Monday, 3 September 2012

Why the Anatolian hypothesis is wrong

There is a breakdown on John Hawks' blog of a recent paper in Science about the Indo-European expansion.  Using a method derived from epidemiology, the authors reached the conclusion that Proto-Indo-European was spoken in Anatolia.  This is the Anatolian hypothesis, that Indo-European languages spread after agriculture was introduced to what is now Turkey, with the expansion dating to some point in the last 10,000 years, perhaps around 6000 BCE.  The method used in the paper is based on a statistical analysis of cognate terms in Indo-European languages, which is not a usual method in historical linguistics.  Linguists have experimented with statistical methods in the past, and they have rejected most of them in favour of rigorous analysis of languages.  Unless the sample is chosen judiciously, statistical methods are useless.  And it's important to remember that historical linguists and archaeologists have other methods, methods with a proven utility.


Among those methods is the Wörter und Sachen method, which involves examining the objects found in archaeological investigations and then seeing how they fit together with a reconstructed language.  If you find evidence of wheeled vehicles at a site, and your proto-language has a reconstructed term for wheels, axles, or carts, then there is the possibility that the speakers of the language were also the people who lived at the site.  The more reconstructed terms there are for things at a site, the better the case is that the speakers were also the inhabitants.

Proto-Indo-European has terms for all aspects of wool production.  It has words for a variety of domesticated animals as used by pastoralists, and its terms of 'wealth' are related to pastoralism.  It has words indicating a tribal social structure based around clans with patrilineally-descended heads.  All of these things correlate best with a pastoral society inhabiting the steppe, and not with an agricultural economy as the Anatolian hypothesis would predict. The wool terminology in particular makes no sense if the Anatolian hypothesis is assumed; it is a necessary feature of the Anatolian hypothesis that the expansion, into Europe at least, took place about 8,000 years or so ago, but wool sheep are only found archaeologically from about 4000-3500 BCE.  Why would Indo-European languages share words for wool and woollen technologies if the speakers of the proto-language knew nothing about wool because wool sheep literally did not exist at that point?

This is a slightly weak argument, because the reconstructed term, *HwlHn-, could possibly have referred to the short undercoat of sheep.  That seems unlikely, but it's technically possible, and so the wool evidence is just one part of the case for a steppe origin.

Proto-Indo-European has a lot of reconstructed words for wheeled vehicles.  The earliest wheeled vehicles are found in the Caucasus and on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, not Anatolia, and this vocabulary is most lacking in Hittite, one of the few Indo-European languages actually found in Anatolia.  The Hittites were a literate civilization of the mid-to-late second millennium BCE (c. 1400 BCE), and a major power in the Near East.  They were, alongside the Luwians, some of the only Indo-European speakers in the area, which was dominated by non-Indo-European speakers (perhaps an indication that Indo-European speakers came from elsewhere), including the Hattians - the people who gave the Hittites their popular name.  The Hittites were famous for using chariots, and they used them to dominate their neighbours, even defeating Egypt under Riʻmīsisu II (Ramesses) at the battle of Kadesh in the 13th century BCE.

But there's something interesting about the Hittite use of chariots: it was clearly introduced from elsewhere, and the people who introduced it spoke Indo-European languages.  A chariot manual by a man named Kikkuli, in the Mitanni empire - a Hurrian-speaking empire in what is now Syria - was written almost entirely in Hittite, except for the words for the chariot terminology itself.  This terminology, incredibly, was in a language whose closest relation was actually Sanskrit.  That makes this manual, and other Mitanni texts, the earliest written attestation of an Indic language anywhere in the world, and it comes from Syria.  Quite amazing.

So where did these Indic speakers, who introduced chariots into the Near East, come from?  Archaeological evidence shows the earliest use of chariots to be on the Eurasian steppe around the second millennium BCE.  The remains are clearly related to those found further west on the steppe as well, and the archaeological cultures related to the emergence of charioteering were steppe pastoralists and metallurgists.  These remains, found for instance at a site called Sintashta in modern Russia, are believed to be associated with speakers of Indo-Iranian, the proto-language from which the languages of Persia and India descend.  This identification is particularly secure for a number of reasons.  One is that sites like Sintashta show evidence of activities, including ritual and warfare, that correlate perfectly with Indic texts like the Rig Veda.  The Rig Veda is a set of over a thousand hymns in Vedic Sanskrit, an archaic form of the language.  The hymns describe rituals of all kinds, including especially funerary rituals, and these expositions in the Vedas correlate perfectly with the evidence found at Sintashta and other similar sites.

For instance, Vedic funerals were accompanied by funerary games including chariot races.  In these races the chariots would turn left.  Not only are chariots found in southern Russia from the right time period (including the earliest known in the world), but the evidence also shows a curious feature: bits for horses that are asymmetrical.  The right side of the bit is larger than the left, indicating a consistent preference for turning left!

There's much more evidence than that - especially the fact that most Iranian languages were found in western Central Asia and southern Russia before the Turkic and Slavic expansions, and the fact that the Aryan migrations into India appear on the basis of archaeological evidence to have come from the northwest, and the fact that Iranian migrations into what is now Iran (and was once Elam and Babylon) began in the east.  Had the Iranic peoples come from Anatolia, they would surely have attacked the neo-Babylonian empire from the west, instead of taking it under Kurush in the sixth century BCE from a base in modern Fars province, Iran.

