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Publicerad 2018-09-23The English version is a translation by Google. Svenska versionen

The Indo-European issue
A discussion paper by Sören G Lindgren

The Indo-European issue
is divided in four sections, each in its own file:

Abstract, third section:
In 1987, the English archaeologist Colin Renfrew launched the Anatolic hypothesis for the origins of the Indo-European languages. It meant that it would have been in Anatolia that the Indo-European languages arose and that would have been from there spread both west and east. However, the Indo-European 'origins' must have originated in another language. Could it have been the Burushaski tongue that is currently spoken by a minority in Kashmir or may it have been the Makrani idiom used in a ceremony centre at the mouth of the Indus River 60,000 years ago?

Third section
The Makrani hypothesis

Paul Heggarty, as we referred to in the first section writes in his criticism of the overenthusiastic belief that aDNA investigations would solve the problem of the origin of the Indo-European language family:

With 'farming out of Anatolia', Heggarty intended the hypothesis that the English archaeologist Colin Renfrew launched in 1987 in the book Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of the Indo-European Origins. There he suggested that the Indo-European languages arose in Anatolia and spread with agriculture to Europe during the Neolithic and then during the Bronze Age eastward to India. But he does not explain what language it was that gave rise to the IE language family.

The Steppe hypothesis was Heggarty's term for what we have named the Kurgan hypothesis. It was based on conclusions from the incomplete Indo-European proto-lexicon paired with Eurocentrism (read German linguists and Kossinna's influence). The Anatolian hypothesis refers to geographical and economic facts: agriculture was invented in southeastern Anatolia and spread therefrom first over the fertile crescent, then to Europe. In Europe, agriculture seems to have pushed away the very old Basque language and replaced it with different Indo-European tongues. So the conclusion is that the IE language family was in place in Anatolia at the time of farming. But where did it come from?

Empirically, the Anatolian hypothesis is closer to the historical truth than the Kurgan ditto, which has strong elements of ideology and myth. Therefore, it is reasonable to try to build on the former. It can be done with the help of some of the many genetic studies published since 1987.

However, the genetic results can be difficult-interpreted as evidenced by the two preceding chapters of this essay. Therefore, the following postulate will act as a kind of compass:

Porträtt av Colin Renfrew

Colin Renfrew held the Disney professorship in archaeology at Cambridge University in 1981-2004. In 1991 he was ennobled for his merit as a scientist.

According to the process that brought modern people out of Africa, the earliest migrations were opportunistic, that is, depending on the climate potential. However, the last of the emigrations would have been organized – for example, Chris Stringer got the impression that it was the only one (see the first section). The process hypothesis claims that this last emigration took place from the drained valley of the Persian Gulf, the Ur-Schatt Valley (Lindgren 2015). A group led by clergy with harem and with a large feature of young men left. They travelled along today flooded sea beaches to the mouth of the River Indus, to an area probably also underwater today. There they founded a ceremony center. One could also say a colony, but then we must remember that we are in the Middle Pleistocene with completely different organizational structures than Europe had in the 17th century and onward. We can only guess that the organizational structures were on a much more simple level.

This ceremony center held contact back with the Ur-Schatt Valley's mother center, but eventually sent new expeditions that would set new centres. The many so-called relict people in India and Southeast Asia with their almost black skin are memories of this system of ceremony centres. As part of this process, a group was also sent to the north along the Indus River 55,000 years ago. It found the well-watered and thus green Tarim basin in Xinyang in today's western China (Wells et al 2001). There they set up, multiplied and eventually spread over the whole basin. But 5,000 years later, a drought came slowly creeping (ibid).

