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Thread: Bell Beaker Folk

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    Bell Beaker Folk



    The Beaker folk have come up a few times recently. After seeing input from Maciamo, Taranis, Sparkey, and particularly Brennus, I realized that I had probably taken too much for granted through the years and consequently thought that we should look into the topic more deeply. Plus, I couldn’t locate a source that I needed.

    In most publications that were made well over twenty years ago, the trend seems to have been to hold that identity of the Beaker Folk should be tied in with the movements of the earliest proto-Celts (or proto Italo-Celts/Celto Ligurians, depending one’s preference) into Western Europe. The movements were often described as being consistent with either the early Bronze Age or at least starting within the late Chalcolithic, which refers to the use of both copper and stone. The movements were believed by these to have gone from east to West.

    Some historians and archaeologists, though, held that the movements should be seen as going from West to East and therefore the Bell Beaker culture should be seen as a cultural phenomenon only. This position may be supported by some of those that believe that Celtic culture began in certain parts of Western Europe. The consequence of this was to disassociate the Beaker Folk from IE peoples and to begin treating the term "Celtic" as purely a linguistic or cultural one.
    The second position seems to have gained the ascendancy in later years.

    Concerning the Beaker folk, I had been inclined myself to the latter version in recent years but the recent discussions sparked a realization that in doing so I was potentially being in a contradictory position with myself. I have for a long time strongly held that proto-IE peoples speaking the centum isogloss moved into Western Europe in a number of waves. Some of these were a steady dribble, others consisted of larger groups. I decided to look at the topic again. I came across the article that can be located by cutting and pasting the link. It gives a fairly thorough treatment of both the Beaker culture and the corresponding groups of people that we know from history such as Celts, Ligurians, and Italics. Since joining the forum, I have tried to avoid clogging up threads with posts of maps and long citations, but I thought that the ones I am including today will be of help and may stimulate discussion.


    http://www.buildinghistory.org/distantpast/bellbeaker.shtml

    I could not bring the maps up to a size that I wanted, but they do zoom if they are clicked on.


    One or course provides a possible look at the Italo-Celt distribution. An interesting aspect of the map is that it marks where the difference between Italic and Celt is not so clear thereby indicating the Ligurian zone, along with similar cultures.


    The Stelae map was one that I had never seen. If the movements indicated on the map are correct, we could see an explanation of how the belief that the Beaker folk moved east came to be. It appears to show a westward movement that later turns north from two places in Iberia. Dating derived from finds such as these could easily have led archaeologists to determine that the movement went west.


    Aside from the short treatment of the Basques in the article, which would not be part of the topic (Also I was not sure enough to say that I agreed or disagreed with it), the article itself appears to be very thorough yet short enough to be digestible. A pretty strong case for the older position tying the Beaker Folk identity more tightly with the first proto Celtic/Ligurian/Italics is made, thus making them likely carriers of the IE language into Western Europe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    The Stelae map was one that I had never seen. If the movements indicated on the map are correct, we could see an explanation of how the belief that the Beaker folk moved east came to be. It appears to show a westward movement that later turns north from two places in Iberia. Dating derived from finds such as these could easily have led archaeologists to determine that the movement went west.
    The stelae map is indeed fascinating. It seems to confirms the pathway of the Indo-European migrations from the northern shore of the Black Sea along the Danube then to Western Europe. It's noteworthy that the Kemi-Oba culture had strong links with the Maykop culture. It's also helpful to see that the migration seems to have crossed the Alps to southern France and Iberia, then only moved to North-West Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    I could not bring the maps up to a size that I wanted, but they do zoom if they are clicked on.

    One or course provides a possible look at the Italo-Celt distribution. An interesting aspect of the map is that it marks where the difference between Italic and Celt is not so clear thereby indicating the Ligurian zone, along with similar cultures.
    The second map showing a homogenous Celtic area in Iberia is clearly wrong and not academic (your link looks to a blog). And for the link between Celts and Ligurians, it remains an original point of view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    This position may be supported by some of those that believe that Celtic culture began in certain parts of Western Europe.
    It is inconsistent according to the most of the sources. Celtic culture has spread from Central Europe. The Renfrew's theory has very few historical or linguistical basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    to begin treating the term "Celtic" as purely a linguistic or cultural one.
    The second position seems to have gained the ascendancy in later years.
    Yes,a cultural and linguistic one. Archaeology proves some things, but not the language.

    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    The Stelae map was one that I had never seen. If the movements indicated on the map are correct, we could see an explanation of how the belief that the Beaker folk moved east came to be. It appears to show a westward movement that later turns north from two places in Iberia. Dating derived from finds such as these could easily have led archaeologists to determine that the movement went west.
    Why connecting necessarily the Beaker archaeologic culture with the indo-europeans ? It could be one of the neolithic waves in the same way as the Megaliths culture formely. And this could explain the flow from Southern Europe to Northern Europe that you are talking about. In another logic, those cultures could be simply indigenous (suggested by these maps), we will never know :




    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    A pretty strong case for the older position tying the Beaker Folk identity more tightly with the first proto Celtic/Ligurian/Italics is made, thus making them likely carriers of the IE language into Western Europe
    I won't never understand why some searchers have so much difficulties to admit that Indo-european peoples might have brought their language from the Eastern plains. We have so much later examples.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    The second map showing a homogenous Celtic area in Iberia is clearly wrong and not academic (your link looks to a blog). And for the link between Celts and Ligurians, it remains an original point of view.
    Yes, the situation in Iberia is much more complex than that. In Galicia, there is onomastic evidence for the Lusitanian language being spoken before the Celts arrived, and in southern Portugal and western Andalusia, the "Tartessian" language (if the language in these inscriptions was actually linked with the semi-legendary city of Tartessos) was spoken. Likewise, we do not know if the Celtiberians and the other Celtic-speaking peoples of the Iberian penninsula really spoke the same langauge.