In the Science article, there's a map (you can see it on John Hawks' blog) of the distribution of the Indo-European languages, showing the centre of distribution to be in Anatolia, but this is quite wrong; extinct Iranian languages are missed off the map, and they are known to have been spoken in what is now Russia (the Pontic-Caspian steppe) into historical times.  Alan (which became the modern language of Ossetian spoken in the Caucasus), Scytho-Sarmatian - these were Iranic languages spoken on the steppe by pastoralists in historical times.  Bactrian was an Iranic language spoken in Central Asia, in what is now Turkic-speaking territory.  They are left off the map and the analysis because they are poorly known, but they were certainly spoken on the steppe and they were certainly Iranic.  This is an impossible distribution if you take the Anatolian hypothesis to be true, and they'd also mess up the map if they were placed on it - in fact, they'd distort it completely.  If you look at the map provided, it shows a neat distribution of Indo-Iranian east of Anatolia in a neat bubble, implying that Indo-Iranian simply moved east.  But that is not the present, and certainly not the past, distribution of Indo-Iranian languages, and it equally certainly fails to represent the actual propagation of those languages in Eurasia.

The homeland of Iranic and Indic languages was in the steppe north of the Caspian sea; that makes most sense of the archaeological and linguistic evidence from all fronts.  The archaeological cultures of the Indo-Iranians show clear continuity with archaeological cultures to their west on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, indicating that they came from further west, and they clearly displaced other groups who had previously resided there.  These Pontic-Caspian archaeological cultures show a perfect correlation with the terminology of reconstructed Proto-Indo-European as well.  Looking at it as if Indo-European languages came from Anatolia doesn't make sense of these facts.  So instead we should ask, how did Indo-European languages end up in Anatolia?  How did Hittite come to be spoken there?

Hittite is an archaic Indo-European language that preserved several features lacking in all other Indo-European sub-families, and at first sight this gives some reason for believing in the Anatolian hypothesis.  But actually it doesn't, and the much more plausible view is that the Hittites and Luwians entered Anatolian from west of the Black Sea earlier than the formulation of 'classical' Proto-Indo-European.  The ancestors of the Hittites spoke what is called 'pre-Proto-Indo-European'; the language that became Hittite in Anatolia, after isolation from other Indo-European speakers and contact with non-Indo-Europeans, and Proto-Indo-European on the steppe after linguistic and technological innovations.  The reason Hittite preserves archaic features is because it doesn't descend from Proto-Indo-European at all, but rather from the language that became Proto-Indo-European.

This also correlates with the archaeological evidence, which shows a quick migration from the steppes through the country west of the Black Sea and south towards Greece and Asia Minor at the expected time of the propagation of pre-Proto-Indo-European.

Another piece of very good evidence for a steppe homeland for Indo-European comes from the unrelated Uralic languages.  Finnish, Hungarian, and Saami are modern Uralic languages found in Europe, and others are to be found further east, including Mordvin and Mari, spoken in Russia.  Here is a map showing the present distribution of Uralic languages; they are all to the north of the Black and Caspian Seas, and the geographic centre of distribution is in the Ural mountains, likely on the European side.  That is where the Uralic homeland seems to have been.

Here's how this links to Indo-European studies: Proto-Uralic shows the presence of loanwords from Proto-Indo-European.  This has been known for some time.  The loans are documented in The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (Mallory and Adams 1997), as well as David Anthony's brilliant book, The Horse, The Wheel, and Language, which is more recent.  They aren't loans from living Indo-European languages into living Uralic languages, but loans from Proto-Indo-European into Proto-Uralic, at a very early period.  There is also considerable evidence that a later form of Uralic was in contact with speakers of Indo-Aryan languages, as several Indo-Aryan loanwords have been discovered. 

What this means is that Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic were spoken in adjacent areas, and that their speakers were in contact with one another for a sustained period.  Proto-Uralic was not spoken in Anatolia, but on the European side of the Ural mountains, adjacent to the Pontic-Caspian steppe, again indicating that Proto-Indo-European was spoken there as well.

I'm not going to go into the rest of the evidence, but needless to say, there's a lot of it.  But here's a final point.  If the Anatolian hypothesis were actually correct, and Indo-European languages came from Anatolia and not the steppe, then who were those people on the steppe whose archaeological cultures correlate so closely with Indo-European material?   Where did they go?  Why do we not have evidence of another major language family spreading from the western Pontic-Caspian steppe around 3000 BCE?

In the paper, it is suggested that the steppe hypothesis is possible - after the Anatolian migration had done its work.  That is really a little mad.  What it claims is that Indo-European expanded into Europe as a result of the introduction of agriculture into Anatolia from the Near East 8,000 years or so ago.  Agriculture allowed the Indo-Europeans to migrate, grow large populations, and dominate Europe.  That's the Anatolian hypothesis so far.  But then it is necessary to believe that these ardent agriculturalists, people for whom agriculture must have been incredibly important, abandoned agriculture entirely, entered the steppe (without leaving archaeological remains of having done so), became pastoralists, relied on wild foods like Chenopodium for their carbohydrate intake, took to wagons, herded cattle, and then spread across the Eurasian steppe.  And, somehow, the peoples of Europe shared their cultural, religious, and linguistic innovations, including the importance of cattle, horses, oaths, sky deities, and youthful tribal warfare.  That isn't parsimonious, and it relies solely on the statistical study showing that the Anatolian branch retained the largest number of common cognates - which is already consistent with the idea that Hittite descends from the pre-Proto-Indo-European that came off the steppe before Proto-Indo-European as we know it had formed.

So here is the picture presented by archaeology and linguistics: speakers of pre-Proto-Indo-European originated on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, north of the Black Sea, around the fifth millennium BCE.  Some of these speakers migrated west, passing through and attacking the towns of the Cucuteni-Tripolye archaeological culture.  They passed to the south and turned east, eventually ending up in Anatolia, where the pre-Proto-Indo-European language diverged into Hittite and Luwian.  These people were in contact with speakers of lots of other language families, and they were also in contact with other groups in the Near East.  The Hittites were migrants into Anatolia, which partially explains why their lives were completely different to those of other Indo-European groups, and why they absorbed and adopted the traits of non-Indo-European native Anatolian groups, like the Hurrians.

