I want to now wrap-up my broad-brush background research (as an author for future writing purposes) regarding the westward movement out of the Eurasian Steppe. In doing so, we’ve looked at the impact of the earliest arms race: the death of Old Europe and its languages, religions, cultures, and genetics. It was replaced by a culture that originated in the Eurasian Steppes and spread westward through application of innovations in mobility, metallurgy and weaponry.
These Steppes folks first hunted horses, but then domesticated them, milked them, rode them and used them to pull wagons and later chariots. These people led the way in smelting and forging copper and then bronze tools and weapons. Finally, they merged their innovations into an unbeatable advantage to conquer Europe to the west, east into Mongolia and China, and south into what is now Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
But, culture is primarily enshrined in language, which expresses concepts in unique ways. The Indo-European language spread across the world and is now spoken by 62% of its population. Even in the countries where a variant is not listed as spoken, an Indo-European language is the first choice for a second language because such dominate international commerce and science.
I’m going to wrap this up with a list of seven successive cultures since 5000 BC (7,000 years ago), their time frames, and links to their descriptions in Wikipedia. Each represents a contributing culture in evolving the horsemen who conquered Old Europe. At the end of this sequence, Old Europe’s culture and DNA is irretrievably supplanted by that of the horsemen, and the other invasions by the same Steppe DNA and Proto-Indo-European languages to the east and south are thriving.
Dnieper–Donets culture. 5000-4200 BC.
Map of Europe in the late Neolithic Joostik: own work
Funnelbeaker culture. c. 4300 BC – 2800 BC
Map of Funnel Beaker Culture. Xoil, own work
Pit-Comb Culture. c. 4200- c. 2000 BC
Map of Mesolithic Europe Joostik – modified Image:European Middle Neolithic.gif
Yamnaya Culture c. 3300–2600 BC
Map of Yamnaya Culture Joostik – Own work
Globular Amphora Culture c. 3400–2800 BC and later in Steppe 2950 and 2350 cal. BC
Approximate extent of the Corded Ware horizon with adjacent 3rd millennium cultures Credit
Corded Ware Culture c. 2900 BCE – c. 2350 BC
See map used above for Globular Amphora culture.
Beaker Culture c. 2800–1800 BC
Distribution of the mature Bell Beaker culture Credit
The story of the Yamnaya horsemen continues to evolve with a finer time resolution, sequence and specificity of expansion routes based upon ongoing DNA research.
Here’s a 2018 DNA study (don’t overlook the links including to the published study) that shows much of the story from Yamnaya to Europe, Mongolia and India, but fails to explain the background of the Farsi Indo-European language that dominates Iran and of the oldest recorded (2000 BC) PIE language with the Hittites. There’s still a taint of tribalism or jingoism (national vs international politics) in this study regarding not India (I hope) but Iran. But the Farsi question cannot be indefinitely hidden from the march of DNA evidence. Where are the arrows from Yamnaya to Iran, and to the Hittites and Mitanni in Anatolia? They are not here or elsewhere. Inexorably, DNA will provide the answers to these questions. Surely we can find DNA from Hittites and pre-Islamic Iranians or Persians?
I’ll now look elsewhere for new areas to research for novel plot ideas and significant new findings in the areas we’ve already covered (including those raised here), and share those in future posts.
Thanks for visiting.
R. E. J. Burke