    It is inconsistent according to the most of the sources. Celtic culture has spread from Central Europe. The Renfrew's theory has very few historical or linguistical basis.
    Well, there is this "Atlanticist school" which sees the origin in of the Celtic languages in the Atlantic facade, but as you say, it has little historical and especially linguistic base. It also goes against the general trend you can see in both archaeology and linguistics that innovations arrived from the east in the west.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Yes, the situation in Iberia is much more complex than that. In Galicia, there is onomastic evidence for the Lusitanian language being spoken before the Celts arrived, and in southern Portugal and western Andalusia, the "Tartessian" language (if the language in these inscriptions was actually linked with the semi-legendary city of Tartessos) was spoken. Likewise, we do not know if the Celtiberians and the other Celtic-speaking peoples of the Iberian penninsula really spoke the same langauge.
    Well, there is this "Atlanticist school" which sees the origin in of the Celtic languages in the Atlantic facade, but as you say, it has little historical and especially linguistic base. It also goes against the general trend you can see in both archaeology and linguistics that innovations arrived from the east in the west.
    According to the Atlanticist School, Tartessian is the earliest attested Celtic language and Lusitanian has been codified as a dialect of Galeic, the Celtic language spoken in Gallaecia (Galicia and N. Portugal).* The jury may still be out on the "Celtic from the west" theory but evidence is building steadily in its favor. No one has yet refuted Koch's (2008 and 2009) notion that Tartessian is Celtic and dates 500 plus years prior to anything out of Central Europe.

    I know we have been through this before but one should not be dismissive of the Atlanticist School thesis. Time will tell.

    *See Wodtko in Celtic from the West (2010).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cambria Red View Post
    According to the Atlanticist School, Tartessian is the earliest attested Celtic language and Lusitanian has been codified as a dialect of Galeic, the Celtic language spoken in Gallaecia (Galicia and N. Portugal).* The jury may still be out on the "Celtic from the west" theory but evidence is building steadily in its favor. No one has yet refuted Koch's (2008 and 2009) notion that Tartessian is Celtic and dates 500 plus years prior to anything out of Central Europe.

    *See Wodtko in Celtic from the West (2010).
    The 2009 paper has been refuted and can be easily refuted on a number of reasons.

    - We cannot read the Tartessian script fully/reliably (you might want to check out Rodriguez's works on the script), and even with the parts we can read, Koch's paper is full of mistakes.
    - From what we know, the phonemic inventory of the Tartessian is utterly non-consistent with that of a Celtic language, and coming from the Phoenician script, the modifications made in the Tartessian language make no sense if we are talking about a Celtic language: Tartessian doesn't distinguish between voiced and unvoiced stop consonants, whereas the Celtic languages universally do (so does Phoenician, by the way, meaning these modification would have been totally senseless if Tartessian had been a Celtic language). Tartessian also distinguishes between two different types of rhotics whereas the Celtic languages have only one rhotic letter. This gets very clear if you compare the Tartessian writing system with the Celtiberian writing system.
    - Koch blatantly ignores mainstream linguist methodology (most notably, he utterly fails to make sound correspondences), and some of his purported cognates with Celtic words are extremely spurious.
    - There is some evidence of Tartessian typonomy, which is also inconsistent with a Celtic origin.

    - How one could come up with the that Lusitanian was a *dialect* of Gaelic eludes me because Lusitanian in many aspects is closer to the Italic languages than to Gaelic. It's also doubtful that the language spoken in Gallaecia was "Gaelic" at all. I was Q-Celtic sure, but beyond that, we don't know much about it. Furthermore, we only have onomastic evidence of the Gallaecian language, and it clearly shows that the region had a mixed Celtic/Lusitanian makeup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    The 2009 paper has been refuted and can be easily refuted on a number of reasons.

    - We cannot read the Tartessian script fully/reliably (you might want to check out Rodriguez's works on the script), and even with the parts we can read, Koch's paper is full of mistakes.
    - From what we know, the phonemic inventory of the Tartessian is utterly non-consistent with that of a Celtic language, and coming from the Phoenician script, the modifications made in the Tartessian language make no sense if we are talking about a Celtic language: Tartessian doesn't distinguish between voiced and unvoiced stop consonants, whereas the Celtic languages universally do (so does Phoenician, by the way, meaning these modification would have been totally senseless if Tartessian had been a Celtic language). Tartessian also distinguishes between two different types of rhotics whereas the Celtic languages have only one rhotic letter. This gets very clear if you compare the Tartessian writing system with the Celtiberian writing system.
    - Koch blatantly ignores mainstream linguist methodology (most notably, he utterly fails to make sound correspondences), and some of his purported cognates with Celtic words are extremely spurious.
    - There is some evidence of Tartessian typonomy, which is also inconsistent with a Celtic origin.

    - How one could come up with the that Lusitanian was a *dialect* of Gaelic eludes me because Lusitanian in many aspects is closer to the Italic languages than to Gaelic. It's also doubtful that the language spoken in Gallaecia was "Gaelic" at all. I was Q-Celtic sure, but beyond that, we don't know much about it. Furthermore, we only have onomastic evidence of the Gallaecian language, and it clearly shows that the region had a mixed Celtic/Lusitanian makeup.
    Can you provide me with the Rodriguez source material?

