Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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The Sintashta Culture and Some Questions of Indo-Europeans Origins

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on June 11, 2018

The Sintashta Culture and Some Questions of Indo-Europeans Origins

S. A. Grigoryev

Institute of History and Archaeology

Ural brunch of Russian Academy of Sciences

Chelyabinsk – Russia

Origins of Indo-Europeans is one of the most significant problems of history, archaeology and linguistics. This problem has already been discussed for 200 years after the kinship of Indo-European languages was demonstrated.

Various scholars localised the Indo-European homeland in different places of Eurasian continent. J.P. Mallory has shown that the Indo-European homeland’s localisation in Northern or Central Europe is impossible because the cultures of these regions have successors neither in Steppe zone nor in Anatolia, Iran and India.

Any attempts to search for such successors there for Balkan cultures have no chance of success, except Anatolia. The most popular now is the theory placing Indo-European homeland in Steppe of Eastern Europe . J.P.Mallory called this theory the “conventional wisdom” of Indo-European studies.

This theory proposes a local development of East-European cultures from Enaeolithic to Pit-grave culture, Catacomb culture, Timber-grave (or Srubnaya) culture and Andronovo culture, which (? 1 vs. all) migrated south to India. It is the most convincing theory today, but it contains some important defects.

Catacomb and Pit-grave cultures have no genetic connection. Timber-grave and Andronovo cultures have no such connection with Catacomb culture too. Cultures of Scythian and Sarmatian world were not forming on the basis of the Late Bronze Age cultures placed from the Dnieper river to the Altai. And the so called “Andronovo culture” is an archaeological myth. There are no features of “Steppe cultures” in cultures of India and Iran. And there are no Finno-Ugric borrowings in languages of Avesta and Rig Veda.

Linguists T.V. Gamkrelidze and V.V.Ivanov basing on analyses of Indo-European languages have localised the Indo-European homeland in Near East and described migrations of separate groups . C.Renfrew is partly agree with them placing Proto-Indoeuropeans in Anatolia.

However, these hypotheses don’t conform to archaeological conceptions on cultural processes in Eurasia and most scholars don’t hold them. My study of Eurasian cultures allows me to say that Indo-European homeland was really in Near East.

I am beginning my survey from Indo-Iranians. Roman Ghirshman connected Mitannian Aryans with North-Eastern Iran. Vakhsh and Bishkent cultures, which are used usually as a bridge between so called “Steppe cultures” and Indostan, have their roots in this region too.

Early Swata culture in Pakistan has analogies in Hissar IIB, IIIB. The presence of Indo-Aryans in Northern Pontic area is marked by place-names. In this region we can connect Catacomb culture with Indo-Aryans, because catacomb burial ritual had roots in South-Western Turkmenistan from the early 4th millennium (Parkhai cemetery).

V.I. Sarianidi have demonstrated that the appearance of Iranians in Central Asia and Eastern Iran and forming of Bactria-Margiana archaeological complex had been caused by migration from Syro-Anatolian region . The next moving of Western Iranians from North-Eastern Iran has been shown by T.C.Young.

So, we have only one problem with our searching for Indo-Iranians. That is an origin of Iranians of the Steppe area. A key to a solution of this problem are sites of Sintashta culture, discovered recently in the Southern Urals. Features of the culture have prototypes neither in the Urals nor in Eastern Europe.

The Sintashta fortified settlements (Arkaim and Sintashta) have round walls and moats . The houses are blocked together. Direct analogies with them are known only in Anatolia (Demirchiuyuk, Pulur, Mercin), Syro-Palestine (Rogem Hiri) and the Transcaucasus (Uzerlic-Tepe). Sintashta burial traditions are identical to ones in this region too. Other artefacts (metal, ceramics etc.) have parallels there .

A technology of metal production is very specific. Metallurgists alloyed copper with arsenic on an ore-smelting stage. In Eastern Europe such way of bronze production was not known. However, it was known in the Transcaucasus and, perhaps, in Near East. A correlation of weapons, tools, ornaments and other artefacts is similar to those in the Transcaucasus and Asia Minor.

A weaving technology had been borrowed from any south centre.

Sintashta culture, of course, includes a number of local substratum’s, but in general, Sintashta people were strangers for Eastern Europe and the Urals. The homeland of these tribes was placed somewhere in Syro-Anatolian region, like as the homeland of Iranians of Margiana and Bactria.

The Sintashta culture appeared in the Urals in XVIII century (in non-calibrated system). As a result, Abashevo cultures, which were closely related to Sintashta culture were formed from the Don river up to the Urals.

Timber-grave, Petrovka and Alakul cultures, distributing in a huge area from the Dnieper river to CentralKazakhstan, were formed on the base of Sintashta and Abashevo cultures in the XVI century.

Some include Petrovka and Alakul cultures in Andronovo culture. The forming of these cultures reflected an Iranization of Steppe zone. Although the appearance of Scithian and Sarmatian tribes was not connected with these cultures.

Another important problem of Indo-European study is a migration of ancient Europeans. T.V.Gamkrelidze and V.V.Ivanov consider that their languages were differentiated already in Near East. These peoples (Celts,Germans, Slavs, Balts) moved to Europe through Iran and Central Asia around Caspian See.