The rest of the speakers of pre-Proto-Indo-European stayed just where they were, developing a strongly pastoral economy based on large herds of cattle herded with the aid of wagons and domesticated horses.  They were in contact with speakers of Proto-Uralic and probably Kartvelian, and the pre-Proto-Indo-European language became what we know as Proto-Indo-European.  The speakers of this language, associated with the Yamnaya archaeological culture, spread in several directions: to the east went wagon-riding pastoralists whose remains show continuity with the Tocharian (Indo-European-speaking) peoples of western China.  Also in that direction went people with similar cultural traits whose languages became Indo-Iranian.  They centred north of the Caspian sea before some of them migrated south, east of the Caspian, through the cities of Central Asia and the Indus.  To the west of the Pontic steppe went speakers of Proto-Indo-European whose languages diverged to form Balto-Slavic (dominant throughout the area north of the Black Sea and up to the Baltic in early historic and prehistoric times), Italo-Celtic, Germanic, and other subgroups of Indo-European.

That is the model that makes most sense of the data.  The Anatolian hypothesis makes sense of very little of it, and I don't think any single study of any sub-group of Indo-European languages will ever override the combined evidence of archaeology and linguistics.  The phylogeographic model may work well for modelling language families, but it also has to take account of other evidence, and also of extinct languages.  The studies in Science do not do this, and the Anatolian hypothesis is simply not correct.

34 comments:

  1. This post seems to be getting a lot of hits. Feel free to comment!

    I'm seeing a lot of links from forums. Some of the people in these forums are sensible, and others are a little nuts. So, to address a few claims: No, the Indo-European languages did not come from India. No, they didn't come from Bactria. No, we shouldn't completely neglect phylogeographic studies; they are of proven validity in some areas and with some families (Arawak, for instance). We should instead produce a parsimonious model that makes best sense of all of the data.

    No, Greek and English are not debased forms of Sanskrit. No, I don't automatically hate statistical studies of language. No, Indo-Iranian speakers did not migrate on chariots; they were almost certainly made for racing and warfare, not for migration. (Charioteering would make for one uncomfortable journey!)

    The Anatolian hypothesis makes little sense of the data - but the out-of-India hypothesis makes even less. Suggesting that PIE came from India is as reasonable as suggesting that humans originated in the Americas.

    Anyway, do comment if you have a problem.

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  2. Very interesting.I agree that the Hittites origined in Anatolia and arrived there simultaniusly is the absurd idea.The same with Greeks and others.They arrived at the deweloped civilizations of Hatties,got their name,capital,gods.the same with the Greeks,who got the Pelasgian and Minoan cultures.Chariottes where created and used the advanced Shumerians and Assyrians with their onagers later changed for horses bought from Hurrians.
    So Indoeuropeans where not the first farmers who realy where from MidEast.European genes with the MidEast farmers` admixtures confirm this.

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  3. I'm pretty sure that there was significant genetic and cultural influence from the Near East in the Neolithic, resulting from the migration/advection of the Neolithic package from the Near East into Europe between 9,000 and 4,000 BCE. But I doubt very much that this is the same as the expansion of the Indo-European languages. I think this is the standard point of view among linguists and prehistorians.

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  4. You mention that steppe cultures have Indo-European cultures. Can you please elaborate what is Indo-European culture and also what is Indo-Iranian culture.
    Please also provide the studies which shows Indo-Aryans migrating to north west India as you have claimed.

    As far as I know, only migration to India were by the farmers who brought Western Asian crops with them. Please provide studies that show that Indo-Aryans were different from them.

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  5. Indo-Aryans were clearly different from the Neolithic migration into India (if there even was one!), because Indo-Aryan culture included horses and wheeled vehicles (as we know from comparative Indo-Aryan literature, in addition to archaeology and historical linguistic studies reconstructing wheels and wagon terminology to proto-Indo-European), while the Neolithic folk were clearly lacking in both horses and wheeled vehicles. In addition, woolen garments and terminology are clearly reconstructible to proto-Indo-Aryan as well as proto-Indo-European, and it is also clear from archaeological studies that wool was lacking in Neolithic India. Moreover, the Vedas clearly reference a steppe culture of chariots, horses, and iron technology, which is also clearly reconstructible to proto-Indo-Aryan (and proto-Indo-Aryan culture appears to correlate perfectly with various features of the archaeological record - Sintashta, the Petrovka and Andronovo archaeological cultures, etc).

    I expect, despite your anonymity, that you are one of those people who calls this incredibly well-established theory 'Aryan Invasion Theory', which is not what it is. I realise that it is probably important to you, assuming that you are one of these people, that your cultural antecedents originated in your homeland, but I can assure that if you believe this, you are doomed to belief in a falsehood, and, moreover, there is no reason to believe it.

    Indo-European culture, so-called, is pretty well-established, in the sense that it has been studied extensively. The primary evidence comes from linguistics and archaeology, but also comparatively literary studies. My favourite works on these topics are David Anthony's The Horse, The Wheel, And Language and M. L. West's Indo-European Poetry and Myth. A Neolithic hypothesis makes no sense of this culture or the evidence for it, whether in Anatolia or in India (especially in India, in fact).

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    1. First thing, not sure how you are assuming I am supporting out-of-India hypothesis.
      I am against that, and I am also against Kurgan hypothesis AFA Indo-Iranians are concerned.
      Please don't make assumptions. now to you reply

      Are you not aware that oldest farming communities with west Asian crops in Indian subcontinent are known from 7000BCE, known as Mehrgarh culture. These cultures then progress to Bronze age and develop into Harappan Civilization by 2600BCE. This civilization declines after 1800BCE. Iron age begins around 1200BCE and India goes into pre-historic period.

      my point is except for migration of farmers around 7000BCE there are no known invasion/migrations into subcontinent.
      You can read JM Kenoyer, Steven Weber or FC Southworth's books on these. You can read Dorian Fuller and Peter Bellwood's research into Indian subcontinent.
      There is no proof of any Andronovo culture coming to Iran or India.

      What many Indo-European researchers do is they make origin theory about European branches, and then just copy some text for Indo-Iranians, without ever actually analyzing
      Archaeological data or consulting researchers who are actually doing work in India.
      That's why Kurgan theory and Anatolian hypothesis agrees on one thing,
      elite domination in India by Andronovans, without being detected in India by Archaeologists.

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    2. So if the Harappan material is continuous with earlier material - which it appears to be - then whence other archaeological cultures, like Northern Black Polished ware? Are they indigenous developments? Most archaeologists don't seem to think so, as far as I remember from Allchin et al. And why is the second urbanisation period in India so radically different from the first? Why do they only overlap in Gujarat? There doesn't seem to be any continuity there, so whether or not there is positive evidence for what we might call a migration, there is at least evidence of radical cultural discontinuity, and the linguistic evidence is good reason to believe that this is due to some kind of influx from the steppe where Indo-European languages appear to have been spoken.

      Indo-European is first and foremost a linguistic problem. Indo-European languages did not originate in India - that much seems clear, especially as the centre of diversity isn't in the subcontinent - and they arrived there at some point. There is absolutely no reason to believe that they arrived with a neolithic complex, especially as the linguistic material correlates with a steppe culture of the fourth millennium BCE and makes sense of all of the rest of the evidence. So what we can say is that Indo-European languages probably arrived in India at some point after 3500 BCE, and - given that the Harappan material shows no correlation with terminology in Indo-Aryan/Indo-European languages - probably after the first urbanisation. There is no reason to believe that this was a migration, especially considering that not all migrations even appear in the archaeological record (cf. the Celtic migrations into the Balkans and Greece).

      You know, it's interesting - even the creators of the Anatolian hypothesis, like Colin Renfrew, support the steppe hypothesis for Indo-European. And Renfrew is an archaeologist, not a linguist.

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    3. Also, consider the time-depth. If the Anatolian hypothesis is even remotely plausible, then languages have to be capable of not changing all that much over a period of literally 9,000 years. But as far as can be told, the Americas were only settled about 13,000 years ago and yet South America alone has literally hundreds of language isolates and dozens of identified families. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unclassified_languages_of_South_America

      Assuming the first wave of immigrants on the continent spoke one language, then 12,000 years (the time of arrival in S. America) is long enough to completely obliterate linguistic connections. Even if there were multiple waves of migrations, there would have to be hundreds in order to account for the linguistic diversity with the same rate of language change as is proposed for the Anatolian hypothesis.

      The other language families that have been reconstructed and given clear origins - especially Austronesian, but also Mayan, Uto-Aztecan, and Niger-Congo - appear to have diverged around 5-6,000 years, not 9 or 10,000.

      There are plenty of other reasons to believe that language change is not this slow. Clearly linguistic change is variable, but it doesn't seem to be that variable, especially in an environment as diverse as early Eurasia. Only a later origin can account for this. So again, the idea that the Mehrgarh culture was created by speakers of Indo-European languages would need a great deal of evidence and formal argument in order to stand up to the far more realistic steppe model.

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    4. That should, 'even the creators of the Anatolian hypothesis, like Colin Renfrew, support the steppe hypothesis for Indo-Aryan'.

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  6. You have made lot of assumptions here.
    I do not know much about Europe so my questions are about Indo-Iranians, mainly Indo-Aryans.

    BTW I think Kurgan theory is really bad, out-of-india is worse may be. not sure about Anatolian one.

    my comments/questions

    >>The earliest wheeled vehicles are found in the Caucasus and on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, not Anatolia, and this vocabulary is most lacking in Hittite, one of the few Indo-European languages actually found in Anatolia
    AFAIK wheeled vehicles spread so fast to europe middle east, central asia and south asia that we do not know who invented them
    please share studies which prove otherwise

    >>The Hittites were a literate civilization of the mid-to-late second millennium BCE (c. 1400 BCE), and a major power in the Near East. They were, alongside the Luwians, some of the only Indo-European speakers in the area,
    >>which was dominated by non-Indo-European speakers (perhaps an indication that Indo-European speakers came from elsewhere), including the Hattians - the people who gave the Hittites their popular name
    Hittite empire was there from 1800 BCE to 1200 BCE.

    >>These remains, found for instance at a site called Sintashta in modern Russia, are believed to be associated with speakers of Indo-Iranian, the proto-language from which the languages of Persia and India descend.
    >>This identification is particularly secure for a number of reasons.
    >>One is that sites like Sintashta show evidence of activities, including ritual and warfare, that correlate perfectly with Indic texts like the Rig Veda.
    >>The Rig Veda is a set of over a thousand hymns in Vedic Sanskrit, an archaic form of the language.
    >>The hymns describe rituals of all kinds, including especially funerary rituals, and these expositions in the Vedas correlate perfectly with the evidence found at Sintashta and other similar sites
    >>For instance, Vedic funerals were accompanied by funerary games including chariot races


    Sintashta culture was there around 2100–1800 BCE, it developed into Andronovo culture during 1800–1400 BCE.
    you are claiming that the Sintashta culture fits so well with Rig Veda.
    which funeray practices you are talking about?
    Are you claiming that Rig veda says organize chariot races on funerals?
    Please share studies for these.


    >>the fact that the Aryan migrations into India appear on the basis of archaeological evidence to have come from the northwest
    which archaeoligical evidence you are talking about? There is no proof of any Andronovo culture penetrating into Iran or Indian subcontinent.
    Please share it if you have any.
    contd below ...

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  7. contd ...

    >>Had the Iranic peoples come from Anatolia, they would surely have attacked the neo-Babylonian empire from the west,
    >>instead of taking it under Kurush in the sixth century BCE from a base in modern Fars province, Iran
    why they have to cross zagros and attack babylonian empire 3000-4000 years before it was established?


    >>If you look at the map provided, it shows a neat distribution of Indo-Iranian east of Anatolia in a neat bubble, implying that Indo-Iranian simply moved east.
    >>But that is not the present, and certainly not the past, distribution of Indo-Iranian languages, and it equally certainly fails to represent the actual propagation of those languages in Eurasia.
    check the map again. see where iranians are, where indians are and where scythians were spread.


    >>The homeland of Iranic and Indic languages was in the steppe north of the Caspian sea; that makes most sense of the archaeological and linguistic evidence from all fronts.
    which archaeoligical and liguistic evidence is that?



    >>If the Anatolian hypothesis were actually correct, and Indo-European languages came from Anatolia and not the steppe,
    >>then who were those people on the steppe whose archaeological cultures correlate so closely with Indo-European material? Where did they go?
    good question!


    >>The speakers of this language, associated with the Yamnaya archaeological culture, spread in several directions:
    >>to the east went wagon-riding pastoralists whose remains show continuity with the Tocharian (Indo-European-speaking) peoples of western China.
    >>Also in that direction went people with similar cultural traits whose languages became Indo-Iranian.
    >>They centred north of the Caspian sea before some of them migrated south, east of the Caspian, through the cities of Central Asia and the Indus.
    again, please provide evidence

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  8. Most of what you have said is actually quite ridiculous. Take this for instance:

    why they have to cross zagros and attack babylonian empire 3000-4000 years before it was established?

    The reaseon is that the Persians appeared in Iran - which until that point had been dominated by the Elamites - at the time of the neo-Babylonian empire and they appear to have come from the east. The hypothesis that they had appeared there thousands of years earlier is absurd.

    If they had appeared in their present location thousands of years before, then what you are saying isn't parsimonious: in that instance, they would have had to have gone east from Anatolia into Mesopotamia and Iran in the Neolithic, leaving no traces of their languages and activity, and then they would have had to have left the area completely for thousands of years for the historically-documented cultures, including the Elamites, Sumerians, and Akkadians, of the region to document themselves, before suddenly returning with a suspiciously steppe-oriented culture of horsemanship and pastoralism.

    That is so far from scientific parsimony that it is beyond consideration.

    The steppe hypothesis - the so-called 'Kurgan' hypothesis - makes by far the best sense of the appearance of the Persians. They, like other Indo-Aryan groups, developed on the steppe in what is now southern Russia/Ukraine/Kazakhstan and spread south, around the east of the Caspian sea. The alternative is an impossibility.

    Renfrew, by the way, takes neither position, instead assuming that Indo-Europeans from Europe entered the steppes from the west, abandoning grain agriculture and becoming pastoralists, before invading India and Iran from around the east of the Caspian. Again, this is not parsimonious.

    Moreover, we know that wheeled vehicles and Indo-European are related at a late period. Wheeled vehicles were of course used in Mesopotamia before they were on the steppe - that much seems quite clear. But wheeled vehicles were certainly not used by the first neolithic populations of Eurasia, the ones who spread agriculture into India and Europe, and so the clearly reconstructible terms for wheeled vehicles in several separate branches of Indo-European (including Indo-Aryan, Tocharian, and all the European branches - all branches except Anatolian, in fact) points to an origin after wheeled vehicles were in common use.

    On top of this, proto-Indo-European also has reconstructible terms for wool and felt manufacture, and the earliest evidence of this comes from the steppe around 4000 BCE.

    As for Anatolian - why does it lack terms for wheeled vehicles? Likely because, as Anthony and plenty of others have claimed, Anatolian branched off from the Indo-European languages before they had become proto-Indo-European as it is reconstructed using the other branches - that is to say, the Anatolian branch actually descends from *pre-proto-Indo-European*, *not* proto-Indo-European itself. Again, this has to be the case in the interests of producing a parsimonious explanation. No other explanation even begins to make sense of these events, certainly not an Anatolian origin.

    Maybe you should actually read the books out there on these issues. Anthony's is excellent, as is West's, as are J. P. Mallory's books. If you want the specific breakdowns of all the problems you mention and summaries of all the evidence, with bibliographies of all the articles and books necessary to make the whole thing work, then you need to go to those sources. You have produced a lot of problems but you appear to disagree with all of the dominant theories, even those that are extremely well-established, like the steppe-origin theory.

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  9. The earliest Farming communities in Indo-Iranian lands are known from Jeitun & Mehrgarh from 6000BCE & 7000BCE respectively. There are proofs of these communities developing into BMAC and Harappan civilizations by 3rd Millennium BCE.
    In Iran these farmers were spread along northern and north-western areas.
    Elamites were in South-west Iran, So for me there is no moving back and forth.


    Also Sinthashta/Andronovans are never detected anywhere in Iran or India. so I am not sure how you are saying Steppe cultures show up in Iran and India.

    Also, I have read Anthony's book. Did not find him explaining where in Archaeology we can find Steppe cultures in as Indo-Aryans coming in India. He spends much time on Horses and Wagons and on European branches of languages.
    BTW wagons and cart are known from India at least from start of 3rd Millennium BCE.

