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Nostratic Languages.… / Ethnicity of the Neolithic and Eneolithic cultures of Eastern Europe

Ethnicity of the Neolithic and Eneolithic cultures of Eastern Europe

Sequel of the theme The First Neolithic Tribes in Eastern Europe

At the present time it is considered that "an archaeological culture is not necessarily connected with an ethnos (although it can be in some situations)" (KLEYN L.S. 1993: 44). We will accept for such situations those when the area of distribution of archaeological culture largely corresponds to the habitat of an ethnos determined by the graphic-analytical method or is a consequence of the results obtained with its help.

Since the 6th millennium BC. the territory of Eastern Europe has being populated by agricultural communities of Anatolia and the Caucasus moving through the Balkans and the North Caucasus. They brought the Neolithic cultures in the Ukraine, the first of which occurred in the southern and south-western regions of the country – on the Dniester, the Southern Bug Rivers, in the lower reaches of the Dnieper, in the Crimea and the Carpathians. In particular the aliens created the Bug-Dniester culture on the basis of the local culture of the final Mesolithic Kukrek culture. It certainly had connections with more advanced synchronous cultures of South-Eastern Europe. The creators of this culture were people of still unclear ethnicity. Somewhat later tribes speaking languages ​​of the Nostratic macrofamily moved from the Caucasian and this certainty allows us to speak about the ethnicity of many different cultures.

Left: Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures correlated with the settlements of Nostratic language speakers in Eastern Europe

We are sure that the linguistics using archaeological data can give conclusive results about habitats of speakers studied languages. In this connection, we can try to link the areas of the Türkic, the Finno-Ugric and Indo-European tribes to certain archaeological cultures.

The location of area suggesst that the Indo-Euronans were the first come in the lower reaches of the Don, where from the Neolithic culture spread, the Finno-Ugric tribes moved behind them, and all they were driven northward by the Türks. It is need to say that we will understand under name Türks all ancestors of those people which speak Türkic languages, but not creators of the Middle Age Türkic Khanate

The first Neolithic culture on the Left Bank Country of the Ukraine in the 5th mill BC was the Sursk-Dnieper culture, which was formed on the basis of the Mesolithic and on more eastern culture arriving probably from the Azov Sea area. It existed 1-1.5 thousand years and was dissolved in later cultures (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR. Tom 1. Pervobytnaya arkheologiya. 1985: 139). Ethnicity of the creators of this culture is difficult to determine. Perhaps it was some kind of North Caucasian tribes, which were pressed by the Indo-Europeans moved from the South Caucasus. Seeping under the pressure of the Türks to the Middle Dnieper region, the Indo-Europeans could not pass the Siversky Donets basin, so they can be connected with the Dnieper-Donets culture, one of the block of the comb-stroke ware culture, which appeared on the Left Bank in the valleys of the Donets River after the Sursk-Dnieper culture in the 5th mill BC. In time, the tribes of the Dnieper-Donets culture moved further northward and northwestward. According D. Telegin, they raised up along the rivers Dnieper, Sozh, Pripyat and almost reached their upper streams (TElEGIN D.Ya. 1968: 62). The population of this culture stayed in the Southern Ukraine about a thousand years until the middle of the 4th mill BC. But in northern Ukraine and Belarus, this culture disappears only in the middle-end of the 3rd mill BC after 2 – 2.5 thousand years of the existence (FORMOZOV A.A. 1977: 189). However, according to experts, the cultures of the comb-stroke ware participated in the formation of the Třynec culture that existed in the basin of the Pripyat and the surrounding areas (TElEGIN D.Ya. 1990-2: 94).

The total area of the expanse of this culture, by Telegin's definition "embraces the valley of the Dnieper (from the town of Rohğachivka to the coast of the Sea of Kakhovka), Eastern Volhynia, middle and lower streams of the rivers Pripyat, Sozh, Desna, Vorskla, Pslo and Sula, as well as the middle stream of Siversky Donets" (TElEGIN D.Ya. 1968.: 9). Sites on the Neman, Narva Rivers having the western boundary on the Vistula River belong to the same block of the cultures of comb-stroke ornament. The population of this "Vistula-Dnieper block" was very numerous, engaged in hunting and fishing, just starting productive forms of farming (TElEGIN D.Ya. 1990-2: 92). Some linguists analysing the Indo-European language confirm these data archaeology. In particular, H. Hirt and J. Pokorny believed that Indo-European agricultural terminology is very scarce and inconclusive, and belongs to a later layer of the vocabulary, while common words for calling dogs, cattle, pigs and sheep give reason to think about the development livestock. (HIRT HERMAN, 1968: 10; POKORNY JULIUS, 1968: 387). However, other experts say also about the development of agriculture (MEYER ERNST. 1968: 258). Nevertheless Türkic borrowing in Indo-European languages, which were discussed in the section "The Language and Cultural Contacts…", speak in favor of that the agriculture of Indo-Europeans was in its infancy. Livestock should have been known for them on their Urheimat in the Caucasus, but its development was hindered by natural conditions in the forest zone in Eastern Europe.

