will resume seeking various points of view on the revolutionary DNA impact upon “established science” (an oxymoron for “my point of view” and personal interests) regarding the Corded Ware culture next week. I’ll do my best to find the truth a.k.a “the pony behind the manure pile.”
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke