Romanian History and Culture

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From Danube to Asia. From West to East and Back. PIE. Indo-Europeans. Indo-Iranians


  Principal archaeological sites and cultures. Sites: A, Mikhailovka; B, Petrovka; C, Arkhaim; D, Sintashta; E, Botai; F, Namazga; G, Gonur; H, Togolok; I, Dashly Oasis; J, Sapelli; K, Djarkutan; L, Hissar; M, Shahr-i-Sokhta; N, Sibri; O, Shahdad; P, Yahya; Q, Susa.

 Cultures: 1, Cucuteni (NWM)-Tripolye; 2, Pit Grave/Catacomb; 3, Sintashta/Arkhaim; 4, Abashevo; 5, Afanasievo; 6, Andronovo; 7, Bactrian Margiana archaeological complex; 8, Indus; 9, Akkadian; 10, Hurrian; 11, Hittite 


Table of Contents-Cuprins:  

David W. Anthony, Bronze Age Herders of the Eurasian Steppes

Oldest Wooden Wheel Found in Slovenia. 3,500 B.C.

 Yamna Culture

 Sintashta and Arkaim Cultures

The Sintashta Culture and Some Questions of Indo-Europeans Origins

Andronovo Culture

Afanasevo Culture 

Indus Valley Culture

Akkadian Empire



Chariot Spread

Chariot Burials

Autori din antichitate despre aceasta migratie 

The Oldest Leather Shoes (pampooties, opinci) found in Armenia. 3,500 B.C.

Pelasgii in Orientul Apropiat si in Orientul Mijlociu (Romanian only) 


The Turkic Point of View


David W. Anthony, Bronze Age Herders of the Eurasian Steppes.




Archeological Cultures of Steppe Nomads


Tripolye Culture (4000 - 3500 BC)

Sredny Stog Culture (4000 - 3000 BC)

Khvalynsk Culture

Karanovo VI Culture

Kemi Oba Culture

Usatovo Culture

Botai Culture

Poltavka Culture

Fatyanovo Culture

Abashevo Culture

Sintashta-Arkaim Culture

Early Bronze Age

Maikop Culture 3500 -  BC

Pit Grave Culture ( 3300 - 2300 BC

Baden culture

Funnel Beaker Culture (3300 - 3000 BC)

Catacomb Culture (2800 - 1900 BC

Middle Bronze Age

Timber Grave Culture (1900 - 1200 BC)

Andronovo Culture (1800 - 1200 BC)

Mnogovalikovaya Culture

Glina III/Monteoru Culture



The Eurasian steppe is a sea of varied grasslands extending from Mongolia to the mouth of the Danube, an east-west distance of about 7,000 kilometers. No surviving inscriptions describe the Bronze Age cultures of the steppe - they are entirely prehistoric. For that reason, they are much less well known than their descendants of the Iron Age, such as the Scythians.

The Bronze Age cultures tend to be seen through the lens of these later horse nomads and their historical cousins - Mongols, Turks, Huns, and others.

In fact, horse nomadism of the classic Eurasian steppe type appeared after about 1000 BC. Before 1000 BC the steppe was occupied by quite different kinds of cultures, not at all like the Scythians.

It was in the Bronze Age that people first really domesticated the steppe - learned to profit from it. Wagons, wool sheep, and perhaps horseback riding appeared in the steppe at the beginning of the Bronze Age. Chariots and large-scale copper mining arose in the Late Bronze Age. These innovations revolutionized steppe economies, which led to the extension of a single, broadly similar steppe civilization from eastern Europe to the borders of China. 

Indo-European languages might well have spread through this new community of steppe cultures.


The steppe Bronze Age was defined by Soviet archaeologists, who did not look to western Europe for guidance. Instead, they matched the chronological phases of the Russian and Ukrainian steppes with those of the Caucasus Mountains - part of both the Czarist Russian empire and the Soviet Union. The Bronze Age chronology of the Caucasus, in turn, is linked to that of Anatolia, in modern Turkey. As a result, the steppe regions of the former Soviet Union have a Bronze Age chronology that is entirely different from that just to the west in Poland or southeastern Europe, where the western European chronological system defined by Paul Reinecke was used.

The Early Bronze Age of the steppes began about 3300 BC, perhaps a thousand years earlier than the Early Bronze Age of Poland and southeastern Europe but about the same time as the Early Bronze Age of Anatolia. This might seem a trivial matter, but it has hindered communication between western and Russian-Ukrainian archaeologists who study the Bronze Age. In addition, some influential Soviet and post-Soviet archaeologists were slow to accept the validity of radiocarbon dating, so competing radiocarbon-based and typology-based chronologies have confused outsiders.

Finally, the Bronze Age of the steppe covers such an enormous area that it is impossible to define one chronology that applies to the entire region. In fact, there was a significant cultural frontier in the Volga-Ural region that separated the western steppes, west of the Ural Mountains, from the eastern, or Asian, steppes until the end of the Middle Bronze Age, as defined in the western sequence. In the steppes of northern Kazakhstan, just east of this Ural frontier, the sequence jumps from a local Eneolithic to a brief and poorly defined Early Bronze Age (strongly influenced by the western Middle Bonze Age), followed by the Late Bronze Age. It is only in the Late Bronze Age that the eastern and western steppes share the same broad chronological periods.

The sequence of Bronze Age cultures in the western steppes was established in 1901 - 1907, when Vasily A. Gorodtsov excavated 107 burial mounds, or kurgans, containing 299 graves in the Izyum region of the northern Donets River Valley, near Kharkov in the Ukrainian steppes. In 1907 he published an account in which he observed that three basic types of graves were found repeatedly, stratified one above the other: the oldest graves in the kurgans were of a type he called pit graves, followed by catacomb graves and then by timber graves. These grave types are now recognized as the backbone of the Bronze Age chronology for the western steppes. The absolute dates given to them here are maximal dates, the earliest and latest expressions.

The Pit Grave, (Russ. ”Yamnaya”) culture, for example, began in 3300 BC and persisted in the steppes northwest of the Black Sea until about 2300 BC

Early Bronze Age. Pit Grave was replaced by the Catacomb culture in the steppes east of the Dnieper Valley hundreds of years earlier, around 2700 or even 2800 BC Catacomb sites lasted until 1900 BC

Middle Bronze Age. The Timber Grave, (Russ. ”Srubnaya) culture came to prominence about 1900 BC and ended about 1200 BC 

Late Bronze Age.


The period 4000 - 3500 BC witnessed the appearance of new kinds of wealth in the steppes north of the Black Sea (the North Pontic region) and, simultaneously, the fragmentation of societies in the Danube Valley and eastern Carpathians (the Cucuteni Tripolye culture) that had been the region's centers of population and economic productivity. Rich graves (the Karanovo VI culture) appeared in the steppe grasslands from the mouth of the Danube (as at Suvorovo, north of the Danube delta in Romania) to the Azov steppes (as at Novodanilovka, north of Mariupol in Ukraine). These exceptional graves contained flint blades up to 20 centimeters long, polished flint axes, lanceolate flint points, copper and shell beads, copper spiral rings and bracelets, a few small gold ornaments, and (at Suvorovo) a polished stone mace-head shaped like a horse's head. The percentage of horse bones doubled in steppe settlements of this period, about 4000 - 3000 BC, at Dereivka and Sredny Stog II.

  Cucuteni-Trypillia culture

It is possible that horseback riding began at about this time. Early in this period, perhaps setting in motion economic and military innovations that threatened the economic basis of agricultural villages. Most Tripolye (aka Cucuteni-Trypillian culture) B1 - B2 towns, dated about 4000 - 3800 BC, were fortified. In the Lower Danube Valley, previously a densely settled and materially rich region, six hundred tell settlements were abandoned, and a simpler material culture (typified by the sites Cernavoda and Renie) became widespread in the smaller, dispersed communities that followed. Copper mining and metallurgy declined sharply in the Balkans. Later, in the Southern Bug Valley, the easternmost Tripolye people concentrated into a few very large towns, such as Maidanets'ke, arguably for defensive reasons. The largest were 300 - 400 hectares in area, with fifteen hundred buildings arranged in concentric circles around a large central plaza or green.

These enormous towns were occupied from about 3800 to 3500 BC, during the Tripolye C1 period, and then were abandoned. Most of the eastern Tripolye population dispersed into smaller, more mobile residential units. Only a few clusters of towns in the Dniester Valley retained the old Tripolye customs of large houses, fine painted pottery, and female figurines after 3500 BC This sequence of events, still very poorly understood, spelled the end of the rich Copper Age cultures of Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria, termed ”Old Europe” by Marija Gimbutas.

The steppe cultures of the western North Pontic region became richer, but it is difficult to say whether they raided the Danube Valley and Tripolye towns or just observed and profited from an internal crisis brought on by soil degradation and climate change. In either case, by 3500 BC the cultures of the North Pontic steppes no longer had access to Balkan copper and other prestige commodities that once had been traded into the steppes from ”Old Europe.”

Kurgan Cultures

After about 3500 BC the North Pontic steppe cultures were drawn into a new set of relationships with truly royal figures who appeared in the northern Caucasus. Such villages as Svobodnoe had existed since about 4300 BC in the northern Caucasian piedmont uplands, supported by pig and cattle herding and small-scale agriculture.

 About 3500 - 3300 BC the people of the Kuban forest-steppe region began to erect a series of spectacularly rich kurgan graves. Huge kurgans were built over stone lined grave chambers containing fabulous gifts. Among the items were huge cauldrons (up to 70 liters)  made of arsenical bronze, vases of sheet gold and silver decorated with scenes of animal processions and a goat mounting a tree of life, silver rods with cast silver and gold bull figurines, arsenical bronze axes and daggers, and hundreds of ornaments of gold, turquoise, and carnelian.


File:R3 2 2d eneolith bull.jpg
Golden bull figurine. Middle of 3rd millennium BC. Maykop kurgan

The kurgan built over the chieftain's grave at the type site of the Maikop culture was 11 meters high; it and the stone grave chamber  would have taken five hundred men almost six weeks to build. Maikop settlements, such as Meshoko and Galugai, remained small and quite ordinary, without metal finds, public buildings, or storehouses, so we do not know where the new chiefs kept their wealth during life. The ceramic inventory, however, is similar in the rich graves and the settlements - pots from the Maikop chieftain's grave look like those from Meshoko.

Some early stage Maikop metal tools have analogies at Sialk III in northwestern Iran, and others resemble those from Arslantepe VI in southeastern Anatolia sites of the same period. A minority of Maikop metal artifacts were made with a high-nickel-content arsenical bronze, like the formula used in Anatolia and Mesopotamia and unlike the normal Caucasian metal type of this era. Certain early Maikop ceramic vessels were wheel-thrown, a technology known in Anatolia and Iran but previously unknown in the northern Caucasus. The inspiration for the sheet-silver vessel decorated with a goat mounting a tree of life must have been in late-stage Uruk Mesopotamia, where the first cities in the world were at that time consuming trade commodities and sending out merchants and ambassadors. The appearance of a very rich elite in the northern Caucasus probably was an indirect result of this stimulation of interregional trade emanating from Mesopotamia.

Wool sheep had been bred first in Mesopotamia in about 4000 BC The earliest woolen textiles known north of the Caucasus were found in a rich Maikop grave at Novosvobodnaya, dating perhaps to 2800 BC Wool could shed rainwater and take dyes much better than any plant-fiber textile. Portable felt tents and felt boots, standard pieces of nomad gear in later centuries, became possible at this time. Wagons also might have been invented in Mesopotamia. Wagons with solid wooden wheels began to appear at scattered sites across southeastern Europe after the Maikop culture emerged in the northern Caucasus. The evidence for the adoption of wagons can be seen at about 3300 BC in southern Poland (as evidenced by an incised image of a four-wheeled wagon on a pot of the Funnel Beaker culture), 3300 - 3000 BC in Hungary (seen in small clay wagon models in Baden culture graves with ox teams), and 3000 BC in the North Pontic steppes (as indicated by actual burials of disassembled wagons with solid wheels in or above human graves). We do not know with certainty that wool sheep and wagons both came into the steppes through the Maikop culture, but other southern influences certainly are apparent at Maikop, and the timing is right. Numerous Maikop-type graves under kurgans have been found in the steppes north of the northern Caucasian piedmont, and isolated Maikop-type artifacts have been discovered in scattered local graves across the North Pontic region.



The Pit Grave culture arose in the North Pontic steppes about when the earliest Maikop mounds were built - 3300 BC, more or less. According to the classic 1979 study of Nikolai Merpert, the Pit Grave began in the steppes of the lower Volga, northwest of the Caspian Sea, and the funeral customs that define the Pit Grave phenomenon then spread westward to the Danube. Merpert also divided Pit Grave into nine regional variants, however, and the relationships between them have become increasingly unclear since 1979. The oldest Pit Grave pottery types defined by Merpert, egg-shaped shell-tempered pots with cord and comb - impressed decoration, clearly evolved from the late-stage Khvalynsk and Repin ceramic types found in the Volga and Don steppes in the earlier fourth millennium BC. Pots such as these also are found in some Pit Grave graves farther west in Ukraine. Most Pit Grave graves in Ukraine, however, contained a variety of local pottery types, and some of them could be older than those on the Volga. Pit Grave was not really a single culture with a single origin - Merpert used the phrase ”economic-historical community” to describe it.

The essential defining trait of the Pit Grave horizon, as we should call it, was a strongly pastoral economy and a mobile residential pattern, combined with the creation of very visible cemeteries of raised kurgans. Kurgan cemeteries sprang up across the steppes from the Danube to the Ural River. Settlements disappeared in many areas, particularly in the east, the Don-Volga-Ural steppes. This was a broad economic shift, not the spread of a single culture. A change to a drier, colder climate might have accelerated the shift - climatologists date the Atlantic/Subboreal transition to about 3300 - 3000 BC

A more mobile residence pattern would have been encouraged by the appearance of wagons, felt tents, and woolen clothes. Wool made it easier to live in the open steppe, away from the protected river valleys. Wagons were a critically important innovation, because they permitted a herder to carry enough food, shelter, and water to remain with his herd far from the sheltered river valleys. Herds could be dispersed over much larger areas, which meant that larger herds could be owned and real wealth could be accumulated in livestock. It is no accident that metallurgy picked up at about the same time - herders now had something to trade.

Wagons acquired such importance that they were disassembled and buried with certain individuals; about two hundred wagon graves are known in the North Pontic steppes for the Early Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age combined The wagons, the oldest preserved anywhere in the world, were narrow-bodied and heavy, with solid wheels that turned on a fixed axle. Pulled laboriously by oxen, they were not racing vehicles . Pit Grave herders probably rode horses; characteristic wear made by a bit has been found on the premolars of horse teeth from this period in a neighboring culture in Kazakhstan (the Botai culture), where there are settlements with large numbers of horse bones. Horseback riding greatly increased the efficiency of herding, particularly cattle herding.

A few western Pit Grave settlements are known in Ukraine. At one of them, Mikhailovka level II, 60 percent of the animal bones were from cattle. A study of animal sacrifices in the eastern Pit Grave region (the Don-Volga-Ural steppes), however, found that among fifty-three graves with such animal bones, sheep occurred in 65 percent, cattle in only 15 percent, and horses in 7.5 percent of the graves (For funeral feasts). The seeds of wheat and millet have been found in the clay of some Pit Grave pots in the lower Dnieper steppes (Belyaevka kurgan 1 and Glubokoe kurgan 2), so some agriculture might have been practiced in the steppe river valleys of Ukraine .

Local sandstone copper ores were exploited in two apparent centers of metallurgic activity: the lower Dnieper and the middle Volga. Some exceptionally rich graves are located near the city of Samara on the Volga, at the northern edge of the steppe zone. One, the Pit Grave grave at Kutuluk, contained a sword-length pure copper club or mace weighing 1.5 kilograms, and another, a Pit Grave-Poltavka grave nearby at Utyevka, contained a copper dagger, a shaft-hole axe, a flat axe, an L-headed pin, and two gold rings with granulated decoration. Dozens of tanged daggers are known from Pit Grave graves. A few objects made of iron are present in later Pit Grave graves (knife blades and the head of a copper pin at Utyevka), perhaps the earliest iron artifacts anywhere.

The basic funeral ritual of burial in a sub-rectangular pit under a kurgan, usually on the back with the knees raised (or on the side in Ukraine) and the head pointed east-northeast, was adopted widely, but only a few persons were recognized in this way. We do not know where or how most ordinary people were handled after death. In the Ukraine, carved stone stelae have been found in about three hundred Pit Grave kurgans. It is thought that they were carved and used for some other ritual originally, perhaps an earlier phase in the funeral, and then were reused as covering stones over grave pits. Beginning in about 3000 BC rich cultures emerged in the coastal steppes of the Crimea (the Kemi Oba culture) and the Dniester estuary northwest of the Black Sea (the Usatovo culture). They might have participated in seaborne trade along the Black Sea coast - artifact exchanges show that Usatovo, Kemi Oba, and late stages of the Maikop cultures were contemporary. Perhaps their trade goods even reached Troy I. A stone stele much like a Pit Grave marker was built into a wall at Troy I, and the Troy I ceramics were very much like those of the Baden and Ezero cultures in southeastern Europe .

The Early Bronze Age settlement and cemetery at Usatovo, on a shallow coastal bay near the mouth of the Dniester, is the defining site for the Usatovo culture. Two separate groups of large kurgans were surrounded by standing stone curbs and stelae, occasionally carved with images of horses. In the central graves of kurgan cemetery 1 adult men were buried with riveted arsenical copper daggers and beautifully painted pots of the final-stage Tripolye C2 type, probably made for Usatovo chiefs in the last Tripolye towns on the upper Dniester. A few glass beads have been uncovered in Usatovo graves, and some Usatovo riveted daggers look like Aegean or Anatolian daggers of the same period; these objects suggest contacts with the south.

Between about 3000 and 2700 BC, Pit Grave groups moved through the coastal steppes and migrated into the Lower Danube Valley (especially into northern Bulgaria) and eastern Hungary, where hundreds of Pit Grave kurgans are known. This migration carried steppe populations into the Balkans and the eastern Hungarian Plain, where they interacted with the Cotsofeni and late Baden cultures. The graves that testify to the movement were clearly Pit Grave and represented an intrusive new custom in southeastern Europe - some in Bulgaria even contained stelae, and one had a wagon burial, just as in the steppe Pit Grave graves - but the pottery in the graves was always local.  Because the Pit Grave tradition was not identified with a distinct pottery type, it is difficult to say how the Pit Grave immigrants were integrated into Balkan cultures. After the Pit Grave grave type was abandoned, which happened in Hungary before 2500 BC, the archaeologically visible aspect of Pit Grave material culture disappeared. Nevertheless, some archaeologists see this Pit Grave migration as a social movement that carried Indo-European languages into southeastern Europe


The Middle Bronze Age began at different times in different places. The earliest graves assigned to the Catacomb culture date to perhaps 2800 - 2700 BC and are located in the steppes north of the northern Caucasus, among societies of the Novotitorovskaya type that were in close contact with late Maikop culture, and in the Don Valley to the north. Along the Volga, graves containing Poltavka pottery appeared by 2800 - 2700 BC as well; Poltavka was very much like the earlier eastern Pit Grave culture, but with larger, more elaborately decorated, flat-based pots. By about 2600 - 2500 BC Catacomb traditions spread westward over the entire North Pontic region as far as the mouth of the Danube. Poltavka persisted through the Middle Bronze Age in the Volga-Ural region.

The Catacomb culture made sophisticated arsenical bronze weapons, tools, and ornaments, probably using Caucasian alloying recipes. Northward, on the Volga, the Poltavka culture continued to use its local ”pure” copper sources, rather than the arsenical bronzes of the south. T-shaped pins of bone and copper, perhaps hairpins, were a common late Pit Grave-Catacomb type. Many metal shaft-hole axes and daggers were deposited in graves. The same kinds of ornate bronze pins and medallions are evident in the Middle Bronze Age royal kurgans of the northern Caucasus (Sachkere, Bedeni, and Tsnori) and the settlements of the Caspian Gate (Velikent) on the one hand and the Middle Bronze Age sites of the steppes on the other. These finds imply an active north-south system of Middle Bronze Age trade and intercommunication between the steppes and the Caucasus. Evgeni N. Chernykh, a specialist in metals and metallurgy, has speculated that up to half of the output of the Caucasian copper industry might have been consumed in the steppes to the north. Wagon burials continued in the Catacomb region for exceptional people. In the Ingul valley, west of the Dnieper, as well as in the steppes north of the Caucasus, some Catacomb graves contained skeletons with clay death masks applied to the skull.

Although the Middle Bronze Age remained a period of extreme mobility and few settlements, the number of settlement sites increased. A few small Middle Bronze Age occupation sites are known even on the Volga, a region devoid of Early Bronze Age settlements. A Catacomb culture wagon grave in the Azov steppes contained a charred pile of cultivated wheat grains, so some cultivation probably took place. The emphasis in the economy seems to have remained on pastoralism, however. Near Tsatsa in the Kalmyk steppes north of the North Caucasus, the skulls of forty horses were found sacrificed at the edge of one a man's grave (Tsatsa kurgan 1, grave 5, of the Catacomb culture). This find is exceptional - a single horse or a ram's head is more common - but it demonstrates the continuing ritual importance of herded animals.


At the end of the Middle Bronze Age, about 2200 - 2000 BC, the innovations that would define the Late Bronze Age began to evolve in the northern steppes around the southern Urals. Perhaps increasing interaction between northern steppe herders and southern forest societies brought about this surge of creativity and wealth. Domesticated cattle and horses had begun to appear with some regularity at sites in the forest zone by about 2500 - 2300 BC, with the appearance and spread of the Fatyanovo culture, a Russian forest-zone eastern extension of the Corded Ware horizon. Fatyanovo-related bronzeworking was adopted in the forest zone west of the Urals at about the same time. In the forest-steppe region, at the ecological boundary, the Abashevo culture emerged on the upper Don and middle Volga. The Abashevo culture displayed great skill in bronzework and was in contact with the late Poltavka peoples in the nearby steppes.
During the Middle Bronze Age some late Poltavka people from the Volga-Ural steppes drifted into the steppes east of the Ural Mountains, crossing the Ural frontier into what had been forager territory. About 2100 - 2200 BC, these Poltavka groups began to mix with or emulate late Abashevo peoples, who had appeared in the southern Ural forest steppe. The mixture of Abashevo and Poltavka customs in the grassy hills west of the upper Tobol River created the visible traits of the Sintashta-Arkaim culture. It is more difficult to explain the explosion of extravagant ritual sacrifices and sudden building of large fortified settlements.
Sintashta-Arkaim sites are found in a compact region at the northern edge of the steppe, where the stony, gently rising hills are rich in copper ores. All of the streams in the Sintashta-Arkaim region flow into the upper Tobol on its west side. The known settlements of this culture were strongly fortified, with deep ditches dug outside high earth-and-timber walls; houses stood close together with their narrower ends against the wall. Before it was half destroyed by river erosion, Sintashta, probably contained the remains of sixty houses; Arkaim had about the same. Smelting copper from ore and other kinds of metallurgy occurred in every house in every excavated settlement.
Outside the settlements were kurgan cemeteries containing extraordinarily rich graves, accompanied by socketed spears, axes, daggers, flint points, whole horses, entire dogs, and the heads of cattle and sheep. Chariots were found on the floors of sixteen graves of the Sintashta-Arkaim culture, continuing the ritual of vehicle burial that had been practiced in the western steppes, but with a new kind of vehicle. Three chariot burials at Krivoe Ozero and Sintashta are directly dated. They were buried between about 2100 and 1900 BC, which makes them the oldest chariots known anywhere in the world. There is some technical debate about whether these were true chariots: Were they too small, with a car just big enough for one person? Were the wheels too close together - 1.1 - 1.5 meters across the axle - to keep the vehicle upright on a fast turn? Were the hubs too small to maintain the wheels in a vertical position?
These interesting questions should not obscure the importance of the technical advance in high-speed transport represented by the Sintashta-Arkaim chariots. They were light vehicles, framed with small-diameter wood but probably floored in leather or some other perishable material that left a dark stain, with two wheels of ten to twelve wooden spokes set in slots in the grave floor. They were pulled by a pair of horses controlled by a new, more severe kind of bit cheekpiece and driven by a man with weapons (axe, dagger, and spear).
The new chariot-driving cheekpiece design, an ovoid antler plate with interior spikes that pressed into the sides of the horses' lips, was invented in the steppes south of the Urals. It spread from there across Ukraine (through the Mnogovalikovaya culture, which evolved from late Catacomb culture) into southeastern Europe (the Glina III/Monteoru culture) and later into the Near East (graves at Gaza and Hazor). It is possible that chariotry diffused in the same way, from an origin in the steppes. Alternatively, perhaps chariots were invented in the Near East, as many researchers believe (Since Near East did not have horses, their chariots could only be donkey carts, of questionable utility). The exact origin is unimportant. What is certain is that chariots spread very quickly, appearing in Anatolia at Karum Kanesh by about 1950 - 1850 BC, so close in time to the Sintashta culture chariots that it is impossible to say for certain which region had chariots first.
The Sintashta-Arkaim culture was not alone. Between about 2100 and 1800 BC, Sintashta-Arkaim was the easternmost link in a chain of three northern steppe cultures that shared many funeral rituals, bronze weapon types, tool types, pottery styles, and cheekpiece designs. The middle one, with perhaps the oldest radiocarbon dates, was on the middle Volga - the Potapovka group. The western link was on the upper Don - the Filatovka group. The Don and Volga groups had no fortified settlements; they continued the mobile lifestyle of the earlier Poltavka era. This small cluster of metal-rich late Middle Bronze Age cultures in the steppes around the southern Urals, between the Don and the Tobol, had a tremendous influence on the later customs and styles of the Eurasian Late Bronze Age from China to the Carpathians.
The Late Bronze Age Timber Grave horizon grew out of the Potapovka-Filatovka west of the Urals; east of the Urals, the Late Bronze Age Petrovka-Alakul horizon grew out of Sintashta-Arkaim. Many archaeologists have suggested that Sintashta-Arkaim might represent the speakers of Indo-Iranian, the parent language from which Sanskrit and Avestan Iranian evolved. The excavator of Arkaim, Gennady Zdanovich, has speculated that the prophet Zoroaster was born there. Political extremists, Slavic nationalists, and religious cultists have made the site a sort of shrine. These late Middle Bronze Age Don-Tobol cultures need no such exaggeration. As the apparent source of many of the traits that define the Late Bronze Age of the Eurasian steppes, they are interesting enough.
At the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, about 1850 - 1700 BC, people across the northern steppes began to lead much more sedentary, localized lives. Permanent timber buildings were erected at settlements where tents or wagons had been used before, and people stayed in those buildings long enough to deposit thick middens of garbage outside and around them. These sites are so much easier to find that settlement sites spring into archaeological visibility at the start of the Late Bronze Age as if a veil had been lifted; they cover a strip of northern steppe extending from Ukraine to northern Kazakhstan. A few Middle Bronze Age potsherds usually are found among the thousands of Late Bronze Age potsherds at Timber Grave sites in the western steppes, suggesting that the same places were being used but in new and quite different ways. We are not sure what that difference was - the nature of the Late Bronze Age economy is fiercely debated.
In the eastern steppes, east of the Urals, the Late Bronze Age witnessed the spread of the Andronovo horizon (1800 - 1200 BC) from Petrovka-Alakul origins. Most Andronovo culture settlements were in new places, which had not been occupied during the preceding Eneolithic, but then the Andronovo horizon represented the first introduction of herding economies in many places east of the Urals. Timber Grave and Andronovo shared a general resemblance in their settlement forms, funeral rituals, ceramics, and metal tools and weapons. We should not exaggerate these resemblances - as in the Early Bronze Age Pit Grave phenomenon, this was a horizon or a related pair of horizons, not a single culture. Still, it was the first time in human history that such a chain of related cultures extended from the Carpathians to the Pamirs, right across the heart of the Eurasian steppes.
Almost immediately, people using Andronovo-style pots and metal weapons made contact with the irrigation-based urban civilizations at the northern edge of the Mesopotamian-Iranian world, in northern Afghanistan and southern Turkmenistan - the Bactria-Margiana civilization - and also with the western fringes of the emerging Chinese world, in Eatern Turkistan (orig.: Xinjiang) and Gansu. These contacts might have started at the end of the Middle Bronze Age, about 2000 BC, before the Andronovo culture proper began, but they continued through the early Andronovo stages. Once the chain of Late Bronze Age steppe cultures grappled with these civilizations to the east and south, Eurasia began to be, tenatively, a single interacting world (The date of 2000BC is a much earlier date for western influences in China, which are commonly dated by 1,200BC, when a flood of innovations swept through Chinese principalities).
We have much to learn about exactly how the Timber Grave and Andronovo economies worked. Some western Timber Grave settlements in Ukraine have yielded cultivated cereals, but the role of agriculture farther east is debated. One study of an early Timber Grave settlement in the Samara River valley, east of the Volga, yielded evidence that the site was occupied year-round, or at least cattle were butchered during all seasons of the year. Intensive botanical study recovered not a single cultivated grain, however, and the caries-free teeth of the Timber Grave people buried in a nearby kurgan testify to a low-carbohydrate diet . Waterlogged sediments from the bottom of a well at this site, Krasno Samarskoe, yielded thousands of charred seeds of Chenopodium, or goosefoot, a wild plant. At least in some areas, then, permanent year-round settlements might have been supported by a herding-and-gathering economy, with little or no agriculture.
During the Late Bronze Age copper was mined on an almost industrial scale across the steppes. Particularly large mining complexes were located in the southern Urals, at Kargaly near Orenburg, and in central Kazakhstan, near Karaganda. The raw copper ore, the rock itself, seems to have been exported from the mines. Smelting and metalworking were widely dispersed activities; traces are found in many Timber Grave and Andronovo settlements. Andronovo tin mines have been excavated in the Zerafshan valley near Samarkand. True tin bronzes predominated in the east, at many Andronovo sites, while arsenical bronzes continued to be more common in the west, at Timber Grave sites.
The combined Timber Grave and Andronovo horizons might well have been the social network through which Indo-Iranian languages - the kind of languages spoken by the Scythians and Saka a thousand years later - first spread across the steppes.
Humans gave a portion of their herds and well-crafted verses of praise to the gods, and the gods, in return, provided protection from misfortune and the blessings of power and prosperity. ”Let this racehorse bring us good cattle and good horses, male children, and all-nourishing wealth,” pleaded a Sanskrit prayer in book 1, hymn 162, of the Rig Veda. It goes on, ”Let the horse with our offerings achieve sovereign power for us.” This relationship was mirrored in the mortal world when wealthy patrons sponsored public funeral feasts in return for the approval and loyalty of their clients . The Indic and Iranian poetry of the Rig Veda and Avesta offers direct testimony of this kind of system. The people received spectacle with their meat - they witnessed an elaborately scripted sacrifice punctuated by poems full of drama, rich in emotion, occasionally bawdy and earthy, and filled with clever metaphors and triple and double meanings. The best of these verbal displays were memorized, repeated, and shared, and they became part of the collective medium through which a variety of different peoples ended up speaking Indo-Iranian languages across most of the Eurasian steppes.
”Let us speak great words as men of power in the sacrificial gathering,” said the standard closing line attached to several different hymns in book 2, one of the oldest parts of the Rig Veda, probably composed about 1500 BC This line expresses very well the connections among language, public ritual, verbal artistry, and the projection of secular power. A tradition that had begun in the western steppes thousands of years earlier, with simpler animal sacrifices, developed by the Late Bronze Age into a vehicle for the spread of a new kind of culture across the Eurasian steppes .
See also Domestication of the Horse (vol. 1, part 4).
Anthony, David W. ”Horse, Wagon, and Chariot: Indo-European Languages and Archaeology.” Antiquity (1995): 554 - 565.
 -  - . ”The 'Kurgan Culture,' Indo-European Origins, and the Domestication of the Horse: A Reconsideration.” Current Anthropology 27, no. 4 (1986): 291 - 313.
Chernykh, E. N. Ancient Metallurgy in the USSR: The Early Metal Age. Translated by Sarah Wright. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Kuzmina, Elena E. ”Stages of Development of Stockbreeding Husbandry and Ecology of the Steppes in the Light of Archaeological and Paleoecological Data.” In The Archaeology of the Steppes: Methods and Strategies. Edited by Bruno Genito, pp. 31 - 71. Napoli, Italy: Instituto Universitario Orientale, 1994.
 -  - . ”Horses, Chariots and the Indo-Iranians: An Archaeological Spark in the Historical Dark.” South Asian Archaeology 1 (1993): 403 - 412.
Lamberg-Karlovsky, C. C. ”Archaeology and Language: The Indo-Iranians.” Current Anthropology 43, no. 1 (2002): 75 - 76.
Mair, Victor H., ed. The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern Central Asia. Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man, 1998.
Mallory, James P., and Victor H. Mair. The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2000.
Shishlina, Natalia, ed. Seasonality Studies of the Bronze Age Northwest Caspian Steppe. Papers of the State Historical Museum, vol. 120. Moscow: Gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii muzei, 2000. (Distributed outside Russia by University Museum Publications, University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia.)
Rassamakin, Yuri. ”The Eneolithic of the Black Sea Steppe: Dynamics of Cultural and Economic Development 4500 - 2300 BC” In Late Prehistoric Exploitation of the Eurasian Steppe. Edited by Marsha Levine, Yuri Rassamakin, Aleksandr Kislenko, and Nataliya Tatarintseva, pp. 59 - 182. Cambridge, U.K.: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 1999.
Telegin, Dimitri Y., and James P. Mallory. The Anthropomorphic Stelae of the Ukraine: The Early Iconography of the Indo-Europeans. Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph, no. 11. Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Study of Man, 1994.

