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Nostratic Languages.… / Türks as Carriers of the Corded Ware Cultures

Türks as Carriers of the Corded Ware Cultures


Evidences about ethnicity of the creators of Corded Ware Culture, which was developed out of Old Pit culture, are given apart (see the section "Ethnicity of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures of Eastern Europe").
Also arguments about the presence of the Türkic tribe Bulgars in Western Ukraine are considered apart in the section "Discussion". There will be placed materials about further Türkic expansion of Türkic tribes as carriers of Corded Ware Cultures. The study is in progress

Archaeological data evidence that at the beginning of III mill. BC similar cultures appear in Central Europe having such characteristic features as Corded Ware and battle-axes. At least, their appearance in Małopolska (Cracow and Sandomierz and other groups) can be dated by Radiocarbon method since 2900/2800 years. BC [WŁODARCZAK PIOTR, 2001: 106].


Left: Battle-axes as one main feature of Corded Ware culture.

Stone and copper axes found accidentally in Fore-Carpathia and Podolia.
1. – Rakovchyk, 2. – Pistyn, 3. – Komariv, 4. – Dereviane, 5. – Bedrykivrsi, 6. – Bohorodchany, 7. – Halych, 8. – Dashava (SVESHNIKOV I.K. 1974, Fig. 18)


The complex of the Corded Ware culture, some of which have such names as Fatyanovo, Balanovo, Beaker culture, Single Grave culture, Battle-axe culture etc was spread on the space from the Volga River to the Rhine, from southern Sweden to the foothills of the Alps and Carpathians.

Türks settled quickly upon large space owing to using riding horses and primitive carts. Tractive force could be like horses and bulls. The spread of the Turks was indebted also due climatic changes in the arid Subboreal period when the zone of steppes advanced on the north and west and nomadic tribes of cattle-breeders moved with it. The extent of this movement is illustrated by the fact that there are only in Saxony and Thuringia 1300 sites of Corded Ware culture.(HERMAMM JOACHIM. 1982: 61)


Left: Some types of Corded pottery from Ukrainian sites.


1, 10, 13 – Strzyżów group; 2, 3, 4, 7, 14. – Upper Dnister group; 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12. – Zdovbytsia group. (SVESHNIKOV I.K. 1974, Fig. 4, 5, 6, 9, 26, 38, 39, 48)


Settling quickly over a large area, Türks influenced the culture of the local population, giving rise to new cultural traditions. Inverse influences were very minor. For example, the aliens have borrowed from Trypillians symbol "Tree of Life". However Türks brought with themselves the image of the Bull and the Phallic saints as a symbol of male power and, as a consequence, patriarchal clan system, as well as ancestor worship and funeral rite. (ALEKSEYEVA I.L. 1991: 20-21).

Most clearly these effects can be observed in the archaeology of the Right-bank Ukraine, especially in th Usatove group near the city of Odessa. Although they have been associated with the cultures of the Balkan-Danubian tradition, "but one of the most important and characteristic features that make separate this group – funeral rites – certainly linked to Old Pit culture tradition" (MASSON V.M., MERPERT N.Ya., 1982: 329). In addition, Trypillian clay-ware with sand and pounded shells, a feature that distinguishes Seredniy Stih and Pit cultures, occurs on the banks of the Southern Bug and Ingulets Rivers [ibid., 211]. Human skeleton buried in the back with knees bent, ie in a pose typical of carriers so-called "Kurgan" cultures, which was found near the village of Nezvisko of Ivano-Frankivsk region, may indicate further advancing Türks westward. At the same time, the anthropological study of archaeological sites of the North-Western Black Sea Region suggests about the process of cross-breeding and mutual assimilation of Trypillian population and arrived here tribes of Pit culture [ALEKSEYEVA I.L. 1978: 56].


At right: The original territory of the Turks in the area between the Dnieper and Don Rivers (indicated by yellow dots) and distribution area of Seredniy Stih culture (limited by the red line).


The territory populated by the Turkic and the territory of Seredniy Stih culture, which was developed from Pit culture, are basically the same. However, the spread Seredniy Stih culture on a sufficiently large area of the Right-Bank Ukraine may indicate that the resettlement of the Turks beyond the Dnieper occurred much earlier than they started a mass movement in a wide area of Europe. For a while they were peacefully coexisting with Trypillians.