    The Gallaecian language was GALLAIC (Q-Celtic), not Gaelic. I spelled it incorrectly as "Galeic". I understand it is currently being resurrected by Vincent Pintado. Wodtko is one of the world's foremost experts on Lusitanian and he has concluded that Lusitanian is a dialect of Gallaic.

    BTW, do you still claim to have no formal background in historical linguistics?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    The 2009 paper has been refuted and can be easily refuted on a number of reasons.

    - We cannot read the Tartessian script fully/reliably (you might want to check out Rodriguez's works on the script), and even with the parts we can read, Koch's paper is full of mistakes.
    - From what we know, the phonemic inventory of the Tartessian is utterly non-consistent with that of a Celtic language, and coming from the Phoenician script, the modifications made in the Tartessian language make no sense if we are talking about a Celtic language: Tartessian doesn't distinguish between voiced and unvoiced stop consonants, whereas the Celtic languages universally do (so does Phoenician, by the way, meaning these modification would have been totally senseless if Tartessian had been a Celtic language). Tartessian also distinguishes between two different types of rhotics whereas the Celtic languages have only one rhotic letter. This gets very clear if you compare the Tartessian writing system with the Celtiberian writing system.
    - Koch blatantly ignores mainstream linguist methodology (most notably, he utterly fails to make sound correspondences), and some of his purported cognates with Celtic words are extremely spurious.
    - There is some evidence of Tartessian typonomy, which is also inconsistent with a Celtic origin.

    - How one could come up with the that Lusitanian was a *dialect* of Gaelic eludes me because Lusitanian in many aspects is closer to the Italic languages than to Gaelic. It's also doubtful that the language spoken in Gallaecia was "Gaelic" at all. I was Q-Celtic sure, but beyond that, we don't know much about it. Furthermore, we only have onomastic evidence of the Gallaecian language, and it clearly shows that the region had a mixed Celtic/Lusitanian makeup.
    Are you referring to Rodriguez (2002) or sometime much more recent?

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    First off, you might take a look at Rodriguez's website, since he has an entry on the Tartessian script.

    Secondly, you might want to check out this paper: "Origin and development of the Paleohispanic scripts: the orthography and phonology of the Southwestern alphabet" by Miguel Valerio, Revista de Portuguesa Arqueologia. volume 11. (from 2008)

    As you can see, Rodriguez and Valerio have rather conflicting interpretations of the Tartessian script, but I am in favour of Valerio's interpretation since it is conformous with what little we know of Tartessian typonomy. Furthermore, it should be noted that although Koch's interpretation of Tartessian is similar to that of Rodriguez (Koch actually cites' Rodriguez's 2002 work on the issue), he does make a few blunt mistakes which cannot be readily explained unless you consider that it is make-belief and that Koch wants Tartessian to be a Celtic language.

    In any case, the condition that we can reliably read the Tartessian script is a sine-qua-non when it comes to deciphering the Tartessian language, and this clearly isn't the case. Also, in any case Tartessian clearly wasn't a Celtic language, since it doesn't distinguish between voiced and unvoiced stop consonants (this is something that everybody agrees on). Finally, there's also the (unusually long) stelae from Mesas do Castelinho (the paper on which was actually published in the same issue of Acta Paleohispanica), and the content of said stelae is much more consistent with Valerio's interpretation of the Tartessian script than it is with Rodriguez's or Koch's.

    In particular, Valerio reads the well-attested Tartessian word which Rodriguez and Koch transliterate as "BARE" or "BaARE" (which could indeed be seen as a cognate of Indo-European *bher = carry) as "MARE", by which any possibility of a cognate with *bher goes out of the window. Regardless of the question about this particular letter, there's the question of wether the plosive stop consonants in Tartessian were voiced ("B") or voiceless ("P"), ergo in accordance with Rodriguez/Koch's interpretations this would be "PARE"/"PaARE". So, as evidently proven, we by no means can read the Tartessian language reliably, and depending on what model you prefer, you get utterly different implications for the Tartessian language.

    Regarding Lusitanian and Gallaecian, you might want to check out The Language(s) of the Callaeci, which readily shows how Gallaecia has a mixed Celtic/Lusitanian (and possibly additional non-Celtic) linguistic elements.

    Also, Lusitanian clearly wasn't a Celtic language because it retains the initial P, and the loss of P (possibly via the intermediate stage of P -> H, as possibly attested by the word "Hercynia") is one of the key features of the Celtic language family. For instance, the Lusitanian word for "pig" was "Porcom". If you compare this to Gaulish "Orcos" and Latin "Porcus". Also, the attested form "Porcom" (Nominative singular) is non-consistent with Proto-Celtic declension systems (which is well attested in Gaulish and somewhat attested in Primitive Irish), which would suggest that declension in Lusitanian was decisively dissimilar from the Celtic languages. Of course, without a question Lusitanian was similar and related to both the Celtic and Italic language families, but it was technically speaking part of neither.
    Last edited by Taranis; 19-02-11 at 16:19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    The second map showing a homogenous Celtic area in Iberia is clearly wrong and not academic (your link looks to a blog). And for the link between Celts and Ligurians, it remains an original point of view.

    It is inconsistent according to the most of the sources. Celtic culture has spread from Central Europe. The Renfrew's theory has very few historical or linguistical basis.

    Yes,a cultural and linguistic one. Archaeology proves some things, but not the language.

