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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Slavs: Territory, Dialectal Split.

The first historically attested determining settlement sites of the Slavs was given by Gothic historian Jordan to the VI century AD:

The abode of the Sclaveni extends from the city of Novietunum and the lake called Mursiano to the Danaster, and northward as far as the Vistula. They have swamps and forests for their cities. The Antes – the strongest of both tribes spread from Danastr to Danapr, where the Pontic Sea forms a bend; these rivers are separated from one another by the distance of many day's journeys (JORDANES, 1960: 35).

Scrupulous work on the identification and localization of these cities and lakes was carried out by Elena Skrzhinska and established:

The localization of both the lake and the city has no agreement between the researchers, although the question is where they were located and, therefore, where the dissemination limit of the Sclaveni in the middle of the 6th-century lay, interested in historians for more than two centuries and continues to interest so far (SKRZYNSKA E.C. 1957: 6).

The starting point for the search for the location of the lake was the city of Mursa (now Eszek) on the lower Drava, the right tributary of the Danube. Accordingly, the city of Novietun was searched somewhere nearby. There were other assumptions, but all in the Danube region. Skrzhinska, on the basis of other information about the Slavs, believed that “looking at the Murcian lake in the Danube region“ seems fundamentally wrong ”(ibid, 14). The question was complicated by the fact that there were several Novietun cities, but all of them were located within the Roman Empire.

Experts divided the name of the city into two parts, the first part of which is "new". The root of the word is PIE and similar words are available in many languages. However, experts do not pay attention to the ending of the word, which gives it a completely Slavic sounding (PSl. *novyjĭ "new"). Reduced vowel ĭ is not pronounced after the fall of the reduced in the Slavic languages, but once it was pronounced and the word novyjĭ was uttered similar to the first part of the city name novie. The second part of the name means "city", what has an exact match in Germanic languages (eg. OE. tūn "fence", "field", "house", "housing", "village", "town", Eng. town). The Slavic word was borrowed from some of the Germanic languages and taken over time the shape of tyn in a more narrow sense "fence" at present. However, previously it meant "town", as well as the Slavic word gorod "town" had the sense "fence" earlier. Thus, the name Novietun means "new town", with which all experts agree.

Because all ancient historians placed the Slavs to the east of the Vistula River, then the space of Novietun to the Danaster can not be nothing as a space from the Russian city of Veliky Novgorod (Great New City) to the Dniester River. As Mursiano lake, it cannot be anything but the lake Ilmen on which banks the Great Novgorod stands. Calling the lake so has no explanation, but it can be assumed that it has Anglo-Saxon origin – OE murcian "to complain, care". Such an explanation is possible, as the Anglo-Saxons remained in the vicinity of Novgorod at some time (see the article Andlo-Saxons in East Europe). For skeptics, this argument may seem unconvincing, but for conscientious scientists and without this, the question was clear 120 years ago:

Simple logic — if it is not obscured by preconceived notions — leads us to conclude that the homeland of the Slavs, or at least its center, should have been outside the sphere of upheavals that had befallen the southern Russian steppes from IV BC and ending IV AD. Only after a quiet development during this long period of time, coming last on the historical arena, the Slavs could play the role that they actually played (BRAUN F. 1899: 76).

And such logic can find objections, so let's turn to archeology. The most part of experts, J.V. Kukharenko, L.D. Pobol and others, connect the Slavs with the Zarubyntsi culture. However, the scholars have no unity about its origin. One sees its roots in the Scythian, other does in the Milograd culture, others yet consider, that Zarubyntsi culture (ZC) has developed on the basis of several cultures. J.V. Kukharenko, considering the question about the origin of ZC, wrote:

The common for all these points of view is the unconditional recognition of the fact, that the Zarubyntsi culture as such has developed in the basin of the Middle Dnieper on a local basis, and the origin of it, hence, has not been caused by any moving of the population from other places to this territory. In any way, it is impossible to agree with it. The Zarubintsi culture has not developed and could not develop in the basin of the Middle Dnieper where it is not connected genetically with anyone of the cultures of previous time. This culture has developed in the western areas of Polesye and Volhynia as a result of penetration of Baltic Venetian tribes from the northwest, from Pomorze. The appearance of the Zarubintsi culture in the Middle Dnieper area was resulted from the resettlements of Zarubyntsi tribes from the west (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1960: 289-290.)

