Lactose Intolerance/Renfrew

JoatSimeon at JoatSimeon at
Wed Apr 18 00:24:07 UTC 2001

In a message dated 4/17/01 5:37:20 PM Mountain Daylight Time, X99Lynx at

> <<The steppes headbanger theory simply does not show much either in
> innovation in ideas or ways of living or in the needed geographical
> range,...>

-- precisely this model of language spread can be shown to have happened with
respect to the Central Asia/Iran/Indian subcontinental spread of
Indo-Irainian in early historic times.  IE languages are definitely intrusive
throughout most of that area, and the earliest recorded examples -- Vedic
Sanskrit, Mittanian Indo-Aryan, and Avestan Iranian -- are so similar that
the diffusion from the original core area must have been quite recent, and
hence very swift; no more than a millenium before the composition of the
Vedas and the texts of the Mittanian records, both of which are commonly
dated to the last centuries of the 2nd millenium BCE.  The earliest Avestan
material is around the same time, roughly 11th century BCE.

That means the Indo-Iranian language spread definitely post-dates 2500 BCE,
and is possibly quite a bit later.  Note also that the spread of the
Indo-Iranian languages was _not_ accompanied by any massive or unambiguous
upheaval in the archaeological record.

If a language (and subsequently language family) which originated on the
steppe could spread over such a vast (and densely populated and
post-Neolithic) landscape so quickly in the 3rd-2nd millenium BCE, I see no
reason to find it implausible that the same thing happened in Europe rather

And that in fact best fits the data observable when the European area first
'comes into view'.

So the Corded Ware and Bell-Beaker cultures, and their successors, would
represent the Indo-Europeanization of Europe and the Balkans.

This explanation takes care of all the primary (linguistic) and secondary
(archaeologica) data we have, and is admirably simple; it neatly puts PIE
back to roughly the Sredny Srog-Yamna level in the Ukraine and points east,
and leaves no more loose ends than the accidents of evidentiary preservation
require and account for.

The only objection to it is that it doesn't fit some people's conception of
how linguistic changes -should- happen, which frankly doesn't seem to be a
very serious obstacle.

More information about the Indo-european mailing list