The space of the Dnieper-Donets culture coincides with settlement areas of the Indo-Europeans, but its identification with Indo-Europeans, except vocabulary of productive forms of management, is as if contradicted by anthropological facts. As the Indo-Europeans came to Eastern Europe from the Southern Caucasus, they obviously had to belong to the anthropological type of Asia Minor. However the people of the Dnieper-Donets culture had complexes of all the of Caucasian race. In particular, D. Telegin indicated that the people of this culture belonged to a later Cro-Magnon type, that is they were aborigines of the southern part of Eastern Europe:

The carriers of Dnieper-Donets culture belonged to a group of later Cro-Magnons which had large and massive skull, predominated dolichocrania, significant height of the cranium, large or very large ortho-mezognatum face, low orbits, sloping forehead, and well developed eyebrows bows… Nearest analogy to the population of the Dnieper-Donets culture in Mesolithic and Neolithic Europe should be looked for among carriers of cultures of over northern forest and forest-steppe areas. For a number of taxonomic characters closest to them are Ertebelle culture, further several tribes of Oleny Ostrov burials and Pit-Comb Ware culture of the Volga-Oka basin and Neolithic cultures of the Urals (TELEGIN D.Ya. 1968: 186, 188).

T.S. Konduktorova does not agree with him. According to her, skeletons of people of the Dnieper-Donets culture are more massive than Late Palaeolithic ones, so a change of the population should be on the area of its spreading. She believes that the creators of the Dnieper-Donets culture were very similar to the Mesolithic people of the Maghreb, although their relocation to the territory of Ukraine was very doubtful (KONDUKTOROVA T.S. 1973: 45-48). Whatever it was, but the people of the Dnieper-Donets culture were not clean later Cro-Magnons, and already had some traces of cross-breeding. I. Hokhman believes that a cross-breeding of a local Palaeo-European type with its other variabt took place, which as if penetrated to southwardly from the northern provinces in the Neolithic (HOCHMAN I.I. 1966: 189). The latter is hard to admit when the general movement of the Neolithic communities was from south to north. Most likely, mentioned cross-breeding could occur somewhat earlier, during the Mesolithic period, when Late Cro-Magnons tribes started gradually penetrating from the northern Dnieper basin down the river southward, where they met with the natives of Mesolithic era (TELEGIN D. Ya., 1968: 231). This movement was stopped by the arrival of the Neolithic Indo-Europeans and their anthropological impurity complicated the process of cross-breeding of the local population. All this anthropological problems does not matter in this case. The main thing for us is that the carriers of the Dnieper-Donets culture did not belong to Asia Minor anthropological type to which they would have to belong.

This contradiction may be resolved so. A paucity of Indo-European tribes, reaching eastern Ukraine, met here local population of Proto-European anthropological type, spread from Ukraine, the Lower Don basin up to the Baltic and the middle reaches of the Oka River. Indo-Europeans brought with them not only the Neolithic type of economy, but also good tribal organization, allowing them to become the head on more primitive and fragmented local tribal communities. Ability of of Indo-European to lead small unorganized ethnic groups was noted by many researchers. Here, for example, that A. Meillet wrote: "The ancient Indo-European tribes were differed by sense of social organization, energy, and initiative of their leadership" (MEILLET ANTOIN. 1954). Obviously, they were not conservative and had sober look at life using achievements of their neighbors or predecessors. V. Leman pointed out that "Indo-European society, where, apparently, a very strong spirit of individualism was present, at the same time, it was susceptible to external influences" (LEMAN V.P. 1991: 23). These conclusions come from a study of internal linguistic forms, which are closely connected with the spirit of the language and match certain psychological qualities of its speakers which were the most important for the Indo-Europeans noted by J Pokorny so:

It is enough of the fact that there are to be found in the Indo-Germanic languages almost the only one of its kind purely abstract verb "to be" and subjective energetic active mood, so that even the feelings are expressed by the type of the active mood ("I hear" rather than "it is heard me")… It becomes apparent of linguistic and cultural matches that it is a matter of strictly organized in patriarchal kins society, and in the same time the world of the gods is presented in this way, as it is operated almost exclusively bz male characters, led by the supreme god of the sky, which has special role of a father of gods, while Mother-Earth plays a purely passive role (POKORNY JULIUS. 1954: 376)

To some extent, the patriarchal organization of the Indo-European society is contradicted by the fact that all Indo-European languages use feminine for the name of the earth, indicating that the worship of Mother-Earth what is characteristic agricultural peoples (NEHRING ALFONS, 1968: 402). However, the Indo-Europeans were not farmers at the time of division of their languages and, obviously, this form of the name of the earth inherited from their ancestral home still in the Caucasus, where they could practice agriculture in primitive form.