    Why connecting necessarily the Beaker archaeologic culture with the indo-europeans ? It could be one of the neolithic waves in the same way as the Megaliths culture formely. And this could explain the flow from Southern Europe to Northern Europe that you are talking about. In another logic, those cultures could be simply indigenous (suggested by these maps), we will never know :


    I won't never understand why some searchers have so much difficulties to admit that Indo-european peoples might have brought their language from the Eastern plains. We have so much later examples.
    I may not have stressed my personal position much as my intent had been to bring the Beaker Folk into a specific discussion. I hope that we are not done with this topic.

    I hold strongly that the IE languages came from the East with those who brought it with them. I am inclined to specifically go with the position that there was B1b1b2 and R1a interaction north of the black sea prior to the East to west movement.

    I think that it would be a good idea to look afresh at the possibility that the Bell Beakers mark may indeed be the first of those who began this IE movement. It had been the norm until 20 or maybe 30 years ago to take this position.

    Please, keep the input coming- it is easier for me to add some input right now and get more from members than it is to research the entire subject exhaustively at this time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    I may not have stressed my personal position much as my intent had been to bring the Beaker Folk into a specific discussion. I hope that we are not done with this topic.

    I hold strongly that the IE languages came from the East with those who brought it with them. I am inclined to specifically go with the position that there was B1b1b2 and R1a interaction north of the black sea prior to the East to west movement.

    I think that it would be a good idea to look afresh at the possibility that the Bell Beakers mark may indeed be the first of those who began this IE movement. It had been the norm until 20 or maybe 30 years ago to take this position.

    Please, keep the input coming- it is easier for me to add some input right now and get more from members than it is to research the entire subject exhaustively at this time.
    I must say that I find the idea that the Beaker-Bell Culture correlates with the introduction of R1b-M269 reasonably plausible, but I'm personally torn in regard for the question wether the Beaker-Bell Culture was responsible for the spread of the Italo-Celtic languages. What certainly speaks in favour of the languages hypothesis is the apparently most archaic languages (Ligurian and Lusitanian) are found in areas that seem to coincide with the oldest Beaker-Bell sites. On the other hand - and therein lies the problem with this - we also have a presence of non-IE languages (Basque/Aquitanian, Iberian) in the area, and R1b has one of the highest concentrations amongst the Basque people. It's tempting to ask if the Beaker-Bell people could have spoken a language related with Basque?

    What speaks against the hypothesis that the Beaker people spoke a language related with Basque or Iberian is that Basque typonomy can roughly found in the area where Basuqe is spoken today, as well as in adjacent areas (extending towards the north and east approximately as far as the Garonne). Likewise, Iberian typonomy in Antiquity only extends in the north to the Rouissillion and the central Pyrenees, and in the south to eastern Andalusia.

    Another interesting aspect is that Beaker-Bell extends into Scandinavia, and this obviously raises the question of how the Germanic languages (in addition to Italo-Celtic) are exactly affiliated with this. In any case, I agree that they must have somehow arrived from the east. As I mentioned before in other threads, the southwestern branches of Indo-European languages (Anatolian, Greek, Italo-Celtic) seem to have been carried by predominantly R1b-carrying peoples.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I must say that I find the idea that the Beaker-Bell Culture correlates with the introduction of R1b-M269 reasonably plausible, but I'm personally torn in regard for the question wether the Beaker-Bell Culture was responsible for the spread of the Italo-Celtic languages. What certainly speaks in favour of the languages hypothesis is the apparently most archaic languages (Ligurian and Lusitanian) are found in areas that seem to coincide with the oldest Beaker-Bell sites. On the other hand - and therein lies the problem with this - we also have a presence of non-IE languages (Basque/Aquitanian, Iberian) in the area, and R1b has one of the highest concentrations amongst the Basque people. It's tempting to ask if the Beaker-Bell people could have spoken a language related with Basque?
    peoples.
    There are a couple of interesting articles on this forum that offer possible explanations for the existence of B1b1b2 among the Basques in such high numbers.
    I can't recall the names of the articles, but I am fairly sure that they were written by Maciamo. To sum it up as shortly as possible, the articles take the position that the male line was largely replaced by the newcomers but that the language of the new people did not take hold there as it did in most places.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    There are a couple of interesting articles on this forum that offer possible explanations for the existence of B1b1b2 among the Basques in such high numbers.
    I can't recall the names of the articles, but I am fairly sure that they were written by Maciamo. To sum it up as shortly as possible, the articles take the position that the male line was largely replaced by the newcomers but that the language of the new people did not take hold there as it did in most places.
    Yeah, I read about this, and I agree this is certainly a viable explanation.

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    One interesting aspect that I noticed is the correlations that exist in terms of what happened after the :

    - It would seem plausible that the split between the Celtic/Para-Celtic* and Italic languages seems to coincide perfectly by the position of the Etruscan language. Although we do not know how the Etruscan language is related, it seems that the arrival of the Etruscans in Italy seems to coincide with the Bronze Age collapse**, and that this arrival produced the split between Celtic/Para-Celtic and Italic languages.

    - Furthermore, the spread of linguistic innovations seems to coincide with the spread of archaeological cultures. It should be noted that the oldest attested undoubtably Celtic language, Lepontic (6th century BC), is already a P-Celtic language. Archaeologically, the Lepontii have been associated with the Golasecca Culture, which evolves from the 9th century onward out of the southern periphery of the Urnfield Culture. If we consider this, it follows that the Q/P-split of the Celtic languages already occured with the emergence of Urnfield. What is interesting to be noted here is that Urnfield influence enters the Iberian penninsula via Catalonia, and area which is later known to be to Iberian-speaking. The Iberians are later also known to have practiced the urn-making tradition. This begs the question about the ethnolinguistic affiliation of the region in Urnfield times, but it is clear that Celtiberian was a Q-Celtic language, and hence left out of the linguistic innovation.

