Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas to describe what she perceived as a relatively homogeneous pre-Indo-European Neolithic culture in southeastern Europe located in the Danube River valley, also known as Danubian culture.
In a major work, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images (1974), she refers to these Neolithic cultures as Old Europe (Neolithic Europe and Pre-Indo-European are synonymous). Archaeologists and ethnographers working within her framework believe that the evidence points to later migrations and invasions of the peoples who spoke Indo-European languages at the beginning of the Bronze age (the Kurgan hypothesis).
|The Neolithic |
Old Europe, or Neolithic Europe, refers to the time between the Mesolithic and Bronze Age periods in Europe, roughly from 7000 BCE (the approximate time of the first farming societies in Greece) to ca. 1700 BCE (the beginning of the Bronze Age in Scandinavia). The duration of the Neolithic varies from place to place: in southeast Europe it is approximately 4000 years (i. e., 7000–3000 BCE); in parts of North-West Europe it is just under 3000 years (ca. 4500–1700 BCE).
Regardless of specific chronology, many European Neolithic groups share basic characteristics, such as living in small-scale communities, more egalitarian than the city-states and chiefdoms of the Bronze Age, subsisting on domestic plants and animals supplemented with the collection of wild plant foods and hunting, and producing hand-made pottery, without the aid of the potter's wheel. There are also many differences, with some Neolithic communities in southeastern Europe living in heavily fortified settlements of 3,000–4,000 people (e.g., Sesklo in Greece) whereas Neolithic groups in Britain were small (possibly 50–100 people) and highly mobile cattle-herders.
Marija Gimbutas investigated the Neolithic period in order to understand cultural developments in settled village culture in the southern Balkans, which she characterized as peaceful, matrilineal, and possessing a goddess-centered religion. In contrast, she characterizes the later Indo-European influences as warlike, nomadic, and patrilineal. Using evidence from pottery and sculpture, and combining the tools of archaeology, comparative mythology, linguistics, and, most controversially, folkloristics, Gimbutas invented a new interdisciplinary field, archaeomythology.
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, Nuragic people, Etruscans and Basques. Two of the three pre-Greek peoples of Sicily, the Sicans and the Elymians, may also have been pre-Indo-European. The term "Pre-Indo-European" is sometimes extended to refer to Asia Minor and Central Asia, in which case the Hurrians and Urartians are sometimes included.
How many Pre-Indo-European languages existed is not known. Nor is it known whether the ancient names of peoples descended from the pre-ancient population actually referred to speakers of distinct languages. Marija Gimbutas (1989), observing a unity of symbols marked especially on pots, but also on other objects, concluded that there may have been a single language spoken in Old Europe. She thought that decipherment would have to wait for the discovery of bilingual texts.
The idea of a Pre-Indo-European language in the region precedes Gimbutas. It went by other names, such as "Pelasgian", "Mediterranean", or "Aegean". Apart from marks on artifacts, the main evidence concerning Pre-Indo-European language is in names: toponyms, ethnonyms, etc., and in roots in other languages believed to be derived from one or more prior languages, possibly unrelated. Reconstruction from the evidence is an accepted, though somewhat speculative, field of study. Suggestions of possible Old European languages include Urbian by Sorin Paliga, the Vasconic substratum hypothesis of Theo Vennemann (also see Sigmund Feist's Germanic substrate hypothesis), and Tyrsenian languages of Helmut Rix.
According to Gimbutas' version of the Kurgan hypothesis, Old Europe was invaded and destroyed by horse-riding pastoral nomads from the Pontic-Caspian steppe (the "Kurgan culture") who brought with them violence, patriarchy, and Indo-European languages. More recent proponents of the Kurgan hypothesis agree that the cultures of Old Europe spoke pre-Indo-European languages but include a less dramatic transition, with a prolonged migration of Proto-Indo-European speakers after Old Europe's collapse because of other factors.
Colin Renfrew's competing Anatolian hypothesis suggests that the Indo-European languages were spread across Europe by the first farmers from Anatolia. In the hypothesis' original formulation, the languages of Old Europe belonged to the Indo-European family but played no special role in its transmission. According to Renfrew's most recent revision of the theory, however, Old Europe was a "secondary urheimat" where the Greek, Armenian, and Balto-Slavic language families diverged around 5000 BCE.
Recent genetic evidence from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona favors Gimbutas’ Kurgan hypothesis over Renfrew’s Anatolian hypothesis.
The Ertebølle culture (ca 5300 BC – 3950 BC) (Danish pronunciation: [ˈæɐ̯təˌpølə]) is the name of a hunter-gatherer and fisher, pottery-making culture dating to the end of the Mesolithic period. The culture was concentrated in Southern Scandinavia, but genetically linked to strongly related cultures in Northern Germany and the Northern Netherlands. It is named after the type site, a location in the small village of Ertebølle on Limfjorden in Danish Jutland. In the 1890s, the National Museum of Denmark excavated heaps of oyster shells there, mixed with mussels, snails, bones and bone, antler and flint artifacts, which were evaluated as kitchen middens (Danish køkkenmødding), or refuse dumps. Accordingly, the culture is less commonly named the Kitchen Midden. As it is approximately identical to the Ellerbek culture of Schleswig-Holstein, the combined name, Ertebølle-Ellerbek is often used. The Ellerbek culture (German Ellerbek Kultur) is named after a type site in Ellerbek, a community on the edge of Kiel, Germany.