It is also possible that the Indo-Europeans brought with them from the Caucasus particular type of weapon in the form of maces, known after two burial-places. Maces as weapons and a symbol of power were distributed in the early civilizations of the North-west Asia, where they first penetrated to the tribes of the Caucasus, and then to the carriers of the Dnieper-Donets culture, which were the first in Europe who had maces with pommels (TELEGIN D.Ya. 1968: 151). Maces had a different shape, but made quite carefully, their surface was grinded, holes were made by cylindrical boring (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR., 1985, 159).

So, having headed local tribes and imposed them their more perfect language, the Indo-Europeans gradually disappeared themselves among people of Proto-European type, but their mentality and outlook continued to exist for a few more millennia.

A numerous groups of Pit-Comb Ware cultures existed simultaneously with the Dnieper-Donets Culture in the basin of the Volga and the Oka River. Some clans of these cultures entered the valleys of the Seym, Desna, Psel, Sula, and Donets Rivers and reached the region of actual suburbs of the cities of Voronezh and Tambov. The Pit-Comb Ware Cultures were the descendants of local Mesolithic cultures but pottery manufacture was brought there from the outside, probably from south:

If we assume that here infiltrated individuals who acted as carriers of the new, they apparently came from the south, not from the west (from Scandinavia) and the east (Siberia) [MEYNANDER K.F. 1974:26]

The expression "individuals" is not to be taken literally. They, obviously, were separate groups of ancient Finno-Ugric peoples. Location of group of Pit-Comb Ware culture was this: the Lyalovo – on both banks of the Klyaz'ma River at the mouth of the Scherna River, the Belevo – on both banks of the Oka River from the mouth of the Istra River to the mouth of the Oster River, the Ryazan – on the left bank of the Oka River to the mouth of the Moksha River, Volosovo – on both banks of the Oka River to Klyaz'ma to the mouth of the Klaz'ma River, the Tula – on banks of Upa and Oster Rivers, the Balakhna – near the city of Balakhna ( BRIUSOV A.Ya. 1952: 89). As we can see, areas of some cultures are located on both banks of rivers, while a river was to be boundary betwenn language areas. This contradiction should be still allowed, but a possible solution may be. Border along rivers are enough obstacles to language contact, but they do not prevent the spread of new tools or technologies, since it does not require frequent contacts. It is suffice if one or two meetings a year between representatives of different linguistic communities in order to exchange items of own production or borrow something new in the industrial sector. But be so as that was, in accordance with the above-defined map of Finno-Ugric area, creators of comb-cultures had to be Finno-Ugric people.

Right-Bank Ukraine in cultural terms was higher than more eastern and northern parts of East Europe. The Chalcolithic period begins here earlier than in other regions being brought from the territory of the Romanian Moldova [ZALIZNIAK L.L. (Ed). 2005: 106]. "Ethnicity of the Trypillian culture" as a debatable issue, is considered separately. Here we only note that the early Trypillian culture in Ukraine was brought by people from Romania, the creators of the Prekukuteni culture (see map below).

Left: The map of the migrations of the creators of Prekukuteni – Early Tripoli culture on the territory of Ukraine
The original of the map [ibid: 108. Fig. 1] was colored by the author].

Legend: I – the settlements of formative phase, II – the settlements of the type Larga-Jijia – Floreşti – Bernashivka, III – settlements between the Dniester and Bug Rivers and on Bug, IV – the first stage of migration, V – the second stage of the migration.
Settlements: 1. Sfântu Gheorghe; 2 – Eresteghin; 3 – Bancu; 4- Borlești; 5 – Traian; 6 – Izvoare; 7 – Ghigoiești -Trudești; 8 – Iași; 9 – Larga-Jijia; 10 – Vlădeni; 11 – Țigănași; 12 – Chetriș; 13 – Stolniceni; 14 – Fundurii; 15 – Bernashivka; 16 – Florești; 17 – Rogojeni; 18 – Haivoron; 19 – Sabatynivka; 20 – Vishnopil; 21 – Kostyantinivka; 22 – Oleksandrivka (according v.G. Zbenovich).

It is equally difficult to determine the ethnicity of the Corded Ware culture (CWC), alternatively characterized as the Battle Axe culture, is more difficult. The vast majority of scientists believe that they were the ancient Indo-Europeans – tribes of Germans, Balts and other ethnic groups, which quickly spread to the vast territory from Jutland to the Volga River and from Scandinavia to the foothills of the Alps and the Carpathians snce the start of the III millennium BC. As a basis of these cultures, at least, Ukrainian and Russian archaeologists have mostly considered Old Pit, Seredniy Stiğ (Sredniy Stog in Russian) and or Tripoli cultures (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR. 1985, 374). As to the latter, its creators were not Indo-Europeans, and it seems to be generally accepted, although their ethnicity is still in question. In addition, the herd Trypillians was dominated by large and small cattle and pigs but the horse, although it was known was not very common (ZBENOVYCH V.G. 1989. 1989: 152; KUZMINA E.E. 1986: 181). As we know, horse breeding was one of the most important sectors of the economy to east of the low Dnieper River and dominated at some communities of the III millennium BC. Thus, the Trypillians can not be taken into account when deciding on ethnicity of creators of CWC. Their origin is a separate topic, but here we consider the question of ethnicity of the carriers of Seredniy Stiğ and Pit cultures and supposed connection of these cultures with CWC.