It forced an emigration from the basin to both west and east. The emigrants eventually found to Europe, maybe about 42,000 years ago, has been baptized Cro-Magnons. A sort of centre for the activity of the Cro-magnons was a place called Kostenki at the eastward-bulging arc of Russian river Don. Some of the groups who wandered east came to settle down on the Lake of Baikal in eastern Siberia. They came to develop the so-called Mal'ta culture. From there, contacts were established with northern China (Lindgren 2017a). Together, all these emigrants from the Tarim basin had a language developed in the Ur-Schatt valley and then further changed during life at the mouth of the Indus River. Among the people in the different environments of Tarim basin, the development continued. We can call this new tongue for the Tarim language.

Karta över Asien

Schematic map of Asia showing the two paths along with Asia was populated by modern people 50,000 years ago. Red marks the proposed ceremony center at the mouth of the Indus River. The eastward expansion (marked with blue) began about 55,000 years ago and went on foot until reaching Bangladesh. From there, it continued by boat (the Andaman Island was populated from Bangladesh). The expansion north (beige) took place roughly simultaneously via Afghanistan to the Tarim basin in Xinjiang, western China. After five thousand years, the emigration continued from there (green) partly to west to Kostenki in Russia, and partly to east to the Tengger desert in northern China, which in both cases was reached approximately 42,000 years ago. Map hypertexter.se.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean

One and the same language appears to have once included most of northern Eurasia, ranging from Western Europe to Eastern Europe, through central Asia and Siberia, and inte the east it branched to both China and North America. It is the question of the Dene-Caucasian superfamily, mapped by a handful of linguists, among them the groundbreaking American linguist Joseph Greenberg (1915-2001) and the distinguished Russian language historian Sergei Starostin (1953-2005). According to the hypothesis, the Na-Dene tongue of Canada's Indians, the big Sino-Tibetan language family, the Jenisei idiom Ket in Siberia, Burushaski language of Kashmir, the North Caucasian idioms and the Basque tongue, would all have evolved from an old language dubbed Proto-Dene Caucasian (Ruhlen 1994). This would then be identical to what we called the Tarim language, which emerged as part of the modern human being's proliferation from the Ur-Schatt Valley.

According to the assumptions of the language historians, the Dene-Caucasian language families would have emerged from an archaic Chinese. However, I assert that the spread of people from Tarim basin, to both east and west across Eurasia, makes it likely that it is the so far unknown Tarim tongue that is the root. People stayed in the Tarim basin, mainly along the northern edge, which is watered by rivers today as it was about 50,000 years ago. Here the Tarim idiom had begun to develop to Burushaski – a language, currently spoken in only three valleys in Kashmir. This preproto-Burushaski would have been widely spread across Central Asia for a while.

Now, one of the problems is that we are talking about a period of 40,000 years. As noted by Merrit Ruhlen in his book on the origin of languages, about 200 languages in South America would have grown out of a single language spoken in Panama once at the time (ibid). The dates for this language in Panama are different, some mention 14,000 years ago, others about 40,000 years ago; historically, the latter is the glottochronologically more logical, but it lacks archaeological support.

In order to return to life in northern Eurasia from 40,000 years ago and beyond, there is likely to be some braking phenomenon there. It could have been a system of exchange of gifts, which helped to facilitate life in the arctic conditions near the ice sheet. The gifts could be transported with dog-drawn sledges (Lindgren 2018). But at this time a move of an object from one place to another was perceived as a disturbance of the balance of the world. This was supposed to be counteracted by the ritualization of the gift exchange, it was important that it was conducted in one and the same language. There would have been a variant of the Tarim idiom who would have been this holy language. This linguistic ritual in turn reversed the diversification that normal language development causes.

Two Indian emigrations
Karta visande spridningen av haplotyperna U7 och W i mtDNA

The spread to west from India of the two haplotypes U7 and W in Indian women's mtDNA. Emigration from northwest India, spreading the U7 haplotype, began sometime 50,000 years ago. The W haplotype first traveled north to Punjab / Afghanistan before it spread to the east and west. Schematic map after Metspalu 2004.