    - From this interpretation it follows that Hallstatt/La-Tene cultures were associated with the spread of the Gauls (or more broadly "Gallic", that is, I'm including the poorly attested languages from the east like Noric and Galatian here, which were very similar to Gaulish from what little is known).

    - Britain receives influnce from Hallstatt and La-Tene (which is very well-documented later on by presence of Belgic tribes in what today is England), which also corresponds with the fact that the Brythonic languages are P-Celtic, akin to Gaulish.

    - What's also not surprising if this scenario is correct is that the most archaic languages (in particular Para-Celtic, ie Lusitanian and Ligurian, but also the relatively archaic Celtic languages like Celtiberian and Goidelic) are all found at the peripheries, since they were left out from these innovations.

    I know that this is just a hypothesis, and there is relatively little to back this up, but I think that this scenario describes reasonably well what may have actually happened. I also like this idea because it makes away with the necessity of an original Celtic "homeland".

    *By "Para-Celtic", I mean Ligurian and Lusitanian.

    **I recently read a paper about the Anatolian origin of Tuscan cattle, which coincides roughly with the 12th/13th century BC, and I'll add a link to that once I find it again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    One interesting aspect that I noticed is the correlations that exist in terms of what happened after the :

    - It would seem plausible that the split between the Celtic/Para-Celtic* and Italic languages seems to coincide perfectly by the position of the Etruscan language. Although we do not know how the Etruscan language is related, it seems that the arrival of the Etruscans in Italy seems to coincide with the Bronze Age collapse**, and that this arrival produced the split between Celtic/Para-Celtic and Italic languages.

    - Furthermore, the spread of linguistic innovations seems to coincide with the spread of archaeological cultures. It should be noted that the oldest attested undoubtably Celtic language, Lepontic (6th century BC), is already a P-Celtic language. Archaeologically, the Lepontii have been associated with the Golasecca Culture, which evolves from the 9th century onward out of the southern periphery of the Urnfield Culture. If we consider this, it follows that the Q/P-split of the Celtic languages already occured with the emergence of Urnfield. What is interesting to be noted here is that Urnfield influence enters the Iberian penninsula via Catalonia, and area which is later known to be to Iberian-speaking. The Iberians are later also known to have practiced the urn-making tradition. This begs the question about the ethnolinguistic affiliation of the region in Urnfield times, but it is clear that Celtiberian was a Q-Celtic language, and hence left out of the linguistic innovation.

    - From this interpretation it follows that Hallstatt/La-Tene cultures were associated with the spread of the Gauls (or more broadly "Gallic", that is, I'm including the poorly attested languages from the east like Noric and Galatian here, which were very similar to Gaulish from what little is known).

    - Britain receives influnce from Hallstatt and La-Tene (which is very well-documented later on by presence of Belgic tribes in what today is England), which also corresponds with the fact that the Brythonic languages are P-Celtic, akin to Gaulish.

    - What's also not surprising if this scenario is correct is that the most archaic languages (in particular Para-Celtic, ie Lusitanian and Ligurian, but also the relatively archaic Celtic languages like Celtiberian and Goidelic) are all found at the peripheries, since they were left out from these innovations.

    I know that this is just a hypothesis, and there is relatively little to back this up, but I think that this scenario describes reasonably well what may have actually happened. I also like this idea because it makes away with the necessity of an original Celtic "homeland".

    *By "Para-Celtic", I mean Ligurian and Lusitanian.

    **I recently read a paper about the Anatolian origin of Tuscan cattle, which coincides roughly with the 12th/13th century BC, and I'll add a link to that once I find it again.


    That was very well said and makes quite a bit of sense. When you have a few minutes, could you expound upon the paragraph that mentions the arrival of the Etruscans and the 'bronze age collapse'?

    Again we see an example of a trend towards conservatism manifested in a lack of change in the edges or perimeters of a linguistic group.

    Many hold that the Centum/Satem difference was the result of the same general rule.

    I have heard both Goidelic and Brythonic spoken in recitations of essays.
    Goidelic seems to have more of a flow that reminds me of a Romance language. I would allow that the reason for this is that the style may be closer to that which existed before the Celtic-Italic split. I personally like the sound of spoken Brythonic more. The words seem to have more of a "beat" or a rhythm to them.




    Last edited by Maciamo; 02-03-11 at 08:47. Reason: missing quotation tag

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    That was very well said and makes quite a bit of sense. When you have a few minutes, could you expound upon the paragraph that mentions the arrival of the Etruscans and the 'bronze age collapse'?
    Etruscan is a non-Indo-European language (and the only other language thought by most people to be related is the Raetic language), and the general question is wether it is native (pre-Indo-European) or introduced. While it should be taken with a grain of salt, the Romans believed the Etruscans to have originated in Anatolia, and attempted to link them with the Trojans. Regardless of that, it should be noted, interestingly, that the Etruscan alphabet shows a number of similarities with the Anatolian alphabets, in particular the existence of an 8-shaped letter. While the development of the Etruscan and Anatolian alphabets obviously postdates the arrival of the Etruscans in Italy, it clearly shows how the Etruscans had links to Anatolia. Otherwise, I found the paper I was refering to in the previous post, which links the Tuscan cattle to Anatolia.