At first sites of Seredniy Stiğ culture (SSC) were discovered during excavation in the locality of Seredniy Stiğ (“Middle Rock”) on a rock-top on the Dnieper's bank near the city of Zaporizhia in 1927. Studies of following years have shown that this Copper-age (Chalcolithic) culture existed since the middle of the 5th till the middle of the 4th mill BC and had three local variants in the catchment of the rivers Dnieper, S. Donets, and Don. (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR., 1985: 305). The author of a monograph on SSC D. Telegin believed its origin obscure, but was confident that its creators were Indo-Iranians (TELEGIN D.Ya. 1973: 144-146) however, according results of our study, space of the spread of SSC was inhabited by Turkic tribes at the time. Corded ornament and battle hammers, which later evolved into hatchets, first appeared among sites of SSC, so D. Telegin connected the spread of CWC by resettlement of the carriers of SSC (TELEGIN D.Ya. 1968: 123). That CWC was brought to Europe from the Pontic steppes is generally recognized. Since Old Pit culture genetically traced to SSC, then their creators most likely were related also ethnically. Therefore the question arises whether the creators of CWC were really Indo-Europeans, as is commonly believed. Identification of the Indo-Europeans with the CWC people issues from an assumption that in the III mill. BC Pontic steppes were populated by the Indo-Europeans. But, as we have seen, it was not so – at tis time the Indo-Europeans settled the area in the forest and forest-steppe zone of Middle and Upper Basin of the Dnieper and the territory of the Turkic settlement, determined by graphoanalitical method, was almost identical to the geographical distribution of SSC:

There are currently about 100 known sites of Seredniy Stiğ culture, which area of distribution occupies steppe between the Dnieper and Don Rivers, as well as the southern part of the Forest-steppe of Left-Bank Ukraine, lower and middle Don region (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR. 1985: 305).

Tribes of SSC ware in vicinity in the Middle Dnieper area with the population of the Dnieper-Donets culture, which they continued to displace further northward. The border ran along the line of Cherkasy – Poltava – Zmiyiv – Kupyansk. The carriers of SSC engaged in cattle breeding, farming, hunting, fishing and gathering. Tools, weapons were made of flint, stone, bone, and horn. The most part of tools were presented by knives made of big flint plates. Axes were manufactured of flint in the shape of wedge oval. Diverse articles were made of horn – fighting hammers, mattocks, harpoons, fish-hooks etc. Copper was used for making of adornment and very seldom for axes. The chemical analyses of copper indicates sometimes on its Balkan origin but the greatest deal of copper articles were made on this locality (TElEGIN D.Ya., 1973: 78-80) Special feature of SSC was sharp-bottom pottery with brim and with a mixture of crushed shells in a clay dough. The same impurity in pottery of Pit culture confirms its genetic origins from SSC. Such feature of fanufacturing pottery was not observed in other cultures what allows to trace the migration of carriers of these cultures. The economy of SSC population Sredny had livestock, mainly horse-breeding, character. By the number of bones found during the excavation of some sites, it can be seen that the horse has held more than 50% of domestic herds. It was mainly used for riding as evidenced by findings of horned cheek-pieces. Grazing large herds would be impossible without riding shepherds. (Ibid, 143).

The extensive development of horse breeding among Türks is confirmed by linguistic data – among the common Türkic words, there are two words for the horse, in addition, separately for the mare and stallion. There are also common word for the rider, saddle, reins, stirrups, whip, mane, hooves, amble, colour of hair. Thus, the horse industry is represented in common Türkic vocabulary most of all forms of farming. Wild horse was common in Pontic steppes during Herodotus' time, therefore, it is reasonable to assume that it was tamed by SSC people what D. Telegin noted directly (Ibid, 137). However, some scholars dispute this assertion. Alexander Häusler tries to prove in one of his works that the horse was not domesticated in the steppes of the Ukraine, and was only hunted by local population. At the same time he finds arguments that the horse was domesticated in Central Europe. However, the preconditions of his position lies in firm belief that the Indo-Europeans in any case could not be nomads, while supporters of horse domestication by native SSC are convinced that they had to be Indo-Europeans (HÄUSLER ALEXANDER, 2002: 35-44). Attention is drawn to the fact that traditional cultures of the Indo-Europeans did not show clear traces of the cult of the horse, while the Türks have a common worship of the god of heaven closely related to the image of "Heavenly Horse".