Such Kukharenko’s sureness is based on the fact that the relics of ZC are connected genetically and without a chronological break with anterior relics only in Western Polesye and in Volhynia. Contrariwise, such connection is not visible in the other areas of the spreading of ZC. Moreover, this culture arises somehow suddenly on a mixed basis in the basin of the Middle Dnieper area (Ibid, 293, 297). J.V. Kukharenko notes, that the opinion about the expansion of ZC to the basin of the Middle Dnieper from Polesye and Volhynia has been already expressed formerly. And this process was connected with the beginning of the movement of Slavic tribes from their previous settlements which were defined so:

In M.I.Artamonov's opinion, Veneti (in the true sense this word) were carriers of so-called The Culture of Face Urns, or Pomorie culture, which arose as the special phenomenon on the Kashub Heights on the basis of the ancient Lusatian culture (Ibid, 297).

Supporting Artamonov's opinion, J.V. Kukharenko believes that the expansion of Pomorian Veneti was "a major factor in the formation of ZC on huge spaces to the east from the Vistula River" (Ibid., 298). The opinion about the possibility of Slavic sources in the Pomorian culture can be found also in V.V. Sedov’s works. He specifies that, since 550 BC, the Culture of Underklosh (“podkloshevyi” in Russian) interments was formed in the eastern areas of the Lusatian culture (on the banks of the Vistula) resulting in the moving of the tribes of the Pomorian culture. This culture may be considered as early actually Slavic which branch became ZC later (SEDOV V.V., 1990-1: 83). J.U. Kukharenko, and, in a certain measure, V.V. Sedov considered, that the expansion of the Pomorians has resulted the appearance of the Przeworsk culture, but such opinion has no reliable confirmation, and the majority of present-day scholars consider this culture as Germanic. This should be so, as it arose though under the Celtic influence, but on some substratum basis. (BARAN V.D., Otv. Red, 1985: 26). The early Przeworsk clayware has hardly differed from the pottery of the late Lusatian culture (Ibid, TRET'YAKOV P.N., 1952: 132).

The relics of the Przeworsk culture on the territory of Ukraine are spread only in the basin of the Western Bug and the Upper Dniester and the main area of this culture corresponds to the territory of the latest settlements of the Germanic tribes. But as to forming ZC, obviously, we have to agree substantially with Yu.V. Kukharenko when he describes this process as gradual Slavic movement upwards the Vistula, then across the Western Bug River in the Pripyat's basin and further eastward to the Dnieper. This movement began from the area east of the Low Vistula till the Upper Neman where we located Slavic ancestors after they left their Urheimat on both banks of the Vilia River. After occupying the southern part of the basin of the Upper Dnieper, the Slavs moved northward to the basin of the Desna and to the region of Gomel and Mogilev spreading their Zarubyntsi culture at the beginning of the 1st mill AD (SHMIDT E.A., 1990: 113).

Slavic movement was stretched for some centuries. The earliest relics of ZC in Western Polesye are dated by the 2nd century BC, and on the banks of the Desna and the Seym they appear only toward the 1st and even to the beginning of the 2nd century AD (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1960: 297. ZAVIERNIAYEV F.M. 1970). The linguists and archeologists note that the widening of ZC eastward and northward had peaceful character:

… Baltic ethnic element in the basin of Upper Dnieper did not recede in large measure northwestward while Slav advancing northward. Perhaps, Slavic movement proceeded as natural gradual penetration with assimilation of Baltic element during the various time on several parts of this territory (TOPOROV V.N., TRUBACHIOV O.N. 1962: 173).

