Friday, May 22, 2015

Population Genetics Puts the Origin of Indo-European Languages in the East in the Corded Ware Kurgan Culture

Well, well, well. One should read Gimbutas on the Kurgan culture, nicht wahr?

As so many things we have written over the last 40 years, also as to the origin of the Indo-European languages and peoples, it is turning out via genetic research that we were right all along -- or nearly so, in looking eastward, and that the mainstream Western so-called "scientists" in the humanilties were terribly wrong.

Indeed, the first book we wrote was The Baltic: Origin of the Indo-European Languages and Peoples, and it was badly received. However, precisely that idea or its near comparable is again being argued in the forums. Take a look.

What has happened in the interim?

It appears from newest results in the field of population genetics that northern Eurasians are likely responsible for the influx of the proto-Indo-European language into Western Europe, and not, as long alleged by mainstream so-called "scientists", vice-versa.

Ewen Callaway reported the story of new genetic-based insights to the origins of the Indo-European languages at Nature magazine news in an article titled European languages linked to migration from the east: Large ancient-DNA study uncovers population that moved westwards 4,500 years ago. 

See in this regard also Callaway's earlier article Ancient European genomes reveal jumbled ancestry.

As Callaway writes in the most recent Nature article:
"[A] team led by David Reich ... at Harvard Medical School ... found [that] DNA recovered from steppe herders that lived in western Russia around 5,000 years ago closely matched that of 4,500-year-old individuals from Germany, who were part of a group known as the Corded Ware culture.

The herders, named the Yamnaya, lived in present-day Russia and Ukraine and represent “a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery”, Reich and his team say in a paper posted on the bioRxiv preprint server on 10 February1. Yamnaya ancestry survives in varying degrees in the genomes of contemporary Europeans, with northern groups such as Norwegians, Scots and Lithuanians maintaining the strongest link...."
The original academic article referred to relates to research led by Harvard's Reich and published at Haak et al., Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe, Now published in Nature doi: 10.1038/nature14317
which writes in the Abstract as follows:
"We generated genome-wide data from 69 Europeans who lived between 8,000-3,000 years ago by enriching ancient DNA libraries for a target set of almost four hundred thousand polymorphisms. Enrichment of these positions decreases the sequencing required for genome-wide ancient DNA analysis by a median of around 250-fold, allowing us to study an order of magnitude more individuals than previous studies and to obtain new insights about the past. We show that the populations of western and far eastern Europe followed opposite trajectories between 8,000-5,000 years ago. At the beginning of the Neolithic period in Europe, ~8,000-7,000 years ago, closely related groups of early farmers appeared in Germany, Hungary, and Spain, different from indigenous hunter-gatherers, whereas Russia was inhabited by a distinctive population of hunter-gatherers with high affinity to a ~24,000 year old Siberian.... By ~6,000-5,000 years ago, a resurgence of hunter-gatherer ancestry had occurred throughout much of Europe, but in Russia, the Yamnaya steppe herders of this time were descended not only from the preceding eastern European hunter-gatherers, but from a population of Near Eastern ancestry. Western and Eastern Europe came into contact ~4,500 years ago, as the Late Neolithic Corded Ware people from Germany traced ~3/4 of their ancestry to the Yamnaya, documenting a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery. This steppe ancestry persisted in all sampled central Europeans until at least ~3,000 years ago, and is ubiquitous in present-day Europeans. These results provide support for the theory of a steppe origin of at least some of the Indo-European languages of Europe."
Now, whether it turns out that the precise origin is in Karelia (see that link at LexiLine), in the Baltic, or further south of that, the general location in the East is clear.

Maciamo writes at Autosomal analysis of Yamna, Corded Ware and Bell Beaker samples that the genetic admixture in the Baltic is the only stable component in the whole genetic landscape under discussion:
"The Baltic admixture doesn't show big variations between Mesolithic (18%), Yamna (10-16%), Corded Ware (12-20%) and Bell Beaker (6-18%) samples. It is the only stable component. It might be linked to the ubiquitous mtDNA U5 (and Y-haplogroup I), found in all Mesolithic Europeans and absorbed by Neolithic farmers too. Nowadays U5 is most common in the Baltic region. I would think that this admixture was named Baltic because U5 genes survived best in this region, not because the Baltic was the source region (which it certainly wasn't since northern Europe was under ice until the end of the Würm glaciation 10,000 years ago)."[emphasis added]
In connection with that previous citation, I should say here that I have written before (28 March 2002) about the "ice hills" of that last glaciation and more as seemingly referred to in the Latvian Dainas -- so they could have lived on the "edge" of that glaciation --but no one has paid any attention in the intervening years, due to the widescale ignorance found in the mainstream humanities, especially Archaeology and Linguistics. It is nice to see things turning around a bit through Genetics. Here is that posting from 2002:

Latvian Plaid from Lejasciems, Latvia
Similar to Scottish & Tocharian Plaids
Did you know that the ancient Latvians, like the Scots, had bagpipes? or that weaving patterns in Scottish tartans have great similarities to ancient Latvian plaids? See the graphic above. The pictured Latvian plaid is nearly identical to an ancient Tocharian plaid - ancient European mummies of which have been found in China. Did these ancient peoples share a common origin? [For the linguistic tartans compare Latvian terpins, dim. for terps meaning "tartan", all probably derived from a term similar to Latvian dariba, darina (drana), darita, daritins meaning "worked (product)"), whence Latvian drebes "cloth" and English drapes. The Scottish kilt compares to Latvian kleita ("dress").]

It is perhaps not without reason that Paul Dunbavin, in his book Picts and Ancient Britons: An Exploration of Pictish Origins, suggests on the basis of still further evidence, "that the Picts were ... immigrants from the Baltic." Looking back even further in time, archaeology and a study of ancient skull types clearly shows similar Mesolithic humans (ca. 8000 BC) among the Magdalenians (the cave painters of Lascaux, France), the ancient people of Normandy, Scandinavia, the middle European lowland and Latvia. See Raisa Denisova, The Most Ancient Population of Latvia and Ilze Loze, Indo-Europeans in the Eastern Baltic in the View of an Archaeologist.

Hence, the culture and traditions of the Baltic peoples take on a greater importance for those who wish to study the origins of the cultures of the British Isles and of Western Civilization.

One of the important remnants of ancient Baltic culture is formed by the DAINAS. The word "DAINAS" in Latvian is pronounced exactly like the English "DYNAS" in DYNASTY. The Dainas are unique ancient Latvian "folksongs in verse form - originally intended to be sung". The Dainas relate epic, mythical, astronomical and cultural information. One such verse or "Daina" generally consists of four lines of unrhymed trochaic text (one long syllable followed by one short syllable, etc.).

The Dainas have been passed down over the millennia by oral tradition and cover all aspects of ancient Baltic life, mythology and astronomy. Dainas are called Dainos in Lithuania - where they are far less frequent. In Latvia, the Dainas are most frequent in the highlands. Comparables to the Dainas outside the Baltic are perhaps only found in ancient Mesopotamia in the most ancient Sumerian and Akkadian pantheon. An example is the Agushaya Hymn (Agushaya possibly = Latvian Augšaja "(on) the highest"), an ancient song text which was the dissertation subject of Orientalist Wolfram von Soden, who at that time could not have been aware of any possible Baltic connection. A number of lines in the Sumerian-Akkadian Agushaya Hymn bear strong similarity to texts STILL found nearly unaltered in the Latvian Dainas.

As noted by Hans Rychener, in his book "...und Estland, Lettland, Litauen?", Herbert Lang, Berlin, 1975, p. 24: "The myths of the Lithuanians and Latvians...remind one of the belief systems of the ancient Hindus and Greeks."

Robert Payne, in "The Green Linden, Selected Lithuanian Folk-songs", Voyages Press, N.Y., 1964, writes: "The dainos...represent a form of poetry as ancient as anything on this earth.... They have a beauty and pure primitive splendor above anything I know in Western literature, except the early songs of the Greek Islanders. They seem to have been written at the morning of the world, and the dew is still on them."

Hermanis Rathfelders, in his many writings in Acta Baltica, wrote that the Latvian Dainas were extremely ancient, preceding the milling of grain, so that the mythological and astronomical Dainas may reach back many thousands of years in time. 

Oral Tradition and the Dainas

The Dainas as ancient verses were handed down through oral tradition from generation to generation in Latvia, often at great cost.

During one stage of German occupation of Latvia in the 16th century, women caught reciting the Dainas were burned at the stake as witches, which only solidified the cultural resistance more than ever.

In the 18th century the famous German writers Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe devoted serious attention to the Latvian Dainas, which surely helped to generate Herder's interest in his later "Essay on the Origin of Language", as well as "Oldest Records of the Human Race" and his collection of Folk Songs ("Volkslieder").