These facts give all grounds to bind SSC with the Türks, which Urheimat is confidently determined in Altai by the majority of scientists but not all and not everywhere. It goes without saying that the views of the Altai cradle of Türks can be readily challenged by Turkish scholars, in particular, by Osman Karatay (KARATAY OSMAN. 2003-1; KARATAY OAMAN. 2003-2). However there are in Europe supporters of the European ancestral homeland of the Türks. An Italian philologist concludes after linguistic analysis that horse had to be domesticated by ancient Türks and therefore seriously considered then as craetors of SSC and Pit culture:

The most productive hypothesis is to consider both cultures – Serediy Stiğ and Pit cultures – as Türkic, what leads to the conclusion that the first who domesticated the horse, were Türks and they enter horse breeding to neighboring nations (ALINEI MARIO, 2003: 18).

Chronological framework of the existence of SSC were determined by Ukrainian archeology since the beginning of the second half of the IV mill. BC until the end of the first quarter of the III mill. BC. but in this case it does not fit into a popular, despite a thorough critique of specialists (e.g. HÄUSLER ALEXANDER, 2002: 8-11), "Kurgan theory" developed by M. Gimbutas. This theory has been developed based on a study of similar kurgans distributed over a wide area of Europe and Asia at different times including SSC and a second phase of the Tumulus culture. According to Gimbutas' theory, about 2400-2200 years BC nomadic tribes invided in Pontic steppes from behind the Volga River. They brought a burial ritual of sprinkled by ocher dead men in a crouched position on the back. This ritual supposedly was assimilated by local population, as it appears here at the end of SSC time (GIMBUTAS MARIA, 1963: 551). M. Gimbutas claimed that aliens were Indo-Europeans, who at the end of the III mill. BC spread over a vast territory of Europe from Jutland to the Volga River and from Scandinavia to the foothills of the Alps and the Balkans. Traces of this invasion are signed by widely known CCW and its rapid spread was explained by using horse transport. Since at historical times, most of Europe was inhabited by Indo-Europeans, the assumption of the Indo-European affiliation of this culture seems logical. However many facts are inconsistent to "Kurgan theory".

Firstly,pottery ornament of SSC with cord was the oldest in Europe because it appeared in Pontic steppes at the end of IV mill. BC and can not be linked to arrival of any newcomers here from whatsoever (TELEGIN D. Ya. 1973: 154)). Secondly, the identification of the Indo-Europeans with CWC people arises from an assumption that in the III mill. BC Indo-Europeans had to populate in Pontic steppes. But, as it was already noted, this was absolutely not the case – at this time living area of the Indo-Europeans was in the forest and forest-steppe zone of middle and upper Basin of the Dnieper River and its tributaries, while just the Türks settled Pontic steppes. Third, there are no evidences that any of the Indo-Europeans were the people of riders in the historical period. On the contrary, sometimes it was even emphasized that the horse did not play a large role at them, and that their foot soldiers were the main force (DEACON LEO, 1988: 70, FEIST SIGMUND, 1924: 99 et al.). It's hard to believe that the Indo-Europeans, having developed horse breeding left it for no apparent reason in the future. This apparent contradiction led some linguists to seek out the arguments in favor of the Germans still had people of horsemen (SCHMIDT WILHELM, 1949: 314; NECKEL GUSTAV, 1968: 168), but these arguments are totally unconvincing, for already Cornelius Tacitus noted that horses of Germans "are neither beauty nor agility, and strength of their troops is more in infantry (CORNELIS TACITUS, 1993: 6).

Scientists first certainly took CWC people for Indo-Europeans, and then carefully sought out corresponding horse lexicon in the Indo-European languages to prove they were horsemen. However, it was too scanty in comparison with the vocabulary of peoples which undoubtely have long been engaged in horse breeding. Fourth, all common Indo-European vocabulary of producing economy is significantly poorer of Türkic one, while SSC people was actively engaged in farming and animal husbandry. Of course, some evidence of employment in agriculture and animal husbandry are available in the Indo-European languages, but appropriate vocabulary is too small to draw far-reaching conclusions, as can be seen in some German linguists of past (SCHULZ WALTER, 1938; MEYER ERNST, 1948, etc.) If desired, you can find other arguments against the "Kurgan theory" and at the same time many facts speak in favor of Türkic ethnicity of the creators of CWC.