Due to unknown circumstances, resistance to newcomers was less strong here, than in the Scythian-Sarmatian South and the Old Lithuanian North. This has led to strong subsidence Zarubyntsi’s tribes on this territory and to gradual assimilation of the local population by them. Already in the 1st century AD, Zarubyntsi’s tribes settled on the banks of the Sozh where they (as it was a little before on the Dnieper) subsided on sites of ancient settlements of the Milograd culture (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1960: 299).

Little by little Zarubyntsi’s tribes occupied the territory from the Vistula up to the Upper Psel, the Seym, and the Oka rivers. Here, on already known to us ethno-producing areas, the original unitary language of the population split into several distinct dialects. The whole Slavic territory with areas of separate tribes according to primary Slavic dialects is shown in Map 12. The western border of Slavic territory has been established on the Vistula according to historical data:

All ancient authors agreed in opinion that the Vistula was the border of Germania and Sarmatia, and there is no reason to assume, that this their opinion has no real basis (NIDERLE LUBORЪ., 1956: 32).

On this map, in addition to the ranges of the ancient Slavic tribes identified by the graphic-analytical method, the areas of the two main tribes of the Polab Slavs of Bodrichi (Obodrits) and Lutichi, the Pomeranians, and the Lusatian Slavs are shown too. Their location was hypothetically taken in view of their later habitats (SALYVON A.N.,1981: 131) assuming a consistent movement of the Slavic tribes westward. Having determined the western border of the Slavs along the Vistula River, we received several “free” ranges, where the ancestral homelands of these Slavic tribes were placed. At the same time, the ancestral homeland of the Lusatian Slavs was placed in close proximity to the ancestral homeland of the Poles and the Czechs, and there were practically no other options for the Polabian and Pomorian Slavs.

The question about the origin of the Macedonian language remains unresolved. If the primary Slavic dialect, which from the Macedonian language developed later, ensued from Proto-Slavic simultaneously with other primary Slavic dialects, the Macedonian Urheimat should be located somewhere in the adjacency to the homelands of Serbs/Croats and Slavic Bulgarians as Macedonian is most similar to the Serbian-Croatian and Bulgarian languages. Then Macedonian Urheimat had to be in the area between the rivers Upper Desna, the Ugra, and the Zhizdra. In this case, the Macedonian language should have many common words with South-Russian dialect, at least more, than the number of South-Russian-Bulgarian matches, but in reality, it is not so. We can assume, that the mentioned area was Bulgarian Urheimat, and Macedonian homeland was a little south – between the Desna, the Seym, and the Upper Oka that is on the area where we located Bulgarian homeland. However, for such an assumption, the Bulgarian language has not enough common words with the South-Russian dialect. Dissolution of this question can call doubts about accommodations of the Bulgarian language to the graphic model of Slavic languages and in general the validity of the model, but we have other evidence that Bulgarian homeland was on the Upper Oka. Formerly we came to a conclusion that Mordvinic ethnos always remained on the region adjacent to its Urheimat between the Upper Oka and the Don. If the Urheimat of Slavic-Bulgarians, really, was on the left side of the Oka, they had to have the Mordvins as east neighbors. In that case, specifically, Mordvinic-Bulgarian correspondences have to exist. They could be language correspondences, but we have other convincing data. Investigating Slavic and Mordvinic epic songs, Russian scholar A.I. Maskaev has revealed common Mordvinic-Bulgarian motives, in particular in the epic poetry about the building of some big city. We could assume that this city could Gelonos described by Herodotus. Denying the possibility of intermediary of Russian or other peoples (anything similar are not present in Russian and others epic), A.I. Maskaev has the boldness to declare the following:

The conclusion arises, that the Mordvinic-Bulgarian community in an epic song is more likely explained by the long adjacency of these peoples during the ancient times (MASKAYEV A.I., 1965: 298).

Map 12. Settlements of Slavic tribes in the end I mill. BC – in the beginning of I mill. AD.