As a result ofcombined migrations, an area of the second intimacy of these dialects formed somewhere to the North ofCaspian See. This linguistic reconstruction corresponded to archaeological evidence.

In the XVII century Seyma-Turbino tribes moved westwards from the Altai. The most significantcharacteristic of their culture are tools and weapons from tin-bronzes: daggers, celts, socketed spearheads,chisels and so on.

Prototypes of these bronzes (except prototypes of celts) are known in Near East. Contacts of these populations with local tribes caused a forming of many new cultures from Irtish up to Middle Volga: Elunino, Krotovo, Tashkovo, Chirkovo.

New cultural features appeared in Western Siberia: fortified settlements, settlements with round plan, ceramics with roller, bone plate armours, developed metallurgy and domestic animals.

During XVI-XV centuries artefacts closely related to Seyma tradition became typical for hoards inPannonia, France and England. Thus, these bronzes distribution marks the moving of Celts.

A new wave of newcomers left F’odorovo culture sites. Some include usually this culture, together withAlakul culture, in Andronovo culture. However, all attempts to find its local roots had no success.

But these roots are in North-Western Iran and South Azerbaijan: cremation in stone boxes and cysts under mounds, clayprops for hearth, oval dishes, polished ware. Complex of metal have analogies in Circumpontic area, but first ofall, in Sumbar culture in South-Western Turkmenistan. Potteries from Central Asia have been found in someF’odorovo sites.

Typical F’odorovo artefacts are known up to Dnieper river. However, a contact of F’odorovo tribes withfirst wave of newcomers is more important for us. As a result of this contact new cultures were formed, whichfix this contact and a gradual displacement of these populations to the West.

Chernoozerie in Irtish basin, Cherkaskul in the Urals, Suskan and Prikazanskaia in Volga-Kama region, Pozdniakovo in Oka basin. These cultures combine cremation and inhumation, mounds and flat burials, bronzes of Seyma and F’odorovo types.

Next moving of these tribes to the West leads to forming of Sosnitzkaia culture on the left-bank ofDnieper, Trzciniec-Komarov culture from Dnieper to Vistula and Tumulus culture in Central and NorthernEurope. These cultures reflect localisation of Balts, Slavs and Germans.

I don’t have possibility to touch upon the questions of an origin of Proto-Indoeuropeans and their moreearly migrations. I have done it in my book “Ancient Indo-Europeans. An attempt of historical reconstruction”.To my regret, I can do only a short survey of these problems in this article.

The Indo-European homeland was placed on the territory of Kurdistan. The most early complexes whichwe can connect with Proto-Indoeuropeans are such objects as Tel Magzalia, Tel Sotto, Hassuna, dating from theVIII to the early V millenniums.

The first Indo-Europeans migrated to the Balkan peninsula after and together with other anatolian peoples at about the end of the VI millennium. The Anatolian tribes were formed here on this base. But most part of Indo-European migrations began later – at about the early IV millennium.

Thracians (Novo-Danilovo, Lower Mikhailovka and, perhaps, Sredniy Stog) through the Caucasus and Steppe came to Balkan and forced out Anatolians to Asia Minor, where features of more early european cultures appeared at thelatter half of the IV millennium.

The Indo Europeanization of the Caucasus and Eastern Europe lasted for a longtime – from the Neolithic to the beginning of the Iron Age. In the Middle Bronze Age Indo-Aryans (Catacombculture) and, perhaps, Greeks (Multiroller Ware Culture) came to the South of Eastern Europe. Maikop culture ofthe Early Bronze Age had, for example, undoubted Neareastern roots.

The first coming of Indo-Europeans to Central and Northern Europe was connected perhaps with TRB-culture and quite certainly with Corded Ware cultures. The latest were a local Indo-European substratum whichhad been assimilated by ancient Europeans.

Tokharians reached the Altai, Saian and Ordos in the Middle Bronze Age, forming the Okunev culture and, perhaps, the Late Afanasyevo culture. The Early Afanasyevo culture was formed as a result of Indo-Iranian migration from Eastern Europe at the Early Bronze Age.

Ancestors of Scithian and Kimmerian tribes settled, contemporary to Sintashta migration, in the Transcaucasus (Sevan-Uzerlic cultural type). About the XIV century (BC?) a part of this population moved to Southern Siberia and Mongolia (Carasuk andIrmen’ cultures).

At the end of the Bronze Age Kimmerians migrated westwards to Northern Pontic area. Scithian migration through Iran, Near East and the Caucasus took place at the beginning of the Iron Age. At last, various streams of Indo-Europeans (Tokharians, Europeans and Iranians) influenced forming and development of the Chinese civilisation.

CONCLUSION:

Let’s sum up. As a result of my study, I worked out a new historical model of origins and migrations of Indo-European peoples, which I have tried to show in this article. The conformity of my archaeological model to the linguistic one, proposed by Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, permits to say that Indo-European problem is solved, but in general outline only. The detailed description of early Indo-European history could be done within some years, in case of closely concerted actions by archaeologists and linguists.

From Danube to Asia. From West to East and Back. PIE. Indo-Europeans. Indo-Iranians

The Sintashta Culture and Some Questions of Indo-Europeans Origins

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