But the Tarim language was of course a precursor. It would have been the idiom that evolved in the proposed ceremony centre at the mouth of the river Indus River. In Pakistan, an unusually dark-tempered minority still lives, which at least, in part, is believed to be descendants of the modern humans who came from the Ur-Schatt Valley. We are talking about the Makrani population after the Makran region in southern Baluchistan. It would be historically logical to use the term ”macrani” as the name of the tongue that emerged in the ceremony centre founded by the emigrants. This language spread across large parts of northwestern India, including the Thar desert.

This desert, which exists because the monsoon rains did not reach the northeastern corner of India, underwent a similar change as the Tarim basin: from a green lush oasis to becoming increasingly dry and sandy. The first time this happened was 50,000 years ago. Then an improvement occurred until the monsoon rain a second time did not reach the corner of India for about 35,000 years back. On both occasions, the Estonian geneticist Mait Metspalu at the genetic department at Tarttu University, in a mtDNA survey, found that there had been an emigration (Metspalu et al 2004).

Metspalus team of international researchers had analysed the mtDNA from 796 Indian and 436 Iranian women (ibid). After the Toba disaster about 74,000 years ago, it would not have been surprising if a flow of genes from Iran to India happened. At that time there were mutations that gave rise to the haplotypes U7 and W in the Indian women's mtDNA (see the dissemination chart on the map above left). The mutation of the former haplotype may have occurred already in Iran until it arrived in northwestern India and would then be of high age (ibid). But the reversal may also have occurred, namely that the mutation that caused it occurred in India and the high rate of it in Iran is a consequence of an emigration. This would have already started 50,000 years ago (ibid).

The W haplotype can have an age of 40,000 years, and thus would be younger than U7 (ibid). The mutation would then have occurred in northwestern India. This means that two waves of emigration from northwest India can be counted. The first began 50,000 years ago and the other began in a period downwards for 35-30,000 years back. The first went through Baluchistan to northern Iran. From there was a spread over West Asia, eventually gaining a branch through Anatolia and Bulgaria and from there probably to the Danube corridor. The latter wave would have spread to the north of Afghanistan, both east and west. The western travelling groups would have settled in European Russia as the people with the Gravettian culture in Eastern Europe.

Both waves would have been running more or less continuously, so people moved back and forth, until about 20,000 years ago. The latest Ice Age maximum, which began 22,000 years ago and ended 17,500 years ago, would have contributed to the end of migration (ibid).

The Makrani language

The later emigration wave about 35,000 years ago would have given rise to the Pavlovian culture in the Morava river valley in the eastern Czech Republic. This culture was the most advanced in Europe 30,000 years ago. The people there could not only build winterized houses like Mongolian yurts and used tamed wolves for their transports, but also had knowledge of how to knit nets, braided baskets and woven fabrics (Pettitt 2005). However, they did not know the sewing needle, but they sewed their clothes with the help of an awl with which they made holes in the hide or leather, and then pulled a thread made of animal sinew through. The people carried different kinds of necklaces, made of ivory. They were often illustrated by series of dashes or waves. Even small statues representing mammoth have been found. They also interred some of their dead. At the excavation sites of Pavlov, Predmostí and Dolní Vestonice, small burial fields have been discovered. But at this time burials occurred in these fields for special reasons, most often it occurred to honour an individual.

The prominent Polish archaeologist Janusz Kozlowski has emphasized that the settlements of the Pavlovian culture precede some structures that would then appear in the Neolithic villages (Kozlowski 2014). Surprisingly, it could be as early as during the Pavlovian Gravettian epoc 25 000 years ago, but considering that people travelled from northwest India (read the ceremonic centre at the mouth of the Indus River) to the Morava River valley and back continuously for about 15,000 years, we suspect that the social organization in the Pavlovian culture reflects the social development of the ceremony center (which in turn affected the Neolithic villages). Likewise, the Makrani language in the Indian centre would have been kept alive in the Morava valley by the continuous contact.