Bodr – the Bodriches, Bulg – the ancestors of modern-day Bulgars, Br – the ancestors of Belorussians, Cz – the ancestors Czeches, Lus – the ancestors of the Lusatian Slavs, Lut – the Lutiches, NR – the ancestors of speakers of the northern Russian dialect, P – the ancestors of Poles, Pom – the Pomorian Slavs, SR – the ancestors of speakers of the southern Russian dialect, Slv – the ancestors of Slovenes, Slvk – the ancestors of Slovaks, S/H – the ancestors of the Serbs and Horvats, U/Т – the ancestors of the Uliches and Tivertsi(?), Ukr – the ancestors of Ukrainians.

The hypothetical area of the Bodriches to the east of the lower Vistula to Masurian Lake District was populated by Slavs obviously much later than others. At the beginning of the millennium, the Wielbark culture was spread here, which creators were Goths.

The Wielbark culture in late Roman times (after: Kokowski. Problematyka kultury wielbarskiej w młodszym okresie rzymskim). The fragment of the map (BIRBRAUER F. 1995: 37. Fig. 6).

Apparently under pressure from Slavs, the Goths were moving along the banks of the Vistula and Wester Bug Rivers to the Volyn and further to the Black Sea steppes (see the map above). Perhaps here some time lived mixed gothic-Slavic population.

An interesting confirmation of Common Slavonic territory was found in the work of the Polish botanist K. Moshinsky also engaged in Slavic linguistics (MOSZYŃSKI KAZIMIERZ. 1957). According to his research, such trees: beech, yew, ivy, fir, larch, and sycamore were absent on the Slavic territory. The scientist came to this conclusion because the names of these trees in the Slavic languages have a non-Slavic origin, ie are borrowed from other languages. Obviously, they were borrowed by Slavs from the aboriginal population after their spread in the larger space. K. Moshinsky drew a map (see below) of the spread of these trees in Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. For two millennia, the climate in Europe has not changed significantly, so we can assume that the total area of distribution of beech, yew, ivy, fir, larch, and sycamore should not overlap the territory of the Slavs. As you can see on the map, overlay still holds for yew and sycamore, beech, and a bit of larch, but mainly on the Elbe Slavs territory, whose language is virtually unknown to us. It is possible that they had their names for these kinds of trees, but we'll never know them.

Map of Slavic peoples territory (marked with red dots) at the beginning of the first thousand and distribution of species:

Black horizontal line – beech (Fagus silvatica); red horizontal line – ivy (Sorbus torminalis>); yellow horizontal line – yew (Taxus baccata); purple vertical line – larch (Larix decidua Miller); green vertical line – sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus); blue vertical line – fir (Abies alba)

The hypothetical area of the forefathers of the Slavic tribes of Uliches and Tivertsi is shown on the map, but we have not reliable bases for such assumption for the present, except for the common reason that this area should be populated with some Slavic tribe which descendants were dissolved among other ethnoi (probably among the Romance population of Balkan peninsula).

Connecting ZC with the Slavs, experts subdivide it into some separate local groups. Yu.V. Kukharenko believed, that such groups were three – the Polesian group, the group of the Upper Dnieper, and the group of the Middle Dnieper (KUKHARENKO Yu.V. 1964). E.V. Maximov has divided all area of wide spreading of ZC into five regions:

1. The area of the Middle Dnieper from the mouth of the Desna up to the mouth of the Tiasmin River.

2. The Pripiat’ Polesye (the rivers Goryn’ and Styr’),

3. The area of the Upper Dnieper, mainly its right side from the Berezina up to the Pripyat, and also on the river Sozh.

4. The basin of the Upper Desna – the territory of the Briansk Region.

5. The basin of the Southern Bug – on the banks of the Southern Bug from the mouth of the Desna up to the river Selnitsia and on the river Sob (MAKSIMOV E.V., 1982: 9 – 10).