In the 1960s and 1970s another closely related culture was found in the (now dry) Noordoostpolder in the Netherlands, near the village Swifterbant and the former island of Urk. Named the Swifterbant culture (5300 – 3400 BC) they show a transition from hunter-gatherer to both animal husbandry, primarily cows and pigs, and cultivation of barley and emmer wheat. During the formative stages contact with nearby Linear Pottery culture settlements in Limburg has been detected. Like the Ertebølle culture, they lived near open water, in this case creeks, riverdunes and bogs along post-glacial banks of the Overijsselse Vecht. Recent excavations show a local continuity going back to (at least) 5600 BC, when burial practices resembled the contemporary gravefields in Denmark and South Sweden "in all details", suggesting only part of a diverse ancestral "Ertebølle"-like heritage was locally continued into the later (Middle Neolithic) Swifterbant tradition (4200 – 3400 BC).
The Ertebølle culture was roughly contemporaneous with the Linear Pottery culture, food-producers whose northernmost border was located just to the south. The Ertebølle did not practice agriculture but it did utilize domestic grain in some capacity, which it must have obtained from the south.
The Ertebølle culture replaced the earlier Kongemose culture of Denmark. It was limited to the north by the Scandinavian Nøstvet and Lihult cultures. It is divided into an early phase ca 5300 BC-ca 4500 BC, and a later phase ca 4500 BC-3950 BC. Shortly after 4100 BC the Ertebølle began to expand along the Baltic coast at least as far as Rügen. Shortly thereafter it was replaced by the Funnelbeaker culture.
In recent years archaeologists have found the acronym EBK most convenient, parallel to LBK for German Linearbandkeramik (Linear Pottery culture) and TRB for German Trichterbecher, Danish Tragtbæger (Funnelbeaker culture) and Dutch trechterbekercultuur. Ostensibly for Ertebølle Kultur, EBK could be either German or Danish and has the added advantage that Ellerbek also begins with E.Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas (Lithuanian: Marija Gimbutienė; January 23, 1921 – February 2, 1994) was a Lithuanian-American archaeologist and anthropologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe" and for her Kurgan hypothesis, which located the Proto-Indo-European homeland in the Pontic Steppe.Nordwestblock
The Nordwestblock ("Northwest Block") is a hypothetical Northwestern European cultural region that several scholars propose as a prehistoric culture in the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, northern France, and northwestern Germany, in an area approximately bounded by the Somme, Oise, Meuse and Elbe Rivers, possibly extending to the eastern part of what is now England, during the Bronze and Iron Ages from the 3rd to the 1st millennia BCE, up to the onset of historical sources, in the 1st century BCE.
The theory was first proposed by two authors working independently: Hans Kuhn and Maurits Gysseling, whose proposal included research indicating that another language may have existed somewhere in between Germanic and Celtic in the Belgian region.The term Nordwestblock itself was coined by Hans Kuhn, who considered the inhabitants of the area neither Germanic nor Celtic and so attributed it to the people a distinct ethnicity or culture up to the Iron Age.Old Europe
Old Europe may refer to:
Old Europe (archaeology) (6500-2800 BC), a culture of Neolithic Europe
"Old Europe" (politics), used by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Old European hydronymy (ca. 2500-1500 BC), in Central and Western Europe
Old European script, Vinča symbols
Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe, a book
Pre-Indo-European means "preceding Indo-European". It may refer to various languages or linguistic or archaeological hypotheses depending on the context:
Pre-Proto-Indo-European: for internal reconstruction aiming at the recovery of a stage earlier than the Proto-Indo-European language
Old Europe (archaeology): the meaning of "pre-Indo-European" as used by Marija Gimbutas
Pre-Indo-European languages: for several (not necessarily related) non-classified languages that existed in prehistoric Europe and South Asia before the arrival of bearers of Indo-European languagesÇatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük (Turkish pronunciation: [tʃaˈtaɫhœjyc]; also Çatal Höyük and Çatal Hüyük; from Turkish çatal "fork" + höyük "tumulus") was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC. In July 2012, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Çatalhöyük is located overlooking the Konya Plain, southeast of the present-day city of Konya (ancient Iconium) in Turkey, approximately 140 km (87 mi) from the twin-coned volcano of Mount Hasan. The eastern settlement forms a mound which would have risen about 20 m (66 ft) above the plain at the time of the latest Neolithic occupation. There is also a smaller settlement mound to the west and a Byzantine settlement a few hundred meters to the east. The prehistoric mound settlements were abandoned before the Bronze Age. A channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between the two mounds, and the settlement was built on alluvial clay which may have been favorable for early agriculture.