Now we finally reach the point. I suggest it could have been from the Makrani language that the preproto-Indo-European language was developed. It would have started about 20,000 years ago when the emerging Ice Age maximum made it all the more difficult for people to live in Europe. Along the long way from Morava valley through Iran to the mouth of the river Indus, there must have been some kind of ”stations” where travellers could rest and repair their equipment. The people in and around these ”stations” were now forced to manage on their own. But they were used to cooperate and founded their type of ceremony centres, however as chieftains headquaters, through which a new system of exchange of gifts was developed. It gradually became quite advanced. From the Baltic Sea area, it imported amber, seal products, especially seal oil, and walrus ivory along the Volga River and the Caspian Sea already during the Mesolithic period. From the Indian Ocean again, the dried fish was picked up. There was a exchange system that geographically stretched from the North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. To the east it would have reached Mehrgarh near the Indus River and in the west, the Tripolji culture (the Ukrainian part of Gimbutas Old Europe). It was so extensive that several archaeological cultures were part of the system. Therefore, it can be called, for example, the Baluchistan cultural complex (abbreviated, for example, BCC). Its central area in Iran would also have had close contacts with Central Asia, including Tarim basin. The early IE idiom soon came to compete with the Burushaskis language. The consequence was that Burushaski took so many impressions of the archaic IE language that an Australian linguist Ilia Casule concluded that Burushaski is actually an IE idiom (which it is not according to Bengtsson & Blazek 2011). It was as part of this new system that the late Makrani idiom from Iran also penetrated Asia Minor.

I have the impression that initially came from BCC to Anatolia smaler but influential groups. They spoke IE language and had knowledge of Europe. They would have organized groups of priests sent to Europe to replace those who left because of the cold (Lindgren 2017b). But this stage in Europe's history, 20,000-18,000 years ago, has so far not been exhaustively studied.

Since about 20,000 years ago, these Indo-European immigrants in Anatolia introduced a variety of new and interesting gifts (goods) in their gift exchanges, their language broke through and replaced the older unknown tongue that had been used in Asia Minor. Since about 10,000 years later, at the time of the invention of agriculture, the Indo-European tongue had not only spread throughout Anatolia but also began to develop in a variety of new languages.

The emigrations from Anatolia

Karta visande vågorna av utvandring från Anatolien

The emigration from Anatolia to Europe during the last 18,000 years. Map hypertexter.se after Pereria et al. 2018.

We just suggested that the Makrani language in a late variant or an early form of an Indo-European idiom would have spread in Asia Minor about 20,000 years ago. It would have been associated with the massive migration that occurred in Europe and northern Asia as a result of the recent Ice Age maximum on its way to its culmination. For example, it had become so cold in southern France that there was no longer wood for fires. People had use bones from animals eaten to fires. At this stage, a migration from Anatolia to southern Europe occurred strangely. It was the first of a series of emigrations from just Asia Minor. To some, they may have occurred because of overpopulation, but there are indications that Anatolia was an early governing centre for development not only in West Asia but also in Europe. After the remarkably advanced Pavlonian villages in the Morava valley, was at a long last an impressive ceremony centre in southeastern Anatolia, Göbekli Tepe, created about 12,000 years ago (Lindgren 2017b).

Below a list showing these strange emigration waves from Anatolia. We are beginning at the farthest time:


The oldest text of Hittite is on the so-called Anitta dagger, a bronze knife belonging to the Hittite King Anitta of Kussara. On the picture the dagger is the dark brown item at the bottom; above there is an enlargement of the inscription. The inscription on the dagger says É GAL A-ni-ta ru-ba-in [(property of) the palace of Anitta, the king]. The dagger is from the 17th century BC. It has been excavated in Kültepe, that the Hittites called Kanesh. The dagger is kept in the archaeological museum of Ankara. Photo by Klaus-Peter Simon - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

”Sons of God”

In waves, Indo-European languages would have spread from Anatolia. But how about the documentation of the existence of these languages? Let us step by step go backward in time.