Copyright © 2004 by Charles Scribner's Sons



Sintashta and Arkaim Cultures

 Sintashta-Arkaim Culture




Following is an abstract from the lecture presented by
Dr. Ludmila Koryakova,Ural State University and The Institute of History and Archaeology, Ural Division of Russian Academy of Science at the
University of California, Berkeley April 9, 1998


Several years ago archaeologists considered all sites of the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C. as belonging to the Andronovo culture. Within the last decade, two additional, and yet more ancient cultures were discovered in Eurasia that have several characteristics in common. These were named "Petrovka" and "Sintashta." Located in the southern Ural region, they are dated to c. 2000-1600 B.C. (Gening, Zdanovich 1993, Zdanovich 1995, 1997) The former occupied the eastern region (Tobol -Ishim), and the latter the southern area. Previously, Sintashta settlements had been excavated but they had not been understood because of their difference from the classical Andronovo culture. Moreover, because the complexes contained some features belonging to the Abashevo culture, the original researchers had initially included them into the Abashevo sphere


The most diagnostic feature of the Sintashta settlement site is its closed fortification that consisted of ramparts and ditches, enforced by a fence or wall built from unfired clay bricks and wooden frames. The site plan was based on either a round or rectangular form. The fortified area included from 6,000 to 30,000 sq. meters. Towers and other constructions protected the entrances and the accesses to water (Zdanovich 1995). The houses were 25-130 sq.meters, rectangular and had pit-storage, open fire hearths, wells. Some also included metallurgical furnaces.

 Sintashta Burial
Why had the individuality of Sintashta sites and their associated artifacts not been recognized earlier? And why are the sites still the subject of dispute? The crux of this matter is that frequently the more ancient deposits had been destroyed by subsequent layers of occupation. It was possible to understand the Sintashta settlement only after a another site had been investigated more recently.

The Sintashta sites have been referred to as "The Land of Towns " (Gening, Zdanovich 1993, Zdanovich 1995). The cultue had occupied the territory along the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains. The fortified settlement studied in most detail is Arkaim. Occupying 20,000 sq. meters, it was discovered in 1987 by the team headed by G. Zdanovich during salvage excavations before the construction of a dam. The excavation revealed that the settlement had been burned and, therefore, many details were preserved. The population, however, had vacated the city before the fire and took all their possession with them.

 Arkaim Settlement Site
Arkaim had two protective circular walls and two circles of standard dwellings separated by a street around a central square. The external wall, 160 m in diameter and 4 m wide, was built from specially selected soil that had been packed into timber frames before being faced with adobe bricks (Zdanovich 1997). On the interior, houses abutted the wall and were situated radially with their doors exiting to the circular internal street.

Many interpretations have been suggested in relation to this site - a military fort, proto-city, or a ceremonial and religious center. The latter hypothesis appears reasonable, if we bear in mind that the sets of artifacts excavated were not characteristic of everyday usage. More plausible are the nterpretation put forward by researchers who regard sites such as Arkaim as combination of administrative and ceremonial centers. Possibly this was a location where about 1,000 to 2,000 people­aristocracy (and craftsmen) gathered periodically to perform rituals.


The lectures were sponsored by:
The Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads
The Archaeological Institute of American, San Francisco Chapter
The Doreen Townsend Center for the Humanitites, Center for Slavic and East European Studies, Department of Anthropology, Indo-European Languange and Cluture Working Groud, Archaeological Research Facility
University of California, Berkeley
(Created April 26, 1998)


The Sintashta fortified settlement in the southern Urals is dated to ca. 2000–1600 BC. It was excavated between 1968 and 1986 and gave its name to the Sintashta-Petrovka culture. The site is located in Chelyabinsk Oblast of Russia, ca. 53°18′N 62°24′E / 53.3°N 62.4°E / 53.3; 62.4.

The settlement closely resembles in shape and size the nearby site of Arkaim, although the latter has been preserved much better. Sintashta's characteristic feature is its closed fortification consisting of ramparts and ditches, and a fence or wall of unfired clay bricks and wood. The fortified site included between 6,000 and 30,000 square meters. There were towers guarding the entrances. The houses were rectangular, between 25 and 130 square meters. There are also metallurgical furnaces.

The burials of horses at Sintashta are quite remarkable, their legs being arranged so as to imitate running [1]. Six chariots dating to ca. 1700–1500 BC were found at Sintashta.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Drews, Robert (2004). Early Riders: The beginnings of mounted warfare in Asia and Europe. New York: Routledge. p. 50.





Arkaim (Russian: Аркаим) is an archaeological site situated in the Southern Urals steppe, 8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi) north-to-northwest of Amurskiy, and 2.3 km (1.4 mi) south-to-southeast of Alexandronvskiy, two villages in the Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, just to the north from the Kazakhstani border.

The site is generally dated to the 17th century BC. Earlier dates, up to the 20th century BC, have been proposed. It was a settlement of the Sintashta-Petrovka culture.



Discovery and excavation

The site was discovered in 1987 by a team of Chelyabinsk scientists who were preparing the area to be flooded in order to create a reservoir, and examined in rescue excavations led by Gennadii Zdanovich. At first their findings were ignored by Soviet authorities, who planned to flood the site as they had flooded Sarkel earlier, but the attention attracted by news of the discovery forced the Soviet government to revoke its plans for flooding the area. It was designated a cultural reservation in 1991, and in May 2005 the site was visited by then-President Vladimir Putin. At Arkaim Putin was shown the Navratna ring.


Reserve Arkaim: Man- rotund sculpture, Bronze-century ;South Chelyabinsk ...


Reconstruction of a face from Arkaim. 


Although the settlement was burned and abandoned, much detail is preserved. Arkaim is similar in form but much better preserved than neighboring Sintashta, where the earliest chariot was unearthed. The site was protected by two circular walls. There was a central square, surrounded by two circles of dwellings separated by a street. The settlement covered ca. 20,000 m2 (220,000 sq ft). The diameter of the enclosing wall was 160 m (520 ft). It was built from earth packed into timber frames, and reinforced with unburned clay brick, with a thickness of 4–5 m (13–16 ft). and a height of 5.5 m (18 ft). The settlement was surrounded with a 2 m (6 ft 7 in)-deep moat.

There are 4 entrances into the settlement through the outer and inner wall with the main entrance to the west. The dwellings were between 110–180 m2 (1,200–1,900 sq ft) in area. The outer ring of dwellings number 39 or 40, with entrances to a circular street in the middle of the settlement. The inner ring of dwellings number 27, arranged along the inner wall, with doors to the central square of 25 by 27 m (82 by 89 ft). The central street was drained by a covered channel. Zdanovich estimates that approximately 1500 to 2500 people could have lived in the settlement.

Surrounding Arkaim's walls, were arable fields, 130–140 m by 45 m (430–460 ft by 150 ft), irrigated by a system of canals and ditches. Remains of millet and barley seeds were found.

The 17th century date suggests that the settlement was about co-eval to, or just post-dating, the Indo-Aryan migration into South Asia and Mesopotamia (the Gandhara grave culture appearing in the Northern Pakistan from ca. 1600 BC, the Indo-European Mitanni rulers reached Anatolia before 1500 BC, both roughly 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) removed from the Sintashta-Petrovka area), and that it was either an early Iranian culture, or an unknown branch of Indo-Iranian that did not survive into historical times.

Go to fullsize image  Go to fullsize image    Go to fullsize image

Similar lay out as to Trypylian City of Maydanetz



Archaeological excavations of dr.Mykola Shmaglij and dr.Mykhailo Videiko,1971-1991, Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine. Maydanets, Ukraine is a 4th millennium BC site of the Trypillian culture with up to 10,000 citizens total , the total areas is approximately 250 ha, settlement was in an oval plan 1,5 km long and 1,1 km wide there were 1575 houses.


In pseudoarchaeology and national mysticism

Since its discovery, Arkaim has attracted public and media attention in Russia, from a broad range of the population, including esoteric, New Age and pseudoscientific organizations. It is said to be the most enigmatic archaeological site within the territory of Russia, and as with many archaeological discoveries, many conflicting interpretations have been put forward.



The similarity of latitude, date, and size led some archaeoastronomists (Bystrushkin 2003) to compare Arkaim with Stonehenge in England. According to their claims, the Neolithic observatory at Stonehenge allowed for observation of 15 astronomical phenomena using 22 elements, whereas the contemporaneous observatory at Arkaim allowed for observation of 18 astronomical phenomena using 30 elements. The precision of measurements in Stonehenge is estimated at 10 arc-minutes to a degree, that in Arkaim being put at 1 arc-minute. Such a precision of astronomical observations was not repeated until the compilation of Almagest about 2 millennia later. The interpretation as an observatory for either Stonehenge or Arkaim is not universally accepted.

 See also


  • Jones-Bley, K.; Zdanovich, D. G. (eds.), Complex Societies of Central Eurasia from the 3rd to the 1st Millennium BC, 2 vols, JIES Monograph Series Nos. 45, 46, Washington D.C. (2002), ISBN 0-941694-83-6, ISBN 0-941694-86-0.
  • Panel-Philippe, G.; Stone-Peter, G., The Constructed Past:Experimental Archeology, Education and the Public, Routledge (July 1999)ISBN 0-415117-68-2.

External links



Oldest Wooden Wheel Found in Slovenia. 3,500 B.C.

 Oldest Wheel Found? 

Jim Mallory (1989: 163), on the other hand, goes a long way towards the here proposed solution with the following observations:

“Tomas Gamkrelidze and Vyach[e]slav Ivanov… have noted that … Proto-Indo-European *kwekwlo- bears striking similarity to the words for vehicles in Sumerian gigir, Semitic *galgal-, and Kartvelian *grgar. With the putative origin of wheeled vehicles set variously to Pontic-Caspian, Transcasucasia or to Sumer, we may be witnessing the original word for a wheeled vehicle in four different language families. Furthermore, as the Proto-Indo-European form is built on an Indo-European verbal root *kwel- ‘to turn, to twist’, it is unlikely that the Indo-Europeans borrowed their word from one of the other languages. This need not, of course, indicate that the Indo-Europeans invented wheeled vehicles, but it might suggest that they were in some form of contact relation with these Near Eastern languages in the fourth millennium BC.”

Since the Trypillians weren’t that far at all from the steppes area, I can see this might have some validity. The Dniester site is just in my ‘had wheels’ at the right time zone, and the timing isn’t massively far off. This might allow a compromise between the 9,000 BP ’first farmers’ and 5,500 BP ‘Kurgan’ theory, as they probably did speak the languge of the expanding farmers.

 The worlds oldest wooden wheel found in Slovenia, about 5,200 years old. Seen on the right. The wheel was found in April 2002, together with a squared oak axle, in the remains of a pile-dwelling settlement 


 The worlds oldest wooden wheel found in Slovenia, about 5,200 years old. Seen on the right. The wheel was found in April 2002, together with a squared oak axle, in the remains of a pile-dwelling settlement 


 The Andronovo culture ,strongly associated with the Indo-Iranians is often credited with the invention of the spoke-wheeled chariot[3] around 2000 BCE.

Sintashta is a site on the upper Ural River. It is famed for its grave-offerings, particularly chariot burials. These inhumations were in kurgans and included all or parts of animals (horse and dog) deposited into the barrow. Sintashta is often pointed to as the premier proto-Indo-Iranian site, and that the language spoken was still in the Proto-Indo-Iranian stage.[4] There are similar sites "in the Volga-Ural steppe".[5] 



Chariot Spread

 Tripolye as the source of PIE. Something I did wonder once after seeing a pretty old wheeled toy from that area. They were the most advanced civilisation (not too strong a word, they had small cities) of Neolithic Europe, and were one of the first cultures to use metal.

Cucuteni-Trypillian cow-on-wheels, 3950-3650 B.C

One of the more interesting points from it was that word for wheel you find in other languages seems to have a root in the PIE word to turn/rotate. As far as I know, the worlds oldest wheel is 5,300 BP, dragged up from a Slovenian Marsh.

Jim Mallory (1989: 163), on the other hand, goes a long way towards the here proposed solutionwith the following observations:

“Tomas Gamkrelidze and Vyach[e]slav Ivanov… have noted that … Proto-Indo-European *kwekwlo- bears striking similarity to the words for vehicles in Sumerian gigir, Semitic *galgal-, and Kartvelian *grgar. With the putative origin of wheeled vehicles set variously to Pontic-Caspian, Transcasucasia or to Sumer, we may be witnessing the original word for a wheeled vehicle in four different language families. Furthermore, as the Proto-Indo-European form is built on an Indo-European verbal root *kwel- ‘to turn, to twist’, it is unlikely that the Indo-Europeans borrowed their word from one of the other languages. This need not, of course, indicate that the Indo-Europeans invented wheeled vehicles, but it might suggest that they were in some form of contact relation with these Near Eastern languages in the fourth millennium BC.”

Since the Trypillians weren’t that far at all from the steppes area, I can see this might have some validity. The Dniester site is just in my ‘had wheels’ at the right time zone, and the timing isn’t massively far off. This might allow a compromise between the 9,000 BP ’first farmers’ and 5,500 BP ‘Kurgan’ theory, as they probably did speak the languge of the expanding farmers.

 The worlds oldest wooden wheel found in Slovenia, about 5,200 years old. Seen on the right. The wheel was found in April 2002, together with a squared oak axle, in the remains of a pile-dwelling settlement  

 The Andronovo culture ,strongly associated with the Indo-Iranians is often credited with the invention of the spoke-wheeled chariot around 2000 BCE.[3]

Sintashta is a site on the upper Ural River. It is famed for its grave-offerings, particularly chariot burials. These inhumations were in kurgans and included all or parts of animals (horse and dog) deposited into the barrow. Sintashta is often pointed to as the premier proto-Indo-Iranian site, and that the language spoken was still in the Proto-Indo-Iranian stage.[4] There are similar sites "in the Volga-Ural steppe".[5]

File:Chariot spread.png
Historical spread of the chariot.
This map combines various classes of information, historical and archaeological. The 'isochrones' as given should not be considered more than rough approximations, give or take a century.
  • red, 2000 BC: area of the earliest known spoke-wheeled chariots (Sintashta-Petrovka culture)
  • orange, 1900 BC: extent of the Andronovo culture, expanding from its early Sintashta-Petrovka phase; spread of technology in this area would have been unimpeded and practically instantaneous
  • yellow, 1800 BC: extent of the great steppes and half-deserts of Central Asia, approximate extent of the early Indo-Iranian diaspora at that time. Note that early examples of chariots appear in Anatolia as early as around this time.
  • light green, 1700 BC: unknown, early period of spread beyond the steppes
  • green/cyan, 1600-1200 BC: the Kassite period in Mesopotamia, rise to notability of the chariot in the Ancient Near East, introduction to China, possibly also to the Punjab and the Gangetic plain (Rigveda) and E and N Europe (Trundholm Sun Chariot), assumed spread of the chariot as part of Late Bronze Age technology
  • blue, 1000-500 BC: Iron Age spread of the chariot to W Europe by Celtic migrations

Yamna Culture


 Yamna culture


Approximate culture extent c. 3200-2300 BC.
The Yamna culture in 4th millennium BC Europe.

The Yamna culture (Russian: Ямная культура, Ukrainian: Ямна культура, "Pit [Grave] Culture", from Russian/Ukrainian яма, "pit") is a late copper age/early Bronze Age culture of the Bug/Dniester/Ural region (the Pontic steppe), dating to the 36th–23rd centuries BC. The name also appears in English as Pit Grave Culture or Ochre Grave Culture.

The culture was predominantly nomadic, with some agriculture practiced near rivers and a few hillforts.[1]


Characteristic for the culture are the inhumations in kurgans (tumuli) in pit graves with the dead body placed in a supine position with bent knees. The bodies were covered in ochre. Multiple graves have been found in these kurgans, often as later insertions.

Significantly, animal grave offerings were made (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and horse), a feature associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans (including Proto-Indo-Iranians).[2]

The earliest remains in Eastern Europe of a wheeled cart were found in the "Storozhova mohyla" kurgan (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, excavated by Trenozhkin A.I.) associated with the Yamna culture.

The recently discovered Luhansk sacrificial site has been described as a hill sanctuary where human sacrifice was practiced.

Spread and identity

The Yamna culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE) in the Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas. It is the strongest candidate for the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language, along with the preceding Sredny Stog culture, now that archaeological evidence of the culture and its migrations has been closely tied to the evidence from linguistics.[3]

However, Pavel Dolukhanov argues that the emergence of the Pit-Grave culture represents a social development of various local Bronze Age cultures, representing "an expression of social stratification and the emergence of chiefdom-type nomadic social structures", which in turn intensified inter-group contacts between essentially heterogeneous social groups.[4]

It is said to have originated in the middle Volga based Khvalynsk culture and the middle Dnieper based Sredny Stog culture. In its western range, it is succeeded by the Catacomb culture; in the east, by the Poltavka culture and the Srubna culture.


From the Hermitage Museum collections


  1. ^ J. P. Mallory, "Yamna Culture", Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
  2. ^ Benjamin W Fortson (2004). Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 43. 
  3. ^ David W. Anthony, The Horse, The Wheel and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World (2007).
  4. ^ Pavel M. Dolukhanov. The Early Slavs. Eastern Europe from the Initial Settlement to the Kievan Rus. Longman, 1996. Page 94

See also

Pelasgi in Orientul Apropiat si in Orientul Mijlociu (Romanian only)

Pelasgii în Orientul Apropiat şi în Orientul Mijlociu


Basarabia Literara, Dacologie


 Din Dacia, locul unde a luat naştere şi s-a dezvoltat cultura şi civilizaţia pelasgă, dacii străvechi (pelasgii) s-au revărsat nu numai peste întreaga Europă străveche ci şi peste continentul asiatic. Prima lor escala în Asia a fost Orientul Apropiat şi cel Mijlociu.

 În ceea ce priveşte Asia Mică, Strabon ne spune, citându-l pe Menecrat Elaita, că toată regiunea maritimă, ce se numea pe atunci Ionia, a fost locuită de pelasgi (Geographia, XIII.3.3) fapt confirmat şi de Herodot care-i numeşte pe pelasgii care locuiau aici, Ionieni (Istorii,VII.94). Ionienii, au înfiinţat aşezări renumite precum oraşul Efes, unde au ridicat una dintre minunile lumii antice, Templul Artemidei. De remarcat că Artemis este figurată, nu aşa cum au perceput-o grecii, ca patronă a vânătorii şi pădurilor, ci ca zeiţă mamă, având pieptul plin de sâni. Alt oraş întemeiat de pelasgii ionieni, Milet, i-a dat lumii antice şi moderne pe Thales considerat unul dintre cei şapte înţelepţi ai antichităţii şi pe Hecateu, istoric al lumii antice. Tot Milet-ul a fost multă vreme o forţă maritimă rivalizând cu Cartagina şi Fenicia.

 O altă grupă însemnată de pelasgi, stabiliţi în Asia Mică la nord de Ionieni, au fost Eolii ( Istorii,VII.95) despre care aflăm de la Strabon că se extindeau până în Lidya inclusiv pe şesul Troiei (Geographia,XII.1.3). Cea mai renumită aşezare a lor, a fost Troia despre care legendele spun că avea zidurile construite de Apollo şi Poseidon.

 Tot de naţionalitate pelasgă erau şi Lelegii care locuiau în Pisidia făcând parte din acelaşi neam cu Lelegii din părţile Troiei şi Cariei (Geographia XIII.1.59) şi pe care Iliada îi aminteşte alături de caoconi şi pelasgii divini.

 Despre alte seminţii pelasge răspândite în Asia Mică, aflăm din Geographia lui Strabon: Mysienii (VIII.3.2), Bithynii (VII.75) şi Caoconii (VIII.3.17), iar din Istorii-le lui Herodot, aflăm ce de aceeaşi origine erau Phrygienii (VII.73) şi Lydienii (I.171).

 După textele antice, locuitorii Capadociei, regiune situată în Anatolia de azi, făceau parte din acelaşi neam cu Frigienii. Mai mult, unul dintre oraşele Capadociei situat în partea de către Armenia, se numea Dacusa Euphratis iar un altul pomenit de Strabon (XII. 1.4) purta numele de Romnena (de la Râm, despre care Miron Costin spunea, ca de la el ne tragem toţi. Istoricii spun că acest Râm este o transliteraţie a cuvântului Roma.. Fie vorba între noi, greu de crezut că marele cărturar Miron Costin nu ştia pronunţa şi scrie corect Roma!).

 Herodot, spune că armenii erau descendenţi ai phrigienilor (Istorii,VII.73) care se trăgeau din marea tulpină pelasgă, dar Strabon (Geographia.XI.4.8) le atribuie o origine thesaliotă ei venind din Thesallia sub conducerea lui Arminius, participant la expediţia argonauţilor, care mai apoi i-a colonizat în văile superioare ale Tigrului şi Eufratului. Oricum ar fi, originea lor rămâne tot pelasgă întrucât Thesallia era locuită în vechime de pelasgi.

 În Mesopotamia prezenţa pelasgă se face simţită printr-o serie de toponime precum: Deba (asemănătoare fonetic cu Deva şi Beba din România actuală), Ombrea, Drobeta (v. Drobeta Turnu Severin din România) şi Nisibis. Mai mult, civilizaţia mesopotamiană, a avut ca prim centru al dezvoltării sale, Sumerul ale cărui fundamente culturale sunt situate în zona Dunării de Jos, în Dacia pelasgă. Ne dovedeşte acest fapt scrierea „sumeriană” descoperită pe tăbliţele de la Tărtăria de Mureş mai veche cu cel puţin 1000 de ani decât civilizaţia sumeriană, precum şi tipul somatic al conducătorilor sumerieni care se adresau maselor cu expresia Sag-gig (capete negre) ceea ce înseamnă ca ei nu erau bruneţi ci şateni asa cum ne arată I.I.Russu.

Pentru origine pelasgă a civilizaţiei sumeriene pledează şi statuetele descoperite la Tell-Asmar, în templul lui Abu, care prezintă caracterele rasiale ale subtipului uman carpatic precum si elemente de vestimentaţie asemănătoare pană la identitate cu portul tracilor macedoneni şi cu cămăşilor lungi bărbăteşti încinse la brâu, purtate de daci. Miturile sumerienilor ne învaţă că sumerienii erau originari dintr-o zonă muntoasă de la soare răsare adică din răsărit. Mai uimitor este faptul că unul dintre eposurile literaturii sumeriene face referire expresă la Dacia. Mitul se numeşte „Zborul lui Ethan spre cer” si oferă detalii despre Dacia! În repetate rânduri se aminteşte de „marea de lângă cetatea munţilor” Ciudat… nici una dintre regiunile învecinate Sumerului nu posedă asa ceva. Prima regiune care corespunde acestei descrieri din apropierea Sumerului este….Transilvania! Depresiunea Transilvaniei, Ardealul, apare ca o cetate naturala înconjurată de munţi iar în imedita ei apropiere se afla Marea Neagră!

 La toate acestea, se mai adaugă un fapt deloc de neglijat: limba sumerienilor are foarte multe cuvinte comune cu limba română. Paul Lazăr Tonciulescu si Eugen Delcea cercetând literatura de specialitate au descoperit nu mai puţin de 83 de cuvinte sumeriene identice ca înţeles cu cele din daco-română.

 Primii locuitori ai Palestinei sunt descrişi în Vechiul Testament drept războinici şi având o statură impunătoare (Iosua 12:4) asemenea giganţilor situaţi de Nicolae Densuşianu în nordul Dunării de Jos. Existenţa pelasgilor în Palestina este documentată şi prin existenţa unor toponime ca: Scytopolis, despre care Pliniu ne spune că era o colonie de sciţi, Rama, Arimateea, etc.

 Populaţia cea mai războinică a Palestinei preebraice se numea Amorei derivat din etnonimul Aromei / Aramei , nume purtat de toate seminţiile locuitoare cândva în teritoriile Siriei, Asiriei, Sumerului, Babilonului şi Arabiei. Aceasta înseamnă ca acest nume reprezenta o altă denumire etnică a pelasgilor.

 Şi în Peninsula Arabia avem toponime care amintesc de pelasgi: Istriana (v. Istru) Satula (v. Sătulă), Lugana (v. Lugaş, Lugoj, Lungana), Carna (v. Cerna, Cârna), Domana, Amara, Draga, Nassaudum (v. Năsăud).Arabii erau cunoscuţi în antichitate ca făcând parte din neamul Arameilor. Numele etnic al arabilor se presupune că se trage din numele părintelui lor eponim Arabus un fiu al lui Hermes sau Armis al Daciei (Strabon, I.2.34)

 Pelasgii au constituit de asemenea, elementul dominant şi civilizator al Indiei.

Rama, printul scit

Unul dintre cele mai vechi poeme indiene se numeşte Ramayana şi glorifică faptele prinţului Rama în care se spune că s-a întrupat Vishnu, spiritul cel bun al universului, pe care-l numeşte la un moment dat „prinţ scit”.

 Cele mai vechi scrieri religioase indiene poartă titlul Veda. Ele sunt în număr de 4 si cuprind Revelaţia hindusă. Ceea ce este interesant însă este faptul că Revelaţia este „descoperirea” sau „vederea interioară” iar titlul acestor scrieri poate fi apropiat foarte lesne de cuvântul românesc „a vedea”.