    Renfrew first proposed Indo-Iranians migrating to east. He later changed his theory to say that farmers some how developed in Kurgan culture and then that theory continues.

    I have read books/research papers from Mark Kenoyer, FC Southworth and Peter Bellwood.

    Bellwood has proposed that Mehrgarh farmers were IE speakers and there languages continues in India as farming spread.
    Same goes for Jeitun farmers who develop into BMAC Iranians
    Bellwood also calls his theory Anatolian neolithic origins theory.
    I support this theory, as it explains how and why.
    Although I am skeptical if we can ever find one small area and small community of PIE. I think that may not be possible.
    I am mainly concerned about Indo-Iranians, and this theory fits the archaeological proof like glove on hand.
    Steppe theory fails miserably here.

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    1. Proto-Indo-Aryan doesn't have a terminology that fits the neolithic migration nor the development of urbanism in either the BMAC or Harappan regions. This would also not work with any other theory of Indo-European origins for any other branch. It is therefore completely and utterly incommensurate with the linguistic evidence, and as it is the linguistic evidence that we need to explain - Indo-European being foremost a linguistic problem - the whole idea is ridiculous.

      Also - and this point should be obvious - the Near Eastern agricultural innovations and neolithic technologies were taken up by groups speaking dozens of other language families, including Dravidian, Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, in addition to Eteocretan, Tyrrhenian, and others. There is absolutely no reason to believe that agriculture in Eurasia - even in western Eurasia, with barley, wheat, rye, etc - was spread by a single group of people speaking one language. There is consequently no reason to connect Mehrgarh, or even BMAC and Harappan, with any particular language family at all, certainly not one that has retained any consistent features down to the present day.

      Bellwood isn't a linguist. He has even questioned the view that Sino-Tibetan developed on the Tibetan Plateau, which all the evidence suggests it did, because he is utterly in love with the idea that languages and farming have to spread together. He isn't approaching this from the perspective of linguistics and his arguments usually fall flat on this topic.

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    2. By the way, isn't it interesting that the Elamites, Sumerians, Harappans, and Akkadians were all farmers of wheat and barley, while the earliest Indo-Aryan literature and culture is all about cattle herding and transhumance? The Avesta and Rigveda, the arrival of the Persians in southwestern Iran, an area formerly dominated by barley-growing sedentary populations - all of it points somewhere other than the fertile crescent or Anatolia or BMAC or Mohenjo-Daro.

      Aaaand... what about Tocharian? What about the shared terminology for wheeled vehicles, which you concede only entered India in the third millennium BCE? If they only entered India at that time, and if Indo-Aryan was spoken in the area then after long since having split from the other branches of Indo-European (according to this absurd theory, literally 4,000 years afterwards), then how would you ever begin to explain this shared reconstructible terminology in proto-Indo-European?

      The entire theory is ridiculous and has no linguistic standing. Nor does it truly make sense of the archaeological evidence, as you claim. It is a true absurdity and that it was proposed by someone as eminent as Peter Bellwood is a tragedy.

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    3. Oh, and you appear to have forgotten that the supposed strength of the Anatolian theory is that Anatolia is roughly at the centre of gravity in the Indo-European world, about halfway between western Europe and India. This is intended to explain the presence of the Iranian languages - they appear due east of Anatolia in the same way that the European languages appear due west. This, they say, means that Iranic spread east from Anatolia in a single movement. But this argument completely fails, because the Iranic languages were a) actually spread all the way around the Black and Caspian seas in antiquity and b) because the presence of Iranic in Iran and Iraq is something much more recent, from c. 700 BCE.

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  10. The Archaeological evidence fits to Bellwood's theory AFA Indian subcontinent is concerned. Only problem is linguistics.

    Your comments on Indo-Aryans not fitting in farming and urban culture are incorrect.
    Please see research by Alexander Lubotsky on Proto-Indo-Iranian. He has constructed words for agriculture and urban setup.
    He give traditional dates of around 2000BCE though.
    These are not shared with European branches BTW. AFA I recall some of these are shared with Tocharians (need to check on that though).

    I understand a package of crops cannot be identified with a linguist group.
    Though I disagree on your observation on Dravidian. Please see FC Southworth's research on South-India Neolithic and his proposal on Proto-Dravidian.
    He identifies Dravidians in south central India around 3000BCE with pastoralism based on goat, sheep and Zebu cattle (Domesticated by Mehrgarh/Harappans) and domestication of local cereals (and rice if I recall correctly).
    Although some researchers link Dravidians with Elamites and have them migrate by following coast to south India. See Witzel's theories for that. Even
    Bellwood supports this view.

    This is where Southworth's theory becomes interesting, this culture spreads in areas where Dravidian in spoken in historical time and is continued till today.
    While the Mehrgarh culture spreads to Indo-Gangetic plains and central and western India, where Indo-Aryan languages were spoken in historical times and continue till today.

    Now,
    Linguistics say that all words in PIE were constructed by 4000BCE or so. That's why Mehrgarh farmers cannot be IE speaking as that is before horse was domesticated and wheeled vehicles are detected in Archaeology.

    I believe that these arguments are not that solid.
    No one will argument that PIE in neolithic with lack words for relations, body parts and flora and fauna.

    it is only few words and their meaning that is debated.

    Equus/Ashva could have just meant Equid and not domesticated horse.
    wool could have meant felt. In PIE pek also means wool/hair from root peku (cattle).
    wegh could have meant ride on anything. In Sanskrit vehicle can be an animal or bird for gods. it did not have to be wheeled vehicle.