Trypillian population was very numerous. This is evidenced not only by large number of settlements of Trypillian culture, but also their size. Study of British scientists and their Ukrainian colleagues by using geomagnetic method allows to estimate the number of individual Trypillian settlements in the amount of from five to twenty-five thousand people (RASSMANN KNUT. 2014). There are in Ukraine nearly a thousand Trypillian sites. This means that the total number of the population of Trypillian culture could be several million people. Such a mass of people could not disappear without a trace, so you need to assume that the Trypillians were involved in massive migration process of Türkic tribes. This is evidenced by the typical trypillian painted dishes, which can be found in the complexes of the Corded Ware culture (PETROV V. 1947: 35). The Türks themselves as nomads were in a much smaller number and could not settle on the vast expanse of Europe, where they left traces of their Corded Ware culture (hereinafter CWC). However, due to inherent for nomads militancy and better organization they subordinated Trypillians their cultural influence, impose the way of life and, obviously, the language, as it is evidenced by numerous place names of Türkic origin in Central and Northern Europe.


At left: Concentrations of the CWC sites in southeastern Poland, western Ukraine and eastern Slovakia (By J. Machnik with modifications). a – solitary kurgans and their clusters, b – burial grounds and their clusters. J. Machnik noted by roman numerals the three stages of development of culture CWC in Poland. The map is taken from the publication The absolute chronology of the Corded Ware culture in the south-eastern Poland of Piotr Włodarczak and toned by the author with color.


Local cultures of Corded Ware complex are largely different from each other, but have many common features, the most important of which are:


1. spread in the forest and forest-steppe zone;

2. primary pastoral character;

3. temporary settlements with small hut dwelling type;

4. mainly burial mounds;

5. vessels of bowls and cups type with a rough (often spherical) down, decorated by cord and trees decorated ornament;

6. flint rectangular cross-sectional axes and stone axes of various types;

7. a significant amount of armaments;

8. patriarchal clan system;

9. traces of the cult of the sun and the earth;

10. Common (proto-European) anthropological features (SVESHNIKOV S.K. 1974: 170).


Trypilla culture developed mainly based on agriculture, which has lost its effectiveness due to the depletion of the soil without the use of fertilizers and crop rotation. At the time, nomadic livestock give more surplus product, as it could make better use of steppe resources. As a result mutual assimilation and Trypillians and Pit people was accompanied with the transition to nomadic cattle-breading. However, due population growth and the beginning of using more advanced methods of cultivation, reverse transition to agriculture became inevitable. Approximately after five centuries people in the basin of the middle and upper Dniester River has carried a sedentary life. Archaeological sites of Komariv culture, common for space from the Southern Bug River to Volyn, testify to sedentary life with agriculture and livestock-based economy of the carriers of this culture.



Distribution of individual options of CWC in Eastern and Central Europe
The map was compiled on the basis of Zalizniak's scheme [ZALIZNIAK L.L. (Ed.) 2005. 165. Рис. 19].

These numbers refer to the spread of such CWC options: 1 -Axe culture, 2 – Estonian group, 3 – – Vistula-Neman (Rzuców) culture, 4 – Single Grave culture, 5 – Oder group, 6 – culture of Upper Rhine cups, 7 – Saxony-Thuringian culture, 8 –culture of Low Rhine cups, 9 – Polish group, 10 – Horodok-Zdovbytsia culture, 11 – кKrakow-Sandomierz group (Zlota culture), 12 – Mierzanowice culture, 13 – Strzyżów culture, 14 – Fore-Carpathian culture, 15 – Bohemian-Moravian culture, 16 – Middle Dnieper culture, 17 – Fatyanovo culture, 18 – Balanovo culture


When covering topic of Türkic expansion we will rely heavily on the Bulgarian toponymy, the vast majority of which can be interpreted by the Chuvash language, what suggests that the Bulgarian ethnic element was prevalent among CWC. These place names are mapped in the system Google Map, which is convenient ability to easily make changes and additions, which need for will inevitably arise in future studies. The map is supplied below.




On the map, purple dots mark localities with Bulgarish origin of the name, which may correspond to the times of CWC or close to them. Maroon – the later, of Scythian period.
Asterisks mark known single or group sites of CWC. Orange line represents the western border of Trypillian culture, and yellow dots mark possible place names of Trypillian times. Browns show the area of Indo-Europeans, and green is the territory of the spread Fatyanovo and Balanovo cultures.
Hydronyms of Bulgarish origin are indicated by turquoise dots.