    Regarding the Bronze Age collapse, near the end of the Bronze Age, there was a massive disruption in the eastern Mediterranean, which led to the collapse of the civilizations in said region (Hittites, Myceneans, Ugarit, etc.). By extrapolation, we can interfer that these may have been disruptions on a much wider scale, so it's perfectly plausible that the Etruscan civilization began in the wake of the Bronze Age collapse.

    Again we see an example of a trend towards conservatism manifested in a lack of change in the edges or perimeters of a linguistic group.

    Many hold that the Centum/Satem difference was the result of the same general rule.
    Well, don't hold me to that, because I haven't dealt with the issue yet in detail, but generally, yeah. It's interesting in this aspect that Tocharian, located at the opposite end of the Indo-European expansion.

    I have heard both Goidelic and Brythonic spoken in recitations of essays.
    Goidelic seems to have more of a flow that reminds me of a Romance language. I would allow that the reason for this is that the style may be closer to that which existed before the Celtic-Italic split. I personally like the sound of spoken Brythonic more. The words seem to have more of a "beat" or a rhythm to them.
    One thing you have to consider with any of the modern Celtic languages is that all of them had an additional 2000 years of development with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Another interesting aspect is that Beaker-Bell extends into Scandinavia, and this obviously raises the question of how the Germanic languages (in addition to Italo-Celtic) are exactly affiliated with this.
    This point summarizes a lot of things. I am not aware about archaeological details about Bell Beaker culture, and I have not definitive opinion about it. I just know that there would be an incredible inconstitency to put the original place of indo-european languages in SW Europe or in the Atlantic regions, while in Antic times, the more you go to the north and the east in Europe, the more you found IE languages without any controversy. Inversely, almost all the unknown languages which are non-connected with IE ones are in Southern Europe, and their area is particullary large in SW Europe (see Aquitanians-Iberians, Etruscans, antic Heneti, Ligurians...). So, the only conclusion should be that the wave has followed a East-West direction.
    For the "atlanticist school" it could eventually be a challenger theory for the Celtic expansion, but not at all for the IE one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    What speaks against the hypothesis that the Beaker people spoke a language related with Basque or Iberian is that Basque typonomy can roughly found in the area where Basuqe is spoken today
    In fact, you can find a dense basque toponymy or related in Northern Portugal, Galicia or Asturias. And don't forget the time scale : when we talk about Neolithic times, it is about several thousands of years. In such a period, languages can shift strongly (just compare actual Hindi and Dutch, same group, divergence on maximum 2500 years), above all with the few communications which existed. So, if this culture should be related with neolithic waves, the links will be difficult to prove. Pre-indo-european languages are not limited to the Basque concept.

    The involvement of Etruscans in the "Italo-celtic" split is interesting. Maybe a substructural influence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    This point summarizes a lot of things. I am not aware about archaeological details about Bell Beaker culture, and I have not definitive opinion about it. I just know that there would be an incredible inconstitency to put the original place of indo-european languages in SW Europe or in the Atlantic regions, while in Antic times, the more you go to the north and the east in Europe, the more you found IE languages without any controversy. Inversely, almost all the unknown languages which are non-connected with IE ones are in Southern Europe, and their area is particullary large in SW Europe (see Aquitanians-Iberians, Etruscans, antic Heneti, Ligurians...). So, the only conclusion should be that the wave has followed a East-West direction.
    For the "atlanticist school" it could eventually be a challenger theory for the Celtic expansion, but not at all for the IE one.
    Well, I'm personally not entirely convinced that Beaker-Bell was indeed responsible for the spread of the westernmost branches of Indo-European, but I find that the idea has some merits to it. In particular to the question where we find non-IE languages, and where not.

    Concerning the Germanic languages, what should be noted, interestingly, is the "hybrid" nature of this language family: on the one hand, Germanic has a number of commonalities with the Baltic and Slavic languages, on the other hand, Germanic has a number of commonalties with Celtic and Italic, and lastly, there's apparently a vocabulary of non-IE derived words which are not found anywhere else. What is interesting to note is that if you take a look at the Y-DNA, in the heavily Germanic areas you have an approximately 1/3 1/3 1/3 ratio of R1a, R1b and I1, and I don't think that this is really a coincidence.

    Regarding the Atlanticist school, the main problems that I have is that it makes absolutely no sense from the perspective of how the Celtic languages are related with other IE languages (in particular the Italic and Germanic languages), and in addition there is absolutely no archaeological evidence for any west-to-east movements out of the Atlantic Façade. Conversely, archaeological movements apparently virtually always go in the opposite direction (ie, east to west).

    Another aspect is, the Atlantic School asserts that the origins of the Gauls lay adjacent to the Pyrenees, rather than in the source area of the Danube. However, in the Pyrenees region, we find exclusively Aquitanian and Iberian typonomy. Even areas that were clearly inhabited by Gauls in Antiquity show residue of Aquitanian. In contrast to that, there's plenty of Celtic name evidence in the Danube area. In so far, I find the case that the origins of the Gauls lay in Hallstatt/La-Tene pretty convincing.

    In fact, you can find a dense basque toponymy or related in Northern Portugal, Galicia or Asturias. And don't forget the time scale : when we talk about Neolithic times, it is about several thousands of years. In such a period, languages can shift strongly (just compare actual Hindi and Dutch, same group, divergence on maximum 2500 years), above all with the few communications which existed. So, if this culture should be related with neolithic waves, the links will be difficult to prove. Pre-indo-european languages are not limited to the Basque concept.
    I'd love to see your sources on Basque typonomy in Portugal, Galicia and the Asturias! Otherwise, I definitely agree there.