 Foarte interesantă este afirmaţia lui Strabon, cum că pe teritoriul Indiei, existau trei neamuri mai însemnate şi anume: Brachmanes, Garmanes şi Pramnae (Geographia XV.1.59), dintre care ce-i mai cucernici erau brahmanii. Ei duceau o viaţă frugală, mâncând numai fructe şi bând doar apă, erau devotaţi filosofiei, adorând cu deosebire Soarele, îşi duceau viaţă sub cerul liber şi considerau moartea drept o naştere pentru o viaţă mai fericită. (întocmai ca şi kapnobataii daci sau ca şi ktistaii o altă ramură de preoţi asceţi, daci). Aceşti Brahmani au avut tot timpul supremaţia socială şi religioasă a Indiei. Ei însă nu formau doar o casta sau sectă religioasă ci un neam numeros divizat în mai multe seminţii. Etimologic vorbind numele de Brahmani, Garmani şi Pramni, nu sunt decât derivate ale numelor etnice ahmani / rohmani, armani şi Rami/Ramni, nume sub care erau cunoscuţi pelasgii la unii autori antici ca urmaşi ai lui Ra/Ram, zeul cerului şi al Soarelui.

 Mai mult, studiind poemele clasice ca şi scrierile religioase indiene, Nic. Densuşianu ne pune în evidenţă peste 40 de cuvinte cu corespondent român si latin.

 Continuitatea pelasgo – dacică în continentul asiatic

 Felix Colson, istoric francez, ne atrage atenţia afirmând categoric: „toţi dacii sunt pelasgi” (şi adăugam noi, oriunde s-ar afla ei).

 Continuitatea neamului pelasg sub forma etnonimului dac în Asia, este atestată de numeroase izvoare antice şi cercetări moderne.

 După cum am văzut, în epocile vechi, pelasgii erau elementul dominant şi civilizator în întregul continent asiatic. Interesant este însă ca urmaşii lor, dacii, sunt prezenţi în aceleaşi teritorii pe care erau răspândiţi şi pelasgii, însă par a se extinde mult mai departe ajungând chiar până în China. Şi se pare că, asemenea pelasgilor în epoca străveche, dacii au jucat în antichitatea clasică, roluri deloc de neglijat.

 De pildă, Ana-Maria Coman, care a scris un articol pe marginea unei lucrări a lui J. Saint – Martin, ne atrage atenţia spunând: „ originea parţilor este legată mai ales de tribul Dahae sau Dahi. Cu ajutorul lui şi-a dobândit Thiridate independenţa; (aceştia) erau printre cele mai puternice neamuri scitice, numeroasele lor ramificaţii fiind răspândite în Europa şi Asia”.

 Mai mult cărţile lui Zoroastru vorbesc despre acest neam straşnic de tot, care a dat printre altele şi numele Mării Caspice.

 Herodot de asemenea afirmă că încă înainte de Cyrus multe triburi Dahae pătrunseseră în interiorul Persiei.

 În condiţiile în care neamul dacilor se răspândise, încă din străvechime până în Persia, nu mai trebuie să ne mire faptul că Decebal, în faţa ameninţarii romane, a cerut ajutorul lui Pacorus regele Partilor. În timp ce Traian era ocupat cu războaiele cu dacii, prinţii din a doua ramură Arsacidă au atacat posesiunile romane din orient .

 Extraordinara extensiune a dacilor ca neam este dată şi de afirmaţia Anei Maria Coman că Bactria, provincie învecinată Chinei, era locuită de numeroase triburi Dahae. Mai mult în lucrările istoricilor chinezi, Bactria purta numele de Tahia, mai exact de Dacia.

 Această denumire coincide cu cea care serveşte la denumirea ţării pe care Dahii, o posedau în Europa

 La autorii chinezi apare alături de Bactria şi Dahia arsacizilor extinsă în Persia şi Armenia.

 Sub dinastia arsacizilor, care făceau parte din marea familie a Cuşanilor, al căror nume era acela de daci, s-a constituit un imperiu puternic şi înfloritor, cuprinzând teritoriile Asiei Centrale şi de Sud, tocmai în perioada de ascensiune a Imperiului roman. Acest imperiu cuprindea Persia, Armenia, Bactriana (Dacia), Massageţia (Geţia mare), ţinuturile din jurul Caucazului şi din nordul Mării Negre.

 Xenofon ne vorbeşte despre dacii din regiunea transcaspiană. Tot pe coasta orientală a Mării Caspice, Pliniu cel Tânăr semnalează populaţia numită Dahae.

 Pârvan îi semnalează pe daci, sub numele de Dahae, în Turkestan, iar în sud estul Mării Caspice exista în antichitate un teritoriu numit Dahos.

 Apoi, anticul Parthyene, ţinut situat azi în partea asiatică a Rusiei, poartă şi numele Dakistan.

 Pe malul sudic al Mării Caspice, la nord de Azerbadjan, se află Daghestanul (Dag fiind tot o derivaţie a termenului etnic dac).

 Massageţii sunt menţionaţi în documente încă din secolul VII î.Ch ca locuind între Marea Caspică si Amu-Daria. În istoria Asiei ei sunt cei care ,sub conducerea reginei Tomiris, sunt cunoscuţi ca învigători ai puternicului rege persan, Cyrus. Numai că dovezi recente arată că aceştia se întindeau pană în China.

 După opinia specialiştilor, străini de astă dată, dacii sunt cunoscuţi în China sub numele de Yu-Ci, ortografiat Yue-Tchi, Yue-ti, Yut sau Ye-Ta. Pentru vechimea elementului etnic dac în China, pledează şi numele împăratului care a fondat dinastia Xia pe numele sau Dayu (Yu cel Mare). Principalele ramuri ale geţilor sunt cunoscute în analele chineze sub numele Marii Yue-tchi, Micii Yue-tchi şi Yue-tchi al Huandong-ului. Sub aceleaşi nume, dacii apar amestecaţi şi printre tibetanii occidentali.

 Marii Yue-tchi au fabricat sticla colorată sub Daowu Di din dinastia Goei.

 După Strabon familia Yue-tchi cuprinde neamurile asii-lor, pasiani-lor, tochari-lor şi sakarauţi-lor.

 Această mare famile de daci (Yue tchi) şi-a avut aşezările între Munţii Nan-Shan, afluenţii Burunghirului şi partea superioară a Huang-he-ului. Prin urmare posedau o parte din China si Tangut.

 Dat fiind conservatorismul dac, este de presupus că odată cu mişcarea neamurilor dace spre China, s-a mişcat şi credinţa lor, zamolxianism-ul, întrucât se ştie că dacii credeau că nu există alt zeu în afară de al lor. Unde poate fi surprinsă înfluenţa zamolxianism-ului în China?

 Există o religie care nu prea are nimic de-a face cu speculaţiile religioase chinezeşti, anume daoism-ul. Însuşi cuvântul Dao, derivă din etnonimul dac, ştiut fiind că frigienii îi numeau pe daci daous, având semnificaţia cale. Concluzia este că daoism-ul este calea dacilor de a ajunge la Zeu. De ce? Pentru că toate religiile chineze poartă numele fondatorului lor (v. Confucianism-ul). Dar daoism-ul nu are aproape nimic în comun cu filozofia lui Lao-Tzi şi nici nu-i poartă numele. Cu atat mai mult cu cât daoism-ul nu a avut o influenţă foarte mare în China , ci numai pe alocuri pe unde erau răspândiţi dacii. Originea dacică a daoism-ului poate fi probată şi prin existenţa masivă a toponimelor şi antroponimelor dacice în regiuni apropiate de China, la stabilirea lor în această ţară dacii nerenunţand la religia lor originară, care împletindu-se cu vechile credinte chinezesti au dat naştere daoismului.

 Geţii au existat ca popor de sine stătător si în India fiind cunoscuţi subnumele de Yut Yat Jut Jhut. Ei ocupau Hindustanul septentrional si valea Indului. Specialiştii sunt de acord că populaţia rurala din Pundjab se trage din acest corp etnic al Yut-şilor. De asemena populaţia Yut formeza pricipala etnie din regiunea Sindi, iar în Belucistan, poporul Yut a format prin amestecul cu baluchii, poporul Jugdalli.

 Descendenţii dacilor cunoscuţi sub numele Yut în India si Yue–tchi în China erau prezenţi şi în secolul XIX în India, în nord-estul provinciei Gudjarat aflându-se regiunea Jutvar (Ţara lui Yut sau a Yut-şilor)

 Iată ce am descoperit în urma afirmaţiei dintr-o poezie a lui Eminescu !

 Dacii; după cum putem observa, au dat o notă aparte civilizaţiei orientale prin religia lor introdusă în China, sub forma daoismului, prin infiinţarea dinastiei Arsacizilor , ei constituind şi un procent important din populaţia Asiei.

 Acum, fiind dovedită cu destule dovezi credem noi, existenţa dacilor în Asia, nu putem decât să-i dăm dreptate lui Eminescu, care spunea: “De la China pân’ la Rin / De geto-daci pământu-i plin”:)




1. Nicolae Densuşianu, Dacia Preistorică, Ed. Arhetip, Bucureşti

 2. Paul Lazăr Tonciulescu şi Eugen Delcea. Enigmele Terrei. Istoria începe în Carpaţi, vol. I, Ed. Obiectiv, Craiova

 3. Alexandru Pele, Etnonimele românilor. Dac/get, Ed. Abadaba, Oradea

 4. Strabon, Geographia, Ed. Stiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucureşti

 5. Herodot, Istorii, Ed. Stiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucureşti




Andronovo Culture


 Andronovo culture


Map of the approximate maximal extent of the Andronovo culture. The formative Sintashta-Petrovka culture is shown in darker red. The location of the earliest spoke-wheeled chariot finds is indicated in purple. Adjacent and overlapping cultures (Afanasevo culture, Srubna culture, BMAC) are shown in green.
Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC). The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The Swat, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan movements

The Andronovo culture, or Sintashta-Petrovka culture is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 2300–1000 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon. The name derives from the village of Andronovo (55°53′N 55°42′E / 55.883°N 55.7°E / 55.883; 55.7), where in 1914, several graves were discovered, with skeletons in crouched positions, buried with richly decorated pottery.

At least four sub-cultures have been since distinguished, during which the culture expands towards the south and the east:

The geographical extent of the culture is vast and difficult to delineate exactly. On its western fringes, it overlaps with the approximately contemporaneous, but distinct, Srubna culture in the Volga-Ural interfluvial. To the east, it reaches into the Minusinsk depression, overlapping with the area of the earlier Afanasevo culture.[2] Additional sites are scattered as far south as the Koppet Dag (Turkmenistan), the Pamir (Tajikistan) and the Tian Shan (Kyrgyzstan). The northern boundary vaguely corresponds to the beginning of the Taiga. In the Volga basin, interaction with the Srubna culture was the most intense and prolonged, and Federovo style pottery is found as far west as Volgograd.

Towards the middle of the 2nd millennium, the Andronovo cultures begin to move intensively eastwards. They mined deposits of copper ore in the Altai Mountains and lived in villages of as many as ten sunken log cabin houses measuring up to 30m by 60m in size. Burials were made in stone cists or stone enclosures with buried timber chambers.

In other respects, the economy was pastoral, based on horses and cattle, but also sheep and goats, with some agriculture in clear evidence.

Andronovo and Indo-Iranians

The Andronovo culture is strongly associated with the Indo-Iranians and is often credited with the invention of the spoke-wheeled chariot around 2000 BCE.[3]

Sintashta is a site on the upper Ural River. It is famed for its grave-offerings, particularly chariot burials. These inhumations were in kurgans and included all or parts of animals (horse and dog) deposited into the barrow. Sintashta is often pointed to as the premier proto-Indo-Iranian site, and that the language spoken was still in the Proto-Indo-Iranian stage.[4] There are similar sites "in the Volga-Ural steppe".[5]

The identification of Andronovo as Indo-Iranian has been challenged by scholars who point to the absence of the characteristic timber graves of the steppe south of the Oxus River.[6] Sarianidi (as cited in Bryant 2001:207) states that "direct archaeological data from Bactria and Margiana show without any shade of doubt that Andronovo tribes penetrated to a minimum extent into Bactria and Margianian oases".

Based on its use by Indo-Aryans in Mitanni and Vedic India, its prior absence in the Near East and Harappan India, and its 16th–17th century BCE attestation at the Andronovo site of Sintashta, Kuzmina (1994) argues that the chariot corroborates the identification of Andronovo as Indo-Iranian. Klejn (1974) and Brentjes (1981) find the Andronovo culture much too late for an Indo-Iranian identification since chariot-wielding Aryans appear in Mitanni by the 15th to 16th century BCE. However, Anthony & Vinogradov (1995) dated a chariot burial at Krivoye Lake to around 2000 BCE.[7]

Mallory (as cited in Bryant 2001:216) admits the extraordinary difficulty of making a case for expansions from Andronovo to northern India, and that attempts to link the Indo-Aryans to such sites as the Beshkent and Vakhsh cultures "only gets the Indo-Iranian to Central Asia, but not as far as the seats of the Medes, Persians or Indo-Aryans".

An alternative possibility for the language of Andronovo may be Burušaski (now spoken in Kašmīr) or Ĥapirti (ʕelamitic), anciently spoken in Ĥuzistan.

Since older words of Indo Iranian have been taken over in Uralian and Proto-Yeneseian, occupation by some other languages (also lost ones) cannot be ruled out altogether, at least for part of the Andronovo area: i.e., Uralic and Yeneseian.[8]


The Sintashta-Petrovka culture is succeeded by the Fedorovo (1400–1200 BCE) and Alekseyevka (1200–1000 BCE) cultures, still considered as part of the Andronovo horizon.

In southern Siberia and Kazakhstan, the Andronovo culture was succeeded by the Karasuk culture (1500–800 BCE), which is sometimes asserted to be non-Indo-European, and at other times to be specifically proto-Iranian. On its western border, it is succeeded by the Srubna culture, which partly derives from the Abashevo culture. The earliest historical peoples associated with the area are the Cimmerians and Saka/Scythians, appearing in Assyrian records after the decline of the Alekseyevka culture, migrating into the Ukraine from ca. the 9th century BCE (see also Ukrainian stone stela), and across the Caucasus into Anatolia and Assyria in the late 8th century BCE, and possibly also west into Europe as the Thracians (see Thraco-Cimmerian), and the Sigynnae, located by Herodotus beyond the Danube, north of the Thracians, and by Strabo near the Caspian Sea. Both Herodotus and Strabo identify them as Iranian.

Ancient DNA

Out of 10 human male remains assigned to the Andronovo horizon from the Krasnoyarsk region, 9 possessed the R1a Y-chromosome haplogroup and one C haplogroup (xC3). mtDNA haplogroups of nine individuals assigned to the same Andronovo horizon and region were as follows: U4 (2 individuals), U2e, U5a1, Z, T1, T4, H, and K2b.

90% of the Bronze Age period mtDNA haplogroups were of west Eurasian origin and the study determined that at least 60% of the individuals overall (out of the 26 Bronze and Iron Age human remains' samples of the study that could be tested) had light hair and blue or green eyes.[9]

A 2004 study also established that during the Bronze Age/Iron Age period, the majority of the population of Kazakhstan (part of the Andronovo culture during Bronze Age), was of west Eurasian origin (with mtDNA haplogroups such as U, H, HV, T, I and W), and that prior to the thirteenth-seventh century BC, all Kazakh samples belonged to European lineages.[10]


  1. ^ Diakonoff 1995:473
  2. ^ Mallory 1989:62
  3. ^ Anthony & Vinogradov 1995
  4. ^ Mallory 1989 "The settlement and cemetery of Sintashta, for example, though located far to the north on the Trans-Ural steppe, provides the type of Indo-Iranian archaeological evidence that would more than delight an archaeologist seeking their remains in Iran or India."
  5. ^ Mallory 1997
  6. ^ or south of the region between Kopet Dagh and Pamir-Karakorum. Francfort, in (Fussman et al. 2005, p. 268)
    Fussman, in (Fussman et al. 2005, p. 220)
    Francfort (1989), Fouilles de Shortugai
    Klejn (1974), Lyonnet (1993), Francfort (1989), Bosch-Gimpera (1973), Hiebert (1998), and Sarianidi (1993), as cited in Bryant (2001, ch. 10, pp. 206–207)
  7. ^ Anthony & Vinogradov (1995)
    Kuzmina (1994), Klejn (1974), and Brentjes (1981), as cited in Bryant (2001:206)
  8. ^ [1] M. Witzel - Linguistic Evidence for Cultural Exchange in Prehistoric Western Central Asia, 2003, Sino-Platonic Papers 129
  9. ^ [2] C. Keyser et al. 2009. Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people. Human Genetics.
  10. ^ [3] C. Lalueza-Fox et al. 2004. Unravelling migrations in the steppe: mitochondrial DNA sequences from ancient central Asians


See also

External links

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Indus Valey Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Extent of the Indus Valley Civilization
Bronze Age
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Near East (3300-1200 BC)

Caucasus, Anatolia, Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Elam, Jiroft
Bronze Age collapse

Europe (3200-600 BC)

Aegean (Minoan)
Catacomb culture
Srubna culture
Beaker culture
Unetice culture
Tumulus culture
Urnfield culture
Hallstatt culture
Atlantic Bronze Age
Bronze Age Britain
Nordic Bronze Age
Italian Bronze Age

Indian Subcontinent (3300-1200 BC)

China (3000-700 BC)

Korea (1500-300 BC)

arsenical bronze
writing, literature
sword, chariot

Iron Age

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) that was located in the northwestern region[1] of the Indian subcontinent,[2][3] consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India. Flourishing around the Indus River basin, the civilization[n 1] primarily centered along the Indus and the Punjab region, extending into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley[7] and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab.[8][9] Geographically, the civilization was spread over an area of some 1,260,000 km², making it the largest ancient civilization in the world.

The Indus Valley is one of the world's earliest urban civilizations, along with its contemporaries, Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. At its peak, the Indus Civilization may have had a population of well over five million. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft (carneol products, seal carving), and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The civilization is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multistoried houses.

The mature phase of this civilization is known as the Harappan Civilization, as the first of its cities to be unearthed was located at Harappa, excavated in the 1920s in what was at the time the Punjab province of British India (now in Pakistan).[10] Excavation of Harappan sites have been ongoing since 1920, with important breakthroughs occurring as recently as 1999.[11] To date, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Ghaggar-Hakra river and its tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centers of Harappa, Lothal, Mohenjo-daro (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Dholavira, Kalibanga, and Rakhigarhi.

The civilization is sometimes referred to as the Indus Ghaggar-Hakra civilization or the Indus-Sarasvati civilization.[12] The appellation Indus-Sarasvati is based on the possible identification of the Ghaggar-Hakra River with the Sarasvati River of the Nadistuti sukta in the Rig Veda, but this usage is disputed on linguistic and geographical grounds. The Harappan language is not directly attested and its affiliation is unknown, a plausible relation would be to Proto-Dravidian or Elamo-Dravidian.[13]



Discovery and excavation

Extent and major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization. The shaded area does not include recent excavations.

The ruins of Harrappa were first described in 1842 by Charles Masson in his Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, and the Punjab, where locals talked of an ancient city extending "thirteen cosses" (about 25 miles), but no archaeological interest would attach to this for nearly a century.[14]

In 1856, General Alexander Cunningham, later director general of the archeological survey of northern India, visited Harappa where the British engineers John and William Brunton were laying the East Indian Railway Company line connecting the cities of Karachi and Lahore. John wrote: "I was much exercised in my mind how we were to get ballast for the line of the railway." They were told of an ancient ruined city near the lines, called Brahminabad. Visiting the city, he found it full of hard well-burnt bricks, and "convinced that there was a grand quarry for the ballast I wanted," the city of Brahminabad was reduced to ballast.[15] A few months later, further north, John's brother William Brunton's "section of the line ran near another ruined city, bricks from which had already been used by villagers in the nearby village of Harappa at the same site. These bricks now provided ballast along 93 miles (150 km) of the railroad track running from Karachi to Lahore."[15]

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, with the Great Bath in the front

In 1872–75 Alexander Cunningham published the first Harappan seal (with an erroneous identification as Brahmi letters).[16] It was half a century later, in 1912, that more Harappan seals were discovered by J. Fleet, prompting an excavation campaign under Sir John Hubert Marshall in 1921–22 and resulting in the discovery of the civilization at Harappa by Sir John Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vats, and at Mohenjo-daro by Rakhal Das Banerjee, E. J. H. MacKay, and Sir John Marshall. By 1931, much of Mohenjo-Daro had been excavated, but excavations continued, such as that led by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, director of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1944. Among other archaeologists who worked on IVC sites before the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 were Ahmad Hasan Dani, Brij Basi Lal, Nani Gopal Majumdar, and Sir Marc Aurel Stein.

Following the Partition of India, the bulk of the archaeological finds were inherited by Pakistan where most of the IVC was based, and excavations from this time include those led by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1949, archaeological adviser to the Government of Pakistan. Outposts of the Indus Valley civilization were excavated as far west as Sutkagan Dor in Baluchistan, as far north as at Shortugai on the Amudarya or Oxus River in current Afghanistan.


The mature phase of the Harappan civilization lasted from c. 2600 to 1900 BCE. With the inclusion of the predecessor and successor cultures—Early Harappan and Late Harappan, respectively—the entire Indus Valley Civilization may be taken to have lasted from the 33rd to the 14th centuries BCE. Two terms are employed for the periodization of the IVC: Phases and Eras.[17][18] The Early Harappan, Mature Harappan, and Late Harappan phases are also called the Regionalisation, Integration, and Localisation eras, respectively, with the Regionalization era reaching back to the Neolithic Mehrgarh II period. "Discoveries at Mehrgarh changed the entire concept of the Indus civilization," according to Ahmad Hasan Dani, professor emeritus at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. "There we have the whole sequence, right from the beginning of settled village life."[19]

Date rangePhaseEra
7000 - 5500 BCEMehrgarh I (aceramic Neolithic)Early Food Producing Era
5500-3300Mehrgarh II-VI (ceramic Neolithic)Regionalisation Era
3300-2600Early Harappan
3300-2800Harappan 1 (Ravi Phase)
2800-2600Harappan 2 (Kot Diji Phase, Nausharo I, Mehrgarh VII)
2600-1900Mature Harappan (Indus Valley Civilization)Integration Era
2600-2450Harappan 3A (Nausharo II)
2450-2200Harappan 3B
2200-1900Harappan 3C
1900-1300Late Harappan (Cemetery H); Ochre Coloured PotteryLocalisation Era
1900-1700Harappan 4
1700-1300Harappan 5
1300-300Painted Gray Ware, Northern Black Polished Ware (Iron Age)Indo-Gangetic Tradition


The Indus Valley Civilization encompassed most of Pakistan, extending from Balochistan to Sindh, and extending into modern day Indian states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab, with an upward reach to Rupar on the upper Sutlej. The geography of the Indus Valley put the civilizations that arose there in a highly similar situation to those in Egypt and Peru, with rich agricultural lands being surrounded by highlands, desert, and ocean. Recently, Indus sites have been discovered in Pakistan's northwestern Frontier Province as well. Other IVC colonies can be found in Afghanistan while smaller isolated colonies can be found as far away as Turkmenistan and in Gujarat. Coastal settlements extended from Sutkagan Dor[20] in Western Baluchistan to Lothal[21] in Gujarat. An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortughai in northern Afghanistan,[22] in the Gomal River valley in northwestern Pakistan,[23] at Manda on the Beas River near Jammu,[24] India, and at Alamgirpur on the Hindon River, only 28 km from Delhi.[25] Indus Valley sites have been found most often on rivers, but also on the ancient seacoast,[26] for example, Balakot,[27] and on islands, for example, Dholavira.[28]

There is evidence of dry river beds overlapping with the Hakra channel in Pakistan and the seasonal Ghaggar River in India. Many Indus Valley (or Harappan) sites have been discovered along the Ghaggar-Hakra beds.[7] Among them are: Rupar, Rakhigarhi, Sothi, Kalibangan, and Ganwariwala.[29] According to J. G. Shaffer and D. A. Lichtenstein,[30] the Harappan Civilization "is a fusion of the Bagor, Hakra, and Koti Dij traditions or 'ethnic groups' in the Ghaggar-Hakra valley on the borders of India and Pakistan."[7]

According to some archaeologists, over 500 Harappan sites have been discovered along the dried up river beds of the Ghaggar-Hakra River and its tributaries,[31] in contrast to only about 100 along the Indus and its tributaries;[32] consequently, in their opinion, the appellation Indus Ghaggar-Hakra civilisation or Indus-Saraswati civilisation is justified. However, these politically inspired arguments are disputed by other archaeologists who state that the Ghaggar-Hakra desert area has been left untouched by settlements and agriculture since the end of the Indus period and hence shows more sites than found in the alluvium of the Indus valley; second, that the number of Harappan sites along the Ghaggar-Hakra river beds have been exaggerated and that the Ghaggar-Hakra, when it existed, was a tributary of the Indus, so the new nomenclature is redundant.[33] "Harappan Civilization" remains the correct one, according to the common archaeological usage of naming a civilization after its first findspot.

Early Harappan

The Early Harappan Ravi Phase, named after the nearby Ravi River, lasted from circa 3300 BCE until 2800 BCE. It is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley to the west, and predates the Kot Diji Phase (2800-2600 BCE, Harappan 2), named after a site in northern Sindh, Pakistan, near Mohenjo Daro. The earliest examples of the Indus script date from around 3000 BCE.[34]

The mature phase of earlier village cultures is represented by Rehman Dheri and Amri in Pakistan.[35] Kot Diji (Harappan 2) represents the phase leading up to Mature Harappan, with the citadel representing centralised authority and an increasingly urban quality of life. Another town of this stage was found at Kalibangan in India on the Hakra River.[36]

Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including lapis lazuli and other materials for bead-making. Villagers had, by this time, domesticated numerous crops, including peas, sesame seeds, dates, and cotton, as well as various animals, including the water buffalo. Early Harappan communities turned to large urban centres by 2600 BCE, from where the mature Harappan phase started.

Mature Harappan

By 2600 BCE, the Early Harappan communities had been turned into large urban centers. Such urban centers include Harappa, Ganeriwala, Mohenjo-daro in modern day Pakistan, and Dholavira, Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi, Rupar, and Lothal in modern day India. In total, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Indus Rivers and their tributaries.


Computer-aided reconstruction of coastal Harappan settlement at Sokhta Koh near Pasni, Pakistan

A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilization making them the first urban centers in the region. The quality of municipal town planning suggests the knowledge of urban planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene, or, alternatively, accessibility to the means of religious ritual.

As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and the recently partially excavated Rakhigarhi, this urban plan included the world's first known urban sanitation systems; see hydraulic engineering of the Indus Valley Civilization. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building of the Harappans.[37]

The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in many areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts.[citation needed]

So-called "Priest King" statue, Mohenjo-daro, late Mature Harappan period, National Museum, Karachi, Pakistan

The purpose of the citadel remains debated. In sharp contrast to this civilization's contemporaries, Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, no large monumental structures were built. There is no conclusive evidence of palaces or temples—or of kings, armies, or priests. Some structures are thought to have been granaries. Found at one city is an enormous well-built bath (the "Great Bath"), which may have been a public bath. Although the citadels were walled, it is far from clear that these structures were defensive. They may have been built to divert flood waters.

Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in well-defined neighborhoods. Materials from distant regions were used in the cities for constructing seals, beads and other objects. Among the artifacts discovered were beautiful glazed faïence beads. Steatite seals have images of animals, people (perhaps gods), and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered writing system of the Indus Valley Civilization. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods and most probably had other uses as well.

Although some houses were larger than others, Indus Civilization cities were remarkable for their apparent, if relative, egalitarianism. All the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with relatively low wealth concentration, though clear social leveling is seen in personal adornments.


Indus Valley seals, British Museum

The people of the Indus Civilization achieved great accuracy in measuring length, mass, and time. They were among the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures. A comparison of available objects indicates large scale variation across the Indus territories. Their smallest division, which is marked on an ivory scale found in Lothal, was approximately 1.704 mm, the smallest division ever recorded on a scale of the Bronze Age. Harappan engineers followed the decimal division of measurement for all practical purposes, including the measurement of mass as revealed by their hexahedron weights.[38]

These chert weights were in a ratio of 5:2:1 with weights of 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 units, with each unit weighing approximately 28 grams, similar to the English Imperial ounce or Greek uncia, and smaller objects were weighed in similar ratios with the units of 0.871. However, as in other cultures, actual weights were not uniform throughout the area. The weights and measures later used in Kautilya's Arthashastra (4th century BCE) are the same as those used in Lothal.[39]

Harappans evolved some new techniques in metallurgy and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The engineering skill of the Harappans was remarkable, especially in building docks after a careful study of tides, waves, and currents. The function of the so-called "dock" at Lothal, however, is disputed.

In 2001, archaeologists studying the remains of two men from Mehrgarh, Pakistan, made the discovery that the people of the Indus Valley Civilization, from the early Harappan periods, had knowledge of proto-dentistry. Later, in April 2006, it was announced in the scientific journal Nature that the oldest (and first early Neolithic) evidence for the drilling of human teeth in vivo (i.e., in a living person) was found in Mehrgarh. Eleven drilled molar crowns from nine adults were discovered in a Neolithic graveyard in Mehrgarh that dates, from 7,500-9,000 years ago. According to the authors, their discoveries point to a tradition of proto-dentistry in the early farming cultures of that region.[40]

A touchstone bearing gold streaks was found in Banawali, which was probably used for testing the purity of gold (such a technique is still used in some parts of India).[41]

Arts and crafts

The "dancing girl of Mohenjo Daro"
Chanhudaro. Fragment of Large Deep Vessel, circa 2500 B.C.E. Red pottery with red and black slip-painted decoration, 4 15/16 x 6 1/8 in. (12.5 x 15.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum

Various sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, and anatomically detailed figurines in terracotta, bronze, and steatite have been found at excavation sites.