The map shows approximately 450 place names of alleged Bulgarian origin, which can be divided into two groups – of CWC time and Scythian time. Discussion about place names belonging to the Scythian period will be led in the appropriate place, but here we will focus on place-names left by CWC carriers. This group consists of place names in Scandinavia, Germany and most of Poland. In addition, there is a dense clusters of Bulgarish place names in the area between the Upper Volga and Oka Rivers, especially among concentration of Fatyano sites in the Moskva River basin (KRENKE N.A. 2014) and in nearby areas. A chain of Bulgarish place names stretches there along the Desna and Oka Rivers from Kiev to Moscow. This suggests that just the Bulgars but not the other Turks were the creators Fatyanovo culture, although it is logical to assume that into the Volga region had to move tribes from the northern part of the territory inhabited by the Türks. Therefore at first it was attempted to decipher available near not Slavic names by means of the Tatar, Turkish and other languages, but this had no success. Obviously, the Bulgars, inhabiting the Right-Bank Ukraine and increasing their numbers by assimilation of the Trypillians, continued the expansion not only westward but also in the north. Ukrainian archaeologists argue that the creators of Fatyanovo culture advanced in the Volga basin just from the banks of the Desna River, where Middle Dnieper version of CWC was distributed earlier.

Наиболее ранние памятники среднеднепровской культуры сосредоточены в ареале, ограниченном Днепром, Тетеревом и Россью, прежде входившем область трипольской культуры. И именно здесь имеются несколько топонимов булгарского происхождения (Боярка, Кагарлык, Кодаки, Узин, Улашовка). Севернее, на территории расселения индоевропейцев памятников культуры шнуровой керамики, за исключением Волыни, практически нет. Очевидно, для тюрок здесь не было для поселения свободных мест. Несколько памятников среднеднепровской группы обнаружены на территории Беларуси вдоль берегов Днепра. Здесь же есть цепочка топонимов, которая маркирует путь небольшой группы тюрков через индоевропейскую территорию к северу:

Солтаново, агрогородок в Речицком районе Гомельской обл. – чув салтăн "равязываться, разворачиваться, раскутываться".

Мадора, деревня в Рогачевском районе Гомельской обл. – чувашские язычнические имена Маттур, Матур, тат. матур "красивый, прелестный".

Дашкаўка, агрогородок в Могилевском районе – чув. тăшка "смешивать, перемешивать".

Старыя Чамаданы, деревня в Шкловском районе Могилевской обл. – чув. чама "размер, мера", тан "равный, одинаковый".

Орша, город у Витебской обл. – чув. ăрша "мгла, знойное марево".

Берново, озеро у Городокском районе Витебской обл. – чув. пĕрне "корзина, ковш".


Значительно большая группа тюрок, двигаясь вдоль Десны, Сейма и далее по берегам Оки, достига бассейна Клязьмы и обосновалась в ближайших местах, став создателями фатьяновской культуры. Создатели балановской культуры, были, очевидно, другие тюркские племена, которые двигались от нижнего Дона вверх по Волге. Этническая принадлежность приволжской топонимики не рассматривалась, поскольку ее стратификация невозможна, в виду постоянного присутствия в Поволжье тюрок, которые соотносятся с волжскими татарами.

Not only the place names, but linguistics confirms settlement of Türks in the west of the Finno-Ugric space. In particular, concentration of horse names of Türkic origin in the western Finno-Ugric languages says about this. On the other hand, Ukrainian archaeologists argue that Fatyanovo people moved to the Volga basin from the banks of the Low Desna River ca. 3200—2300 BC.

The earliest sites of Middle Dnieper culture centered in the area bounded by the Dnieper, Teteriv, and Ros' Rivers which before was a part of the area of Trypilla culture. Just here several place names of Bulgarian origin (Boyarka, Kagarlyk, Kodak, Uzin, Ulashivka) can be seen. To the north, in the area populated by Indo-Europeans CWC sites, except for Volyn, are absent. Obviously, there was no free place for the Türks. Moving along the Desna, Seym Rivers, and further along the Oka River, Bulgars reached the basin of the Klyaz'ma River and settled in nearby places, becoming creators of Fatyanovo culture. The creators of Balanovo culture were obviously other Türkic tribes, who moved from the lower Don River up the Volga. Ethnicity of place names in the Volga basin was not considered because of its stratification is impossible, due permanent presence Türks here, which are referred to the Volga Tatars.

The accuracy of the picture being drawn about further expansion Türks as carriers of CWC in Central and Northern Europe as in the Volga region depends on convincing interpretation of European place names by means of the Chuvash language. As always, the coincidence of names with the Chuvash words may occur, so the credibility of the interpretation of the local place names using the Chuvash language can be higher when the name is associated with the local conditions and also consist of logically related words. In more detail, this topic is covered in "Proto-Bulgarish Place Names in Central Europe".


