Old European culture

From Academic Kids

Some archaeologists and ethnographers use the term Old Europe to characterize the autochthonous ('aboriginal') peoples who were living in Neolithic southeastern Europe before the immigration of Indo-European peoples (for this reason also called Pre-Indo-European). According to this model, Indo-European peoples arrived in the 4th millennium BC, across the plains north of the Black Sea. Their ultimate origins did not concern the culture of "Old Europe."

The term "Old Europe" was introduced by Marija Gimbutas, in The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500-3500 B.C. (1974). Using evidence from pottery and sculpture, and combining the tools of archaeology, comparative mythology, linguistics, and, most controversially, folklore, Gimbutas invented a new interdisciplinary field, archaeomythology. She investigated the Neolithic period (which she termed "Old Europe") in order to understand cultural developments in settled village culture in the southern Balkans, which she characterized as peaceful and matrilinear, before the Indo-European influences which she broadly characterized as nomadic and patriarchal. She associated the Indo-European immigrants with the Bronze Age "Kurgan culture" that she identified. Gimbutas's theses are not widely accepted.

Few details of Old European culture are widely agreed upon, and even the date of the Indo-European arrival in Old Europe is questioned, whether in a Late Neolithic or a Bronze Age context. One major reappraisal of the evidence by the archaeologist Colin Renfrew proposes that the Indo-European 'invasion' is instead linked to the relatively rapid spread of farming from Anatolia into Europe, and was Neolithic in date (from about 6500 BCE).

Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza has also summarized the study of prehistoric European population genetics and demographics in The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution (written with his son Francesco).


1 Pre-Indo-European peoples
2 See also
3 External links
4 See also

List of Old European cultures

Before the Indo-European migration described by Marija Gimbutas as beginning around 4000 BCE, several Neolithic archaeological cultures are known from Europe, particularly in the Balkans. These are known collectively as Old European cultures. However, many archaeologists do not now see these archaeological cultures as indigenous to the south-east, but as Indo-European farmers who migrated to this area from Anatolia, arriving in Europe about 6500 BCE.

Ancient Greek writers called the "Old European" pre-Hellenic dwellers in Greece "Pelasgians" or "Leleges".

Reports in 2005 indicate that an early Neolithic Linear Ceramic culture in Central Europe produced monumental structures between 4800 BC and 4600 BC.[1] (http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=645976)

Pre-Indo-European peoples

In historical times, some ethnonyms are believed to correspond to Pre-Indo-European peoples, assumed to be the descendants of the earlier Old European cultures, the Pelasgians, Minoans, Leleges, Iberians and Basques. The status of the Etruscans is disputed, they are considered either Pre-Indo-European, or speakers of an Anatolian language. The term Pre-Indo-European is sometimes extended to refer to Asia Minor, Central Asia and India, in which case the Hurrians, Urartians, Dravidians and the Uralic peoples may also be counted among them (the Basques and Uralic peoples only inasmuch as they were replaced, in areas where they persist, they are not pre- but simply non-Indo-European). The indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia could, strictly speaking, also be included, but since the migrations in question occurred in modern times, the "Pre-Indo-European" terminology is not used.

See also

External links

See also


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