Through his contact with the Latvian Dainas, Herder may also have developed his theory that the poetry of legend was the "soul of history" - or, as written in the Encyclopaedia Britannica "[Herder] considered poetry to spring from the natural and historical environment" of man. At the end of his life, Herder was thus a great opponent of the modern developing "classical movement" in German literature, which estranged poetry from its place as a historical record, leading to a modern misinterpretation of antique sources which has persisted down to the present day, not just in Mesopotamia, but also in the misinterpretation of the Dainas. 

Krišjanis Barons and the Dainas

In 1878 a group of Latvian intellectuals in Moscow decided to collect and publish the "best" of the Latvian Dainas, not fully realizing the immensity of the task before them. They had no idea that so many Dainas existed. The last volume of their collection, Latvju Dainas, was thus in fact published in St. Petersburg only 40 years later. [See Archives of Latvian Folklore]

The best known of the three initial "collectors" of Dainas is Krišjanis Barons, who was the main coordinator of the project to collect, classify and publish the Dainas. Barons was born on October 31, 1835 in Latvia. He attended schools in Dundaga (German Dondangen), Kurzeme (German Kurland viz. Courland), Ventspils (German Windau) and Jelgava (German Mitau). From 1856 to 1860 he studied mathematics and astronomy in Tartu (German Dorpat), Estonia (German Estland). When Barons passed away on March 8, 1923, he was celebrated by thousands as a national hero, for having collected 35,800 Dainas, including 182,000 variants, for a total of 217,800 verses.

But this was not the end of the matter. Collection of Dainas continued through the 20th century, and there are now a total of ca. 2,000,000 (two million) collected verses, counting variants. As written by Vilmos Voigt, it is the greatest such collection of ancient folksongs in the world - and yet the population of Latvians in Latvia has never exceeded 2,000,000 people, so this must be a very old tradition.

Barons dealt with the Dainas over decades and thus began to understand their essence. He wisely organized the Dainas according to the events of the mythical, astronomical and agricultural year - to which their content is in fact well suited and from which they surely originated. One of the Dainas even speaks of "ice hills" - perhaps glaciers of the most recent glacial period - so that the Dainas may be among the oldest human records.

The DAINAS presented here are selected from and adapted from the 12-volume Latviešu Tautas Dziesmas (Chansons Populaires Lettonnes), Imanta Publishers, Copenhagen, 1952-1956, ed. A. Švabe, K. Straubergs and E. Hauzenberga-Šturma. These volumes followed the Barons system of classification for the Dainas. Dainas were grouped by assigned subject matter and each "basic unique" Daina was assigned a number starting with 1 and today reaching about 60,000, not counting the variants, which bring the total to well over 2,000,000. This classification system is retained on this web site.

A new edition of the Dainas is being prepared by linguists in Latvia according to a new system of classification [See LTK, "Das bäuerliche Jahr im Volkslied", Deutsche Tagespost, No. 85, p. 10, July 16, 1985]. If the new system departs from the ancient scheme of calendric feasts and astronomical events in favor of "modern" views of poetry (such as Herder correctly opposed) - the new compilation may well be less "authentic" than the older versions, and thus less useful for historical study. But we shall see.

All English translations and interpretations of the Dainas on this site, unless otherwise noted, are by Andis Kaulins, J.D. Stanford University; FFA Lecturer emeritus, University of Trier, Germany; Author, Langenscheidt Fachverlag. I find it interesting that ALL the kings of England up to the present generation can be traced back by royal blood to CEAWLIN, who was not only King of the West Saxons (Wessex) 560-592 AD but - according to the historian Bede - was also bretwalda of England south of the Humber (Kingston upon Hull). Bretwalda meant "Brit-ruler, overlord" and Baltic valda means "rules, governs". Do the similar names CEAWLIN and KAULINs also show an ancient historical connection between the Balts and the British Isles?

Most of these translations and interpretations are new and suggest a more modern understanding of the ancient mythology, astronomy and culture of the Baltic peoples, who, according to the recently published History of the Baltic Countries (a book subsidized by the European Union) trace their origins back to the Magdalenians, the cave painters of Lascaux... which is e.g. surely why French tu es is the same as Latvian tu esi or French a'dieu may find itself in ar dievu in Latvian. Accordingly, the most ancient Dainas may trace clear back to the earliest origins of modern human civilization.
In any case, ponder what the now correctly identified Eastern origin of Proto-Indo-European language means for the sheer etymological nonsense that predominantly Western linguists have been writing for years about Indo-European and proto-Indo-European languages.

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