The question of the existence of a Zarubinets culture is controversial. Yu. V. Kuhharenko, L.D. Pobol, and some other experts put the common chronological range of ZC existence from the 3rd century BC up to the 3rd and even the 5th century AD (KUKHARENKO Yu.V., 1964: 48, POBOL L.D., 1983: 21), others remove for it a narrower period – from the end of the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD (MAKSIMOV E.V., 1982:173). Thus only one of five possible regions of ZC on the Upper Dnieper remained the chronological range, but the Southern Bug region and the Upper Desna region were formed at the start of our era [Ibid, 173]. Determining the chronological framework of the existence of ZC is crucial for linguists in terms of determining the time of splitting the Proto-Slavic language. It is believed that it ceased to exist in the VI-VII cent. AD. (FILIN F.P., 1972). However, the important facts cited by archaeologists make us think that the process of disintegration stretched out for a long time. These facts indicate that its beginning can be attributed to the first century AD:

We adhere to the point of view that Zarubyntsi culture on the Upper Dnieper in the middle or in the end of I century AD experiences a sharp crisis. At this particular time disappear Zarubyntsi burial grounds in Pripiat’ Polesye, on the middle and upper Dnepr, also later materials on settlements are absent (KOZAK D.N., TERPYLOVS'KIY R.V. 1986: 35).

Similar views were stated also by Yu. V. Kukharenko and E.V. Maximov whereas L.D. Pobol proved, that ZC has not disappeared here in the first centuries of our era, and proceeded also during the later period, in the first half of the 1st mill. AD (POBOL L.D., 1983: 24). V.V. Sedov considered too that classical Zarubyntsi antiquities (the 1st cent. BC – the 1st cent. AD) on the Upper Dnieper were transformed first in the Late ZC and then the Kyiv culture was arisen out of them (the 3rd – the 4th century AD) (SEDOV V.V., 1990-1: 83). The territory of the spread of Kyiv culture quite clearly corresponds to the areas of formation of the South Russian dialect, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, and Slovenian languages. Thus, while the process of disintegration could already begin in the western part of the common Slavic territory, its eastern part only began to be settled by Slavs.

The whole territory of ZC and its vocal variants put on the areas of the Slavic languages. The map is based on Kukharenko's work (KUKHARENKO Yu. V. 1964).

The whole border of ZC is marked by red line on data of different scholars. The blue line marks local according to Kukharenko, the green one does the border of Kyiv culture.

We see that one local variant of Zarubynets culture corresponds to a certain extent to the area of formation of the Ukrainian language, another covers the areas of the Slovak, Czech, and Lusatian languages, and the third corresponds to the alleged area of the Uliches and Tivertsi. The time of the formation of these languages can be attributed to the 1-2 cen. AD. In the later inhabited territory of the Kyiv culture, the formation of distinct languages ended by the 5th century.

In such a situation, the resulted graphic model of the relationship of Slavic languages, which suppoes the dwelling of the Slavs in a certain area for a long time, is in doubt. However, it is necessary to take into account that in different ethno-producing areas already existed its own language substrate, which reflected inversely proportional dependence between the number of mutual features in a pair of languages and a distances between the areas. The similar process took place at dismemberment of the Latin language under the influence of different substrate in Spain, France, the Balkans (POKORNY JULIUS, 1968, 178-180). Assuming this, it is necessary to agree with the opinion of archaeologists that the Pre-Slavic population did not move to new places, but was assimilated by the Slavs, although it had a significant impact on the language and customs of the newcomers. For example, you should pay attention to the following observation:

We do not know, how early Zarubyntsi population called the settlements and cemeteries, but the essence of ancient Greek names (polis – necropolis) is surprisingly precisely shown in Zarubyntsi topography – a settlement was located on one cape, the place for alive, a burial ground was on the next cape, the place for died (MAKSIMOV E.V. 1982: 59).

It is possible that the described tradition in the places of distribution of Zarubinets culture existed from the times when the ancestors of the ancient Greeks had their settlements here.