"Kurgan theory" is based primarily on archeological data, linguistic data in support are far-fatched, so its popularity can be explained only by the dominant Eurocentric views among experts. For us, the most important is that the carrier of SSC are well identified with the Türks, and we will continue to believe that the population of the Dnieper-Don-Interfluvial area from Azov Sea in south and to the border of forest in north spoke the Türkic languages and had anthropological Caucasian features with distinct dolichocrania. (TELEGIN D.Ya. 1973: 123). A number of Ukrainian scientists believe that Pit culture was developed on the base of SSC and occupied the same space but very much spread to the neighboring territories. In the east thier sites reached to the regions of Orenburg and the river Emba. The southern border of their spreading goes along the river Terek, along the whole coast of the Azov Sea. In the north it poes along Forest-steppe zone and arrived to the Samara bow on the Volga River, riverheads of the Don River, and Kiev. Its western border believed to lie within the Bug-Dniester-Interfluvial area (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR., 1985: 337) but some portion of carriers of Pit culture penetrated to Moldova, Romania, Hungary (KUZMINA E.E. 1986: 186).

Ancient Pit cultural-historical region (PCHR) was the first union of tribes of Eastern Europe in the Early Bronze Age connected by integrity of populated territory, dominance of common genetic component in the creation of material and spiritual culture (pottery forms, their ornamentation, funeral rites), a unifed level of socio-economic development, proximity of religious beliefs and systems of social relations (SHAPOSHNIKOVA O.G., Shaposhnikov, FOMENKO V.N., DOVZHENKO N.V. 1986: 5).

In 1973, a stone idol was found in the village of Kernosivka in Novomoskovsk district of Dnepropetrovsk Κegion, which dates back to the end of the III – beginning of the II millennium BC. Images on the idol give a certain idea of ​​the material and spiritual culture of the population of the Black Sea steppes of that time.

At left: The idol of Kernosivka. Historical Museum named after Dmitro Yavornytsky. Photo from the site Ukrainian antiquities

In addition to the hunting scene, three axes of various types are depicted on the central part of the idol. Above the girdle of the idol, the pattern resembles a turtle. In the lower part of the idol there is a phallus, and below it are two horses.

On the left side of the idol there is an ornament, and under it there are two people who seem to dance. Still lower is the figure of a bull. On the back there is the Tree of life. In addition, there are images of tools of a blacksmith or metallurgist.

It is believed that just PCHR "marked the first stage of the global development of steppes, spread there producing types of economies, the production of mobile forms of animal husbandry" (MASSON V.M., MERPERT N.Ya. 1982: 326). It is also important conclusion about the patrilineal structure of Old Pit society made on the basis of researching sex and age structure of burial complexes (KHLOBYSTINA M.D. 1988: 31). Pit culture had three stages of its development and finished its existing with the start of the Bronze Age. According to radiocarbon alaysis, the late stage of Pit culture is dated back to XXV – XIX century. BC (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR. Tom 1. Pervobytnaya arkheologiya. 1985: 139).

Obviously, certain characteristic features of the Pit culture, such as, for example, burial beneath barrows, just evolved in the process of cultural development of the Türks and were distributed from the Southern Urals to the lower reaches of the Danube, south-eastern Romania and northeastern Bulgaria (CHERNYKH E.N., ORLOVSKAYA L.B. 2004: 84). The first burial kurgans appearred only in the late period of SSC but the custom to make mounds over graves was widespread already at Pit culture people, although the burial device remained the same. However, maded radiocarbon analysis of Old-Pit complexes gave results that are contrary to the generally accepted ideas about the nature and direction of expansion of Pit culture people:

… the most ancient complexes represent a very high proportion especially among peripheral territorial groups (ςΰμ ζε, 94).

These results contradict not only the long-held beliefs of experts, but also common sense. It is unlikely that the same custom was arisen in Kalmykia-Don and the Danube-Dniester groups of sites, remote to each from other for a thousand kilometers, and then began to spread to the center of the area of Pit culture. Obviously, there was some kind of mistake in the methodology of research. In such circumstances, one should refrain from adopting chtonology obtained in these studies, at least until such time as will be given a convincing explanation for it.

The grave were dug in the ground and covered with stone slabs or logs. Sides and bottom of graves were covered by reeds, bark, branches. Dead man was laid on his back with legs bent at the knees, his face was showered with ocher and next a stone knife, an ax, a ceramic bowl with food were placed. Judging by some of the more richly decorated graves, tribal nobility have been already formed at Pit culture people. This, in particular, is shown by an unusually large mound found in the village of Vasilevka in Novotroitsk district of the Kherson Region. There was in the grave under the mound next to the dead man a flint scepter, which could be both a sign of power, and religious symbols (KUBYSHEV A.I., NECHITAYLO A.L. 1977: 116-117). Among the monuments of the pit culture widespread Women's jewelry – pendants, rings, earrings were widespread among the sites of Pit culture. If such decorations were common in everyday life, they had to be called by sime words and these words should be shared if not among all, then at least among a part of the Türkic languages, taking into account the close proximity of their speakers in that old days. Almost all Türkic languages have one word syrga for calling earrings which was borrowed in the Russian language much later. On the contrary, not only the Indo-European but also Slavic languages have no ancient common words for women's jewelry. They have appeared after the Indo-Europeans moved from their homeland to new habitats. This fact and extremely widespread Türkic words meaning "ax", discussed in the section The Language and Cultural Contacts of the Population in Eastern Europe, may also indicate the Türkic origins of CWC.