The photo at right: Mountain Toomemägi in Tartu


For example, the name of the second largest city in Estonia, Tartu is quite convincingly decrypted using the Chuvash language. Chuv. tără "summit" and semantically related tu "a mountain" correspond the terrain, as the city has a mountain Toomemägi. Of course, coincidence is possible, but when such examples are quite numerous, the probability of true interpretation increases over and over. Specific examples of other situationally motivated place names are discussed below

Sometimes such place names occur with components in such a close semantic and logical connection and in addition correspond to the terrain that that the random coincidences seems incredible. There are in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria more than a dozen settlements with the name Aspach. When we divide the word into two components and translate them as Chuvash words, we will see how they fit together – Chuv. ash "to puddle mud, wade sinking (in mud, snow)" and păhh "puddle, feces, muck". These settlements are located in an area that was once muddy.

Two villages with strange names for the Poles Shury and Shurypily are located among the Masurian marshes. Taking into account Chuv shur "swamp", the search for decrypt the second word is going to be successful. If Chuv. pile "buzz" (about mosquitoes) add to Chuv. shura, the name can be understood as "mosquito swamp". Buzzing mosquito clouds over the marsh gave a good reason for such name. This conjecture is confirmed by a similar interpretation of the ancient name of Tallinn Kolivan using Chuv. külĕ "lake" and văn, imitating the hum of insects. Lake Ülemiste is very close to Tallinn, and it is an additional argument in favor of this interpretation. The name of the German city of Nuremberg is well explained by Chuv. nür "humid, wet" and en "side", and this explanation is confirmed by preserved alluvial sediments of floods of Pegnitz River in the northern and north-eastern part of the city. Interpretation of another German town Baruth, in Brandenburg in locality Fläming, rich on massive chalk sediments is perfect by Chuv. pur "chalk", ută "valley".

Bulgarish place names are often located in close proximity to sites of CWC, as in the area Sösdala in Sweden, which name is explained using Chuv. süs "hemp fiber" and tăla "homespun cloth."

A research of subjects, characteristics and the most common names of human settlements and natural objects given by the Bulgars can help the study of spiritual culture and preferred values ​​of the ancients. For example, among all Bulgarish place names are the most common, namely 17 times, having stem tekl. There are in Ukraine six villages of Teklivka, and two more villages of Teklino, Teklino, Tekla, Teklanovka, in Poland – the villages of Teklinów and Teklin, in Hungary – Tekla, Thekla utca, Teklafalu, in Germany existed Tecklenburg county. Anything suitable to decrypt these names are not found except Chuv. tĕk, which among others means "quietly, still". With the addition to this word common Chuvash suffix -, the adjective "calm, quiet, meek" is formed and it was used for the names of settlements. It turns out that the warlike nomads most valued peace in life.

Study of skulls from burials of CWC gives grounds to say that the carriers om them were naturally people of Caucasoid type



















Left: The portrait of a buried boy 14-14 years old on the settlement Zoziv I. Reconstruction after the skull was made by G.V. Lebedynski (SVESHNIKOV I.K. 1974, Fig. 33).
Right: The portrait of a buried man 20-22 years old in the village of Pochapy of Lviv Region Reconstruction after the skull was made by Gerasimov M.M.(SVESHNIKOV I.K. 1974, Fig. 21)


Nomadic Türks had no permanent place of residence, their stationary settlement appeared after changing economy to mixed form of animal husbandry and crop farming. Corded Ware culture, certainly was created by nomads, so the names of settlements attributed to the Bulgar refer to later time when the Türks have settled down. Although the space of their settlements could remain the same.

Comparing the location on the map Bulgarish place names and CWC sites, as well as taking into account the fact that the Türks originally inhabited the steppe zone, we can trace the direction of their migration.


The largest cluster of Bulgarish place names is observed in western Ukraine. The eastern boundary of the cluster, if you do not take into account settlement of Chornolis culture, extends approximately along the Zbruch River. No sites of CWC were detected to east of it too. In principle, the nomadic Türks had to occupy almost treeless Podilla fully, but they moved further westward in the forest zone of the Upper Dniester, which begins beyond the Hnyla Lypa River. Here operated the same reason as in the movement to the north – the area was fairly densely populated by farmers of Trypilla culture which sites here were been found in number more as 300. It was simply impossible for Nomads to find pasture for livestock of required size. Beyond the Zbruch River on the left bank of the Dniester River density of Trytillian population decreases gradually, and the Türks begin settling here. Trypillians settlements interspersed with Türkic ones, become rarer, although on the right bank of the Dniester River they still drawn by the thick band to the mouth of the Hnyla Lypa River, and then disappear almost completely. Judging by the numerous toponymy, the majority of the Bulgars stopped in these places for a long time, but gradually settled into neighboring lands. Another their part in two separate groups moved westward along the Carpathian Mountains and north bypassing settlements of Indo-Europeans. Separated from the main bulk, some part migrants passing through the Moravian Gate, settled in Moravia and Bohemia, where they got into Bavaria.