Archaeological studies of settlements, hillforts and barrow burials in the Vitebsk Region show that in some cases these monuments were left by the Balts, in others by the Slavs, and in the third by sime mixed population [LEVKO O. N., 1990: 39]. Such a situation existed almost throughout the entire eastern part of the common Slavic territory, and under such conditions the Proto-Slavic language, having adopted in each area different features of languages or dialects of the native Balt population, was divided into Slavic dialects, which later developed into distinct languages, in accordance with the location of the ethno-producing areas. Thus, the process of dismemberment of the Proto-Slavic languages was accelerated, and therefore it was not necessary that all Slavs would consistently occupy the location indicated on the Map 1 territory.

However, there are grounds to assert that the initial dialectal differences in the language of the Slavs were manifested among the population on the opposite banks of the Dnieper River. Quite distinct traces of these differences can be identified in the lexical and phonetic phenomena of modern Slavic languages. In general, they divided the Proto-Slavs into the western and eastern branches, the border between which became rather blurred over time. The western branch of the Slavic languages were the Ukrainian, Belarusian, Northern Russian, Polish, Lusatian, Czech, and Slovak languages, the South Russian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croat, and Slovene languages were eastern. Some common words of the western branch have no etymological correspondences in the languages of the eastern branch. At the same time, their semantic correspondences in these languages do not have no common etymology in most cases. For example, some common "western" words are given in the Table 1 with correspondences in Russian and Croatian. In the same way, some common words of the Eastern branch have no etymological correspondences in the Western one. Table 2 gives examples of such words and semantic correspondences for them in the Ukrainian and Polish languages.

Lexical differencies between West and East Slavic languges

Table 1.

Meaning West Russian Croatian
weight vaga ves težina
to care dǔbati zabotitsia brigati
duck kačka utka patka
to love koxati lubit’voljeti
ice floe kra, kriga ldinaledeno koplje
to feel, touchmacati shchupat’osjećati
to strive pragnuti stremitsiatežiti
annoying prikrǔ dosadnyidosadan
council rada sovetvijeće
brine ropa rossol rasol
chunk skiba lomot’komad
temple skronǐ visok pećina
snail slimakǔ ulitka puž
barn stodola ovinstaja
motley strokatǔ piostryišaren
to last trǔvati dlitsia trajati
to keep, hold trimati deržat’držati
clothes šata odežda odjeća
harm škoda vred ozljeda
to punch šturxati pinat’ gurati
to panhandle žebrati poprošayničat’ prositi

Table 2.

Meaning East Ukrainian Polish
sadness grust' smutok smutek
sly lukav pidstupnyi podstępny
chalk mel kreyda kreda
lightning molnia blyskavkabłyskawica
banquet pir benketuczta
case, occasionslučay vypadokwypadek
to look, watch smotreti dyvytysiaoglądać
to torment trzati katuvatymęczyć
convenient udoben zručnyiwygodny
brine užin večeraobiad

A small group of words originally belonged to one of the branches of the Proto-Slavic language, but now these words are represented in it and in one or two languages of the other branch (vada, khyba "defect", khata "cottage", kulik "sandpiper", lytka "calf", "shin", korpati "to mend", luch "ray, beam"). It is uneasily to establish the genesis of these words as even some resulted examples can cause doubt, but the stratigraphy of loan-words in Slavic languages is very complicated without the certain subjectivity. The specified primary division of Slavic peoples can be confirmed by two different forms of some ancient Proto-Slavic words what was already noted by Smal-Stotski . For example, the West Proto-Slavic *popelъ (Ukr. popil, Pol. popiół, Cz. popel, Slvk. popol, Br. popel) corresponds to the eastern Proto-Slavic *pepelъ (Rus. pepel, Bulg. pepel, Serb. pepeo); the West Proto-Slavic *sklo (Ukr. sklo, Pol. szkło, Cz., Slvk. sklo, Lus., Br. šklo,) has the match *stьklo (Rus., Bulg. steklo, Serb. staklo, Slvn. steklo); the West Proto-Slavic *pъtakъ (Ukr., Br. ptakh, Pol., ptak, Cz. pták, Slvk. vták) has the match *pъtica (Rus., Bulg., Serb., ptica, Slvn. ptíca) in Eastern Proto-Slavic, etc. For the first pair such assumption is more authentic, despite of presence Rus. popel, which can be loaned from Ukrainian, but the difference in the form of the second pair, obviously, has arisen later in the assumption Polish influences on Ukrainian and Belarus languages as the Old. Cz. stklo was fixed in the annals. These examples show as it is dangerous to draw far-sighted conclusions on the basis of the individual facts while the statistical data are always more reliable.