    The involvement of Etruscans in the "Italo-celtic" split is interesting. Maybe a substructural influence.
    One peculiar aspect is that the eponymous shift from Q -> P that occured in the P-Celtic languages also occured in an Italic language, namely Umbrian. The Etruscan language included the phoneme "P", so this raises the question if Etruscan linguistic influence triggered this Q -> P shift. On the balance, this may be a pure coincidence: the Umbrians were not actually adjacent to the Etruscans. Furthermore, a similar shift also occured in the Greek language (the Greek word for horse is "Hippos", compare with Latin "Equus", Gaulish "Epos", Welsh "Ebol", Irish "Each" and Celtiberian "Ekuos"). However, this is certainly something worth contemplating nonetheless.

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    I dediced to make a map here to visualize something, namely an anachronistic map (glossing several centuries, actually, but generally showing the pre-Roman situation) of the occurences of languages. Note that in most areas, this is primarily onomastic evidence.

    - Note that light green represents Q-Celtic languages, whereas blue represents P-Celtic languages.

    - With Venetic, Liburnian and Illyrian, I was admittedly a tad lazy. Some people say that these languages were related, other say that they weren't.

    - What is interesting here, which is very interesting indeed, is that with exception of Basque/Aquitanian, Iberian, Etruscan, Raetic (and possibly Tartessian which I'll treat as an unclassified language for the sake of an argument), virtually all languages on this map are Centum Indo-European languages.

    - One peculiar aspect that came into my mind when working out this map is: what about Corsica and Sardinia? What languages was spoken in these areas before they were annexed by the Roman Empire?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Concerning the Germanic languages, what should be noted, interestingly, is the "hybrid" nature of this language family: on the one hand, Germanic has a number of commonalities with the Baltic and Slavic languages, on the other hand, Germanic has a number of commonalties with Celtic and Italic, and lastly, there's apparently a vocabulary of non-IE derived words which are not found anywhere else. What is interesting to note is that if you take a look at the Y-DNA, in the heavily Germanic areas you have an approximately 1/3 1/3 1/3 ratio of R1a, R1b and I1, and I don't think that this is really a coincidence.

    Another aspect is, the Atlantic School asserts that the origins of the Gauls lay adjacent to the Pyrenees, rather than in the source area of the Danube. However, in the Pyrenees region, we find exclusively Aquitanian and Iberian typonomy. Even areas that were clearly inhabited by Gauls in Antiquity show residue of Aquitanian. In contrast to that, there's plenty of Celtic name evidence in the Danube area. In so far, I find the case that the origins of the Gauls lay in Hallstatt/La-Tene pretty convincing.


    One peculiar aspect is that the eponymous shift from Q -> P that occured in the P-Celtic languages also occured in an Italic language, namely Umbrian. The Etruscan language included the phoneme "P", so this raises the question if Etruscan linguistic influence triggered this Q -> P shift. On the balance, this may be a pure coincidence: the Umbrians were not actually adjacent to the Etruscans. Furthermore, a similar shift also occured in the Greek language (the Greek word for horse is "Hippos", compare with Latin "Equus", Gaulish "Epos", Welsh "Ebol", Irish "Each" and Celtiberian "Ekuos"). However, this is certainly something worth contemplating nonetheless.
    Wow, now I am intrigued by the Umbrian similarity (All of Osco-Umbrian or just Umbrian?)

    Now I am wondering if this shift/change began early on but only in certain subgroups. In other words, did some settlers wind up adapting to the sounds common to those among whom they settled. (Possibly a widespread and related but pre-IE tongue) There is decent evidence pointing to that happening with the Goidelic branch.

    The German DNA mix also seems to be too clear to be coincidence.

    I am strongly inclined to associate the Gauls with Halstatt and La Tene.
    That is when the Gauls really seem to burst upon the scene with a fury and enter on a wide expansionist phase. My question here is if anything specific could have been a catalyst for this (besides the arrival of the Iron Age).
    It seems that the coming of the Iron Age in that portion of Europe coincided with the destruction of much of the Cimmerians by the Scyths. We know that many of the refugees went south into Anatolia. Could some have simply gone west and merged with Urnfielders? I would not be surprised at all if many of them found a home along that part of the Danube, even adding to the aristocracy.
    Last edited by Regulus; 02-03-11 at 04:26.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
    Wow, now I am intrigued by the Umbrian similarity (All of Osco-Umbrian or just Umbrian?)
    I just checked and re-checked, actually, it's both in Oscan and Umbrian. One major difference with the Celtic languages is that as Italic languages, Oscan and Umbrian do not lose the initial "P". Oscan ("Patir" means Father, just like Latin "Pater", but dissimilar from Irish "Athair").

    Now I am wondering if this shift/change began early on but only in certain subgroups. In other words, did some settlers wind up adapting to the sounds common to those among whom they settled. (Possibly a widespread and related but pre-IE tongue) There is decent evidence pointing to that happening with the Goidelic branch.
    Hard to say, I really don't know. It's clear that this shift apparently happened in Brythonic, Gaulish and Osco-Umbrian, but not in Goidelic, Celtiberian or Latin. Clearly, the Italic and Celtic languages must have been separated at that point already. I think, the reason why Goidelic is Q-Celtic rather than P-Celtic is really because it lay at the periphery. Iron-working arrived in Ireland from Hallstatt/La-Tene, but unlike Britain, it never saw large-scale* settlement from the continent (*if Ptolemy is to be trusted, there actually were Belgic tribes which settled at the southeast coast of Ireland, but it's clear that Ireland never received large-scale settlement there).