A number of gold, terra-cotta and stone figurines of girls in dancing poses reveal the presence of some dance form. Also, these terra-cotta figurines included cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. The animal depicted on a majority of seals at sites of the mature period has not been clearly identified. Part bull, part zebra, with a majestic horn, it has been a source of speculation. As yet, there is insufficient evidence to substantiate claims that the image has religious or cultic significance, but the prevalence of the image raises the question of whether or not the animals in images of the IVC are religious symbols.[42]

Sir John Marshall is known to have reacted with surprise when he saw the famous Indus bronze statuette of a slender-limbed dancing girl in Mohenjo-daro:

… When I first saw them I found it difficult to believe that they were prehistoric; they seemed to completely upset all established ideas about early art, and culture. Modeling such as this was unknown in the ancient world up to the Hellenistic age of Greece, and I thought, therefore, that some mistake must surely have been made; that these figures had found their way into levels some 3000 years older than those to which they properly belonged. … Now, in these statuettes, it is just this anatomical truth which is so startling; that makes us wonder whether, in this all-important matter, Greek artistry could possibly have been anticipated by the sculptors of a far-off age on the banks of the Indus.

Many crafts "such as shell working, ceramics, and agate and glazed steatite bead making" were used in the making of necklaces, bangles, and other ornaments from all phases of Harappan sites and some of these crafts are still practiced in the subcontinent today.[43] Some make-up and toiletry items (a special kind of combs (kakai), the use of collyrium and a special three-in-one toiletry gadget) that were found in Harappan contexts still have similar counterparts in modern India.[44] Terracotta female figurines were found (ca. 2800-2600 BCE) which had red color applied to the "manga" (line of partition of the hair).[44]

Seals have been found at Mohenjo-daro depicting a figure standing on its head, and another sitting cross-legged in what some call a yoga-like pose (see image, the so-called Pashupati, below).

This figure, sometimes known as a Pashupati, has been variously identified. Sir John Marshall identified a resemblance to the Hindu god, Shiva.[45] If this can be validated, it would be evidence that some aspects of Hinduism predate the earliest texts, the Veda.

A harp-like instrument depicted on an Indus seal and two shell objects found at Lothal indicate the use of stringed musical instruments. The Harappans also made various toys and games, among them cubical dice (with one to six holes on the faces), which were found in sites like Mohenjo-Daro.[46]

Trade and transportation

The docks of ancient Lothal as they are today

The Indus civilization's economy appears to have depended significantly on trade, which was facilitated by major advances in transport technology. The IVC may have been the first civililzation to use wheeled transport.[47] These advances may have included bullock carts that are identical to those seen throughout South Asia today, as well as boats. Most of these boats were probably small, flat-bottomed craft, perhaps driven by sail, similar to those one can see on the Indus River today; however, there is secondary evidence of sea-going craft. Archaeologists have discovered a massive, dredged canal and what they regard as a docking facility at the coastal city of Lothal in western India (Gujarat state). An extensive canal network, used for irrigation, has however also been discovered by H.-P. Francfort.

During 4300–3200 BCE of the chalcolithic period (copper age), the Indus Valley Civilization area shows ceramic similarities with southern Turkmenistan and northern Iran which suggest considerable mobility and trade. During the Early Harappan period (about 3200–2600 BCE), similarities in pottery, seals, figurines, ornaments, etc., document intensive caravan trade with Central Asia and the Iranian plateau.[48]

Judging from the dispersal of Indus civilisation artifacts, the trade networks, economically, integrated a huge area, including portions of Afghanistan, the coastal regions of Persia, northern and western India, and Mesopotamia.

There is some evidence that trade contacts extended to Crete and possibly to Egypt.[49]

There was an extensive maritime trade network operating between the Harappan and Mesopotamian civilizations as early as the middle Harappan Phase, with much commerce being handled by "middlemen merchants from Dilmun" (modern Bahrain and Failaka located in the Persian Gulf).[50] Such long-distance sea trade became feasible with the innovative development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a single central mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth.

Several coastal settlements like Sotkagen-dor (astride Dasht River, north of Jiwani), Sokhta Koh (astride Shadi River, north of Pasni), and Balakot (near Sonmiani) in Pakistan along with Lothal in India testify to their role as Harappan trading outposts. Shallow harbors located at the estuary of rivers opening into the sea allowed brisk maritime trade with Mesopotamian cities.


Some post-1980 studies indicate that food production was largely indigenous to the Indus Valley. It is known that the people of Mehrgarh used domesticated wheats and barley,[51] and the major cultivated cereal crop was naked six-row barley, a crop derived from two-row barley (see Shaffer and Liechtenstein 1995, 1999). Archaeologist Jim G. Shaffer (1999: 245) writes that the Mehrgarh site "demonstrates that food production was an indigenous South Asian phenomenon" and that the data support interpretation of "the prehistoric urbanization and complex social organization in South Asia as based on indigenous, but not isolated, cultural developments." Others, such as Dorian Fuller, however, indicate that it took some 2000 years before Middle Eastern wheat was acclimatised to South Asian conditions.

Writing system

Between 400 and as many as 600 distinct Indus symbols[52] have been found on seals, small tablets, or ceramic pots and over a dozen other materials, including a "signboard" that apparently once hung over the gate of the inner citadel of the Indus city of Dholavira. Typical Indus inscriptions are no more than four or five characters in length, most of which (aside from the Dholavira "signboard") are tiny; the longest on a single surface, which is less than 1 inch (2.54 cm) square, is 17 signs long; the longest on any object (found on three different faces of a mass-produced object) has a length of 26 symbols.

While the Indus Valley Civilization is generally characterized as a literate society on the evidence of these inscriptions, this description has been challenged by Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel (2004)[53] who argue that the Indus system did not encode language, but was instead similar to a variety of non-linguistic sign systems used extensively in the Near East and other societies. Others have claimed on occasion that the symbols were exclusively used for economic transactions, but this claim leaves unexplained the appearance of Indus symbols on many ritual objects, many of which were mass-produced in molds. No parallels to these mass-produced inscriptions are known in any other early ancient civilizations.[54]

In a 2009 study by P. N. Rao et al. published in Science, computer scientists, comparing the pattern of symbols to various linguistic scripts and non-linguistic systems, including DNA and a computer programming language, found that the Indus script's pattern is closer to that of spoken words, supporting the hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language.[55][56]

Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel have disputed this finding, pointing out that Rao et al. did not actually compare the Indus signs with "real-world non-linguistic systems" but rather with "two wholly artificial systems invented by the authors, one consisting of 200,000 randomly ordered signs and another of 200,000 fully ordered signs, that they spuriously claim represent the structures of all real-world non-linguistic sign systems".[57] Farmer et al. have also demonstrated that a comparison of a non-linguistic system like medieval heraldic signs with natural languages yields results similar to those that Rao et al. obtained with Indus signs. They conclude that the method used by Rao et al. cannot distinguish linguistic systems from non-linguistic ones.[58]

The messages on the seals have proved to be too short to be decoded by a computer. Each seal has a distinctive combination of symbols and there are too few examples of each sequence to provide a sufficient context. The symbols that accompany the images vary from seal to seal, making it impossible to derive a meaning for the symbols from the images. There have, nonetheless, been a number of interpretations offered for the meaning of the seals. These interpretations have been marked by ambiguity and subjectivity.[59]

Photos of many of the thousands of extant inscriptions are published in the Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions (1987, 1991), edited by A. Parpola and his colleagues. Publication of a final third volume, which will reportedly republish photos taken in the 1920s and 1930s of hundreds of lost or stolen inscriptions, along with many discovered in the last few decades, has been announced for several years. For now, researchers must supplement the materials in the Corpus by study of the tiny photos in the excavation reports of Marshall (1931), Mackay (1938, 1943), Wheeler (1947), or reproductions in more recent scattered sources.


The so-called Shiva Pashupati seal

Some Indus valley seals show swastikas, which are found in other religions (worldwide) , especially in Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism. The earliest evidence for elements of Hinduism are alleged to have been present before and during the early Harappan period.[60] Phallic symbols interpreted as the much later Hindu Shiva lingam have been found in the Harappan remains.[61][62]

Swastika Seals from the Indus Valley Civilization preserved at the British Museum.

Many Indus valley seals show animals. One motive shows a horned figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators Pashupati (lord of cattle), an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva and Rudra.[63][64][65]

In view of the large number of figurines found in the Indus valley, some scholars believe that the Harappan people worshipped a Mother goddess symbolizing fertility, a common practice among rural hinduists even today.[66] However, this view has been disputed by S. Clark who sees it as an inadequate explanation of the function and construction of many of the figurines.[67]

There are no religious buildings or evidence of elaborate burials. If there were temples, they have not been identified[68]

In the earlier phases of their culture, the Harappans buried their dead; however, later, especially in the Cemetery H culture of the late Harrapan period, they also cremated their dead and buried the ashes in burial urns, a transition notably also alluded to in the Indo-European Rigveda, where the forefathers "both cremated (agnidagdhá-) and uncremated (ánagnidagdha-)" are invoked (RV 10.15.14).

It is possible that a temple exists to the East of the great bath, but the site has not been excavated. There is a Buddhist reliquary mound on the site and permission has not been granted to move it.[69] Until there is sufficient evidence, speculation about the religion of the IVC is largely based on a retrospective view from a much later Hindu perspective.[42]

Late Harappan

Around 1800 BCE, signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BCE, most of the cities were abandoned. In 1953, Sir Mortimer Wheeler proposed that the decline of the Indus Civilization was caused by the invasion of an Indo-European tribe from Central Asia called the "Aryans". As evidence, he cited a group of 37 skeletons found in various parts of Mohenjo-Daro, and passages in the Vedas referring to battles and forts. However, scholars soon started to reject Wheeler's theory, since the skeletons belonged to a period after the city's abandonment and none were found near the citadel. Subsequent examinations of the skeletons by Kenneth Kennedy in 1994 showed that the marks on the skulls were caused by erosion, and not violent aggression.[70] Today, many scholars believe that the collapse of the Indus Civilization was caused by drought and a decline in trade with Egypt and Mesopotamia.[71] It has also been suggested that immigration by new peoples, deforestation, floods, or changes in the course of the river may have contributed to the collapse of the IVC.[72]

Previously, it was also believed that the decline of the Harappan civilization led to an interruption of urban life in the Indian subcontinent. However, the Indus Valley Civilization did not disappear suddenly, and many elements of the Indus Civilization can be found in later cultures. Current archaeological data suggest that material culture classified as Late Harappan may have persisted until at least c. 1000-900 BCE and was partially contemporaneous with the Painted Grey Ware culture.[73] Harvard archaeologist Richard Meadow points to the late Harappan settlement of Pirak, which thrived continuously from 1800 BCE to the time of the invasion of Alexander the Great in 325 BCE.[71]

Recent archaeological excavations indicate that the decline of Harappa drove people eastward. After 1900 BCE, the number of sites in India increased from 218 to 853. Excavations in the Gangetic plain show that urban settlement began around 1200 BCE, only a few centuries after the decline of Harappa and much earlier than previously expected.[71] Archaeologists have emphasized that, just as in most areas of the world, there was a continuous series of cultural developments. These link "the so-called two major phases of urbanization in South Asia".[73]

A possible natural reason for the IVC's decline is connected with climate change that is also signaled for the neighboring areas of the Middle East: The Indus valley climate grew significantly cooler and drier from about 1800 BCE, linked to a general weakening of the monsoon at that time. Alternatively, a crucial factor may have been the disappearance of substantial portions of the Ghaggar Hakra river system. A tectonic event may have diverted the system's sources toward the Ganges Plain, though there is complete uncertainty about the date of this event, as most settlements inside Ghaggar-Hakra river beds have not yet been dated. The actual reason for decline might be any combination of these factors. New geological research is now being conducted by a group led by Peter Clift, from the University of Aberdeen, to investigate how the courses of rivers have changed in this region since 8000 years ago, to test whether climate or river reorganizations are responsible for the decline of the Harappan. A 2004 paper indicated that the isotopes of the Ghaggar-Hakra system do not come from the Himalayan glaciers, and were rain-fed instead, contradicting a Harappan time mighty "Sarasvati' river.[74]


In the aftermath of the Indus Civilization's collapse, regional cultures emerged, to varying degrees showing the influence of the Indus Civilization. In the formerly great city of Harappa, burials have been found that correspond to a regional culture called the Cemetery H culture. At the same time, the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture expanded from Rajasthan into the Gangetic Plain. The Cemetery H culture has the earliest evidence for cremation, a practice dominant in Hinduism till today.

Historical context and linguistic affiliation

The IVC has been tentatively identified with the toponym Meluhha known from Sumerian records. It has been compared in particular with the civilizations of Elam (also in the context of the Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis) and with Minoan Crete (because of isolated cultural parallels such as the ubiquitous goddess worship and depictions of bull-leaping).[75] The mature (Harappan) phase of the IVC is contemporary to the Early to Middle Bronze Age in the Ancient Near East, in particular the Old Elamite period, Early Dynastic to Ur III Mesopotamia, Prepalatial Minoan Crete and Old Kingdom to First Intermediate Period Egypt.

After the discovery of the IVC in the 1920s, it was immediately associated with the indigenous Dasyu inimical to the Rigvedic tribes in numerous hymns of the Rigveda. Mortimer Wheeler interpreted the presence of many unburied corpses found in the top levels of Mohenjo-daro as the victims of a warlike conquest, and famously stated that "Indra stands accused" of the destruction of the IVC. The association of the IVC with the city-dwelling Dasyus remains alluring because the assumed timeframe of the first Indo-Aryan migration into India corresponds neatly with the period of decline of the IVC seen in the archaeological record. The discovery of the advanced, urban IVC however changed the 19th century view of early Indo-Aryan migration as an "invasion" of an advanced culture at the expense of a "primitive" aboriginal population to a gradual acculturation of nomadic "barbarians" on an advanced urban civilization, comparable to the Germanic migrations after the Fall of Rome, or the Kassite invasion of Babylonia. This move away from simplistic "invasionist" scenarios parallels similar developments in thinking about language transfer and population movement in general, such as in the case of the migration of the Greeks into Greece (between 2100 and 1600 BCE), or the Indo-Europeanization of Western Europe (between 2200 and 1300 BCE).

It was often suggested that the bearers of the IVC corresponded to proto-Dravidians linguistically, the breakup of proto-Dravidian corresponding to the breakup of the Late Harappan culture.[76] Today, the Dravidian language family is concentrated mostly in southern India and northern Sri Lanka, but pockets of it still remain throughout the rest of India and Pakistan (the Brahui language), which lends credence to the theory. Finnish Indologist Asko Parpola concludes that the uniformity of the Indus inscriptions precludes any possibility of widely different languages being used, and that an early form of Dravidian language must have been the language of the Indus people. Proto-Munda (or Para-Munda) and a "lost phylum" (perhaps related or ancestral to the Nihali language)[77] have been proposed as other candidates.

The civilization is sometimes referred to as the Indus Ghaggar-Hakra civilization[4] or the Indus-Sarasvati civilization by Hindutva groups, which is based on theories of Indigenous Aryans and the Out of India migration of Indo-European speakers.

Developments in July 2010

On July 11, heavy floods hit Haryana in India and damaged the archaeological site of Jognakhera, where ancient copper smelting were found dating back almost 5,000 years. The Indus Valley Civilization site was hit by almost 10 feet of water as the Sutlej Yamuna link canal overflowed.[78]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ The civilization is sometimes referred to as the Indus Ghaggar-Hakra civilization or the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. The appellation Indus-Sarasvati is based on the possible identification of the Ghaggar-Hakra River with the Sarasvati River of the Nadistuti sukta in the Rig Veda, but this usage is disputed on linguistic and geographical grounds.[4][5][6]
  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Ching, Francis D. K.; Jarzombek, Mark;Prakash, Vikramaditya (2006). A Global History of Architecture. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons. pp. 28–32. ISBN 0471268925.
  5. ^ McIntosh 2001, p. 24.
  6. ^ Ratnagar, Shereen (2006). Trading Encounters: From the Euphrates to the Indus in the Bronze Age. Oxford University Press, India. ISBN 019568088X.
  7. ^ a b c Possehl, G. L. (October 1990). "Revolution in the Urban Revolution: The Emergence of Indus Urbanization". Annual Review of Anthropology 19: 261–282. doi:10.1146/ Retrieved 2007-05-06. See map on page 263
  8. ^ Indian Archaeology, A Review. 1958-1959. Excavations at Alamgirpur. Delhi: Archaeol. Surv. India, pp. 51–52.
  9. ^ Leshnik, Lawrence S. (October 1968). "The Harappan "Port" at Lothal: Another View". American Anthropologist, New Series, 70 (5): 911–922. doi:10.1525/aa.1968.70.5.02a00070. JSTOR 669756.
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  15. ^ a b Davreau, Robert (1976). "Indus Valley". In Reader's Digest. World's Last Mysteries.
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  19. ^ Chandler, Graham (September/October 1999). "Traders of the Plain". Saudi Aramco World: 34–42.
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  22. ^ Kenoyer 1998, p. 96
  23. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hassan (1970–1971). "Excavations in the Gomal Valley". Ancient Pakistan (5): 1–177.
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  29. ^ Mughal, M. R. 1982. "Recent archaeological research in the Cholistan desert". In Possehl, Gregory L. (ed.). Harappan Civilization. Delhi: Oxford & IBH & A.I.1.S.. pp. 85–95.
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  31. ^ Gupta 1995, p. 183
  32. ^ e.g. Misra, Virendra Nath (1992). Indus Civilization, a special Number of the Eastern Anthropologist. pp. 1–19.
  33. ^ Ratnagar, Shereen (2006). Understanding Harappa: Civilization in the Greater Indus Valley. New Delhi: Tulika Books. ISBN 8189487027.
  34. ^ Parpola, Asko (1994). Deciphering the Indus Script. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521430798.
  35. ^ Durrani, F. A. (1984). "Some Early Harappan sites in Gomal and Bannu Valleys". In Lal, B. B. and Gupta, S. P.. Frontiers of Indus Civilisation. Delhi: Books & Books. pp. 505–510.
  36. ^ Thapar, B. K. (1975). "Kalibangan: A Harappan Metropolis Beyond the Indus Valley". Expedition 17 (2): 19–32.
  37. ^ It has been noted that the courtyard pattern and techniques of flooring of Harappan houses has similarities to the way house-building is still done in some villages of the region. Lal 2002, pp. 93–95
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  54. ^ These and other issues are addressed in Parpola (2005)
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  56. ^ Indus Script Encodes Language, Reveals New Study of Ancient Symbols Newswise, Retrieved on June 5, 2009.
  57. ^ A Refutation of the Claimed Refutation of the Non-linguistic Nature of Indus Symbols: Invented Data Sets in the Statistical Paper of Rao et al. (Science, 2009) Retrieved on September 19, 2009.
  58. ^ 'Conditional Entropy' Cannot Distinguish Linguistic from Non-linguistic Systems Retrieved on September 19, 2009.
  59. ^ ibid. p. 69
  60. ^ "Hindu History". The BBC names a bath and phallic symbols of the Harappan civilization as features of the "Prehistoric religion (3000-1000BCE)".
  61. ^ Basham 1967
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  78. ^ Sabharwal, Vijay (2010-07-11). "Indus Valley site ravaged by floods". The Times Of India.


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External links



Autori din antichitate despre aceasta migratie 

This site has good documentary information, but we can not agree or condone the bad language and invectives contained in the text.


Diodor din Sicilia, în scrierea Biblioteca istorică, Cartea ll,XXXVlll, ne transmite informaţii despre originea neamurilor din India scriind: ,,Cei mai învăţaţi dintre inzi povestesc o legendă pe care este cuvenit să o înfăţişăm cititorilor. În cele mai îndepărtate vremi, pe cînd oamenii trăiau răzleţiţi doar prin sate, a venit dinspre apus Dionisos cu o puternică oaste şi străbătu întreaga Indie, unde nu se afla nici o cetate ce s-ar cuveni amintită şi ar fi putut să i se împotrivească. Cînd, mai apoi, - din pricina arşiţei – se porni o molimă care secera pe războinici, Dionisos, ca un înţelept cîrmuitor, îşi duse oastea din cîmpie spre munţi. Aici, bătînd vînturi reci şi ape repezi curgînd chiar din izvoarele lor, molima părăsi tabăra lui Dionisos. Ţinutul muntos unde el îşi tămădui oastea se numea Meros. Apoi zeul a strîns roadele cîmpului, le-a păstrat şi i-a învăţat pe inzi meşteşugul agriculturii. Tot astfel, le-a arătat cultura viţei de vie şi multe lucruri folositoare vieţii. Aici el a fost întemeietorul unor cetăţi vestite, strîngînd laolaltă – în ţinuturi mai bine aşezate – sate întregi şi învăţîndu-i pe oameni a-i preamări pe zei. El mai statornici legi şi judecăţi, într-un cuvînt, minunate lucruri fapt pentru care a fost socotit zeu…. Cincizeci şi doi de ani a domnit Dionisos în India murind la adînci bătrîneţe. Fiii săi i-ar fi urmat la domnie, lăsînd apoi regatul urmaşilor, pînă cînd, după multe generaţii, împărăţia lor s-a destrămat şi fiecare cetate a avut o cîrmuire democratică… Acestea le povestesc locuitorii ţinuturilor muntoase ale Indiei.”Vedem că povestea lăsată de Diodor, este identică în conţinutul ei cu informaţiile din scrierile sanscrite şi cu concluzia englezilor care au scris studiul amintit mai sus. Ne mai spune Diodor că migraţia a avut loc în cîmpiile din vestul Indiei şi datorită unor molime cumplite, neamurile aryas şi-au părăsit cetăţile întemeiate în aceste locuri şi s-au stabilit în munţi.

     Studiile textelor sanscrite au arătat că migraţia a pornit din Centrul Europei, de pe toriştea carpatină în jurul anului 2600 î.e.n. Cele două mari centre ale culturii antice indiene – Mohenjo Daro şi Harapa – au fost întemeiate tot pe la anii 2600 î.e.n. şi au fost părăsite cam pe la 1800-1700 î.e.n. Semnele folosite în scrierea din Mohenjo – Daro se găsesc printre semnele folosite de geţi pe tăbliţele de plumb, iar în cultura strămoşească pe un munte sfînt se afla Măru Roşu sau Pomul Vieţii! Dar mai avem şi alte dovezi că migraţia neamurilor aryas a pornit din Carpaţi.

     În lucrarea Dionysos, autorul Nonus Panopolitanul, ne transmite o legendă despre războiul neamurilor arimine pregătit împotriva indienilor de către Ma sau Cybele, marea zeitate frigiană. Oştirile adunate cîtă frunză şi iarbă trebuiau a fi conduse de Dionysos, iar primii soldaţi chemaţi sînt cabirii care erau faimoasele triburi din Carpaţi ce s-au perindat cu turmele şi obiceiurile lor prin ţinuturile din Asia Mică ajungînd pînă în Egipt. ,,Mai întîi din stînca abruptă şi scăpărătoare de foc a Lemnosului, făuri furtunoasă armă, aproape cu un molift mistic din Samos, doi cabiri, fii ai lui Hefaistos, avînd numele de familiei al mumei lor, pe care Cabiro din Tracia îi născu mai înainte, cerescului făurar, adică pe Alcon şi Eurymedon, măiestru în fierărie”. Autorul îi localizează pe cabiri în Tracia pentru că aşa erau ei cunoscuţi în lumea greacă, ce refuza să recunoască orice urmă de cultură geţilor, dar adevărata lor baştină era la nord de Istru unde apar pe toate monumentele lui Mitra cu numele de Cauti şi Cautipati, adică Cercetătorul şi Judecătorul.   

     În Cartea XLVll a scrierii lui Diodor, acesta ne transmite informaţii despre insula Sacră a Cabirilor: ,,Să începem cu Samothrace. Unii afirmă că această insulă s-ar fi numit odinioară Samos. Dar acest nume – Samos -  a rămas doar insulei care a fost mai recent locuită, pe cîtă vreme vechii insule Samos i s-a spus Samothrace, pentru că se afla în apropierea Traciei. Locuitorii din Samothrace sînt băştinaşi şi, de aceea nu există nici un fel de legende despre cei dintîi oameni din insulă şi cîrmuitorii lor. Unii spun că odinioară i se ziceau Saonesos şi că abia mai tîrziu, cînd au venit coloniştii în Samos din Tracia a fost denumită Samothrace. Băştinaşii, au o limbă veche a lor din care foarte multe vorbe s-au păstrat pînă în zilele noastre, mai ales cuvinte privitoare la ritualul jertfelor… şi încă înainte de potop a fost locuită.”

     În Cartea XLVlll, Diodor ne transmite o altă variantă a legendei cu privire la numele insulei Samothrace şi spune că el provine de la un conducător Saon care a venit din Tracia şi împreună cu alţii au colonizat locul. Dar numele de Saon este apropiat de Soin sau Zoin de pe tăbliţele de plumb, fiind divinitatea lunii şi a renaşterii. Căpetenia a împărţit populaţia insulei în cinci triburi, numindu-le după numele fiilor săi şi le-a dat legi drepte pentru a se guverna cinstit. Unul din fii, Iasion a luat de soţie pe Cybele cu care l-a avut pe Coribas iar cînd a murit a fost trecut în rîndul zeilor. Fratele său Dardanos, al cărui neam era la nord de Tracia, împreună cu Cybele şi Coribas ,,au adus cultul Mamei Zeilor în Asia, statornicindu-se în Frigia… Dar amănuntele sfintelor ceremonii nu au fost destăinuite decît celor iniţiaţi în mistere. Foarte vestite sînt apariţiile acestor zei – cabirii – cum şi ajutorul minunat pe care ei îl dau celor iniţiaţi, cînd aceştia se află în primejdie şi cheamă Nemuritorii să le vie în ajutor.” Cabirii îşi aveau principalul centru de cult în insula Samothrace, dar erau cinstiţi pretutindeni în bazinul Mediteranei, chiar şi în Egipt, la Memphis, fiind două personaje masculine aşa cum apar şi pe iconiţele de cult ale geţilor.

     Ca să ne lămurim mai bine cu mitul Cybelei şi a lui Dionysos, mai dau un fragment din scrierea lui Diodor, Cartea lll,LlX: ,,Muzele născociră sunetul din mijloc, Linos septima, Orfeu şi Thamiris secunda şi terţa. Apolo şi-a lepădat cetera în peştera lui Dionisos, iar pe Cybele – pe care o îndrăgise -  a însoţit-o în rătăcirile ei pînă la hiperboreeni… Frigienii, aduc de asemenea, în cinstea Cybelei jertfe pe vechile lor altare; şi i-au mai înălţat un templu măreţ la Penus în Frigia, unde se desfăşoară serbări şi se aduceau mari sacrificii, Cu acest prilej, regele Midas, şi-a dovedit multă bunăvoinţă prin ajutorul pe care l-a dat.”

     Textul ne arată că Cybele era foarte venerată şi la nordul Istrului în ţinutul hiperboreenilor dar sub o altă denumire, de unde ea a fost dusă la frigieni de către Dardanos împreună cu cumnata sa Cybele şi fiul ei Coribas care a format şi tagma preoţească ce slujea pe Mama Zeilor sau Mama Pămîntească.

     Şi despre Dionysos avem informaţii în scrierea lui Diodor în Cartea lV,lV: ,,Unii povestitori de mituri spun că ar mai existat şi un alt Dionisos… pe care îl numesc Sabazios. Naşterea lui este slăvită şi i se aduc jertfe, primind cinstirile vrednice de o zeitate; dar numai în timpul nopţii şi în mare taină, deoarece adunările care au loc atunci atrag asupra celor ce i-au parte la ele neîncrederea şi înjosirea. Se povesteşte despre acest Dionisos că s-ar fi deosebit mult prin agerimea minţii lui.” Numele divinităţii invocat de scriitorul grec este apropiat de cel de pe tăbliţele de plumb – Zabelo – care era duhul vieţii împlinite, al căldurii şi maturităţii, al forţei şi energiei solare. Iar finalul citatului mă duce la concluzia că acest Dionysos a condus oştirile arimine în frunte cu cabirii din ţinuturile Carpaţilor pînă în India şi a dus pe acele locuri cultura de aici ce a rezistat peste timp prin brahmanism, sistem religios cu multe elemente comune în religia geţilor.         

     Coroborînd informaţiile transmise de scrierile sanscrite cu cele antice greceşti, se dovedeşte cu toată puterea adevărului că neamurile aryas au plecat din toriştea carpatină în jurul anilor 2600 î.e.n. prin Asia Mică şi nordul Iranului unde a rămas amintirea ţării Aryanam, au făcut un popas de vreo 800 de ani în cîmpia de vest a Indiei unde au întemeiat o civilizaţie înfloritoare, apoi, datorită unor molime cumplite, au plecat spre munţii din nord unde erau mai feriţi de pericolul bolilor din mediul umed al cîmpiei.  

     Un alt argument al originii lor carpatine este mulţimea de toponime şi hidronime de cca 2500 asemănătoare limbilor română şi sanscrită dar şi cca 1500 de cuvinte ce le au comune cele două limbi şi care nu se găsesc decît foarte puţine în latină

Afanasevo Culture

Afanasevo culture

Afanasevo (or Afanasievo) culture, 3500—2500 BC, an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age.

Map of the approximate extent of the Afanasevo culture which is shown in green and the westerly Andronovo culture is in orange.

It became known from excavations in the Minusinsk area of the Krasnoyarsk Krai, southern Siberia, but the culture was also widespread in western Mongolia, northern Xinjiang, and eastern and central Kazakhstan, with connections or extensions in Tajikistan and the Aral area.