    Now the main thing from Anthony's book. wagons and various parts.
    claiming that we should through all archaeological evidence because many languages use same body part names for various parts of wagons cannot be called solid.

    I think it is incompetence of linguists if they throw out all archaeological data on just wagon part words.

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    1. wegh could have meant ride on anything. In Sanskrit vehicle can be an animal or bird for gods. it did not have to be wheeled vehicle.

      Why would they even have a concept of 'vehicle'? What vehicles, of any kind, could possibly have existed? Not boats - the word for those can be reconstructed to proto-Indo-European as well, meaning that if the word meant 'boat' originally, it was redundant, and its extension to mean 'vehicle' in several separate branches of Indo-European would be utterly remarkable. The likelihood is that proto-Indo-European-speaking people knew of wheeled vehicles. This fits with the linguistics and the archaeology, and it makes especially good sense of the timing of the linguistic diffusion.

      And the fact that different branches of Indo-European have cognate terms for the same parts of wheeled vehicles indicates that they could not have been referring to mythical vehicles (???). Why would different branches have cognate words for wheels, thills, yolks, etc? How would that happen without a shared history of wheeled vehicle use? You appear to want to throw out the linguistic evidence to fit an archaeology scheme that actually doesn't make any sense of the linguistic evidence, and it is fundamentally the linguistic evidence that needs to be explained.

      Again, Indo-European is primarily a linguistic problem. You can't just brush aside linguistics.

      As for farming reconstructed to Indo-Aryan, I believe that this is because of interaction with BMAC people (possibly), who really were farmers and really did have an impact on Indo-Iranian vocabulary as a whole (camel, etc). But then this would have had to have taken place after the establishment of the BMAC cities, and more importantly, to say that farming is only found in Indo-Aryan, and is therefore evidence that the Indo-Aryans = Mehrgarh, is terrible reasoning. How would they be connected to other Indo-Europeans? Why would they alone have farming terms? How would you begin to explain the rest of the Indo-European expansion if it wasn't motivated by farming (but the Indo-Aryan expansion inexplicably was)?

      And, again, how does NBP ware fit into your view? Is it not evidence of some population influx from the north in the late Harappan period?

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    2. I know word for boat have different root than wegh, that is not my argument.

      In Sanskrit wegh is used to create two words (at least), vahan (vehicle) and vahati (to ride/to transport)
      vahati can be used to ride a horse, a donkey
      or as some gods do to ride swan or to ride an ox.
      In these cases the animal becomes vehicle for transport.
      From this I think Sanskrit vahan cannot be said to be wheeled vehicle.


      also thill like pole and yoke are also used for ploughing.
      also wheel can be potter's wheel, spindle.
      potter's wheel was used from start of 5th Millenia BCE in India.


      I don't want to throw the linguistic evidence, I am saying people cannot be sure of what these words meant in
      past.

      I am not saying that farming was only there in Indo-Iranians, I am saying there are no major cognates with European branches.
      although words for barley, grain, plough, cattle and other domesticates have cognates and have been constructed in PIE.
      Hittite uses barley word for wheat BTW.

      Cemetery H culture develops when Harappan civilization go in decline (around 1700BCE).
      Painted Grey Ware culture (PGW) and Black and red ware culture (BRW) appear with Iron age (1200BCE).
      Northern Black Polished Ware culture NBPW or NBP) appears around 700BCE and is considered successor of PGW.

      Quoting Mark Kenoyer from Wikipedia on Cemetery H culture
      "may only reflect a change in the focus of settlement organization from that which was the pattern of the earlier Harappan phase and not cultural discontinuity, urban decay, invading aliens, or site abandonment, all of which have been suggested in the past."

      Are you trying to connect NBP with Indo-Aryans?
      most people connect cemetery H culture with them.

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  11. I agree that Bouckaert's study have one basic flaw, it supports Anatolia as homeland just because of center of gravity is there.

    Sometime ago I studied a paper by Johanna Nichols, where she proposes Urheimat near Oxus river and introduces locus, range and spread.

    I do not agree with her homeland location but I think the concept of range is good.

    I see PIE as set of dialects/languages spread over a geographical area. This area had language continuum, with technology exchanges taking place between them.
    I see the culture as agro-pastrolist and time as neolithic.

    This fits with Archaeological data from Indian subcontinent and various theories.

    I know it cannot explain why all branches name parts of wagons with same body parts.

    But it explain why various branches used various roots to construct word for wagon/wheels/chariots.

    some used rotating one, some used round one and so on. They used different roots because they were already spread over a vast area.

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    1. Actually, the idea of proto-Indo-European as a dialect continuum that continued exchanging loanwords and neologisms until late in its development doesn't fit at all well with the linguistic data. We know what such a situation would look like: it would resemble Central Malayo-Polynesian, which can't be reconstructed at all, or Austroasiatic, which can be reconstructed but with significant provisos. Indo-European doesn't fit this pattern at all. It fits much better with a branching model of multiple discrete migrations from a steppe homeland. The different terms for certain parts of the vehicle are more likely to relate to technological innovations that were not shared by different branches due to their having left the steppe at an earlier period.

      And the concept of range isn't so useful here, is it? We're dealing with a prehistoric migration whose total prehistoric spread is not known, and one of the enabling factors may have been the rise of horse and wagon technology on the steppes. These technologies are game-changers - they drastically extend range of movement and mean that groups using them didn't have to be content to stay within circumscribed areas. A centre-of-gravity model of any kind will be flawed under these circumstances.

      And another thing: do you see the evidence of borrowings from PIE into proto-Uralic as sheer coincidence? That isn't the opinion of the linguists who study these problems, so...