  1. From the 14th century BC we have in Greece the Mycenaean Linear B script, which Michael Ventris 1952 showed was written in early Greek (Chadwick 1960).
  2. In Anatolia, the place names are in a slant line from Bysans to the Gulf of Alexandretta Indo-European, more specifically Luvian, a now-extinct language (Renfrew 2004).
  3. From the northern and northeastern parts of Anatolia, we have retained Hittite inscriptions and writings starting from around 1600 BC, a factual relationship that was established by the Czech orientalist Bedrich Hrozný (Beckman 2011) in 1915.
  4. The Gutian royal list, which is part of the Sumerian royal list from about 2000 BC, has the endings of some of the names similar to the Tocharic casus bend (Henning 1978); the Gutian language may have belonged to the Indo-European family and related to the extinct Tocharic.
  5. Finally, there are Euphratic sources: Indo-European teonyms, toponyms and phrases in the Sumerian and Akkadian writings of the 21st century BC in southern Mesopotamia (Whittaker 2008, 2012). Indo-European elements point back to the Subarians, which from eastern Anatolia conquered the southern Mesopotamian cities about 3 500 BC (Gelb 1944; Hallo & Simpson 1971; Lindgren 2017b).

Bild av den sumeriska kungatavlan

The Sumerian kings list is reproduced on a large stone table with cuneiform script. It was made in the 19th century BC. Several such tables have been found. Photo from the Internet.

First, it must be pointed out that Henning's observation that some of the Gutian king's early forms of Indo-European endings were accepted only by the Georgian linguist Tamaz Gamkrelidze. If the Gutian language was close to the old Tocharic idiom, their etnonym may have meant ”The sons of God”. The interesting thing is that the list of the Gutian kings is remarkably long considering that their great time lasted only about 100 years beginning at about 2135 BC when the Gutians managed to defeat an Akkadian army. At the beginning, a king ruled for three years, but eventually it was expanded to six and in the end covered all seven years (Wikipedia, the Gutian Dynasty of Sumer, updated 29/6 2018). The systematic short duration of a king's rule is likely a result of the social organisation of the Gutians. They were probably organized in a more or less equal tribal society, where the rulers were elected. This form of society had long been abandoned in the cities of Mesopotamia, where power was first religious in the Sumeria, then divided into a religious, the high priest, and a worldly, the king (first titled in Sumerian ensi, then in Akkadian lugal). The Gutian reign meant a period of decline in Mesopotamian culture, because the Gutian king left quite soon after he got warm in the clothes. The social organizations of Gutians indicates that they arrived relatively recently in the northwestern Zagros Mountains; Sargon the Great of Akkad (2334-2284 BC) would have brought several campaigns against the Gutians. Since the remains of the Tocharian writings are found in the northern part of the Tarim basin, it has been proposed that it is from this great valley that the Gutians should have come too. It is archaeologically important that this basin has a thorough investigation.

Regardless of the possible language of the Gutians, the linguists Guus Kroonen, Gojko Barjamovic and Michaël Peyrot, in an addition to the Damgaard et al study from May 2018, find that ”the Indo-European languages in Anatolia appear in history as an organically integrated part of the linguistic landscape. With regard to the dictionary, syntax and phonology, the Anatolian languages formed during the second millennium BC a coherent and comprehensive linguistic area”. This judgment confirms the impression given by the list, namely that the presence of the Indo-European languages in Anatolia has had a long time to ”subside” and, consequently, is of high age.

Documentation of the languages also appears to confirm the list of emigrations and thus the spread of IE languages from Anatolia to Europe!

Both in the list and in the documentation there is an ethnonym, Subarians. Could it have been the prehistoric name of a people in West Asia, who many times emigrated from Anatolia? For that we will seek an answer in the next section.

To the fourth and last section of the paper The Indo-European issue.
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Publiceringshistoria, engelska versionen: Utlagd 2018-09-23.

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