The deep analysis of the main phonetic features, which revealed themselves at the Proto-Slavic period, but didn’t capture all the Slavic generality, has been carried out by Polish linguist A. Furdal (FURDAL ANTONI., 1961). He considered that the first dialect splitting of the Proto-Slavic language occurred after the following changes:

1. χ + ě, i > š|s < i, ь, ę + χ.

2. sk + ě, i > šč|s'c’.

3. kv, gv + ě, i > cv, zv

4. tl, dl > l|kl, gl

In accordance with the manifestation of these changes, A. Furdal drew up a geographical scheme of the Proto-Slavic territory, in which he singled out four regions. I made minor corrections in the scheme for the location of the Ukrainian and Belarusian languages (See Fig. 10).

Fig. 10. The first dialectical splitting of the Slav languages.

The first area A – the large space in the west of Proto-Slavic territory where groups kv, gv and tl, dl were kept and has taken place transformation χ and sk in š and šč accordingly. This space, as considered A. Furdal, unequivocally correspond with the Polish, Czech, Slovak and Lusatian languages. The Polish scientist does not join the Ukrainian and Belarus languages to this group, though the some facts of preservation of groups kv, gv and transformations χ in š are present in the Ukrainian and Belarus languages (for an example Ukr., Br. kvitka, Ukr. dial., Br. šaryj , etc). A. Furdal, as other scholar of his time, considered such facts as Polish influences though he noted, that groups kv, gv are presented also in Russian dialects, not being Polish influences. Further, A. Furdal allocated a small northern area B on the circuit which corresponds with the Novgorod and Pskov dialects characterized by the transformation tl, dlkl, gl, fragmentary preservation of groups kv, gv, šč and some other features. The obvious explanation to all these facts can be such. The preservation of groups kv, gv and tl, dl and transformation χ → s’ and sk in š and šč occurred in the western branch of the Proto-Slavic language from which were developed except the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lusatian, and other West Slavic languages also the Ukrainian, Belarus, and the Northern Russian languages. After the moving northward of the speakers of the North-Russian language it was developing on its own laws and received the phonetic features specified by A. Furdal in the modern North-Russian dialect. As the groups kv, gv were kept in some variants of the South-Russian dialect, though in smaller quantity than in the Ukrainian and Belarus languages were, it is obvious that process of transition of the primary kv, gv in cv, zv began in the eastern part of the Slavic territory under influence of the Finno-Ugric languages and occurred less intensively farther to the west. Therefore the groups kv, gv were kept in Ukrainian and Belarus in the greater degree though the forms cv, zv in these languages could be widened partly by the influence of the Russian language during later period.

The made conclusions are confirmed also by two other phonetic areas of A.Furdal's circuit. The large area D in the east of the Slavic territory which is characterized by the transition tl, dl l and by the palatalization of kv, gv in cv, zv, and also by transitions χ in s’ and sk in s'c’ correspond to Southern Russian dialect and all the South-Slavic languages except for Slovene.The embodiment to this area the Ukrainian and Belarus languages, made by A. Furdal, is groundless as he himself recognized that the transition tl, dll had no precise borders, and its presence in different languages can be explained by simplification in the groups of consonants. The drop – out of t/d could occur in different places both at various times and everywhere have the same result which gives no warrant to the certain conclusions. And, at last, the transitive area C, which is connected by A. Furdal with Slovene, once again confirms that two primary branches of the Proto-Slavic language had no precise phonetic border, and, on the contrary, there was a transitive strip along the Dnieper, where phonetic phenomena have affected in different forms on the modern Ukrainian, Belarus, Slovene languages and The Northern Russian dialect.