      And I don't think your model actually does fit with the Indian archaeology. Dravidian languages are spoken throughout the south, but the agro-pastoralist tradition you believe is common to Indo-Aryan/Indo-European is also spread across the south. How is this possible?

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    2. I am saying that PIE continuum was there for long time may be for 2000-3000 years, after that the continuum was broken.
      Also farming may not need migration to spread. farmers will just clear more forests near to them and it will look like people are migrating to new area, but they are still a continuum.

      On borrowings Proto-Uralic I am not sure whether they were from PIE or from Indo-Iranian.
      sorry on this as I mainly study on Indo-Iranians.

      For Dravidian you can see study by FC Southworth here http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~fsouth/Proto-DravidianAgriculture.pdf

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  12. Why did you stop? This was so interesting. Arguments of this type are helpful. I am some OTHER ANONYMUS.

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  13. Is it possible that Proto-Indo-Hittite speakers moved to Pontic-Caspian steppe through Caucasus from Eastern Anatolia and conquered/assimilated a steppe population there? This would explain the West Asian component found in Europeans except Basques and Finns.

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    1. I endorse that. They took long haired (woolly) sheep with them and left behind wool/felt terms but did not yet have horses and wheels. The long haired sheep at Khavlinsk is then not the first. To have woolly sheep, the domestic horse and the wheel emerge at Khavlinsk in a few hundred years is asking a lot.

      The Anatolian relict population then spread as Renfrew suggests, speaking pre PIE variants and their steppe cousins conquered them later adding horse and wagon words. So no need for PIE to replace unrelated languages. The farmers had already outbred the Hunter Gatherers.

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  14. If theories of language spread are linked to verses of the Rig Veda there is a huge problem in claiming that the Rig Veda describes "funerary games" and "chariot races". That is utter balderdash. No such description exists in the Rig Veda. One verse of dubious meaning apparently speaks of death and a horse but nothing to do with horse burials, or kurgans or anything of the sort. This misinformation has simply spread right through "academic" literature about language spread and no one wants to revise any hypotheses based on fact. I would be happy to see any language spread theory that leaves out the Rig Veda as a data point - but unless I am mistaken those references are central to all hypotheses. At any rate if the Rig Veda must be given a date - the textual evidence within Vedic and post Vedic literature point to the existence of the Rig Veda in a setting in North India prior to 4000-4500 BC, and as early as 6000 BC from some astronomical observations. I am sure all language spread theories could be adjusted to account for these dates.

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  15. "incredibly well-established theory 'Aryan Invasion Theory'."
    Well elsewhere you find it funny the suggestion they crossed the Balkans and kavkas with their war paraphernalia and force ,you are absolutely convinced they crossed the Hindukush, which is twice as tough and longer, and invaded the Indus plains.

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  16. unsubstantiated nonsense --funerary games in rRig Veda' 'BMAC substratum ,Aryan invasion, Mittani Indo Europeans .

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  17. Archeologically Unsubstantiated N BP ware and andronovo . Pottery materials, methods and style largely an improvement on PGW which preceded and ran concurrent . Technological advance in polishing technique an indigenous development and not known in Andronovo or Turkmenistan region . No archeological evidence of NBP ware beyond north west borders of India. New techniques do not mean influx of new people though technological improvements can happen with the introduction of a new idea or technology from elsewhere but does not alter the linguistic or cultural profile beyond the limited area of particular activity or profession.

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  18. A few questions. Who is 'Kikuli..? Why does he have to come from the land of Mittani and instruct the Hittites, who had arrived from central ASia with their horses and chariots, and give training lessons on horse and horse maintenance? Why does kikuli rhyme with 'IVULI' which is an ancient word for horse in Dravidian language? Why does the land of Mittani, from where kikuli had come from, follow a different type of agriculture without cutting irrigation channels as is customary in Tigris Euphrates basin at that time? Why are the mittanis in the region where YAZIDIS ,with their own distinct culture , now live.. ?Why are Mittani Kings named after weather and time of their birth in contrast to the naming conventions of people of Euphrates and Tigris. .?Why are Mittani gods so different from other gods from that region. Why do all these point to an heavy infuence from north western Indian subcontinent? Do some real research than regurgitating what is force fed to you.

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  19. BMAC sub statum words. Completely imagined and set up by Witzel. Absolutely no evidence of BMAC language or script. Nor even a bit. Not one strand except the swatika, which has been with us for atleast 10,000 years and appears in motifs of many cultures across the world. Camel? Really ?? Check Indus artefacts and you will know whether the subcontinent knew the camel. I admire witzelWitzels amazing powers of deduction- Tocharian on the west, indoiranian on the south , so BMAC is indoeuropean and supplying missing words to the subcontinent. Please understand atleast 70 percent of words spoken in the Indian subcontinent do not have any root word in Sanskrit.

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  20. 'Last Indo European- Sanskrit.' A hundred words for water in Sanskrit. More than a hundred for heaven. Several for grains and almost eighty percent of those words have their roots from several dialects and languages that are indigenous to the subcontinent. What Sanskrit are you talking about. .Do your own research, you'll be surprised

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  22. Horse And Aryans.Horses with 34 ribs from Vedic ritual expetrs who were cutting up horses almost every day ! Hogwash. Even the vedics were unfamiliar with the horse.!
    Either they did not know how to count or they imagined the horse. Horses were probably like Lamborginis in early times, brought in to the subcontinent by traders and was probably high maintenance .It was perhaps seen from early times and prized and coveted and It is no different today . So, to base an entire argument on a horse , horsemanship and violence to prove a linguistic point is really dubious and leads to nowhere.

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You can post anonymously if you really want to, but I would appreciate it if you could provide some means of identifying who you are, if only for the purpose of knowing who has written what.