Paired Horse and PIE breakup

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 10 19:44:06 UTC 1998

Renfrew puts PIE around or before 6000 BC (the date of the earliest
farmers in Greece and the Balkans) or even earlier, in Anatolia
(Catal Huyuk, c. 7000 BC).  Such dates are impossibly early, and
Renfrew's arguments are linguistically unsound in other respects (if
Hittite is the direct descendant of the "stay behinds" in Anatolia,
and Greek the direct descendant of the language of the first farmers
that crossed over from Anatolia to Greece, then we would expect Greek
to be closest to Hittite.  In fact, Greek is much more similar to
Sanskrit than to Hittite).

But I do agree with Renfrew that there's a striking similarity
between the expansion of Indo-European languages across Europe and
the expansion of agriculture across the same area.  It has to be
borne in mind, however, that this expansion was not entirely gradual
as Renfrew has it, but proceeded in several stages.  It is easy to
see how this came about: the Anatolian farmers, when they crossed
over into Greece, Bulgaria and southern parts of ex-Yugoslavia and
Romania, found circumstances similar to the ones they were used to in
Anatolia: basically hilly terrain and Mediterranean climate.  Further
north, in temperate Europe (Ukrainian and Hungarian steppe, North
European flatlands), conditions were quite different, and the
Mediterranean farming techniques simply did not work.  ...

Catal Hayuk in Anatolia is not the only site
where Agriculture originated. Mehrgarh in
Indus valley culture may have done it even earlier.
See Shaffer below. Mehrgarh has nothing to do with
IE languages.

Like Mehrgarh, the agriculturization of Europe
may have nothing to do with IE languages.
Found in the same region, Catal Hayuk
and Hittites got to be linked and have
been given too heavy weight to push back
IE origin dates by Renfrew and others.
Agriculture originates elsewhere also.
How do we account for Mehrgarh? Should
it be linked to the spread of agriculture
in Europe also?

The common vocabulary in IE for wheel
transport technology (ca. 3500 BC),
the Dnieper river boundary (ca. 3500 BC)
pointing to a linguistic boundary
puting IE in Pontic-Caspian area
argue for a late PIE breakup.

There is wide scholarly agreement
on IE myth/ritual/culture relations
even in historical times and need
not be abandoned.

Preliterate Africa had/s 1000s of languages
all in Bantu family. Dr. Vidal's post tells
me that Romance changed a lot even after
Writing. Romance languages would have
changed a lot further without the
communications revolution brought about
by increase in vehicles/mobility
and standardization and mutual intelligibility
from Roman script. IE languages innovate
faster (eg., compared to agglutinative Dravidian).

So, I think known IE innovation rates coupled
with less mobility and no writing
would argue for PIE fast reaching to observed
differences between Greek, Vedic and Hittite
in ca. 1500 B. C.

As far as PIE splitting up, 2000 years
appears sufficient where as 4000 years appears
rather very high. (Not to speak of 6000 or
8000 years before ca. 1500 BC. Just as
Sanskritized Indians say Rig Veda is
4000 BC or like Tamil nationalists say
Tolkaappiyam is 3000 BC)

N. Ganesan


> From Jim Shaffer, Migration, Philology and
South Asian Archaeology, 1997 (to appear in
Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia)

 "The Mehrgarh excavations (Jansen, Mulloy and Urban 1991;
Jarrige, Jarrige Meadow and Quivron 1995), near Sibri,
Pakistan, changed our understanding about the origins
of South Asian food production. Prior to 1980, food
production in South Asia was thought to be a Western,
intrusive cultural invention. This interpretation is
not now acceptable.

 Mehrgarh Period IA dates to the seventh millennium
BC, but some scholars speculate that this dated cultural
unit represents an even earlier culture due to its initial,
complex level of development. Most important was the
identification of wild representatives of domesticable
plants and animals indicating their use by the local
human populations. The Mehrgarh seventh millennium BC
population had a plant economy already based on
domesticated wheats and barley, with a high
incidence (90%) of naked six-row barley, a variety
which occurs only in a post-domestcation context.
Gazelle were hunted along with wild sheep, goat,
cattle and water buffalo. However, the small size
of some goats, a post-domestication trait, and
intentional placement of immature goats in human
burials argues that goats were herded. In
Mehrgarh Period IB, at 6000-5500 BC, fully domesticated
sheep, goats and cattle were the major animals
exploited. Shortly after Period II at Mehrgarh,
domesticated cattle represented 60% of the animals
consumed, reflecting an emphasis, albeit variable,
upon cattle exploitation that persists into the
second millennium BC. This is a rare pattern in the
ancient Old World where domesticated sheep/goat
were the domesticated animals emphasized most.
Furthermore, by the Harappan period, after
2500 BC, specialized cattle pastoralists
have been identified in the prehistoric record
(Rissman and Chitalwala 1990). Equally important
are recent cattle mtDNA studies(5 ref.s) indicating that
South Asia is one of two regions where cattle
were domesticated.
Indeed, the academic investment in this hypothesis is
so great that the distinguished scholar Colin
Renfrew (1987) opts to distort the archaeological
record rather than to challenge it. Failing to
identify archaeological evidence for such a
migration in the European post-Neolithic periods,
Renfrew argues instead for an IE/Aryan human
migration associated with the spread of food
production economies from ANATOLIA. In doing so,
he ignores critical archaeological data
from Southwest Asia (Lamberg-Karlovsky 1988)
and South Asia (Shaffer 1990) ..."

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