The primary division of the Slavic folks into the western and eastern branches is confirmed also by ethnography. Among plenty of the common for all the Slavs of ceremonies, a number of the wedding customs are typical only for Poland, Moravia, Ukraine, Belarus, the North-western part of Russian, e.g. kindling fire at a wedding and jumps through it, setting brides on a tub etc. On the same territories, ritual enmity between girls and married women is played (GURA A.V. 1981: 263). Some customs are typical only for the southern Russians and the southern Slavs (Ibid: 264). It is necessary also to pay attention that there is in house-building terminology of the Slavs nothing of the common, apart from such general words as "wall", "furnace", "threshold", "door", and "window". But the West-Slavic languages including Ukrainian and Belarus have such common terminology. This, on the one hand, confirms the specified division of the Slavic folks into two branches, and, on the other hand, denies the existence of a special East-Slavic language unity at the time of the advanced housing construction among the Slavs which can be attributed long before the period of the Kyiv Rus’. This primary division of Slavic peoples has contradicted lexical peculiarities common only for the Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarus languages, but it would be strange to think that similar words did not arise in the languages of the peoples having a joint historical destiny. However, this lexical community concerns already to later historical times.

The space of Milograd and Yukhnovo cultures.

The territory of the settlement of the western branch of the Slavs largely coincides with the territory of Milograd culture and the eastern branch does with the territory of Yukhnovsky culture. Milograd culture (IX-III cent. BC) should be associated with the tribes of the Balts, who in addition to their native places are also inhabited the right bank of Pripyat. Obviously, it has become the cultural and linguistic substratum, on which ethnic groups of Western Slavs were formed. V. Eremenko, considering the differences between the Milograd and Zarubintsi cultures, comes to the conclusion that there is no reason to “assert that the Milograd culture survived until the II-I centuries BC, and even more so to prove the origin of the Zarubinets culture from Milograd one” (YEREMENKO V.Ye. 1997, 62), but does not deny a certain typological similarity between their elements. Yukhnovo culture existed at the same time, which can be associated with the Anglo-Saxons, formerly having been the creators of Lebediv culture, traces of which are seen in Yukhnovo one. However, its relation to Bondarikha culture can let talking about the possibility of living here Anglo-Saxon-Mordvinic population.

As already noted, there is no unity of views on the origin of Zarubinets culture among archaeologists. They were divided into supporters of the concept of migration and integration of its origin:

Supporters of the concept of migration origin of Zarubintsy culture don't recognize or almost don't recognize the participation of the indigenous population in its creation. They believe that between local previous cultures and the appearance of the Zarubintsy monuments has a chronological gap – hiatus, which was accompanied by the absence of the populations on these territories. Followers of the theory of integration, on the other hand, recognize the role of local communities as Zarubintsy substrate. The main argument for them is the similarity of some technological artifacts (PACHKOVA S.P. 1999: 9)

We know that the Slavs were no autochthonous inhabitants in the territory of Zarubintsy culture, but the influence of the local substrate on its formation could be (see. Map below)

A schematic map of Zarubintsy culture under the influence of the local substrate.
18/5000 Legend:
1 – areas of Zarubintsy culture.
2 – the territory of Poeneshti-Lukashevka culture.
3 – the borders and the territory of Pomorian culture.
4 – the borders and territory of Milograd culture
5 – the borders and the territory of the forest-steppe Scythian culture of the Kyiv-Cherkasy group.
6 – the borders and the territory of the forest-steppe Scythian culture of the Sula group (ibid, 10. Fig. 1).
Map tinted with color by the author.

Location Zarubintsy culture areas on the map does not contradict the view that Zarubintsy culture was formed by carriers of Pomor culture but under the influence of the local substrate.