    The German DNA mix also seems to be too clear to be coincidence.
    Archaeologically, the Germanic people seem to have their origin in the Nordic Bronze Age, and they adopted Iron-working from the Hallstatt culture. Now, the Germanic word "Iron" (compare Dutch "Ijzer", German "Eisen", Danish "Jern") is a cognate with the Celtic word for "Iron" (Gaulish "Isarnos", Irish "Iarann", Breton "Houarn"), and I do not think that this is a coincidence either, because the Germanic people adopted iron-working from the Celts (around the late 6th century BC).

    What's also interesting is that most cognates of Germanic with Celtic are typically apparently rather old, specifically, they must have been adopted to Common Germanic before major sound shifts occured. Notably, the Germanic languages have a shift from K->H:

    "Marcos" = mare (German "Mähre", Swedish "Märr")
    "Volcae" = "Walha-" (foreigner, as in "Wallonia" and "Wales", although the Celtic tribal name is actually derived from the word "falcon").

    I am strongly inclined to associate the Gauls with Halstatt and La Tene.
    That is when the Gauls really seem to burst upon the scene with a fury and enter on a wide expansionist phase. My question here is if anything specific could have been a catalyst for this (besides the arrival of the Iron Age).
    It seems that the coming of the Iron Age in that portion of Europe coincided with the destruction of much of the Cimmerians by the Scyths. We know that many of the refugees went south into Anatolia. Could some have simply gone west and merged with Urnfielders? I would not be surprised at all if many of them found a home along that part of the Danube, even adding to the aristocracy.
    Eh, consider that Hallstatt is an outgrowth/continuation of the Urnfield culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post

    Eh, consider that Hallstatt is an outgrowth/continuation of the Urnfield culture.
    Yes that is correct also. The Halstatt culture itself does start within and as a part of Urnfield culture. I am looking for a possible catalyst for this event.

    Stuff we know:

    The arrival of Iron technology, in the span of time, reaches the Urnfield culture at a point which coincides with a maelstrom of events, probably all related to the use of that metal. The destruction of Cimmerian power by the Scyths appears to have been directly related to the use of iron and of fighting on horseback. The technology moved towards the epicenter of what would be the Halstatt culture at almost the same time.

    The Cimmerian are known to have moved south and west in droves into Anatolia as a result of their losses. The non-IE kingdom of Van and the Phrygian kingdoms were overrun, the latter permanently so.

    OK, now for the point that I was proposing:

    The Cimmerian range had extended far to the west and bordered the eastern side of the Urnfielders. It is very unlikely that all Cimmerians would have been able to run the gauntlet of invasive Scyths to go with the bulk of their brethren into Anatolia. Some of course would have remained under Scythian rule. Others presumably flee westward.

    The possible refugee Cimmerians, already being in possession if Iron technology, would have been arriving at the same time that this technology was coming into the hands of the Urnfielders from their south and east.

    Very shortly after this time, Halstatt culture develops. The Gauls as we and classical writers would recognize (as opposed to other who speak and have Celtic culture) appear on scene.

    An interesting note: Archaeologists speak of what they refer to as a "royal" or aristocratic group moving westward and into the heart of the Halstatt zone towards the beginning of the Halstatt culture.

    Also for us to take into account are the legends some Celts had of their Cimmerian origins. Until recently I had failed to even consider this one.

    My proposal is this:

    That it would be of benefit to us if we consider the possibility that the westward recoil of beaten Cimmerians may have had an effect that contributed to the explosion of Halstatt culture among the Urnfield Celts.


    The arrival of the use of iron, the massive defeat of the Cimmerians who bordered Urnfield Celts, and the archaeological evidence of the arrival among the Celts of a group of aristocratic or "royal" chieftain-types from the east all fall into the same time period. Those Cimmerians with wealth and enough possessions to have a following would have been able to have had some influence with those among whom they settled.

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    To be honest, I cannot follow you there what you're trying to argue for. I don't see why there should be a connection between the Cimmerians and any Celtic-speaking peoples. I must also add that I don't see a need for arguing for some kind of event that calls for a break between Urnfield and Hallstatt. From the looks of it, Hallstatt is just an outgrowth/continuation of Urnfield that starts incorporating iron-working. Where there actually is a break of sorts is between Halstatt and La-Tene: the core areas of La-Tene lay at the western edge of the Hallstatt Culture. One possible explanation for this - in my opinion - is the shift of the key economic centers to the west, perhaps due to trade with the Greeks (via Massilia) starting off.

    What is to be considered though is the question of where Celtic iron-working arrived from: this is a really good one. If we take a look at the Common Celtic word for iron ("Isarnos", which was, as I mentioned earlier, borrowed into Common Germanic), we cannot (readily) find cognates for it in related languages: the Latin word is "Ferrum", the Greek word is "Sideros". If we find a possible cognate for "Isarnos", we may shed light at where it came from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I'd love to see your sources on Basque typonomy in Portugal, Galicia and the Asturias! Otherwise, I definitely agree there.
    (in French). I had posted it in another thread. I had another source in Spanish, but it is not longer online.

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs..._PORTUGAIS.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    (in French). I had posted it in another thread. I had another source in Spanish, but it is not longer online.

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs..._PORTUGAIS.pdf
    Many thanks. And do not worry: I have rudimentary French skills.

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    By aliG in forum Chit-Chat
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 27-06-06, 23:08

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