Compared with SSC period, some changes occured in the economic life. However livestock continued to be the main form of management, it has undergone structural changes. Hunting has not played a major role in life of Pit culture people. Number of domestic animals bones in the finds is much greater than the number of wild animal bones. The first place in home herd of the Dnieper country population took bull, then goat and sheep while horse was on third place. Horses dominated in the settlements in the open steppe, as it was in the days of SSC. However, the decisive factor in the development of the steppe was the development of sheep-breeding. Unpretentious to food, giving abundant offspring, holding out long migrations on dry steppes, sheep was domesticated in southern and eastern Caspian region and gradually its breeding was extended to the North Caucasus, a region of the Maikop culture. Close cultural ties of people of Pit and Maykop cultures are attested by archaeological finds, and the contact area is defined as the broad steppe belt up to the Kuban and Terek Rivers (MASSON V.M., MERPERT N.Ya. 1982: 327-329). No doubt that such close contacts between the population of Fore-Caucasian and Pontic steppes existed for a long time. The culture of sheep-breeding was just borrowed by the Türks from the Maikopians among other useful novelties. Due to the wide fodder base, sheep begins to occupy a leading position in the herd of the Türks, initially in the eastern part of SSC, and later sheep-breeding becomes their main branch of livestock everywhere. The fact that sheep-breeding was developed at the Türks rather late, at least, after the separating the individual Türkic languages from the patern language, is evidenced by the lack of a common name for sheep in the modern Türkic languages.

Development of cattle-breeding, increased livestock have necessitated the development of new pastures. Compliancing thia requirements was facilitated by emergence of a wheeled vehicle that allowed distant migrations with the property, women and children. A gradual increasing of population, especially in the later stage of development of Pit culture, forced the Türks besiege their peaceful neighbors farmers on the right bank of the Dnieper, in the forest, and even in forest areas, where the Turks moved along river valleys (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR., 1985: 350).

The penetration of the Turks on the right bank of the Dnieper can be seen by archaeological finds, for example, in the group Usatovo site not far from the city of Odessa. On one important and characteristic feature – funeral rites – they are definitely connected with the Old Pit tradition (MASSON V.M., MERPERT N.Ya., 1982: 329). Another feature of Seredni Stih and Pit culture – an admixture of sand and crushed shells – takes place in Trypillian wares along the Syniukh and Ingulets Rivers (ibid, 211 ). Further movement of the Turks along the Dniester River is evidenced by the skeleton of a man found near the village of Nezvisko in Ivano-Frankivsk Region. He was buried on the back with bent knees, ie, in a pose typical for greators of so-called "Kurgan" cultures. The appearance of this man of Persian anthropological type, shown at left, is definitely different from the Mediterranean type that was typical for Trypillya.

Migration of Türks has been assisted by climate change that has occurred in Subboreal being characterized by maximum aridity during the whole period of the Holocene. Large areas of Central and South-Eastern Europe have become in continuous steppe at this period, convenient for the development by nomadic population (SULIMIRSI TADEUSZ, 1968: 135; KHOTINSKIY N.A. 1977: 60)

Massive infiltration of the Pit tribes into the Right-Bank Ukraine has led to the establishment of wider and closer language contacts of the Turks and Indo-Europeans. Traces of Contacts of the Türks and Indo-Europeans in Vocabularies are presented apart. These contacts began well before the development of the sheep-breeding at Turks. The Indo-Europeans borrowed from the Turks the name of horse, but Indo-European names for sheep have not Turkic origin. The theme of the presence of Turks in Western Ukraine is considered more detailed in the section "Discussion" and their further advance into Europe in the section "Türks as Carriers of the Corded Ware Culture in Central-Eastern Europe".

The Turks moved not only east- and westward, but also to the north, where they do not find what were looking for, and their economy based on livestock, began to decline new environmental conditions, and they had to change the form of management. Of course, they followd example of their neighbors, the indigenous population of the forest zone – the Indo-Europeans and Finno-Ugric peoples, although they themselves gave a lot, in particular, the use of horses, the number of which, no doubt, in the forest zone has decreased, but they have found use.