The economy seems to have been semi-nomadic pastoralism, with cattle, ovicaprids and horse remains being documented, along with those of wild game.

The culture is mainly known from its inhumations, with the deceased buried in conic or rectangular enclosures, often in a supine position, reminiscent of the Yamna burials, but there are a number of settlements as well. Metal objects and the presence of wheeled vehicles are documented.

The burials bear a remarkable resemblance to those much further west in the Yamna culture, the Sredny Stog culture, the Catacomb culture and the Poltavka culture, all of which are believed to be Indo-European in nature, particularly within the context of the Kurgan hypothesis as put forward by Marija Gimbutas and her followers. Kozshin (1970) has identified perforated horn pieces as riding bits, but this claim has been disputed.

Its relationship to the later, more westerly Andronovo culture is difficult to characterize.

This early extreme outlier of presumably Indo-European culture makes it an automatic candidate for being the earliest attested representative for speakers of the Tocharian stock.


See also


  • H. P. Francfort, The Archeology of Protohistoric Central Asia and the Problems of Identifying Indo-European and Uralic-Speaking populations (review)
  • Kozshin, P, "O psaliach is afanasievskih mogil", Sovetskaya Archeologiya 4, 189–93 (1970)
  • Einführung in die Ethnologie Zentralasiens Marion Linska, Andrea Handl, Gabriele Rasuly-Paleczek (2003) (.doc version)
  • Mallory, J. P. (1997), "Afanasevo Culture", Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn .
  • Mallory, J. P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000), The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West, London: Thames & Hudson .


Akkadian Empire

Akkadian Empire

Coordinates: 33°6′N 44°6′E / 33.1°N 44.1°E / 33.1; 44.1
Akkadian Empire
 2334 BC–2154 BC 
Map of the Akkadian Empire, showing Sargon's conquests.
Language(s)Akkadian, Sumerian
KingSargon of Akkad
Historical eraAncient
- Established2334 BC
- Disestablished2154 BC
Euphrates ·Tigris
Eridu ·Kish ·Uruk ·Ur
Lagash ·Nippur ·Girsu
Susa ·Anshan
Akkadian Empire
Akkad ·Mari
Isin ·Larsa
Babylon ·Chaldea
Assur ·Nimrud
Dur-Sharrukin ·Nineveh
Mesopotamia (Dynasty list)
Sumer (king list)
Kings of Elam
Kings of Assyria
Kings of Babylon
Enûma Elish ·Gilgamesh
Assyrian religion
Sumerian ·Elamite
Akkadian ·Aramaic
Hurrian ·Hittite

The Akkadian Empire (Akkadian URUAkkad KI, Hittite KUR A.GA.DÈ.KI "land of Akkad"; Biblical Hebrew אַכַּד Akkad) was an empire centered in the city of Akkad (Sumerian: Agade) and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia.[1]

During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism.[2] Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate).[3]

Akkad reached its political peak between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests of king Sargon of Akkad (2334–2279 BC), often referred to as Sargon the Great. Under Sargon and his successors, Akkadian language was briefly imposed on neighboring conquered states such as Elam. Akkad is sometimes regarded as the first empire in history,[4] though there are earlier Sumerian claimants.



[edit] City of Akkad

The precise archaeological site of the city of Akkad has not yet been found.[citation needed] The form Agade appears in Sumerian, for example in the Sumerian King List; the later Assyro-Babylonian form Akkadû ("of or belonging to Akkad") was likely derived from this. It is possible that the Sumerian name, despite its unetymological spelling A.GA.DÈ, is from AGA.DÈ, meaning "Crown of Fire"[5] in allusion to Ishtar, "the brilliant goddess", whose cult was observed from very early times in Agade. Centuries later, the neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus mentioned in his archaeological records[6] that Ishtar's worship in Agade was later superseded by that of the goddess Anunit, whose shrine was at Sippar—suggesting proximity of Sippar and Agade. Despite numerous searches, the city has never been found. One theory holds that Agade was situated opposite Sippar on the left bank of the Euphrates, and was perhaps the oldest part of the city of Sippar. Another theory is that the ruins of Akkad are to be found beneath modern Baghdad. Reputedly it was destroyed by invading Gutians with the fall of the Akkadian Empire.[7]

The first known mention of the city of Akkad is in an inscription of Enshakushanna of Uruk, where he claims to have defeated Agade—indicating that it was in existence well before the days of Sargon of Akkad, who the Sumerian King List claims to have built it.[8] Akkad is mentioned once in the TanakhBook of Genesis 10:10: And the beginning of his Nimrod's kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (KJV). The Greek (LXX) spelling in this passage is Archad.

[edit] History

[edit] Origins

Semitic speakers of the Akkadian language seem to have already been present in Mesopotamia at the dawn of the historical period, and soon achieved preeminence with the first Dynasty of Kish and numerous localities to the north of Sumer, where rulers with Semitic Akkadian names had already established themselves by the 3rd millennium BC. Sargon has often been cited as the first ruler of a combined empire of Akkad and Sumer, although more recently discovered data suggests there had been Sumerian expansions under previous kings, including Lugal-Anne-Mundu of Adab, Eannatum of Lagash, and Lugal-Zage-Si.

[edit] Sargon and his sons

Bronze head of an Akkadian, (National Museum of Iraq)

The fame of the early establishers of Semitic supremacy was far eclipsed by that of Sargon of Akkad (Sharru-kin = "legitimate king", possibly a title he took on gaining power; 24th century BC), who defeated and captured Lugal-Zage-Si in the Battle of Uruk, conquering his empire. The earliest records in the Akkadian language date to the time of Sargon. Sargon was claimed to be the son of La'ibum or Itti-Bel, a humble gardener, and possibly a hierodule, prostitute, or priestess to Ishtar or Inanna.

One legend related of Sargon in Assyrian times says that

"My mother was a changeling (?), my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azurpiranu (the wilderness herb fields), which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My changeling mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose not over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was gardener Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and (fifty?) ... years I exercised kingship."[9]

Originally a cupbearer (Rabshaqe) to a king of Kish with a Semitic name, Ur-Zababa, Sargon thus became a gardener, responsible for the task of clearing out irrigation canals. This gave him access to a disciplined corps of workers, who also may have served as his first soldiers. Displacing Ur-Zababa, Sargon was crowned king, and he entered upon a career of foreign conquest.[10] Four times he invaded Syria and Canaan, and he spent three years thoroughly subduing the countries of "the west" to unite them with Mesopotamia "into a single empire."

However, Sargon took this process further, conquering many of the surrounding regions to create an empire that reached westward as far as the Mediterranean Sea and perhaps Cyprus (Kaptara); northward as far as the mountains (a later Hittite text asserts he fought the Hattite king Nurdaggal of Burushanda, well into Anatolia); eastward over Elam; and as far south as Magan (Oman) — a region over which he reigned for purportedly 56 years, though only four "year-names" survive.

Trade extended from the silver mines of Anatolia to the lapis lazuli mines in Afghanistan, the cedars of Lebanon and the copper of Magan. This consolidation of the city-states of Sumer and Akkad reflected the growing economic and political power of Mesopotamia. The empire's breadbasket was the rain-fed agricultural system of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria) and a chain of fortresses was built to control the imperial wheat production.

Images of Sargon were erected on the shores of the Mediterranean, in token of his victories, and cities and palaces were built at home with the spoils of the conquered lands. Elam and the northern part of Mesopotamia (Assyria/Subartu) were also subjugated, and rebellions in Sumer were put down. Contract tablets have been found dated in the years of the campaigns against Canaan and against Sarlak, king of Gutium. He also boasted of having subjugated the "four quarters" — the lands surrounding Akkad to the north (Assyria), the south (Sumer), the east (Elam) and the west (Martu). Some of the earliest historiographic texts (ABC 19, 20) suggest he rebuilt the city of Babylon (Bab-ilu) in its new location near Akkad.[11]

Sargon, throughout his long life, showed special deference to the Sumerian deities, particularly Inanna, his patroness, and Zababa, the warrior god of Kish. He called himself "The anointed priest of Anu" and "the great ensi of Enlil" and his daughter, Enheduanna, was installed as priestess to Nanna at the temple in Ur.

Troubles multiplied toward the end of his reign. A later Babylonian text states

"In his old age, all the lands revolted against him, and they besieged him in Akkad (the city)"…but "he went forth to battle and defeated them, he knocked them over and destroyed their vast army".

Also shortly after,

"the Subartu (mountainous tribes of Assyria) the upper country—in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Sargon settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously".

These difficulties broke out again in the reign of his sons. Revolts broke out during the 9-year reign of his son, Rimush (2278–2270 BC), who fought hard to retain the empire—and in the fifteen year reign of Rimush's elder brother, Manishtushu (2269–2255 BC). The latter king seems to have fought a sea battle against 32 kings who had gathered against him. Both appear to have been assassinated.

[edit] Naram-Sin

Stele of Naram-Sin,[12] celebrating victory against the Lullubi from Zagros 2260 BC. Brought back from Sippar to Susa as war prize in the 12th century BC

Manishtushu's son and successor, Naram-Sin (2254–2218 BC) (Beloved of Sin), assumed the imperial title "King Naram-Sin, king of the four quarters (Lugal Naram-Sîn, Šar kibrat 'arbaim)", and, like his grandfather, was addressed as "the god (Sumerian = DINGIR, Akkadian = ilu) of Agade" (Akkad).[13] He also faced revolts at the start of his reign,[14] but quickly crushed them.

Naram-Sin also recorded the Akkadian conquest of Ebla as well as Armanum and its king.[15] Armanum was located on the Euphrates River between Ebla and Tell Brak, most likely at the Citadel of Bazi – Tall Banat complex.[16][17] To better police this area, he built a royal residence at Tell Brak, a crossroads at the heart of the Khabur River basin of the Jezirah. Naram-Sin campaigned against Magan which also revolted; Naram-Sin, "marched against Magan and personally caught Mandannu, its king". The chief threat seemed to be coming from the northeastern mountaineers. A campaign against the Lullubi led to the carving of the famous "Victory Stele of Naram-Suen", now in the Louvre. Hittite sources claim Naram-Sin of Akkad even ventured into Anatolia, battling the Hittite and Hurrian kings Pamba of Hatti, Zipani of Kanesh, and 15 others.

This newfound Akkadian wealth may have been based upon benign climatic conditions, huge agricultural surpluses and the confiscation of the wealth of other peoples.[18]

Inscription of Naram Sin found at the city of Marad in Iraq. c. 2260 BP.

The economy was highly planned. Grain was cleaned, and rations of grain and oil were distributed in standardized vessels made by the city's potters. Taxes were paid in produce and labour on public walls, including city walls, temples, irrigation canals and waterways, producing huge agricultural surpluses.[19]

In later Assyrian and Babylonian texts, the name Akkad, together with Sumer, appears as part of the royal title, as in the Sumerian LUGAL KI.EN.GIRKI URUKI or Akkadian Šar māt Šumeri u Akkadi,[20] translating to "king of Sumer and Akkad". This title was assumed by the king who seized control of Nippur,[20] the intellectual and religious center of southern Mesopotamia.

During the Akkadian period, the Akkadian language became the lingua franca of the Middle East, and was officially used for administration, although the Sumerian language remained as a spoken and literary language. The spread of Akkadian stretched from Syria to Elam, and even the Elamite language was temporarily written in Mesopotamian cuneiform. Akkadian texts later found their way to far-off places, from Egypt (in the Amarna Period) and Anatolia, to Persia (Behistun).

[edit] Collapse of the Akkadian Empire

The Empire of Akkad collapsed in 2154 BC, within 180 years of its founding, ushering in a period of regional decline that lasted until the rise of the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur in 2112 BC. By the end of the reign of Naram-Sin's son, Shar-kali-sharri (2217–2193 BC), the empire had weakened. There was a period of anarchy between 2192 BC and 2168 BC. Shu-Durul (2168–2154 BC) appears to have restored some order, however he was unable to prevent the empire eventually collapsing outright from the invasion of barbarian peoples from the Zagros Mountains known as the Gutians.

Little is known about the Gutian period, or how long it endured. Cuneiform sources suggest that the Gutians' administration showed little concern for maintaining agriculture, written records, or public safety; they reputedly released all farm animals to roam about Mesopotamia freely, and soon brought about famine and rocketing grain prices. The Sumerian king Ur-Nammu (2112–2095 BC) cleared the Gutians from Mesopotamia during his reign.

It has recently been suggested that the regional decline at the end of the Akkadian period (and First Intermediary Period of the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom) was associated with rapidly increasing aridity, and failing rainfall in the region of the Ancient Near East, caused by a global centennial-scale drought.[21][22]

The Sumerian King List, describing the Akkadian Empire after the death of Shar-kali-shari, states:

"Who was king? Who was not king? Irgigi the king; Nanum, the king; Imi the king; Ilulu, the king—the four of them were kings but reigned only three years. Dudu reigned 21 years; Shu-Turul, the son of Dudu, reigned 15 years. … Agade was defeated and its kingship carried off to Uruk. In Uruk, Ur-ningin reigned 7 years, Ur-gigir, son of Ur-ningin, reigned 6 years; Kuda reigned 6 years; Puzur-ili reigned 5 years, Ur-Utu reigned 6 years. Uruk was smitten with weapons and its kingship carried off by the Gutian hordes.

However, there are no known year-names or other archaeological evidence verifying any of these later kings of Akkad or Uruk, apart from a single artifact referencing king Dudu of Akkad. The named kings of Uruk may have been contemporaries of the last kings of Akkad, but in any event could not have been very prominent.

In the Gutian hordes, (first reigned) a nameless king; (then) Imta reigned 3 years as king; Shulme reigned 6 years; Elulumesh reigned 6 years; Inimbakesh reigned 5 years; Igeshuash reigned 6 years; Iarlagab reigned 15 years; Ibate reigned 3 years; … reigned 3 years; Kurum reigned 1 year; … reigned 3 years; … reigned 2 years; Iararum reigned 2 years; Ibranum reigned 1 year; Hablum reigned 2 years; Puzur-Sin son of Hablum reigned 7 years; Iarlaganda reigned 7 years; … reigned 7 years; … reigned 40 days. Total 21 kings reigned 91 years, 40 days.

Evidence from Tell Leilan in Northern Mesopotamia shows what may have happened. The site was abandoned soon after the city's massive walls were constructed, its temple rebuilt and its grain production reorganised. The debris, dust and sand that followed show no trace of human activity. Soil samples show fine wind-blown sand, no trace of earthworm activity, reduced rainfall and indications of a drier and windier climate. Evidence shows that skeleton-thin sheep and cattle died of drought, and up to 28,000 people abandoned the site, seeking wetter areas elsewhere. Tell Brak shrank in size by 75%. Trade collapsed. Nomadic herders such as the Amorites moved herds closer to reliable water suppliers, bringing them into conflict with native Akkadian farmers. This climate-induced collapse seems to have affected the whole of the Middle East, and to have coincided with the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom.[23]

This collapse of rain-fed agriculture in the Upper Country meant the loss to southern Mesopotamia of the agrarian subsidies which had kept the Akkadian Empire solvent. Water levels within the Tigris and Euphrates fell 1.5 metres beneath the level of 2600 BC, and although they stabilised for a time during the following Ur III period, rivalries between pastoralists and farmers increased. Attempts were undertaken to prevent the former from herding their flocks in agricultural lands, such as the building of a 180 km (112 mi) wall known as the "Repeller of the Amorites" between the Tigris and Euphrates under the Ur III ruler Shu-Sin. Such attempts led to increased political instability; meanwhile, severe depopulation occurred to re-establish demographic equilibrium with the less favorable climatic conditions.[24]

It has also been recently suggested that the rapid climatic collapse, marking the Akkadian Dark Age, may have been responsible for the religiously prescribed prohibition against the raising and consumption of pigs that spread through the Ancient Middle East from the end of the third millennium BC.[18]

The period between ca. 2112 BC and 2004 BC is known as the Ur III period. Documents again began to be written in Sumerian, although Sumerian was becoming a purely literary or liturgical language, much as Latin later would be in Medieval Europe.[25]

[edit] The Curse

Later material described how the fall of Akkad was due to Naram-Sin's attack upon the city of Nippur. When prompted by a pair of inauspicious oracles, the king sacked the E-kur temple, supposedly protected by the god Enlil, head of the pantheon. As a result of this, eight chief deities of the Anunnaki pantheon were supposed to have come together and withdrawn their support from Akkad.[26]

For the first time since cities were built and founded,
The great agricultural tracts produced no grain,
The inundated tracts produced no fish,
The irrigated orchards produced neither wine nor syrup,
The gathered clouds did not rain, the masgurum did not grow.
At that time, one shekel's worth of oil was only one-half quart,
One shekel's worth of grain was only one-half quart. . . .
These sold at such prices in the markets of all the cities!
He who slept on the roof, died on the roof,
He who slept in the house, had no burial,
People were flailing at themselves from hunger.

For many years, the events described in "The Curse of Akkad" were thought, like the details of Sargon's birth, to be purely fictional. But now the evidence of Tell Leilan, and recent findings of elevated dust deposits in sea-cores collected off Oman, that date to the period of Akkad's collapse suggest that climate change may have played a role.[27][28]

[edit] Government

The Akkadian government formed a "classical standard" with which all future Mesopotamian states compared themselves. Traditionally, the ensi was the highest functionary of the Sumerian city-states. In later traditions, one became an ensi by marrying the goddess Inanna, legitimising the rulership through divine consent.

Initially, the monarchical lugal (lu = man, gal = great) was subordinate to the priestly ensi, and was appointed at times of troubles, but by later dynastic times, it was the lugal who had emerged as the preeminent role, having his own "é" (= house) or "palace", independent from the temple establishment. By the time of Mesalim, whichever dynasty controlled the city of Kish was recognised as šar kiššati (= king of Kish), and was considered preeminent in Sumer, possibly because this was where the two rivers approached, and whoever controlled Kish ultimately controlled the irrigation systems of the other cities downstream.

As Sargon extended his conquest from the "Lower Sea" (Persian Gulf), to the "Upper Sea" (Mediterranean), it was felt that he ruled "the totality of the lands under heaven", or "from sunrise to sunset", as contemporary texts put it. Under Sargon, the ensis generally retained their positions, but were seen more as provincial governors. The title šar kiššati became recognised as meaning "lord of the universe". Sargon is even recorded as having organised naval expeditions to Dilmun (Bahrein) and Magan, amongst the first organised military naval expeditions in history. Whether he also did in the case of the Mediterranean with the kingdom of Kaptara (possibly Cyprus), as claimed in later documents, is more questionable.

With Naram-Sin, Sargon's grandson, this went further than with Sargon, with the king not only being called "Lord of the Four Quarters (of the Earth)", but also elevated to the ranks of the dingir (= gods), with his own temple establishment. Previously a ruler could, like Gilgamesh, become divine after death but the Akkadian kings, from Naram-Sin onward, were considered gods on earth in their lifetimes. Their portraits showed them of larger size than mere mortals and at some distance from their retainers.[29]

One strategy adopted by both Sargon and Naram-Sin, to maintain control of the country, was to install their daughters, Enheduanna and Emmenanna respectively, as high priestess to Sin, the Akkadian version of the Sumerian moon deity, Nanna, at Ur, in the extreme south of Sumer; to install sons as provincial ensi governors in strategic locations; and to marry their daughters to rulers of peripheral parts of the Empire (Urkesh and Marhashe). A well documented case of the latter is that of Naram-Sin's daughter Tar'am-Agade at Urkesh.[30]

[edit] Economy

The population of Akkad, like all pre-modern states, was entirely dependent upon the agricultural systems of the region, which seem to have had two principal centres: the irrigated farmlands of southern Iraq that traditionally had a yield of 30 grains returned for each grain sown and the rain-fed agriculture of northern Iraq, known as "the Upper Country".

Southern Iraq during Akkadian period seems to have been approaching its modern rainfall level of less than 20 mm (1 in) per year, with the result that agriculture was totally dependent upon irrigation. Prior to the Akkadian period the progressive salinisation of the soils, produced by poorly drained irrigation, had been reducing yields of wheat in the southern part of the country, leading to the conversion to more salt-tolerant barley growing. Urban populations there had peaked already by 2,600 BC, and ecological pressures were high, contributing to the rise of militarism apparent immediately prior to the Akkadian period (as seen in the Stele of the Vultures of Eannatum). Warfare between city states had led to a population decline, from which Akkad provided a temporary respite.[31] It was this high degree of agricultural productivity in the south that enabled the growth of the highest population densities in the world at this time, giving Akkad its military advantage.

The water table in this region was very high, and replenished regularly—by winter storms in the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates from October to March, and from snow-melt from March to July. Flood levels, that had been stable from about 3,000 to 2,600 BC, had started falling, and by the Akkadian period were a half-meter to a meter lower than recorded previously. Even so, the flat country and weather uncertainties made flooding much more unpredictable than in the case of the Nile; serious deluges seem to have been a regular occurrence, requiring constant maintenance of irrigation ditches and drainage systems. Farmers were recruited into regiments for this work from August to October—a period of food shortage—under the control of city temple authorities, thus acting as a form of unemployment relief. Some[who?] have suggested that this was Sargon's original employment for the king of Kish, giving him experience in effectively organising large groups of men; a tablet reads, "Sargon, the king, to whom Enlil permitted no rival—5,400 warriors ate bread daily before him".[32]

Sea shell of a murex bearing the name of Rimush, king of Kish, ca. 2270 BC, Louvre, traded from the Mediterranean coast where it was used by Canaanites to make a purple dye.

Harvest was in the late spring and during the dry summer months. Nomadic Amorites from the northwest would pasture their flocks of sheep and goats to graze on the stubble and be watered from the river and irrigation canals. For this privilege, they would have to pay a tax in wool, meat, milk, and cheese to the temples, who would distribute these products to the bureaucracy and priesthood. In good years, all would go well, but in bad years, wild winter pastures would be in short supply, nomads would seek to pasture their flocks in the grain fields, and conflicts with farmers would result. It would appear that the subsidizing of southern populations by the import of wheat from the north of the Empire temporarily overcame this problem,[citation needed] and it seems to have allowed economic recovery and a growing population within this region.

As a result, Sumer and Akkad had a surplus of agricultural products, but was short of almost everything else, particularly metal ores, timber and building stone, all of which had to be imported. The spread of the Akkadian state as far as the "silver mountain" (possibly the Taurus Mountains), the "cedars" of Lebanon, and the copper deposits of Magan, was largely motivated by the goal of securing control over these imports. One tablet reads "Sargon, the king of Kish, triumphed in thirty-four battles (over the cities) up to the edge of the sea (and) destroyed their walls. He made the ships from Meluhha, the ships from Magan (and) the ships from Dilmun tie up alongside the quay of Agade. Sargon the king prostrated himself before (the god) Dagan (and) made supplication to him; (and) he (Dagan) gave him the upper land, namely Mari, Yarmuti, (and) Ebla, up to the Cedar Forest (and) up to the Silver Mountain".

[edit] Culture

[edit] Language

During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism.[2] The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence.[2] This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund.[2] Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate),[3] but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD.[33]

[edit] Poet – priestess Enheduanna

Sumerian literature continued in rich development during the Akkadian period (a notable example being Enheduanna). Enheduanna, the "wife (Sumerian "dam" = high priestess) of Nanna [the Sumerian moon god] and daughter of Sargon"[34] of the temple of Sin at Ur, who lived ca. 2285–2250 BC, is the first poet in history whom we know by name. Her known works include hymns to the goddess Inanna, the Exaltation of Inanna and In-nin sa-gur-ra. A third work, the Temple Hymns, a collection of specific hymns, addresses the sacred temples and their occupants, the deity to whom they were consecrated. The works of this poetess are significant, because although they start out using the third person, they shift to the first person voice of the poet herself, and they mark a significant development in the use of cuneiform. As poetess, princess, and priestess, she was a personality who, according to William W Hallo, "set standards in all three of her roles for many succeeding centuries"[35]

In the Exultation of Inanna,

Enheduanna depicts Inanna as disciplining mankind as a goddess of battle. She thereby unites the warlike Akkadian Ishtar's qualities to those of the gentler Sumerian goddess of love and fecundity. She likens Inanna to a great storm bird who swoops down on the lesser gods and sends them fluttering off like surprised bats. Then, in probably the most interesting part of the hymn, Enheduanna herself steps forward in the first person to recite her own past glories, establishing her credibility, and explaining her present plight. She has been banished as high priestess from the temple in the city of Ur and from Uruk and exiled to the steppe. She begs the moon god Nanna to intercede for her because the city of Uruk, under the ruler Lugalanne, has rebelled against Sargon. The rebel, Lugalanne, has even destroyed the temple Eanna, one of the greatest temples in the ancient world. Further, he has dared to equate himself as an equal to the new high priestess and—in the most ancient recorded instant of sexual harassment—made sexual advances to the high priestess, his sister-in-law.[36]

[edit] Technology

One tablet from this period reads, "(From the earliest days) no-one had made a statue of lead, (but) Rimush king of Kish, had a statue of himself made of lead. It stood before Enlil; and it recited his (Rimush's) virtues to the idu of the gods". Akkadian artists also discovered the "lost wax" method of bronze casting, previously believed to have been discovered much later, at the time of classical Greece.

[edit] Achievements

The empire was bound together by roads, along which there was a regular postal service. Clay seals that took the place of stamps bear the names of Sargon and his son. A cadastral survey seems also to have been instituted, and one of the documents relating to it states that a certain Uru-Malik, whose name appears to indicate his Canaanite origin, was governor of the land of the Amorites, or Amurru as the semi-nomadic people of Syria and Canaan were called in Akkadian. It is probable that the first collection of astronomical observations and terrestrial omens was made for a library established by Sargon. The earliest "year names", whereby each year of a king's reign was named after a significant event performed by that king, date from the reign of Sargon the Great. Lists of these "year names" henceforth became a calendrical system used in most independent Mesopotamian city-states. In Assyria, however, years came to be named for the annual presiding limmu official appointed by the king, rather than for an event.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Mish, Frederick C., Editor in Chief. “Akkad” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. ninth ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster 1985. ISBN 0-87779-508-8).
  2. ^ a b c d Deutscher, Guy (2007). Syntactic Change in Akkadian: The Evolution of Sentential Complementation. Oxford University Press US. pp. 20–21. ISBN 9780199532223.
  3. ^ a b [Woods C. 2006 “Bilingualism, Scribal Learning, and the Death of Sumerian”. In S.L. Sanders (ed) Margins of Writing, Origins of Culture: 91–120 Chicago [1]
  4. ^ Liverani, Mario, Akkad: The First World Empire (1993)
  5. ^ J. D. Prince, "Materials for a Sumerian Lexicon", pp. 23, 73, and '"Note on Akkad", pp. 55–57, in Journal of Biblical Literature, 1906.
  6. ^ I. Rawl. 69, col. ii. 48 and iii. 28.
  7. ^ Christophe Wall-Romana, An Areal Location of Agade, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 205–245, 1990
  8. ^ Cuneiform texts and the writing of history By Marc Van de Mieroop p. 75
  9. ^ Roux, Georges (1982) "Ancient Iraq" (Penguin, Harmondsworth)
  10. ^ Samuel Noah Kramer, The Sumerians, Chicago University Press, 1971, ISBN 0-226-45238-7
  11. ^ Dalley proposes that these sources may have originally referred to Sargon II of the Assyria rather than Sargon of Akkad. Stephanie Dalley, Babylon as a Name for Other Cities Including Nineveh, in [2] Proceedings of the 51st Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Oriental Institute SAOC 62, pp. 25–33, 2005
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ [4] Piotr Michalowski, The Mortal Kings of Ur: A Short Century of Divine Rule in Ancient Mesopotamia, Oriental Institute Seminars 4, pp. 33–45, The Oriental Institute, 2008, ISBN 1-885923-55-4
  14. ^ Steve Tinney, A New Look at Naram-Sin and the Great Rebellion, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 47, pp. 1–14, 1995
  15. ^ Archeological Perspectives on the Localization of Naram-Sin's Armanum, Adelheid Otto, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Vol. 58, (2006), pp. 1–26
  16. ^ Benjamin R. Foster, The Siege of Armanum, Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society, vol. 14, pp. 27–36, 1982
  17. ^ Adelheid Otto, Archaeological Perspectives on the Localization of Naram-Sin's Armanum, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 58, pp. 1–26, 2006
  18. ^ a b William J. Burroughs, Climate Change in Prehistory: The end of the age of chaos, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-521-07010-4
  19. ^ Fagan, Brian (2004) "The Long Summer: how climate changed civilisation" (Granta Books)[page needed]
  20. ^ a b De Mieroop, Marc Van. (2005). A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323BC, Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
  21. ^ Richard A. Kerr (1998). "Sea-Floor Dust Shows Drought Felled Akkadian Empire". Science 279 (5349): 325–326. doi:10.1126/science.279.5349.325.
  22. ^ How did they survive? New research shows Jordanian city survived climate change disaster 4,200 years ago
  23. ^ Harvey Weiss, et al., The genesis and collapse of Third Millennium north Mesopotamian Civilization, Science, vol. 291, pp. 995–1088, 1993
  24. ^ Christie, Peter (2008) "The Curse of Akkad: Climate Upheavals that Rocked Human History" (Paperback)(Annick Press)pp31-48
  25. ^ Roux, Georges (1996), "Ancient Iraq" (3rd Edition)(Penguin Harmondsworth)
  26. ^ Full translation in Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
  27. ^ What drives societal collapse? Weiss H, Bradley RS, Science Vol. 291, no. 5504, pp. 609–610. 26 Jan 2001.
  28. ^ Cultural Responses to Climate Change During the Late Holocene, Peter B. deMenocal, Science 27 April 2001, Vol. 292 no. 5517 pp. 667–673 DOI:10.1126/science.1059287
  29. ^ Leick, Gwendolyn (2001) "Mesopotamia: Invention of the City" (Penguin Books)
  30. ^ [5] Tar'am-Agade, Daughter of Naram-Sin, at Urkesh, Buccellati, Giorgio and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, in Of Pots and Plans. Papers on the Archaeology and History of Mesopotamia and Syria presented to David Oates in Honour of his 75th Birthday, London: Nabu Publications, 2002
  31. ^ Thompson, William J. (2003), "Complexity, Diminishing Marginal Returns and Serial Mesopotamian Fragmentation" (in Journal of World Systems Research)
  32. ^ Kramer 1963:324, quoted in Charles Keith Maisels, The Emergence of Civilization ch. "The institutions of urbanism", 1990:179.
  33. ^
  34. ^ Winter, Irene J. (1987), "Women in Public: The Disk of Enheduanna, The Beginning of the Office of En-Priestess, the Weight of the Visual Evidence." La Femme dans le Proche-Orient Antique. (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations)
  35. ^ Enheduanna, "The Exaltation of Inanna." Translated by William W. Hallo and J.J.A. Van Dijk, Ams Pr Inc, 1979, ISBN 0-404-60263-0
  36. ^ Binkley, Roberta, "The Importance of Enheduanna"

[edit] External links



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The approximate area of Hurrian settlement in the Middle Bronze Age is shown in purple.

