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Archaeology, Genetics, and Language in the Steppes: A Comment on Bomhard

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:34 pm
by Kraut ... on_Bomhard

Archaeology, Genetics, and Language in the Steppes: A Comment on Bomhard
Journal of Indo-European Studies, 2019
David Anthony

This paper reviews ancient human DNA from sites around the Black Sea and the Pontic-Caspian steppes in order to clarify the genetic evolution of the Yamnaya population in the steppes, and to connect the genetic evidence from Yamnaya and pre-Yamnaya Eneolithic mating networks with archaeologically defined groups. The overall purpose is to analyze A. Bomhard's hypothesis that Proto-Indo-European was a contact language that developed from interference between a pre-Northwest Caucasian type of language and a pre-Proto-Uralic type of language. I was asked to evaluate this linguistic hypothesis from genetic and archaeological perspectives.


The PIE homeland controversy: August 2019 status report

Archeologist David Anthony has a new paper out on the Indo-European homeland debate titled Archaeology, Genetics, and Language in the Steppes: A Comment on Bomhard. It's part of a series of articles dealing with Allan R. Bomhard's "Caucasian substrate hypothesis" in the latest edition of The Journal of Indo-European Studies.

Uralic urheimat ... 147&page=4

Re: Archaeology, Genetics, and Language in the Steppes: A Comment on Bomhard

Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:36 pm
by Iversen
And what was your conclusion?

I have read the first article cursorily, and it seems to indicate that the Yamnaya learnt a lot from the Maikop culture, but also that the language in Maikop culture eventually became a Northerly Caucasian language of some kind, so in spite of possible loans the Maikop language doesn't appear as a suitable precursor for the Indoeuropean languages. So the source must still be somewhere outside Anatolia. On the other hand I also understand that the people in South-Eastern Europe (apart from three individuals around Varna) generally avoided contact with the steppe people until the final deluge happened and their culture was blown away. And finally I take that the minuscule and dwindling admixture of Anatolian genes among the Yamnaya means that the hittites had separated from the rest of the proto-proto-proto-Indoeuropean family at a very early stage and that they stayed South of the Caucasus mountains.

I had expected slightly more information about the R1A1's, who may have been carriers of the Satem languages, but there is a lot of things in the article to think about. As for the second article I haven't had time to read it yet.

EDIT: ... But now I have reached the spot in the second article where the author at last writes about the R1A's:

For me the really fascinating thing in regards to these new samples is how thinly spread and scarce Y-haplogroup R1a appears to have been everywhere before the expansions by the putative Indo-European-speaking steppe ancestors of the Corded Ware culture (CWC) people. It's almost always outnumbered by other haplogroups wherever it's found prior to about 3,000 BCE, even on the PC steppe. But then, suddenly, its R1a-M417 subclade goes BOOM! And that's why I call it...
The beast among Y-haplogroups

Maybe Boom! - but still no complete picture of the genetic situation on the steppes just prior to the great invasion of Europe around 2800 BC. Did the R1A's suddenly blossom because the boisterous young men from the R1B carrying groups went West to have some fun in Europe? Or did they live apart from each other and the perceived correlation is just a coincidence?

PS no. 2: I just followed a link to an article about Huns versus Tocharians, and here I noticed this passage:

...two Tian Shan Sakas belong to Y-haplogroup R1a but none to R1b, which fits with the pattern from currently available ancient DNA that R1a was more common than R1b in Saka-related groups, such as the Scythians and Sarmatians

Scythians and Sarmatians? Well, then we are finally closing unto something that may have had an impact on the situation in Eastern Europe long before the Slavic invasion in the 600s AC. R1A may have arrived with these groups long before the Slavs came there (to fill up the void left by Attila and his marauding Huns).