The Bulgars stayed in Western Ukraine until Scythian times, when a new wave of their expansion across the Carpathians, on the Left Bank Ukraine and the Black Sea steppes started, as it still goes ahead. But here they became creators of cultures Komariv (15-12 cen. BC) and Vysotska (11-7 cen. BC) and apparently took part in the creation of later cultures, it is difficult to say of which namely without purposeful analysis of archaeological remains of the second half of the 1st cen. BC. But there is no doubt that some of the Bulgarish population remained in their places before the arrival of the Slavs, as evidenced by similar motifs in folk cultures of Chuvash and Ukrainians. Obviously, reliable material traces of their presence can be found too, such as, for example, in runic characters cave temple on the Dniester. Their similarity to known Türkic runes evidences that they were left by the Bulgars. Moreover, one inscription on the altar of the temple was deciphered by means of the Chuvash language

Turkic-Slavic Language Connections are considered separately. Here, for more convincing, we will consider examples of place names in Germany, interpreted by means of the Chuvash language.


Aisch, Neustadt an der Aisch, a small town in the northern part of Bavaria – Chuv uj "field", jysch "family, owner, farm" (in other Türkic jiš "forest").

Ascha, a municipality in the district of Straubing-Bogen in Bavaria – Chuv ăšă "warm".

Baar, a municipality in Aichach-Friedberg district, in Bavaria – Chuv. păhăr "copper"

Bacharach, a town in Rhineland-Palatinate, – Chuv. păhăr "copper", akh "evil spirit". There is forty kilometers to the south-west from the town historic copper mine Fischbach, open to visitors. In the town there is a restaurant "At copper jug".

Basel, a city in Switzerland – Chuv păsăl "to spoil, deteriorate"

Böhl-Iggelheim, a municipality in the Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis, in Rhineland-Palatinate -Chuv ikkĕle "to double", ikkĕllĕ "duality".

Borna, a town in the Free State of Saxony
– Chuv parne "present, gift".

Cham, the capital of the district of Cham in the Upper Palatinate in Bavaria – Chuv khum "wave".

Cottbus, a city in Brandenburg, – Chuv kat "dike, dam" and păs "to break, disturb".

Gera, a city in Thuringia, – Chuv kĕrĕ "strong, solid, massive".

Hanower, the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony – Chuv khăna "guest", vere "custom, usage".

Hartha, a town in the district of Mittelsachsen, in the Free State of Saxony – Chuv khărta – 1. "patch, clout", 2. "rough country".

Homburg am Main, integral part of the community Triefenstein in Main-Spessart district (Bavaria) – Chuv. khum "wave".

Jena, a University city in Thuringia – Chuv yĕnĕ "den, lair, couch".

Jüterbog, a historic town in the Teltow-Fläming district of Brandenburg – Chuv yüte "to be exhausted", păk "to sleep, die"

Kandel, a town in the district of Germersheim, in Rhineland-Palatinate and a mountain of the Black Forest – Chuv kăn "potash", tĕl "place, country". Potash was received from wood in the Black Forest long since.

Kiel, the capital of northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein – Chuv kil "house, family, yard".

Kirkel, a municipality in the Saarpfalz district, in Saarland – Tschuv khyr "pine-tree", kĕl "ach".

Kyritz, a town in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district, in Brandenburg – Chuv kĕr "Herbst", "work".

Nohra, a municipality in the Weimarer Land district of Thuringia, – Chuv nakhra "horn".

Nürnberg (at first Nuremberg), a city in the state of Bavaria – Chuv nür "moist, humid", en "site, land".

Pankow, the highest populated and the third borough of Berlin – Chuv pankav "silly"

Parchim, a town in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – Chuv par "to give", khĕm "fire, flame".

Perkam, a municipality in the district of Straubing-Bogen in Bavaria – Chuv pĕr "lonely, single, whole, alike", kăm "ash".

Salem, a municipality in the Bodensee district of Baden-Württemberg – Chuv selĕm "good, nice, beautiful"

Tarthun, a village and a former municipality in the district Salzlandkreis, in Saxony-Anhalt – Chuv tărtan "to swell", turtăn "to stretch out, lengthen", turtăm "load"

Teklenburg, a town in the district of Steinfurt, in North Rhine-Westphalia – Chuv tĕkle "still, quiet".

Zorge, a municipality in the district of Osterode, in Lower Saxony, Germany – com Türk. jorğa/jurğa "pacer", "amble" (Chuv çărkha).




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