The Hurrians (cuneiform Ḫu-ur-ri ������) were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology. By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples, except perhaps in the kingdom of Urartu. According to I.M. Diakonoff and S. Starostin, the Hurrian, Hattic, and Urartaean languages are related to the Northeast Caucasian languages.


[edit] Language

The Hurrians spoke an ergative-agglutinative language, conventionally called Hurrian, unrelated to neighboring Semitic or Indo-European languages. The Iron Age Urartian language is closely related to or a direct descendant of Hurrian. Several notable Russian linguists, such as S. A. Starostin and V. V. Ivanov, have claimed that the Hurrian and the Hattic were related to the Northeast Caucasian languages.[1]

The Hurrians adopted the Akkadian cuneiform script for their own language about 2000 BCE. Texts in the Hurrian language have been found at Hattusa, Ugarit (Ras Shamra), as well as one of the longest of the Amarna letters, written by King Tushratta of Mitanni to Pharaoh Amenhotep III. It was the only long Hurrian text known until a multi-tablet collection of literature in Hurrian with a Hittite translation was discovered at Hattusa in 1983.

[edit] History

[edit] Middle Bronze Age

Hurrian names occur sporadically in northern Mesopotamia and the area of Kirkuk in modern Iraq by the Middle Bronze Age. Their presence was attested at Nuzi, Urkesh and other sites. They eventually infiltrated and occupied a broad arc of fertile farmland stretching from the Khabur River valley to the foothills of the Zagros Mountains. I. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser believed Subarians had been the linguistic and ethnic substratum of northern Mesopotamia since earliest times, while Hurrians were merely late arrivals.[2]

[edit] Urkesh

The Khabur River valley became the heart of the Hurrian lands for a millennium. The first known Hurrian kingdom emerged around the city of Urkesh (modern Tell Mozan) during the third millennium BCE. There is evidence that they were allied with the Akkadian Empire indicating they had a firm hold on the area by the reign of Naram-Sin of Akkad (ca. 2254–2218 BCE). This region hosted other rich cultures (see Tell Halaf and Tell Brak). The city-state of Urkesh had some powerful neighbors. At some point in the early second millennium BCE, the Amorite kingdom of Mari to the south subdued Urkesh and made it a vassal state. In the continuous power struggles over Mesopotamia, another Amorite dynasty made themselves masters over Mari in the eighteenth century BCE. Shubat-Enlil (modern Tell Leilan), the capital of this Old Assyrian kingdom, was founded some distance from Urkesh at another Hurrian settlement in the Khabur River valley.

[edit] Late Bronze Age

[edit] Yamhad

The Hurrians also migrated west in this period. By 1725 BCE they are found also in parts of northern Syria, such as Alalakh. The Amoritic-Hurrian kingdom of Yamhad is recorded as struggling for this area with the early Hittite king Hattusilis I around 1600 BCE. Hurrians also settled in the coastal region of Adaniya in the country of Kizzuwatna. Yamhad eventually weakened to the powerful Hittites, but this also opened Anatolia for Hurrian cultural influences. The Hittites were influenced by the Hurrian culture over the course of several centuries.

[edit] Mitanni

The Hittites continued expanding south after the defeat of Yamhad. The army of the Hittite king Mursili I made its way down to Babylon and sacked the city. The destruction of the Babylonian kingdom, as well as the kingdom of Yamhad, helped the rise of another Hurrian dynasty. The first ruler was a legendary king called Kirta who founded the kingdom of Mitanni around 1500 BCE. Mitanni gradually grew from the region around Khabur valley and became the most powerful kingdom of the Near East in c. 1450-1350 BCE.

Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion.[3]

[edit] Arrapha

Another Hurrian kingdom also benefited from the demise of Babylonian power in sixteenth century BCE. Hurrians had inhabited the region northeast of river Tigris, around the modern Kirkuk. This was the kingdom of Arrapha. Excavations at Yorgan Tepe, ancient Nuzi, proved to be one of the most important sites for our knowledge about the Hurrians. Hurrian kings such as Ithi-Teshup and Ithiya ruled over Arrapha, yet by the mid-fifteenth century BCE they had become vassals of the Great King of Mitanni. Arrapha itself was destroyed by the Assyrians in the fourteenth century BCE.

[edit] Bronze Age collapse

By the thirteenth century BCE all of the Hurrian states had been vanquished by other peoples. The heart of the Hurrian lands, the Khabur river valley, became an Assyrian province. It is not clear what happened to the Hurrian people at the end of the Bronze Age. Some scholars have suggested Hurrians lived on in the country of Subartu north of Assyria during the early Iron Age. The Hurrian population of Syria in the following centuries seems to have given up their language in favor of the Assyrian dialect of Akkadian or, more likely, Aramaic. This was around the same time that an aristocracy speaking Urartian, similar to old Hurrian, seems to have first imposed itself on the population around Lake Van, and formed the Kingdom of Urartu.

[edit] Culture and society

Knowledge of Hurrian culture relies on archaeological excavations at sites such as Nuzi and Alalakh as well as on cuneiform tablets, primarily from Hattusa (Boghazköy), the capital of the Hittites, whose civilization was greatly influenced by the Hurrians. Tablets from Nuzi, Alalakh, and other cities with Hurrian populations (as shown by personal names) reveal Hurrian cultural features even though they were written in Akkadian. Hurrian cylinder seals were carefully carved and often portrayed mythological motifs. They are a key to the understanding of Hurrian culture and history.

[edit] Ceramic ware

The Hurrians were masterful ceramists. Their pottery is commonly found in Mesopotamia and in the lands west of the Euphrates; it was highly valued in distant Egypt, by the time of the New Kingdom. Archaeologists use the terms Khabur ware and Nuzi ware for two types of wheel-made pottery used by the Hurrians. Khabur ware is characterized by reddish painted lines with a geometric triangular pattern and dots, while Nuzi ware has very distinctive forms, and are painted in brown or black.

[edit] Metallurgy

The Hurrians had a reputation in metallurgy. The Sumerians borrowed their copper terminology from the Hurrian vocabulary. Copper was traded south to Mesopotamia from the highlands of Anatolia. The Khabur Valley had a central position in the metal trade, and copper, silver and even tin were accessible from the Hurrian-dominated countries Kizzuwatna and Ishuwa situated in the Anatolian highland. Gold was in short supply, and the Amarna letters inform us that it was acquired from Egypt. Not many examples of Hurrian metal work have survived, except from the later Urartu. Some small fine bronze lion figurines were discovered at Urkesh.

[edit] The horse

The Mitanni were closely associated with horses. The name of the country of Ishuwa, which might have had a substantial Hurrian population, meant “horse-land”.[citation needed] A famous text discovered at Hattusa deals with the training of horses. The man who was responsible for the horse-training was a Hurrian called Kikkuli. The terminology used in connection with horses contains many Indo-Aryan loan-words (Mayrhofer, 1974).

[edit] Music

Among the Hurrian texts from Ugarit are the oldest known instances of written music, dating from c. 1400 BCE.[4] Amongst these fragments are found the names of four Hurrian composers, Tapšiẖuni, Puẖiya(na), Urẖiya, and Ammiya.[5]

[edit] Religion

The Hurrian culture made a great impact on the religion of the Hittites. From the Hurrian cult centre at Kummanni in Kizzuwatna Hurrian religion spread to the Hittite people. Syncretism merged the Old Hittite and Hurrian religions. Hurrian religion spread to Syria, where Baal became the counterpart of Teshub. The later kingdom of Urartu also venerated gods of Hurrian origin. The Hurrian religion, in different forms, influenced the entire ancient Near East, except ancient Egypt and southern Mesopotamia.

The main gods in the Hurrian pantheon were:

  • Teshub, Teshup; the mighty weathergod.
  • Hebat, Hepa; his wife, the mother goddess, regarded as the Sun goddess among the Hittites. Drawn from the Sumerian goddess Kubau, known as Hawwah amongst the Aramaeans.
  • Sharruma, or Sarruma, Šarruma; their son.
  • Kumarbi; the ancient father of Teshub; his home as described in mythology is the city of Urkesh.
  • Shaushka, or Shawushka, Šauska; was the Hurrian counterpart of Assyrian Ishtar, and a goddess of fertility, war and healing.
  • Shimegi, Šimegi; the sun god.
  • Kushuh, Kušuh; the moon god. Symbols of the sun and the crescent moon appear joined together in the Hurrian iconography.
  • Nergal; a Babylonian deity of the netherworld, whose Hurrian name is unknown.
  • Ea; was also Babylonian in origin, and may have influenced Canaanite El, and also Yam, God of the Sea and River.

Names of Indo-Aryan gods Mitra and Varuna especially, from the Vedic religion have survived in texts and personal names, but it is not known if any religious centers actually existed.

Hurrian cylinder seals often depict mythological creatures such as winged humans or animals, dragons and other monsters. The interpretation of these depictions of gods and demons is uncertain. They may have been both protective and evil spirits. Some is reminiscent of the Assyrian shedu.

The Hurrian gods do not appear to have had particular "home temples", like in the Mesopotamian religion or Ancient Egyptian religion. Some important cult centres were Kummanni in Kizzuwatna, and Hittite Yazilikaya. Harran was at least later a religious centre for the moon god, and Shauskha had an important temple in Nineve, when the city was under Hurrian rule. A temple of Nergal was built in Urkesh in the late third millennium BCE. The town of Kahat was a religious centre in the kingdom of Mitanni.

The Hurrian myth “The Songs of Ullikummi”, preserved among the Hittites, is a parallel to Hesiod's Theogony; the castration of Uranus by Cronus may be derived from the castration of Anu by Kumarbi, while Zeus's overthrow of Cronus and Cronus's regurgitation of the swallowed gods is like the Hurrian myth of Teshub and Kumarbi.[6] It has been argued that the worship of Attis drew on Hurrian myth.[7] The Phrygian goddess Cybele would then be the counterpart of the Hurrian goddess Hebat.

[edit] Urbanism

The Hurrian urban culture was not represented by a large number of cities. Urkesh was the only Hurrian city in the third millennium BCE. In the second millennium BCE we know a number of Hurrian cities, such as Arrapha, Harran, Kahat, Nuzi, Taidu and Washukanni – the capital of Mitanni. Although the site of Washukanni, alleged to be at Tell Fakhariya, is not known for certain, no tell (city mound) in the Khabur Valley much exceeds the size of 1 square kilometer (250 acres), and the majority of sites are much smaller. The Hurrian urban culture appears to have been quite different from the centralized state administrations of Assyria and ancient Egypt. An explanation could be that the feudal organization of the Hurrian kingdoms did not allow large palace or temple estates to develop.

[edit] Archaeology

Hurrian settlements are distributed over three modern countries, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The heart of the Hurrian world is dissected by the modern border between Syria and Turkey. Several sites are situated within the border zone, making access for excavations problematic. A threat to the ancient sites are the dam many projects in the Euphrates, Tigris and Khabur valleys. Several rescue operations have already been undertaken when the construction of dams put entire river valleys under water.

The first major excavations of Hurrian sites in Iraq and Syria began in the 1920s and 1930s. They were led by the American archaeologist Edward Chiera at Yorghan Tepe (Nuzi), and the British archaeologist Max Mallowan at Chagar Bazar and Tell Brak. Recent excavations and surveys in progress are conducted by American, Belgian, Danish, Dutch, French, German and Italian teams of archaeologists, with international participants, in cooperation with the Syrian Department of Antiquities. The tells, or city mounds, often reveal a long occupation beginning in the Neolithic and ending in the Roman period or later. The characteristic Hurrian pottery, the Khabur ware, is helpful in determining the different strata of occupation within the mounds. The Hurrian settlements are usually identified from the Middle Bronze Age to the end of the Late Bronze Age, with Tell Mozan (Urkesh) being the main exception.

[edit] Important sites

The list includes some important ancient sites from the area dominated by the Hurrians. Excavation reports and images are found at the websites linked. As noted above, important discoveries of Hurrian culture and history were also made at Alalakh, Amarna, Hattusa and Ugarit.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Jaimoukha, Amjad. "The Chechens: A Handbook".
  2. ^ Gelb, Ignace J.(1963), "The History of Writing" (University of Chicago Press)
  3. ^ Manfred Mayrhofer, 'Welches Material aus dem Indo-arischen von Mitanni verbleibt für eine selektive Darstellung?' In: E. Neu (Hrsh.), Investigationes philologicae et comparativae: Gedenkschrift für Heinz Kronasser (Wiesbaden, O. Harrassowitz 1982), 72-90. Paul Thieme, The 'Aryan Gods' of the Mitanni Treaties, Journal of the American Oriental Society 80, 301-317 (1960).
  4. ^ A reconstruction by Marcelle Duchesne-Guillemin of the only substantially complete hymn may be heard at the Urkesh webpage, though this is only one of at least five "rival decipherments of the notation, each yielding entirely different results". West 1994, 161. In addition to West and Duchesne-Guillemin (1975, 1977, 1980, & 1984), competitors include Anne Draffkorn Kilmer (1965, 1971, 1974, 1976, & 1984), David Wulstan (1968), and Raoul Vitale (1982).
  5. ^ West 1994, 171.
  6. ^ Güterbock, Hans Gustav: "Hittite Religion"; in Forgotten Religions: Including Some Living Primitive Religions (ed. Vergilius Ferm) (NY, Philosophical Library, 1950), pp. 88–89, 103–104
  7. ^ Suggested by Jane Lightfoot in the Times Literary Supplement 22 July 2005 p 27, in her account of Philippe Borgeaud, Mother of the Gods: from Cybele to the Virgin Mary, Johns Hopkins 2005 ISBN 0-8018-7985-X.
  8. ^ Urkesh an overview
  9. ^ The Semitic Museum: Nuzi and the Hurrians
  10. ^ Tell Brak Learning Sites
  11. ^ Yale Tell Leilan Project
  12. ^ Missione Italiana archaeologica a Tell Barri
  13. ^ ESE Tell Beydar
  14. ^ Upper Tigris Archaeological Research Project
  15. ^ Tell Tuneinir St. Louis Archaeological Expeditions
  16. ^ The Johns Hopkins/University of Amsterdam Joint Expedition to Tell Umm el-Marra
  17. ^ Grabung Tell Chuera
  18. ^ Excavation Hammam al Turkman, Leiden University
  19. ^ Dutch Excavation at Tell Sabi Abyad
  20. ^ The Hamoukar Expedition University of Chicago
  21. ^ For the results of the Swiss excavations at Tell al-Hamidiya see

[edit] Bibliography

  • Asimov, Isaac. The Near East: 10,000 Years of History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968.
  • Chahin, M. The Kingdom of Armenia. London and New York: Croom Helm, 1987. Reprint, New York: Dorset Press, 1991. Second, revised edition, as The Kingdom of Armenia: A History. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2001. ISBN 0700714529
  • Diakonov, Igor M., and Sergei Starostin. Hurro-Urartian as an Eastern Caucasian Language. Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft. Munich: R. Kitzinger, 1986. ISBN 3920645391
  • Duchesne-Guillemin, Marcelle. A Hurrian Musical Score from Ugarit: The Discovery of Mesopotamian Music. Sources from the ancient near east, vol. 2, fasc. 2. Malibu, CA: Undena Publications, 1984. ISBN 0-89003-158-4
  • Gelb, Ignace J. Hurrians and Subarians, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization No. 22. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944.
  • Gurney, O. R. "The Beginning of Civilization,"[citation needed].
  • Güterbock, Hans Gustav. "Musical Notation in Ugarit". Revue d'Assyriologie 64 (1970): 45–52.
  • Hawkes, Jacquetta, "The First Great Civilizations"[citation needed].
  • Ivanov, Vyacheslav V., and Thomas Gamkrelidze. "The Early History of Indo-European Languages". Scientific American 262, no. 3, 110116, (March 1990):[page needed]
  • Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn. "The Discovery of an Ancient Mesopotamian Theory of Music". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association 115, no. 2 (April 1971): 131–49.
  • Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn. "The Cult Song with Music from Ancient Ugarit: Another Interpretation". Revue d'Assyriologie 68 (1974): 69–82.
  • Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn, Richard L. Crocker, and Robert R. Brown. Sounds from Silence: Recent Discoveries in Ancient Near Eastern Music. Berkeley: Bit Enki Publications, 1976. (booklet and LP record, Bit Enki Records BTNK 101, reissued [s.d.] with CD).
  • Kurkjian, Vahan M. A History of Armenia. New York: Armenian General Benevolent Union, 1958.
  • Mayrhofer, Manfred. Die Arier im Vorderen Orient—ein Mythos?. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischer Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1974.
  • Movsisyan, Artak Erjaniki. The Sacred Highlands: Armenia in the Spiritual Geography of the Ancient Near East. Yerevan: Yerevan University Publishers, 2004. ISBN 5808405866
  • Nersessian, Hovick. Highlands of Armenia. Los Angeles, 2000.
  • Speiser, E. A. "Introduction to Hurrians,"[citation needed].
  • Speiser, E. A. "Hurrians and Subarians,"[citation needed].
  • Vitale, Raoul. "La Musique suméro-accadienne: gamme et notation musicale". Ugarit-Forschungen 14 (1982): 241–63.
  • Wilhelm, Gernot. The Hurrians. Aris & Philips Warminster, 1989.
  • Wilhelm, Gernot (ed.). Nuzi at seventy-five (Studies in the Civilization and Culture of Nuzi and the Hurrians). Bethesda: Capital Decisions, Ltd., 1999.
  • Wegner, Ilse. Einführung in die hurritische Sprache, 2. überarbeitete Aufl. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2007. ISBN 3447053941
  • West, M[artin] L[itchfield]. "The Babylonian Musical Notation and the Hurrian Melodic Texts". Music and Letters 75, no. 2 (May 1994): 161–79.
  • Wulstan, David. "The Tuning of the Babylonian Harp", Iraq 30 (1968): 215–28.

[edit] External links

The Oldest Leather Shoe (pampooties, opinci) found in Armenia. 3,500 B.C.


ScienceDaily (June 10, 2010) — A perfectly preserved shoe, 1,000 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and 400 years older than Stonehenge in the UK, has been found in a cave in Armenia.

The 5,500 year old shoe, the oldest leather shoe in the world, was discovered by a team of international archaeologists and their findings will publish on June 9th in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE.

The cow-hide shoe dates back to ~ 3,500 BC (the Chalcolithic period) and is in perfect condition. It was made of a single piece of leather and was shaped to fit the wearer's foot. It contained grass, although the archaeologists were uncertain as to whether this was to keep the foot warm or to maintain the shape of the shoe, a precursor to the modern shoe-tree perhaps? "It is not known whether the shoe belonged to a man or woman," said lead author of the research, Dr Ron Pinhasi, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland "as while small (European size 37; US size 7 women), the shoe could well have fitted a man from that era." The cave is situated in the Vayotz Dzor province of Armenia, on the Armenian, Iranian, Nakhichevanian and Turkish borders, and was known to regional archaeologists due to its visibility from the highway below.

The stable, cool and dry conditions in the cave resulted in exceptional preservation of the various objects that were found, which included large containers, many of which held well-preserved wheat and barley, apricots and other edible plants. The preservation was also helped by the fact that the floor of the cave was covered by a thick layer of sheep dung which acted as a solid seal over the objects, preserving them beautifully over the millennia!

"We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600-700 years old because they were in such good condition," said Dr Pinhasi. "It was only when the material was dated by the two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford, UK, and in California, US that we realised that the shoe was older by a few hundred years than the shoes worn by Ötzi, the Iceman."

Three samples were taken in order to determine the absolute age of the shoe and all three tests produced the same results. The archaeologists cut two small strips of leather off the shoe and sent one strip to the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford and another to the University of California -Irvine Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility. A piece of grass from the shoe was also sent to Oxford to be dated and both shoe and grass were shown to be the same age.

The shoe was discovered by Armenian PhD student, Ms Diana Zardaryan, of the Institute of Archaeology, Armenia, in a pit that also included a broken pot and wild goat horns. "I was amazed to find that even the shoe-laces were preserved," she recalled. "We couldn't believe the discovery," said Dr Gregory Areshian, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, US, co-director who was at the site with Mr Boris Gasparyan, co-director, Institute of Archaeology, Armenia when the shoe was found. "The crusts had sealed the artefacts and archaeological deposits and artefacts remained fresh dried, just like they were put in a can," he said.

The oldest known footwear in the world, to the present time, are sandals made of plant material, that were found in a cave in the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri in the US. Other contemporaneous sandals were found in the Cave of the Warrior, Judean Desert, Israel, but these were not directly dated, so that their age is based on various other associated artefacts found in the cave.Image hosted by

Interestingly, the shoe is very similar to the 'pampooties' worn on the Aran Islands (in the West of Ireland)(and in Romania were they were called opinci) up to the 1950s. "In fact, enormous similarities exist between the manufacturing technique and style of this shoe and those found across Europe at later periods, suggesting that this type of shoe was worn for thousands of years across a large and environmentally diverse region," said Dr Pinhasi.


"We do not know yet what the shoe or other objects were doing in the cave or what the purpose of the cave was," said Dr Pinhasi. "We know that there are children's graves at the back of the cave but so little is known about this period that we cannot say with any certainty why all these different objects were found together." The team will continue to excavate the many chambers of the cave.

The team involved in the dig included; lead author and co-director, Dr Ron Pinhasi, Archaeology Department, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Mr Boris Gasparian, co-director and Ms Diana Zardaryan of the Institute of Archaeology and Enthography, National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Armenia; Dr Gregory Areshian, co-director, Research Associate at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, US; Professor Alexia Smith, Department of Anthropology of the University of Connecticut, US, Dr Guy Bar-Oz , Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Israel and Dr Thomas Higham, Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, University of Oxford, UK.

The research received funding from the National Geographic Society, the Chitjian Foundation (Los Angeles), US, Mr Joe Gfoeller of the Gfoeller Foundation of US, the Steinmetz Family Foundation,US, the Boochever Foundation, US, and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, US.

The Turkic Point of View


Altaics And Uralics 4th millenia BC


Dr. D.Anthony traced the development of the steppe nomadism to find support for the Gimbutas-less M.Gimbutas theory, trying to re-incarnate it without nomadic invasion waves that were cardinal for the sustenance of the M.Gimbutas theory; for that, Dr. D.Anthony advocates a distinction between the steppe nomadic cultures of the Scythians, Mongols, Türks, Huns, and others, and the ”old” population of the steppes, which he does without a substantial analysis for a juxtaposition of the matching traits. The idea parallels the idea of enterprising European scientists of the past two centuries, who came up with a new concept that the European Scythians were not of the Türkic root, and manufactured linguistical ”proofs” of it flying in the face of reality and testimonies of the contemporaries. Dispelling the Türkic roots of the ”old” steppe population is a much steeper slope to climb, because coming up with linguistical ”proofs” is out of question, and the archeological, ethnological, anthropological, and biological materials reliably link the early pre-nomadic and nomadic cultures with their Türkic descendents.
The Dr. D.Anthony's work is illuminating for the Türkic history, because it traces a litany of cultures and names assigned by modern local scholars to findings within their areal digs, and arranges them in a semblance of a chronological order. However, the picture remains too dim and far from clear. A flood of recent Western publications was devoted to re-analyzing archeological record with an objective to rebuilt the archeologist's M.Gimbutas linguistic theory on a new foundation, to preserve the N.Pontic as a cradle of Indo-European linguistic spread, and demonstrate its validity after the theory was devastated by the loss of its invasion foundation. An objective valuation of these labors was given by C.C.Lamberg-Karlovsky in his 2002 and 2005 publications, respectively: ”There is, however, no compelling archaeological evidence that they (Andronovo and Bactrian Margiana archaeological complexes ) had a common ancestor or that either is Indo-Iranian.” and ”Given the increasingly large number of divisions and subdivisions of the generic Andronovo culture(s), with evidence for ”no one group having undue prestige over the others,” there is neither reason nor evidence to believe that they all shared an Indo-Iranian language. From the common roots of the millennia-long Andronovo culture(s) [and before that the related Timber Grave culture(s)], processes of both convergence and divergence [archaeologically indicated by the eastward migrations of the Andronovo culture(s)] allow for the presence of not only the Indo-Iranian languages but for other language families as well, that is, Altaic and Uralic. Clearly, the convergence of cultures, that is, the assimilation of local populations by an in-coming peoples, is very poorly developed within the archaeological discipline.” Unless we unearth a talking individual and understand his presumably IE speech, the IE situation is promising to remain in suspence.Given that the  M.Gimbutas theory and its reincarnations are largely built on nationalistic impulses, we should expect that they would linger for a long while, while the proponents try to overcome mounting obstacles and squeeze diminishing returns from the ambiguities of the less-studied materials. The deflation of typological methods and dating, and the advent of the instrumental analysis, dating and biological tracing are not helpful either, they tend to hit presumptive speculations at their most vulnerable spot, at the factual evidence; and that trend is exacerbated by the younger school of scholars, more apt in applying mathematical statistical methods and data base technologies to disciplines that used to abhor math and precise sciences, by the younger scholars who keep bringing up ever new aspects injurious to the old presumption.
Accepted designation and spelling of the archeological cultures are shown in bold. Ukrainian name for the Sredny Stog (accepted English spelling) is Serednyi Stog (also found in literature).  



The Sintashta Culture and Some Questions of Indo-Europeans Origins



Institute of history and archaeology.
Ural brunch of Russian Academy of Sciences.

1 - Origins of Indo-Europeans is one of the most significant problems of history, archaeology and linguistics. This problem has already been discussed for 200 years after the kinship of Indo-European languages was demonstrated. Various scholars localised the Indo-European homeland in different places of Eurasian continent. Diverse points of view have been examined recently by J.P. Mallory .

2 - He has shown that the Indo-European homeland’s localisation in Northern or Central Europe is impossible because the cultures of these regions have successors neither in Steppe zone nor in Anatolia, Iran and India. Any attempts to search for such successors there for Balkan cultures have no chance of success, except Anatolia. The most popular now is the theory placing Indo-European homeland in Steppe of Eastern Europe . J.P.Mallory called this theory the “conventional wisdom” of Indo-European studies.

3 - This theory proposes a local development of East-European cultures from Enaeolithic to Pit-grave culture, Catacomb culture, Timber-grave (or Srubnaya) culture and Andronovo culture, which (? 1 vs. all) migrated south to India. It is the most convincing theory today, but it contains some important defects.

4 - Catacomb and Pit-grave cultures have no genetic connection. Timber-grave and Andronovo cultures have no such connection with Catacomb culture too. Cultures of Scythian and Sarmatian world were not forming on the basis of the Late Bronze Age cultures placed from the Dnieper river to the Altai. (And the) so called “Andronovo culture” is an archaeological myth. There are no features of “Steppe cultures” in cultures of India and Iran. And there are no Finno-Ugric borrowings in languages of Avesta and Rig Veda.

5 - Linguists T.V. Gamkrelidze and V.V.Ivanov basing on analyses of Indo-European languages have localised the Indo-European homeland in Near East and described migrations of separate groups . C.Renfrew is partly agree with them placing Proto-Indoeuropeans in Anatolia . However, these hypotheses don’t conform to archaeological conceptions on cultural processes in Eurasia and most scholars don’t hold them. My study of Eurasian cultures allows me to say that Indo-European homeland was really in Near East.

6 - I am beginning my survey from Indo-Iranians. Roman Ghirshman connected Mitannian Aryans with North-Eastern Iran . Vakhsh and Bishkent cultures, which are used usually as a bridge between so called “Steppe cultures” and Indostan, have their roots in this region too. Early Swata culture in Pakistan has analogies in Hissar IIB, IIIB. The presence of Indo-Aryans in Northern Pontic area is marked by place-names. In this region we can connect Catacomb culture with Indo-Aryans, because catacomb burial ritual had roots in South-Western Turkmenistan from the early 4th millennium (Parkhai cemetery).

7 - V.I. Sarianidi have demonstrated that the appearance of Iranians in Central Asia and Eastern Iran and forming of Bactria-Margiana archaeological complex had been caused by migration from Syro-Anatolian region . The next moving of Western Iranians from North-Eastern Iran has been shown by T.C.Young .

