Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Yaroslav V. Vassilkov yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU
Wed Nov 4 11:57:50 UTC 1998

On 4 Nov. Paul Kekai Manansala wrote:

>We see Persians using cuneiform and Aramaic scripts that they borrowed.
>Assyrians certainly had their own chariots.  These type of things
>crossed linguistic and ethnic barriers.  So, I ask how do we know
>the Sintashta or related cultures spoke Indo-European?

>Why couldn't they have spoken languages related to Hurrian,
>the Caucasian languages or Uralic (among others)?

        No, they could not, it is absolutely impossible. Sintashta site
belongs to Andronovo culture spread in the 2nd mill. BC in the Eurasian
steppe from Volga to Mongolia. And the specialists assert that the origin of
the Iranian-speaking cultures of Scythians, S(h)akas, Sarmatians (I mill.
BC - I mill. AD) can be traced retrospectively to this Andronovo culture.
This conclusion is not based on some single inherited element of culture
(e.g., the custom of some Scythian tribes to bury their rulers together
with his horses and chariot, just like the Andronovo people did), but on
the whole complex of inherited features: belonging of both Scythians and
Andr. people to the same or similar type of productive economy, the use of
similar tools, the same type of dwellings, technology of making pottery,
common types of dress and ornaments, common set of sacred animals and
mythological figures (reconstructed on the basis of their art), common set
of basic weapons. The genetic continuity is evidenced by anthropological
data. See numerous works by Prof. Elena Kuz'mina (e.g.: Horses, chariots
and the Indo-Iranians: an archaeological spark in the historical dark. -
In: South Asian Archaeology 1993, vol. I, Helsinki, 1994, pp. 402-412).
I can not accept her idea that the Andronovo culture represents Indo-Iranians
or even probably Proto-Indo-Aryans. I think they were Iranians already
and the Proto-Indo-Aryan branch is rather represented by the Novosvobodnaya
("Maikop") culture in Northern Caucausus (see my article in SAA 1993, vol. 2,
pp. 777-786).
        Best regards

                                                Yaroslav Vassilkov
Yaroslav Vassilkov, Ph.D.
Dept. of South and South-East Asian Studies
Institute of Oriental Studies
Dvortsovaya nab., 18,
St Petersburg, 191186,

Home address: Fontanka, 2,
kv. 617, St Petersburg,
191187, Russia
tel. +7 (812) 275 8179
e-mail: yavass at

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