The concentration of horse names of Turkic origin in the Finno-Ugric languages on the west of the Finno-Ugric space gives grounds to suppose settlement of Turkic newcomers in this region among the Finno-Ugric peoples and they could leave their cultural traces. An example of such enclave archaeological culture can be Fatyanovo and Balanovo culture that existed in the basins of the Oka and the Moskva Rivers since the beginning of the third to the middle of the second mill. BC. The basis of economy of Fatyanov people was livestock, but they were also engaged in hunting and fishing. In the middle of the II millennium BC., this culture disappeared in the new cultures of this region, which native were Finno-Ugric peoples. Although some scholars believe that the Balts were fatyanov people had the Baltic origin (MEYNANDER K.F. 1974, 26), Ukrainian archaeologists argue that the Fatyanov people moved to the Volga basin along the banks of the Desna River, where a variant of CWC, the Middle Dnieper culture existeed:

I. Artemenko's research of cemeteries in the Desna basin and D. Krainov's allocation earliest sites in the Moscow-Klyazma group suggest that this culture has developed as a result of moving a part of population of the Middle Dnieper culture to this territory at the beginnibg of its middle stages – in the end of the 3rd – beginning of the 2nd II mill. BC (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR. Tom 1. Pervobytnaya arkheologiya. 1985: 375).

Perhaps the penetration of the part of the population of the Middle Dnieper culture to the Oka basin took place, but because Fatyanovo culture arises at approximately the same time as the Middle Dnieper one, it can be assumed that the Turks as the first moved along the Don to the banks of the Oka River.

Close to Fatyanovo culture was Balanovξ culture that existed from the beginning to the end of II mill. BC and "being component of the north-eastern part of the community of culturs of battle-axes" (BADER O.N., KHALIKOV A.Kh, 1976: 41). Most likely, its creators were Turks, have moved to the mouth of the Sura River along the right bank of the Volga. Allocating in a system of Circumpontic metallurgical province Balanovo-Fatyanovo hearth, E.N. Chernykh connects its origin to the movement ethnic groups from the Balkan-Carpathian region in the Volga, which brought their cultural and technological tradition (CHERNYKH E.N., 1976: 39). Thus, no doubt that these migrants came from the Northern Black Sea coast, where cultural ties with the Balkans have been traditionally close, including metallurgy. It is believed that the carriers of Balanovo culture greatly influenced the development of economy and society of the local population, as well as the Fatyanovo People, dissolved among the Finno-Ugric peoples in the Middle Volga (MEYNANDER K.F. 1974: 26). If the Balanovo as Fatyanovo people were ethnic Turks, we can safely assume that just they were the ancestors of the modern Volga Tatars. In this case, the Volga Tatars, too, never had to leave the borders of Europe. However, there are evidences that may contradict this assumption:

The Tatar language has about a hundred Mongolian words, most of which are available in other Turkic languages. But some words of them are particularly characteristic for the Tatar language (AKHMETIANOV R.G. . 1978: 119).

"Mongolian" words in the Tatar language may in fact have Turkic origin, although they were not common Turkic. They can be borrowed by the Mongols and remain till now, while they have been lost in the donor-language, but remained in Tatar. This issue still requires careful study and we'll get back to it.

According to V. Isayenko, carriers of Middle Dnieper culture moved almost to all the Dnieper region, especially in its left bank, and for a long time coexisted with the local Neolithic population, and their merging occured only at the end of the II mill. BC (ISAYENKO V.F. 1976: 11). V. Isayenko believes that CWC people were the second wave of Indo-European population, but then it is not clear why these two groups of Indo-Europeans could not mutually assimilated so long . Only by assuming that between CWC people and Indo-Europeans was a language barrier, we can understand why the local Indo-European Neolithic population for a long time does not mix with Turkic newcomers.

Similarly, other variants of CWC have been created – Vistula-Neman, of Rzucewo, East-Baltic cultures in the Baltic lands and Western Belorussia (LOZE I.A. 1990: 97), Great-Polish-Mazovian, of Strzyżów, and of Mierzanowice cultures north of the Carpathians, but all carriers of these cultures were quickly assimilated by different peoples (SEDOV, 1990: 82). According to V. Gordon Childe, there were in Central and Northern Europe Single Grave culture of Jutland, the Swedish-Finnish culture, and the Saxon-Thuringian as "classical CWC" and he also emphasized that that CWC people were not farmers (CHILDE GORDON. 1952: 209). Thus, we have no serious grounds to contradict the assumption that the carriers of the CWC were ancient Caucasoid Turks, most of which disappeared without a trace in a foreign environment. It is logical to assume that the migration on the right bank of the Dnieper was made in the first place by those Turkic tribes that settled western areas on the Turkic Urheimat, ie the Bulgars, Oguz, Seljuks and the ancestors of the modern Turkmen. As their descendants exist till now, only a part of them could be assimilated among the Indo-Europeans when they advanced to central and northern Europe.

However, most likely, the bulk of the Turks who moved to the right bank of the Dnieper, consisted out of Bulgarish tribes. The Chuvash language has not some features that are common to other Turkic languages. For example, plural of nouns in the Chuvash language is formed by adding the suffix – sem, while in other Turkic languages by the suffix lar/ler or tar/ter. Obviously, the majority of Turks still remained some time into the the Dnieper and Don interfluviak area, and just at this time common form of th plural was spread among the Turks.

See also: Türks as Carriers of the Corded Ware Cultures


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