8 - So, we have only one problem with our searching for Indo-Iranians. That is an origin of Iranians of the Steppe area. A key to a solution of this problem are sites of Sintashta culture, discovered recently in the Southern Urals. Features of the culture have prototypes neither in the Urals nor in Eastern Europe.

9 - The Sintashta fortified settlements (Arkaim and Sintashta) have round walls and moats . The houses are blocked together. Direct analogies with them are known only in Anatolia (Demirchiuyuk, Pulur, Mercin),Syro-Palestine (Rogem Hiri) and the Transcaucasus (Uzerlic-Tepe) - . Sintashta burial traditions are identical to ones in this region too. Other artefacts (metal, ceramics etc.) have parallels there .

10 - A technology of metal production is very specific. Metallurgists alloyed copper with arsenic on an ore-smelting stage. In Eastern Europe such way of bronze production was not known. However, it was known in the Transcaucasus and, perhaps, in Near East. A correlation of weapons, tools, ornaments and other artefacts is similar to those in the Transcaucasus and Asia Minor.

11 - A weaving technology had been borrowed from any south centre .

Page 2

12 - Sintashta culture, of course, includes a number of local substratum’s, but in general, Sintashta people werestrangers for Eastern Europe and the Urals. The homeland of these tribes was placed somewhere in Syro-Anatolian region, like as the homeland of Iranians of Margiana and Bactria.

13 - The Sintashta culture appeared in the Urals in XVIII century (in non-calibrated system). As a result,Abashevo cultures, which were closely related to Sintashta culture were formed from the Don river up to theUrals. Timber-grave, Petrovka and Alakul cultures, distributing in a huge area from the Dnieper river to CentralKazakhstan, were formed on the base of Sintashta and Abashevo cultures in the XVI century. Some includePetrovka and Alakul cultures in Andronovo culture. The forming of these cultures reflected an Iranization ofSteppe zone. Although the appearance of Scithian and Sarmatian tribes was not connected with these cultures.

14 - Another important problem of Indo-European study is a migration of ancient Europeans. T.V.Gamkrelidze and V.V.Ivanov consider that their languages were differentiated already in Near East. These peoples (Celts,Germans, Slavs, Balts) moved to Europe through Iran and Central Asia around Caspian See. As a result ofcombined migrations, an area of the second intimacy of these dialects formed somewhere to the North ofCaspian See. This linguistic reconstruction corresponded to archaeological evidence.

15 - In the XVII century Seyma-Turbino tribes moved westwards from the Altai . The most significantcharacteristic of their culture are tools and weapons from tin-bronzes: daggers, celts, socketed spearheads,chisels and so on. Prototypes of these bronzes (except prototypes of celts) are known in Near East. Contacts ofthese populations with local tribes caused a forming of many new cultures from Irtish up to Middle Volga:Elunino, Krotovo, Tashkovo, Chirkovo. New cultural features appeared in Western Siberia: fortified settlements, settlements with round plan, ceramics with roller, bone plate armours, developed metallurgy and domestic animals.

Page 3

16 - During XVI-XV centuries artefacts closely related to Seyma tradition became typical for hoards inPannonia, France and England. Thus, these bronzes distribution marks the moving of Celts.

17 - A new wave of newcomers left F’odorovo culture sites. Some include usually this culture, together withAlakul culture, in Andronovo culture. However, all attempts to find its local roots had no success. But theseroots are in North-Western Iran and South Azerbaijan: cremation in stone boxes and cysts under mounds, clayprops for hearth, oval dishes, polished ware. Complex of metal have analogies in Circumpontic area, but first ofall, in Sumbar culture in South-Western Turkmenistan. Potteries from Central Asia have been found in someF’odorovo sites.

18 - Typical F’odorovo artefacts are known up to Dnieper river. However, a contact of F’odorovo tribes withfirst wave of newcomers is more important for us. As a result of this contact new cultures were formed, whichfix this contact and a gradual displacement of these populations to the West: Chernoozerie in Irtish basin, Cherkaskul in the Urals, Suskan and Prikazanskaia in Volga-Kama region, Pozdniakovo in Oka basin. Thesecultures combine cremation and inhumation, mounds and flat burials, bronzes of Seyma and F’odorovo types.

19 - Next moving of these tribes to the West leads to forming of Sosnitzkaia culture on the left-bank ofDnieper, Trzciniec-Komarov culture from Dnieper to Vistula and Tumulus culture in Central and NorthernEurope. These cultures reflect localisation of Balts, Slavs and Germans.

20 - I don’t have possibility to touch upon the questions of an origin of Proto-Indoeuropeans and their moreearly migrations. I have done it in my book “Ancient Indo-Europeans. An attempt of historical reconstruction”.To my regret, I can do only a short survey of these problems in this article.

21 - The Indo-European homeland was placed on the territory of Kurdistan. The most early complexes whichwe can connect with Proto-Indoeuropeans are such objects as Tel Magzalia, Tel Sotto, Hassuna, dating from theVIII to the early V millenniums. The first Indo-Europeans migrated to the Balkan peninsula after and togetherwith other anatolian peoples at about the end of the VI millennium. The Anatolian tribes were formed here onthis base. But most part of Indo-European migrations began later - at about the early IV millennium. Thracians(Novo-Danilovo, Lower Mikhailovka and, perhaps, Sredniy Stog) through the Caucasus and Steppe came toBalkan and forced out Anatolians to Asia Minor, where features of more early european cultures appeared at thelatter half of the IV millennium. The Indoeuropeanization of the Caucasus and Eastern Europe lasted for a longtime - from the Neolithic to the beginning of the Iron Age. In the Middle Bronze Age Indo-Aryans (Catacombculture) and, perhaps, Greeks (Multiroller Ware Culture) came to the South of Eastern Europe. Maikop culture ofthe Early Bronze Age had, for example, undoubted Neareastern roots.

22 - The first coming of Indo-Europeans to Central and Northern Europe was connected perhaps with TRB-culture and quite certainly with Corded Ware cultures. The latest were a local Indo-European substratum whichhad been assimilated by ancient Europeans.

23 - Tokharians reached the Altai, Saian and Ordos in the Middle Bronze Age, forming the Okunev culture and, perhaps, the Late Afanasyevo culture. The Early Afanasyevo culture was formed as a result of Indo-Iranian migration from Eastern Europe at the Early Bronze Age.

24 - Ancestors of Scithian and Kimmerian tribes settled, contemporary to Sintashta migration, in the Transcaucasus (Sevan-Uzerlic cultural type). About the XIV century (BC?) a part of this population moved to Southern Siberia and Mongolia (Carasuk and Irmen’ cultures). At the end of the Bronze Age Kimmerians migrated westwards to Northern Pontic area. Scithian migration through Iran, Near East and the Caucasus took place at the beginning of the Iron Age.

25 - At last, various streams of Indo-Europeans (Tokharians, Europeans and Iranians) influenced forming and development of the Chinese civilisation.


26 - Let’s sum up. As a result of my study, I worked out a new historical model of origins and migrations of Indo-European peoples, which I have tried to show in this article. The conformity of my archaeological model to the linguistic one, proposed by Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, permits to say that Indo-European problem is solved, but in general outline only. The detailed description of early Indo-European history could be done within some years, in case of closely concerted actions by archaeologists and linguists.

Page 4


  • [1] Mallory J.P. - Indo-Evropeiskie prarodini. in: Vestnik drevnej istirii. 1997. ? (Rus).
  • [2] Mallory J.P. - In Searh of the Indo-Europeans. Language, Archaeology and Mith. L., 1989.
  • [3] Gamkrelidze T.V., Ivanov V.V. - Indoevropejskij yazik i Indo-evropejci. Tbililisi, 1984. (Rus).
  • [4] Renfrew. C. - Archaeology and Language. L. 1987.
  • [5] Ghirshman R. - L’Iran et la migration des Indo-Aryens et des Iraniens. Leiden, 1977.
  • [6] Sarianidi V. Margiana and Protozoroastrism. Athens, 1998.
  • [7] Young T.C. The Iranian migration into the Zagros. in: Iran. L., 1967. V.5.
  • [8] Zdanovich G.B. - Arkaim – kulturnij komplex epokhi srednej bronzi Yuzsnogo Zauralja. in: Rossijskajaarkheologija. 1997, ? 2. (Rus).
  • [9] Gening V.F., Zdanovich G.B., Gening V.V. - Sintashna. Cheljabinsk, 1992. (Rus).
  • [10] Korfman M. Demirciuyuk. Die Ergebnisse der Ausgrabunger 1975-1978. B. I. Rhein, 1983.
  • [11] Keban Project. Pulur Excavations. 1968 - 1970. Ankara, 1976.
  • [12] Mizrachi Y. Mystery Circles. in: Biblical Archaeological Research. V 18, ?4, 1992.
  • [13] Kushnareva K.H. Sevano-Uzerlikskaja gruppa pamjatnikov. in: Epokha bronzi Kavkaza i Sredney Azii.Rannjaja i srednjaja bronza Kavkaza. M., 1994. (Rus).
  • [14] Grigoryev S.A. Sintashta i arijskie migracii vo II tis. do. n. e. in: Novoje v arkheologii Yuzsnogo Urala.Cheljabinsk, 1996. (Rus).
  • [15] Chernay I.L. Tekstilnoe delo i keramika po materialam iz pamjatnikov eneolita - bronzi YuzsnogoZauralia i Severnogo Kazakhstana. in: Eneolit i bronzoviy vek Uralo-Irtishskogo mezdurechia. Cheljabinsk,1985. (Rus).
  • [16] Chernikh E.N., Kuzminikh S.V. - Drevnjaja metallurgiya Severnoy Evrazii. M., 1989. (Rus).

- Original web page :





The vacuum created by the disappearance of the Hittites in Anatolia was filled by the Luwians a native community, Phrygians the people of the King Midas, and by Urartians in the eastern Anatolia. 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Small text

The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia. They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c. the 14th century BC, encompassing a large part of Anatolia, north-western Syria about as far south as the mouth of the Litani River (in present-day Lebanon), and eastward into upper Mesopotamia. The Hittite military made successful use of chariots.[1] By the mid-14th century BC (under king Suppiluliuma I) carving out an empire that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. After c. 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some surviving until the 8th century BC.

Their Hittite language was a member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family.[2] Natively, they referred to their land as Hatti, and to their language as Nesili (the language of Nesa). The conventional name "Hittites" is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites in 19th century archaeology. Despite the use of "Hatti", the Hittites should be distinguished from the Hattians, an earlier people who inhabited the same region until the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, and spoke a non-Indo-European language known as Hattic.

Although belonging to the Bronze Age, the Hittites were forerunners of the Iron Age, developing the manufacture of iron artifacts from as early as the 14th century BC, when letters to foreign rulers reveal the latter's demand for iron goods.

[edit] Archaeological discovery

The Hittites used cuneiform letters. Archaeological expeditions have discovered in Hattushash entire sets of royal archives in cuneiform tablets, written either in Akkadian, the diplomatic language of the time, or in the various dialects of the Hittite confederation.[3]

Before the discoveries, the only source of information about Hittites had been the Old Testament (see Biblical Hittites). Francis William Newman expressed the critical view common in the early 19th Century, that if the Hittites existed at all "no Hittite king could have compared in power to the King of Judah...".[4] As archaeological discoveries revealed the scale of the Hittite kingdom in the second half of the 19th Century, Archibald Henry Sayce postulated, rather than to be compared to Judah, the Anatolian civilization "[was] worthy of comparison to the divided Kingdom of Egypt", and was "infinitely more powerful than that of Judah".[5] Sayce and other scholars also mention that Judah and the Hittites were never enemies in the Hebrew texts; in the Book of Kings, they supplied the Israelites with cedar, chariots, and horses, as well as being a friend and allied to Abraham in the Book of Genesis.

The first archaeological evidence for the Hittites appeared in tablets found at the Assyrian colony of Kültepe (ancient Karum Kanesh), containing records of trade between Assyrian merchants and a certain "land of Hatti". Some names in the tablets were neither Hattic nor Assyrian, but clearly Indo-European.[citation needed]

The script on a monument at Boğazköy by a "People of Hattusas" discovered by William Wright in 1884 was found to match peculiar hieroglyphic scripts from Aleppo and Hamath in Northern Syria. In 1887, excavations at Tell El-Amarna in Egypt uncovered the diplomatic correspondence of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and his son Akhenaton. Two of the letters from a "kingdom of Kheta"—apparently located in the same general region as the Mesopotamian references to "land of Hatti"—were written in standard Akkadian cuneiform script, but in an unknown language; although scholars could read it, no one could understand it. Shortly after this, Archibald Sayce proposed that Hatti or Khatti in Anatolia was identical with the "kingdom of Kheta" mentioned in these Egyptian texts, as well as with the biblical Hittites. Others such as Max Müller agreed that Khatti was probably Kheta, but proposed connecting it with Biblical Kittim, rather than with the "Children of Heth". Sayce's identification came to be widely accepted over the course of the early 20th century; and the name "Hittite" has become attached to the civilization uncovered at Boğazköy.

During sporadic excavations at Boğazköy (Hattusa) that began in 1906, the archaeologist Hugo Winckler found a royal archive with 10,000 tablets, inscribed in cuneiform Akkadian and the same unknown language as the Egyptian letters from Kheta—thus confirming the identity of the two names. He also proved that the ruins at Boğazköy were the remains of the capital of an empire that at one point controlled northern Syria.

Under the direction of the German Archaeological Institute, excavations at Hattusa have been underway since 1907, with interruptions during both wars. Kültepe has been successfully excavated by Professor Tahsin Özgüç since 1948 until his death in 2005. Smaller scale excavations have also been carried out in the immediate surroundings of Hattusa, including the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya, which contains numerous rock-cut relief's portraying the Hittite rulers and the gods of the Hittite pantheon.

[edit] Museums

The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey houses the richest collection of Hittite and Anatolian artifacts.

[edit] Geography

The Hittite kingdom was centred on the lands surrounding Hattusa and Neša, known as "the land Hatti" (URUHa-at-ti). After Hattusa was made capital, the area encompassed by the bend of the Halys River (Turkish: Kızılırmak, which Hittites called the Marassantiya) was considered the core of the Empire, and some Hittite laws make a distinction between "this side of the river" and "that side of the river", for example, the reward for the capture of an eloped slave after he managed to flee beyond the Halys is higher than that for a slave caught before he could reach the river.

To the west and south of the core territory lay the region known as Luwiya in the earliest Hittite texts. This terminology was replaced by the names Arzawa and Kizzuwatna with the rise of those kingdoms.[6] Nevertheless, the Hittites continued to refer to the language that originated in these areas as Luwian. Prior to the rise of Kizzuwatna, the heart of that territory in Cilicia was first referred to by the Hittites as Adaniya.[7] Upon its revolt from the Hittites during the reign of Ammuna,[8] it assumed the name of Kizzuwatna and successfully expanded northward to encompass the lower Anti-Taurus mountains as well. To the north lived the mountainous people called the Kaskians. To the southeast of the Hittites lay the Hurrian empire of Mitanni. At its peak during the reign of Mursili II, the Hittite empire stretched from Arzawa in the west to Mitanni in the east, many of the Kaskian territories to the north including Hayasa-Azzi in the far north-east, and on south into Canaan approximately as far as the southern border of Lebanon, incorporating all of these territories within its domain.

[edit] History

Egypto-Hittite Peace Treaty (c. 1258 BC) between Hattusili III and Ramesses II is the best known early written peace treaty. Istanbul Archaeology Museum

The Hittite kingdom is conventionally divided into three periods, the Old Hittite Kingdom (ca. 1750–1500 BC), the Middle Hittite Kingdom (ca. 1500–1430 BC) and the New Hittite Kingdom (the Hittite Empire proper, ca. 1430–1180 BC).

The earliest known member of a Hittite speaking dynasty, Pithana, was based at the city of Kussara. In the 18th century BC Anitta, his son and successor, made the Hittite speaking city of Neša into one of his capitals and adopted the Hittite language for his inscriptions there. However, Kussara remained the dynastic capital for about a century until Labarna II adopted Hattusa as the dynastic seat, probably taking the throne name of Hattusili, "man of Hattusa", at that time.

The Old Kingdom, centred at Hattusa, peaked during the 16th century BC. The kingdom even managed to sack Babylon at one point, but made no attempt to govern there, enabling the Kassite to rise to prominence and rule for over 400 years.

During the 15th century BC, Hittite power fell into obscurity, re-emerging with the reign of Tudhaliya I from ca. 1400 BC. Under Suppiluliuma I and Mursili II, the Empire was extended to most of Anatolia and parts of Syria and Canaan, so that by 1300 BC the Hittites were bordering on the Egyptian sphere of influence, leading to the inconclusive Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC.

Civil war and rivalling claims to the throne, combined with the external threat of the Sea Peoples weakened the Hittites and by 1160 BC, the Empire had collapsed. "Neo-Hittite" post-Empire states, petty kingdoms under Assyrian rule, may have lingered on until ca. 700 BC, and the Bronze Age Hittite and Luwian dialects evolved into the sparsely attested Lydian, Lycian and Carian languages.

Remnants of these languages lingered into Persian times (6th–4th centuries BC) and were finally extinguished by the spread of Hellenism which followed Alexander the Great's conquest of Asia Minor in the 4th century BC.

[edit] Government

The head of the Hittite state was the king, followed by the heir-apparent, although some officials exercised independent authority over various branches of the government. One of the most important of these posts in the Hittite society was that of the Gal Mesedi (Chief of the Royal Bodyguards).[9] It was superseded by the rank of the Gal Gestin (Chief of the Wine Stewards), who like the Gal Mesedi most times was a member of the royal family. The kingdom's bureaucracy was headed by the Gal Dubsar (Chief of the Scribes), whose authority didn't extend only over the 'Lugal Dubsar, the king's personal scribe.

[edit] Language

The Hittite language (or Nesili) is recorded fragmentarily from about the 19th century BC (in the Kültepe texts, see Ishara). It remained in use until about 1100 BC. Hittite is the best attested member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family.

The language of the Hattusa tablets was eventually deciphered by a Czech linguist, Bedřich Hrozný (1879–1952), who on 24 November 1915 announced his results in a lecture at the Near Eastern Society of Berlin. His book about his discovery was printed in Leipzig in 1917, under the title The Language of the Hittites; Its Structure and Its Membership in the Indo-European Linguistic Family. The preface of the book begins with:

The present work undertakes to establish the nature and structure of the hitherto mysterious language of the Hittites, and to decipher this language [...] It will be shown that Hittite is in the main an Indo-European language.

For this reason, the language came to be known as the Hittite language, even though that was not what its speakers had called it. The Hittites themselves apparently called their language nešili "(in the manner) of (the city of) Neša" and hence it has been suggested that the more technically correct term, "Nesite", be used instead. Nonetheless, convention continues and "Hittite" remains the standard term used.

Due to its marked differences in its structure and phonology, some early philologists, most notably Warren Cowgill even argued that it should be classified as a sister language to Indo-European languages (Indo-Hittite), rather than a daughter language. By the end of the Hittite Empire, the Hittite language had become a written language of administration and diplomatic correspondence. The population of most of the Hittite Empire by this time spoke Luwian dialects, another Indo-European language of the Anatolian family that had originated to the west of the Hittite region.

[edit] Religion and mythology

Hittite religion and mythology were heavily influenced by their Hattic, Mesopotamian, and Hurrian counterparts. In earlier times, Indo-European elements may still be clearly discerned.

"Storm gods" were prominent in the Hittite pantheon. Tarhunt (Hurrian's Teshub) was referred to as 'The Conqueror', 'The king of Kummiya', 'King of Heaven', 'Lord of the land of Hatti'. He was chief among the gods and his symbol is the bull. As Teshub he was depicted as a bearded man astride two mountains and bearing a club. He was the god of battle and victory, especially when the conflict involved a foreign power.[10] Teshub was also known for his conflict with the serpent Illuyanka.[citation needed]

[edit] Biblical Hittites

The Hebrew Bible refers to "Hittites" in several passages, ranging from Genesis to the post-Exilic Ezra-Nehemiah. Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) links them to an eponymous ancestor Heth, a descendant of Ham through his son Canaan. The Hittites are thereby counted among the Canaanites. The Hittites are usually depicted as a people living among the Israelites — Abraham purchases the Patriarchal burial-plot of Machpelah from "Ephron HaChiti", Ephron the Hittite, and Hittites serve as high military officers in David's army. In 2 Kings 7:6, however, they are a people with their own kingdoms (the passage refers to "kings" in the plural), apparently located outside geographic Canaan, and sufficiently powerful to put a Syrian army to flight.

It is a matter of considerable scholarly debate whether the biblical "Hittites" signified any or all of: 1) the original Hattites of Hatti; 2) their Indo-European conquerors (Nesili), who retained the name "Hatti" for Central Anatolia, and are today referred to as the "Hittites" (the subject of this article); or 3) a Canaanite group who may or may not have been related to either or both of the Anatolian groups, and who also may or may not be identical with the later Neo-Hittite (Luwian) polities.[11]

Other biblical scholars have argued that rather than being connected with Heth, son of Canaan, instead the Anatolian land of Hatti was mentioned in Old Testament literature and apocrypha as "Kittim" (Chittim), a people said to be named for a son of Javan.

[edit] Origins

The Indo-European element at least establishes Hittite culture as intrusive to Anatolia in scholarly mainstream [12] (excepting the opinion of Colin Renfrew, whose Anatolian hypothesis assumes that Indo-European is indigenous to Anatolia[13][14])

The arrival of the Hittites in Anatolia in prehistoric times was one of a superstrate imposing itself on a native culture, either by means of conquest[15] or by gradual assimilation.[12] In archaeological terms, relationships of the Hittites to the Ezero culture of the Balkans and Maikop culture of the Caucasus have been considered within the migration framework.[16]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kate Santon: Archaeology, Parragon Books Ltd, London 2007
  2. ^ Dr Andrew McCarthy, University of myles[clarification needed] c gy 1B Lecture[verification needed]
  3. ^ The Hittite Empire. Chapter V. Vahan Kurkjian
  4. ^ Francis William Newman 1853 A history of the Hebrew monarchy: from the administration of Samuel to the Babylonish Captivity 2nd Edition. John Chapman, London P 179 note 2
  5. ^ The Hittites: the story of a forgotten empire By Archibald Henry Sayce Queen's College, Oxford. October 1888. Introduction
  6. ^ A Short Grammar of Hieroglyphic Luwian, John Marangozis (2003)
  7. ^ Beal, Richard H.,"The History of Kizzuwatna and the Date of the Šunaššura Treaty", Orientalia 55 (1986) pp. 424ff.
  8. ^ Beal. (1986) p. 426
  9. ^ Bryce, Trevor (2004-12-17). Life and society in the Hittite world. Oxford University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780199275885. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  10. ^ [1], Christopher B. Siren, 'Hittite/Hurrian Mythology REF 1.2', Myths and Legends]
  11. ^ See Marten H. Woudstra, New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Book of Joshua, p.60, fn.33 and Trevor Bryce, The Kingdom of the Hittites, p.389 ff.
  12. ^ a b Steiner, G. (1990), "The Immigration of the First Indo-Europeans into Anatolia Reconsidered", Journal of Indo-European Studies 18 (1 & 2): 185–214 .
  13. ^ Renfrew, C. (1999), "Time Depth, Convergence Theory, and Innovation in Proto-Indo-European: 'Old Europe' as a PIE Linguistic Area", Journal of Indo-European Studies 27 (3 & 4): 257–294 .
  14. ^ Renfrew, C. (1987), Archaeology and Language. The puzzle of Indo-European Origins, Cambridge University Press .
  15. ^ Puhvel, J. (1994), "Anatolian: Autochton or Interloper", Journal of Indo-European Studies 22 (3 & 4): 251–264 .
  16. ^ Mallory, J. (1989), In Search of the Indo-Europeans, New York: Thames and Hudson .

[edit] Literature

  • Akurgal, Ekrem (2001) The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations, Publications of the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture, ISBN 975-17-2756-1
  • Bryce, Trevor R. (2002) Life and Society in the Hittite World, Oxford.
  • Bryce, Trevor R. (1999) The Kingdom of the Hittites, Oxford.
  • Ceram, C. W. (2001) The Secret of the Hittites: The Discovery of an Ancient Empire. Phoenix Press, ISBN 1-84212-295-9.
  • Güterbock, Hans Gustav (1983) “Hittite Historiography: A Survey,” in H. Tadmor and M. Weinfeld eds. History, Historiography and Interpretation: Studies in Biblical and Cuneiform Literatures, Magnes Press, Hebrew University pp. 21–35.
  • Macqueen, J. G. (1986) The Hittites, and Their Contemporaries in Asia Minor, revised and enlarged, Ancient Peoples and Places series (ed. G. Daniel), Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0-500-02108-2.
  • Mendenhall, George E. (1973) The Tenth Generation: The Origins of the Biblical Tradition, The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-1654-8.
  • Neu, Erich (1974) Der Anitta Text, (StBoT 18), Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden.
  • Orlin, Louis L. (1970) Assyrian Colonies in Cappadocia, Mouton, The Hague.
  • Hoffner, Jr., H.A (1973) “The Hittites and Hurrians,” in D. J. Wiseman Peoples of the Old Testament Times, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • Gurney, O.R. (1952) The Hittites, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-020259-5
  • Kloekhorst, Alwin (2007), Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon, ISBN 90-04-16092-2O
  • Patri, Sylvain (2007), L'alignement syntaxique dans les langues indo-européennes d'Anatolie, (StBoT 49), Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, ISBN 978-3-447-05612-0
  • J. Freu et M. Mazoyer,

Des origines à la fin de l'ancien royaume hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire 1, Paris, 2007 ; Les débuts du nouvel empire hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire 2, Paris, 2007 ; L'apogée du nouvel empire hittite, Les Hittites et leur histoire 3, Paris, 2008.

[edit] External links




R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching over 80% of the population in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, western Wales, the Atlantic fringe of France and the Basque country. It is also common in Anatolia and around the Caucasus, in parts of Russia and in Central and South Asia. Besides the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Europe, hotspots include the Po valley in north-central Italy (over 70%), the Ossetians of the North Caucasus (over 40%) and nearby Armenia (35%), the Bashkirs of the Urals region of Russia (50%), Turkmenistan (over 35%), the Hazara people of Afghanistan (35%), the Uyghurs of North-West China (20%) and the Newars of Nepal (11%). R1b-V88, a subclade specific to sub-Saharan Africa, is found in 60 to 95% of men in northern Cameroon.

Anatolian or Caucasian origins ?

The origins of R1b are not entirely clear to this day. Some of the oldest forms of R1b are found in the Near East and around the Caucasus. Haplogroup R1* and R2* might have originated in southern Central Asia (between the Caspian and the Hindu Kush). A branch of R1 would have developed into R1b* then R1b1* in the northern part of the Middle East during the Ice Age. It presumptively moved to northern Anatolia and across the Caucasus during the early Neolithic, where it became R1b1b. The Near Eastern leftovers evolved into R1b1a (M18), now found at low frequencies among the Lebanese and the Druze.The Phoenicians (who came from modern day Lebanon) spread this R1b1a and R1b1* to their colonies, notably Sardinia and the Maghreb.

The subclades R1b1b1 and R1b1b2 (the most common form in Europe) are closely associated with the spread of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, including almost all Europe (except Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, Europan Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others. Whereas R1b1 is found is such places as the Levant or Cameroon, R1b1b mostly likely originated in north-eastern Anatolia.

The North Caucasus and the Pontic-Caspian steppe : the Indo-European link

Modern linguists have placed the Proto-Indo-European homeland in the Pontic-Caspian steppe, a distinct geographic and archeological region extending from the Danube estuary to the Ural mountains to the east and North Caucasus to the south. The Neolithic, Eneolithic and early Bronze Age cultures in Pontic-Caspian steppe has been called the Kurgan culture (7000-2200 BCE) by Marija Gimbutas, due to the lasting practice of burying the deads under mounds ("kurgan") among the succession of cultures in that region. Horses were first domesticated around 4000 BCE in the steppe, perhaps somewhere around the Don or the lower Volga, and soon became a defining element of steppe culture. During the Bronze-age period, known as the Yamna horizon (3300-2500 BCE), the cattle and sheep herders adopted wagons to transport their food and tents, which allowed them to move deeper into the steppe, giving rise to a new mobile lifestyle that would eventually lead to the great Indo-European migrations.

The Pontic-Caspian steppe cultures can be divided in a western group, ranging from the Don River to the Dniester (and later Danube), and an eastern one, in the Volga-Ural region. The Pontic steppe was probably inhabited by men of mixed R1a and R1b lineages, with higher densities of R1b just north of the Caucasus, and more R1a in the the northern steppes and the forest-steppes.

R1b almost certainly crossed over from northern Anatolia to the Pontic-Caspian steppe. It is not clear whether this happened before, during or after the Neolithic. A regular flow of R1b across the Caucasus cannot be excluded either. The genetic diversity of R1b being greater around the Caucasus, it is hard to deny that R1b settled and evolved there before entering the steppe world. Does that mean that Indo-European languages originated in the steppes with R1a people, and that R1b immigrants blended into the established culture ? Or that Proro-Indo-European language appear in northern Anatolia or in the Caucasus, then spread to the steppes with R1b ? Or else did Proro-Indo-European first appear in the steppe as a hybrid language of Caucasian/Anatolian R1b and steppe R1a ? This question has no obvious answer, but based on the antiquity and archaic character of the Anatolian branch (Hittite, Palaic, Luwian, Lydian, and so on) an northern Anatolian origin of Proto-Indo-European is credible. Furthermore, there is documented evidence of loan words from Caucasian languages in Indo-European languages. This is much more likely to have happened if Proto-Indo-European developed near the Caucasus than in the distant steppes. R1b would consequently have been the spreading factor of PIE to the steppes, and from there to Europe, Central Asia and South Asia.

The Maykop culture, the R1b link to the steppe ?

The Maykop culture (3700-2500 BCE), in the North Caucasus, was culturally speaking a sort of southern extension of the Yamna horizon. Although not generally considered part of the Pontic-Caspian steppe culture due to its geography, the North Caucasus had close links with the steppe, as attested by numerous ceramics, gold, copper and bronze weapons and jewelry in the contemporaneous cultures of Mikhaylovka, Sredny Stog and Kemi Oba. The link between the North Pontic and North Caucasus is older than the Maykop period. Its predecessor, the Svobodnoe culture (4400-3700 BCE), already had links to the Suvorovo-Novodanilovka and early Sredny Stog cultures, and the even older Nalchik settlement (5000-4500 BCE) displayed a similar culture as Khvalynsk on the Volga. This may be the period when R1b started interracting and blending with the R1a population of the steppes.

The Yamna and Maykop people both used kurgan burials, with their deads in a supine position with raised knees and oriented in a north-east/south-west axis. Graves were sparkled with red ochre on the floor, and sacrificed dometic animal buried alongside humans. They also had in common horse riding, wagons, a cattle- and sheep-based economy, the use of copper/bronze battle-axes (both hammer-axes and sleeved axes) and tanged daggers. In fact, the oldest wagons and bronze artefacts are found in the North Caucasus, and spread from there to the steppes.

Maykop was an advanced Bronze Age culture, actually one of the very first to develop metalworking, and therefore metal weapons. The world's oldest sword was found at a late Maykop grave in Klady kurgan 31. Its style is reminiscent of the long Celtic swords, though less elaborated. Horse bones and depictions of horses already appear in early Maykop graves, suggesting that the Maykop culture might have been founded by steppe people or by people who had close link with them. However, the presence of cultural elements radically different from the steppe culture in some sites could mean that Maykop had a hybrid population. Without DNA testing it is impossible to say if these two populations were an Anatolian R1b group and a G2a Caucasian group, or whether R1a people had settled there two. The two or three etnicities might even have cohabited side by side in different settlements. Typical Caucasian Y-DNA lineages (such as G2a) do not follow the pattern of Indo-European migrations, so intermarriages must have been limited, or at least restricted to Indo-European men taking Caucasian wives rather than the other way round.

Maykop people are the ones credited for the introduction of primitive wheeled vehicles (wagons) from Mesopotamia to the steppes. This would revolutionise the way of life in the steppe, and would later lead to the development of (horse-drawn) war chariots around 2000 BCE. Cavalry and chariots played an vital role in the subsequent Indo-European migrations, allowing them to move quickly and defeat easily anybody they encountered. Combined with advanced bronze weapons and their sea-based culture, the western branch (R1b) of the Indo-Europeans from the Black Sea shores are excellent candidates for being the mysterious Sea Peoples, who raided the eastern shores of the Mediterranean during the second millennium BCE.

The rise of the IE-speaking Hittites in Central Anatolia happened a few centuries after the disappearance of the Maykop culture. A back migration from the North Caucasus to northern Anatolia is very likely in this age of expansion. What is certain is that the Hittites used chariots, invented in the Volga-Ural steppes. R1a being found a low frequencies in Armenia and northern Anatolia, it is not unreasonable to imagine that a hybrid group of R1a-R1b from the Volga-Ural region migrated to this region sometime between 2000 BCE and 1650 BCE. The Maykop and Yamna cultures were succeeded by the Srubna culture (1600-1200 BCE), possibly representing an advance of R1a1a people from the northern and eastern steppes towards the Black Sea shores.

The European branch

The Indo-Europeans' bronze weapons and horses would have given them a tremendous advantage over the autochthonous inhabitants of Europe, namely the native haplogroup I (descendant of Cro-Magnon), and the early Neolithic herders and farmers (G2a, J2, E-V13 and T). This allowed R1a and R1b to replace (=> see How did R1b come to replace most of the older lineages in Western Europe ? most of the native male lineages, although female lineages seem to have been less affected.

A comparison with the Indo-Iranian invasion of South Asia shows that 40% of the male linages of northern India are R1a, but less than 10% of the female lineages could be of Indo-European origin. The impact of the Indo-Europeans was more severe in Europe because European society 4,000 years ago was less developed in terms of agriculture, technology (no bronze weapons) and population density than that of the Indus Valley civilization. This is particularly true of the native Western European cultures where farming arrived much later than in the Balkans or central Europe. Greece, the Balkans and the Carpathians were the most advanced of European societies at the time and were the least affected in terms of haplogroup replacement. Native European Y-DNA haplogroups (I1, I2a, I2b) also survived better in regions that were more difficult to reach or less hospitable, like Scandinavia, Brittany, Sardinia or the Dinaric Alps.

The first forrays of steppe people into the Balkans happened between 4200 BCE and 3900 BCE, when horse riders crossed the Dniester and Danube and apparently destroyed the towns of the Gumelnita, Varna and Karanovo VI cultures in Eastern Romania and Bulgaria. A climatic change resulting in colder winters during this exact period probably pushed steppe herders to seek milder pastures for their stock, while failed crops would have led to famine and internal disturbance within the Danubian and Balkanic communities. The ensuing Cernavoda culture (4000-3200 BCE) and Ezero culture (3300-2700 BCE) seems to have had a mixed population of steppe immigrants and people from the old tell settlements. These steppe immigrants were likely a mixture of both R1a and R1b lineages. Many Danubian farmers would also have migrated to the Cucuteni-Tripolye towns in the Eastern Carpathians, causing a population boom and a north-eastward expansion until the Dnieper valley, bringing Y-haplogroups E-V13, J2b and T in what is now central Ukraine. This precocious Indo-European advance westward was fairly limited, due to the absence of Bronze weapons and organised army at the time, and was indeed only possible thanks to climatic catastrophes. The Carphatian, Danubian, and Balkanic cultures were too densely populated and technologically advanced to allow for a massive migration.

The Bronze Age annnounces a very different development. R1a people appear to have been the first to successfully penetrate into the heart of Europe, with the Corded Ware (Battle Axe) culture (3200-1800 BCE) as a natural western expansion of the Yamna culture. They went as far west as Germany and Scandinavia. DNA analysis from the Corded Ware culture site of Eulau confirms the presence of R1a (but not R1b) in central Germany around 2600 BCE. The Corded Ware migrants might well have expanded from the forest-steppe, or the northern fringe of the Yamna culture, where R1a lineages were prevalent over R1b ones.

R1b1b2 is thought to have arrived in central and western Europe around 2500 BCE, by going up the Danube from the Black Sea coast. The archeological and genetic evidence (distribution of R1b subclades) point at several consecutive waves towards the Danube between 2800 BCE and 2300 BCE (beginning of the Unetice culture). It is interesting to note that this also corresponds to the end of the Maykop culture (2500 BCE) and Kemi Oba culture (2200 BCE) on the northern shores of the Black Sea, and their replacement by cultures descended from the northern steppes. It can therefore be envisaged that the (mostly) R1b population from the northern half of the Black Sea migrated westward due to pressure from other Indo-European people (R1a) from the north, like the burgeoning Proto-Indo-Iranian branch, linked to the contemporary Poltavka and Abashevo cultures.

It is doubtful that the Beaker culture (2800-1900 BCE) was already Indo-European (although they were influenced by the Corded Ware culture), because they were the continuity of the native Megalithic cultures. It is more likely that the beakers and horses found across western Europe during that period were the result of trade with neighbouring Indo-European cultures, including the first wave of R1b into central Europe. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the following Unetice (2300-1600 BCE), Tumulus (1600-1200 BCE), Urnfield (1300-1200 BCE) and Hallstatt (1200-750) cultures were linked to the spread of R1b to Europe, as they abruptly introduce new technologies and a radically different lifestyle.

=> See also Metal-mining and stockbreeding explain R1b dominance in Atlantic fringe


Did the Indo-Europeans really invade Western Europe ?

Proponents of the Paleolithic or Neolithic continuity model argue that bronze technology and horses could have been imported by Western Europeans from their Eastern European neighbours, and that no actual Indo-European invasion need be involved. It is harder to see how Italic, Celtic and Germanic languages were adopted by Western and Northern Europeans without at least a small scale invasion. It has been suggested that Indo-European (IE) languages simply spread through contact, just like technologies, or because it was the language of a small elite and therefore its adoption conferred a certain perceived prestige. However people don't just change language like that because it sounds nicer or more prestigious. Even nowadays, with textbooks, dictionaries, compulsory language courses at school, private language schools for adults and multilingual TV programs, the majority of the people cannot become fluent in a completely foreign language, belonging to a different language family. The linguistic gap between pre-IE vernaculars and IE languages was about as big as between modern English and Chinese. English, Greek, Russian and Hindi are all related IE languages and therefore easier to learn for IE speakers than non-IE languages like Chinese, Arabic or Hungarian. From a linguistic point of view, only a wide-scale migration of IE speakers could explain the thorough adoption of IE languages in Western Europe - leaving only Basque as a remnant of the Neolithic languages.

One important archeological argument in favour of the replacement of Neolithic cultures by Indo-European culture in the Bronze Age comes from pottery styles. The sudden appearance of bronze technology in Western Europe coincides with ceramics suddenly becoming more simple and less decorated, just like in the Pontic steppes. Until then, pottery had constantly evolved towards greater complexity and details for over 3,000 years. People do not just decide like that to revert to a more primitive style. Perhaps one isolated tribe might experiment with something simpler at one point, but what are the chances that distant cultures from Iberia, Gaul, Italy and Britain all decide to undertake such an improbable shift around the same time ? The best explanation is that this new style was imposed by foreign invaders. In this case it is not mere speculation; there is ample evidence that this simpler pottery is characteristic of the steppes associated with the emergence of Proto-Indo-European speakers.

Besides pottery, archeology provides ample evidence that the early Bronze Age in Central and Western Europe coincides with a radical shift in food production. Agriculture experiences an abrupt reduction in exchange for an increased emphasis on domesticates. This is also a period when horses become more common and cow milk is being consumed regularly. The oeverall change mimicks the steppe way of life almost perfectly. Even after the introduction of agriculture around 5200 BCE, the Bug-Dniester culture and later steppe cultures were characterized by an economy dominated by herding, with only limited farming. This pattern expands into Europe exactly at the same time as bronze working.

Religious beliefs and arts undergo a complete reversal in Bronze Age Europe. Neolithic societies in the Near East and Europe had always worshipped female figurines as a form of fertility cult. The steppe cultures, on the contrary, did not manufacture female figurines. As bronze technology spreads from the Danube valley to Western Europe, symbols of fertility and fecundity progressively disappear and are replaced by scultures of domesticated animals.

Another clue that Indo-European steppe people came in great number to Central and Western Europe is to be found in burial practices. Neolithic Europeans either cremated their dead (e.g. Cucuteni-Tripolye culture) or buried them in collective graves (this was the case of Megalithic cultures). In the steppe, each person was buried individually, and high-ranking graves were placed in a funeral chamber and topped by a circular mound. The body was typically accompanied by weapons (maces, axes, daggers), horse bones, and a dismantled wagon (or later chariot). These characteristic burial mounds are known as kurgans in the Pontic steppe. Men were given more sumptuous tombs than women, even among children, and differences in hierarchy are obvious between burials. The Indo-Europeans had a strongly hierarchical and patrilinear society, as opposed to the more egalitarian and matrilinear cultures of Old Europe. The proliferation of ststus-conscious male-dominant kurgans (or tumulus) in Central Europe during the Bronze Age is a clear sign that the ruling elite had now become Indo-European. The practice also spread to Central Asia and Southern Siberia, two regions where R1a and R1b lineages are found nowadays, just like in Central Europe. The ceremony of burial is one of the most emotionally charged and personal aspect of a culture. It is highly doubtful that people would change their ancestral practice "just to do like the neighbours". In fact, different funerary practices have co-existed side by side during the European Neolithic and Chalcolithic. The ascendancy of yet another constituent of the Pontic steppe culture in the rest of Europe, and in this case one that does not change easily through contact with neighbours, adds up to the likelihood of a strong Indo-European migration. The adoption of some elements of a foreign culture tends to happen when one civilization overawes the adjacent cultures by its superiority. This process is called 'acculturation'. However there is nothing that indicates that the steppe culture was so culturally superior as to motivate a whole continent, even Atlantic cultures over 2000 km away from the Pontic steppes, to abadndon so many fundamental symbols of their own ancestral culture, and even their own language. In fact, Old Europe was far more refined in its pottery and jewellery than the rough steppe people. The Indo-European superiority was cultural but military, thanks to horses, bronze weapons and an ethic code valuing individual heroic feats in war (these ethic values are known from the old IE texts, like the Rig Veda, Avesta, or the Mycenaean and Hittite literature).

After linguistics and archeology, the third category of evidence comes from genetics itself. It had first been hypothetised that R1b was native to Western Europe, because this is where it was most prevalent. It has since been proven that R1b haplotypes displayed higher microsatellite diversity in Anatolia and in the Caucasus than in Europe. European subclades are also more recent than Middle Eastern or Central Asian ones. The main European subclade, R-P312/S116, only dates back to approximately 3500 to 3000 BCE. It does not mean that the oldest common ancestor of this lineage arrived in Western Europe during this period, but that the first person who carried the mutation R-P312/S116 lived at least 5,000 years ago, assumably somewhere in the lower Danube valley or around the Black Sea. In any case this timeframe is far too recent for a Paleolithic origin or a Neolithic arrival of R1b. The discovery of what was thought to be "European lineages" in Central Asia, Pakistan and India hit the final nail on the coffin of a Paleolithic origin of R1b in Western Europe, and confirmed the Indo-European link.

All the elements concur in favour of a large scale migration of horse-riding Indo-European speakers to Western Europe between 2500 to 2100 BCE, contributing to the replacement of the Neolithic or Chalcolithic lifestyle by a inherently new Bronze Age culture, with simpler pottery, less farming, more herding, new rituals (single graves) and new values (patrilinear society, warrior heroes) that did not evolve from local predecessors.

These Proto-Italo-Celto-Germanic R1b people had settled around the Alps by 2300 BCE, and judging from the spread of bronze working, reached Iberia by 2250 BCE, Britain by 2100 BCE and Ireland by 2000 BCE. This first wave of R1b assumably carried R1b-L21 lineages in great number, as these are found everywhere in western, northern and central Europe. A second R1b expansion took place from the Urnfield/Hallstatt culture around 1200 BCE, pushing west to the Atlantic, north to Scandinavia, and as far east as Greece and Anatolia (=> see Dorian invasion below).

The new Bronze Age culture flourished around the Alps (Unetice to early Hallstatt) thanks to the abundance of metal in the region, and laid the foundation for the classical Celtic culture. The Celtic Iron Age (late Halstatt, from 800 BCE) may have been brought through preserved contacts with the the steppes and the North Caucasus, notably the Koban culture (1100-400 BCE).

The Alpine Celts of the Hallstatt culture are associated with the S28 (a.k.a. U152) mutation, although not exclusively. The Italic branch (also S28/U152) is thought to have entered Italy by 1200 BCE, but there were certainly several succesive waves, as attested by the later arrival of the Cisalpine Celts. The Belgae were another S28/U152 branch, an extension of the La Tène culture northward, following the Rhine, Moselle and Meuse rivers.

One common linguistic trait between Italic and Gaulish/Brythonic Celtic languages linked to the Hallstatt expansion is that they shifted the oiginal IE *kw sound into *p. They are known to linguists as the P-Celtic branch. It is thought that this change occured due to the inability to pronounce the *kw sound by the pre-Indo-European population of central Europe, Gaul and Italy, who were speakers of Afro-Asiatic dialects that had evolved from a Near-Eastern language. The Etruscans, although later incomers from the Levant, also fit in this category. It has recently been acknowledged that Celtic languages borrowed part of their grammar from Afro-Asiatic languages. This shift could have happened when the Proto-Italo-Celtic speakers moved from the steppes to the Danube basin and mixed with the population of Near-Eastern farmers belonging to haplogroups E-V13, T, G2a and J2b. However, such an early shift would not explain why Q-Celtic languages developed in Ireland and Iberia. It is more plausible that the shift happened after the Italo-Celts had first expanded across all western Europe. The S28/U152 connection to P-Celtic suggests that the shift took place around the Alps and Italy after 1200 BCE.

R1b-S21 (a.k.a. U106) is found at high concentrations in the Netherlands and northern Germany. Its presence in other parts of Europe can be attributed to the 5th- and 6th-century Germanic migrations. The Frisians and Saxons spread this haplogroup to the British Isles, the Franks to Belgium and France, and the Lombards to Austria and northern Italy. The high concentration of S21/U106 around Austria hints that it could have originated there in the Hallstatt period, or originated around the Black Sea and moved there during the Hallstatt period. In fact, southern Germany and Austria taken together have the highest diversity of R1b in Europe. Besides S21, the three major first level subclades of R1b1b2a1b (L21, S28, M167) are found in this area at reasonable frequencies to envisage a spread from the Unetice to Hallstatt homeland to the rest of western Europe.

=> Trivia : Kings of many European countries have been confirmed to be R1b through genetic genealogy.


How did R1b come to replace most of the older lineages in Western Europe ?

Until recently it was believed that R1b originated in Western Europe due to its strong presence in the region today. The theory was that R1b represented the Paleolithic Europeans (Cro-Magnon) that had sought refuge in the Franco-Cantabrian region at the peak of the last Ice Age, then recolonised Central and Northern Europe once the ice sheet receded. The phylogeny of R1b proved that this scenario was not possible, because older R1b clades were consistently found in Central Asia and the Middle East, and the youngest in Western and Northern Europe. There was a clear gradient from East to West tracing the migration of R1b people (see map above). This age of the main migration from the shores of the Black Sea to Central Europe also happened to match the timeframe of the Indo-European invasion of Europe, which coincides with the introduction of the Bronze-Age culture in Western Europe, and the spread of Italo-Celtic and Germanic languages.

Historians and archeologists have long argued whether the Indo-European migration was a massive invasion, or rather a cultural diffusion of language and technology spread only by a small number of incomers. The answer could well be "neither". Proponents of the diffusion theory would have us think that R1b is native to Western Europe, and R1a alone represent the Indo-Europeans. The problem is that haplogroup R did arise in Central Asia, and R2 is still restricted to Central and South Asia, while R1a and the older subclades of R1b are also found in Central Asia. The age of R1b subclades in Europe coincide with the Bronze-Age. R1b must consequently have replaced most of the native Y-DNA lineages in Europe from the Bronze-Age onwards.

However, a massive migration and nearly complete anihilation of the Paleolithic population can hardly be envisaged. Western Europeans do look quite different in Ireland, Holland, Aquitaine or Portugal, despite being all regions where R1b is dominant. Autosomal DNA studies have confirmed that the Western European population is far from homogeneous. A lot of maternal lineages (mtDNA) also appear to be of Paleolithic origin (e.g. H1, H3, U5 or V) based on ancient DNA tests. What a lot of people forget is that there is also no need of a large-scale exodus for patrilineal lineages to be replaced fairly quickly. Here is why.

  1. Polygamy. Unlike women, men are not limited in the number of children they can procreate. Men with power typically have more children. This was all the truer in primitive societies, where polygamy was often the norm for chieftains and kings.
  2. Status & Power. Equipped with Bronze weapons and horses, the Indo-Europeans would have easily subjugated the Neolithic farmers and with even greater ease Europe's last hunter-gatherers.If they did not exterminate the indigenous men, the newcomers would have become the new ruling class, with a multitude of local kings, chieftains and noblemen (Bronze-Age Celts and Germans lived in small village communities with a chief, each part of a small tribe headed by a king) with higher reproductive opportunities than average.
  3. Gender imbalance. Invading armies normally have far more men than women. Men must therefore find women in the conquered population. Wars are waged by men, and the losers suffer heavier casualties, leaving more women available to the winners.
  4. Aggressive warfare. The Indo-Europeans were a warlike people with a strong heroic code emphasising courage and military prowess. Their superior technology (metal weapons, wheeled vehicles and warhorses) and attitude to life would have allowed them to slaughter any population that did not have organised armies with metal weapons (i.e. anybody except the Middle-Eastern civilizations).
  5. Genetic predisposition to conceive boys. The main role of the Y-chromosome in man's body is to create sperm. Haplogroups are determined based on mutations differentiating Y-chromosomes. Each mutation is liable to affect sperm production and sperm motility. Preliminary research has already established a link between certain haplogroups and increased or reduced sperm motility. The higher the motility, the higher the chances of conceiving a boy. It is absolutely possible that R1b could confer a bias toward more male offspring. Even a slightly higher percentage of male births would significantly contribute to the replacement of other lineages with the accumulation effect building up over a few millennia. Not all R1b subclades might have this boy bias. The bias only exist in relation to other haplogroups found in a same population. It is very possible that the fairly recent R1b subclades of Western Europe had a significant advantage compared to the older haplogroups in that region, notably haplogroup I2 and E-V13. Read more
Replacement of patrilineal lineages following this model quickly becomes exponential. Imagine 100 Indo-European men conquering a tribe of 1000 indigenous Europeans (a ratio of 1:10). War casualties have resulted in a higher proportion of women in the conquered population. Let's say that the surviving population is composed of 700 women and 300 men. Let's suppose that the victorious Indo-European men end up having twice as many children reaching adulthood as the men of the vanquished tribe. There is a number of reason for that. The winners would take more wives, or take concubines, or even rape women of the vanquished tribe. Their higher status would garantee them greater wealth and therefore better nutrition for their offspring, increasing the chances of reaching adulthood and procreating themselves. An offspring ratio of 2 to 1 for men is actually a conservative estimate, as it is totally conceivable that Bronze-Age sensibilities would have resulted in killing most of the men on the losing side, and raping their women (as attested by the Old Testament). Even so, it would only take a few generations for the winning Y-DNA lineages to become the majority. For instance, if the first generation of Indo-Europeans had two surviving sons per man, against only one per indigenous man, the number of Indo-European paternal lineages would pass to 200 individuals at the second generation, 400 at the third, 800 at the fourth and 1600 at the fifth, and so on. During that time indigenous lineages would only stagnate at 300 individuals for each generation.

Based on such a scenario, the R1b lineages would have quickly overwhelmed the local lineages. Even if the Indo-European conquerors had only slightly more children than the local men, R1b lineages would become dominant within a few centuries. Celtic culture lasted for over 1000 years in Continental Europe before the Roman conquest putting an end to the priviledges of the chieftains and nobility. This is more than enough time for R1b lineages to reach 50 to 80% of the population.

The present-day R1b frequency forms a gradient from the Atlantic fringe of Europe (highest percentage) to Central and Eastern Europe (lowest), the rises again in the Anatolian homeland. This is almost certainly because agriculture was better established in Eastern, then Central Europe, with higher densities of population, leaving R1b invadors more outnumbered than in the West. Besides, other Indo-Europeans of the Corded Ware culture (R1a) had already advanced from modern Russia and Ukraine as far west as Germany and Scandinavia. It would be difficult for R1b people to rival with their R1a cousins who shared similar technology and culture. The Pre-Celto-Germanic R1b would therefore have been forced to settled further west, first around the Alps, then overtaking the then sparsely populated Western Europe.

The Greco-Anatolian branch

The Hittites (2000-1200 BCE) were the first Indo-Europeans to defy (and defeat) the mighty Mesopotamian and Egyptian empires. The Hittite ruling class was plausibly an offshoot of the late Maykop culture that conquered the Hattian kingdom. The northern Anatolians may also have been the original Indo-European speakers people who later founded the Maykop culture and spread their language and culture to the Pontic-Caspian steppes. Whichever way, northern Anatolian Bronze-Age Indo-European speakers would surely have belonged in great part to haplogroup R1b1b (and subclades). The Hattians might have had some older Middle-Eastern R1b mixed with the other haplogroups common in Anatolia nowadays (E-M78, G2a and J2).

Troy could well have been a Indo-European colony securing the trade routes between the Black Sea and the Aegean. The Trojans were Luwian speakers related to the Hittites (hence Indo-European), with proven cultural ties to the culture of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. The first city of Troy dates back to 3000 BCE, right in the middle of the Maykop period, and exatly at the time the first galleys were made. Considering the early foundation of Troy, the most likely of the two Indo-European paternal haplogroups would be R1b1b, not R1a1a.

Greek R1b comes in many varieties: R1b1 from the Near-East, R1b1b from Anatolia, and the European R1b1b2, including the Proto-Celtic S116/P312 and Hallstatt Celtic S28/U152. The presence of R1b1b2 in Greece could be attributed to the Dorian invasion, thought to have happened in the 12th century BCE. The Dorians could have been related to the Trojans and the Hittites belonging to the oldest Indo-European linguistic branch, or to the Proto-Celts of central Europe and the Danube valley. One way of the other, their Y-DNA lineages would have been predominantly R1b1b or R1b1b2. The Dorians could be the descendants of the first (R1b) steppe nomads who settled in the Eastern Balkans (Cernavoda and Ezero cultures) and did not continue their migration up the Danube to central and western Europe.

Greek and Anatolian R1b-S28 lineages could be attributed to the Celtic invasions of the 3rd century BCE, but more probably to the Roman occupation. Older clades of R1b, such as R1b1 or R1b1a are only a small minority and would have come along E1b1b and J2 from the Middle East. The Mycenaeans could have brought some R1b1b2 to Greece, but their origins can be traced back to the Seima-Turbino culture of the northern forest-steppe, which would make them primarily an R1a1a tribe.

The Central Asian branch

An early group of R1b1b people is thought to have migrated from Caspian Sea region to Central Asia, where it evolved into the R1b1b1 (M73) branch. This variety of R1b occurs almost exclusively in very specific Central Asian populations. The highest percentages were observed among the Uyghurs (20%) of Xinjiang in north-west China, the Hazara people of Afghanistan (32%), and the Bashkirs (55%) of the Abzelilovsky district of Bashkortostan in Russia (border of Kazakhstan).

Central Asian R1b1b1 could correspond to the Tocharian branch of the Indo-Europeans. It is possible that the Tocharians split from the main R1b body as early as 7,000 BCE. Over the centuries some groups of these nomadic tribes ended up around the southern Urals, others in the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang) or in southern Central Asia. Another theory is that a group of early horse riders from the Repin culture (3700-3300 BCE) migrated from the Don-Volga region to the Altai mountain, founding the Afanasevo culture (c. 3600-2400 BCE), then moved south to the Tarim Basin.

Mummies of fair-haired Caucasian people were found in the Tarim Basin, the oldest of which date back to 1800 BCE. The modern inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, the Uyghurs, belong both to this R1b-M73 subclade (about 20%) and to R1a1 (about 30%). This could mean that they had become a hybrid R1b-R1a society by the time they reached the Tarim Basin. But R1a1 could also have arrived independently during the later Indo-Iranian migrations (approx. 2000 BCE), or much later through some nomadic Scytho-Iranian tribes (after 700 BCE).








Chariot Burials

Chariot burials are tombs in which the deceased was buried together with his chariot, usually including his (more rarely, her) horses and other possessions.

The earliest chariots known are from chariot burials of the Andronovo (Timber-Grave) sites of the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in modern Russia, clustering along the upper Tobol river, southeast of Magnitogorsk, from around 2000 BC, containing spoke-wheeled chariots drawn by teams of two horses. This culture is at least partially derived from the earlier Yamna culture, where some wagon-burials are found, and is generally accepted as an early Proto-Indo-Iranian culture. The Krivoye Ozero chariot grave contained a horse skull, three pots, two bridle cheek pieces, and points of spears and arrows.[1]

Later chariot burials are found in China, the most famous was discovered in 1933 at Hougang, Anyang of central China's Henan Province, dating to the rule of King Wu Ding of the Yin Dynasty (ca. 1200 BC). A Western Zhou (9th century BC) chariot burial was unearthed at Zhangjiapo, Chang'an in 1955.[2]

In Europe, chariot burial was mainly an Iron Age Celtic custom. A tomb from the 4th century BC was discovered in La Gorge-Meillet (Marne, France).[3]

In Italy, at the site of Sesto Calende, south of Lake Maggiore, were two chariot burials of the Golasecca culture dating to the 7th and 6th century BC accompanied with weapons, ornaments and a large situla [4] while an earlier burial of the same culture, at Ca' Morta - Como (c. 700 BC), included a four-wheeled wagon in the tomb. The only Etruscan find dates to ca. 530 BC, and is preserved in pristine quality, see Etruscan chariot.

In England, chariot burials are characteristic of, and almost confined to, the Iron Age Arras culture associated with the Parisii tribe. Finds of such burials are rare, and the persons interred were presumably chieftains or other wealthy notables. The Wetwang chariot burial of ca. 300 BC is an exception in that a woman was interred with the chariot.[5] Some 21 British sites are known, spanning approximately four centuries, virtually all in the East Riding of Yorkshire.[6] The Ferrybridge and Newbridge chariots are unusual in Britain as they are the only ones to be buried intact.[7] The burial custom seems to have disappeared with the Roman occupation of Britain.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ David S. Anthony, The Donkey, The Wheel and Language: How Bronze Age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world (2007), pp. 397-405.
  2. ^ TRavel China Guide: Western Zhou Chariot Burial Pit
  3. ^ Le Musée des Antiquités nationales: Les Âges du fer: La tombe à char de « La Gorge-Meillet »
  4. ^ The Princely Tombs of Sesto Calende. [1]
  5. ^ British Museum: The Wetwang Chariot Burial
  6. ^ Yorkshire History: Iron Age Chariot Burials
  7. ^ British Archaeology 76, May 2004

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