6 Chapter 

0 Contents 1 Foundation 1-2 Prehistoric Origin Of Mathematics

Prehistoric 1-2

1-2 Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Index

1-2 Chapter 7 The Reality Foundation Of Mathematics

(Writing And Numbers Came From A Prehistoric Civilization - Prehistoric knowledge was not magic but from experiencing reality)

7.1 Before Written Language Pictures 25,000 years old!
7.2 Proto-Indo-Europeans. 7500 to 5500 BC - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      1 Culture
      2 History of research
      3 Urheimat hypotheses
      4 Genetics
      5 See also
      6 Footnotes
      7 Further reading
      8 External links
   7.2.1 Indo-European languages Map - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
7.3 Vinca symbols 5500 4500 BCE - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      1 Discovery
      2 Meaning of the symbols
      3 Marija Gimbutas and Vinča as pre-writing
      4 Fringe literature
      5 See also
      6 References
      7 Notes and references
      8 External links
7.4 Vinca Culture (Eastern Europe) - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      1 Geography and Demographics
      2 Chronology
      2.1 Decline
      3 Economy
      3.1 Subsistence
      3.2 Industry
      4 Culture
      5 Major Vinča sites
      6 See also
      7 Notes
      8 References
      9 Further reading
      10 External links
7.5 Earliest Writing -BBC? 5,500 years old (Pakistan)

  7.1 Before Written Language Pictures 25,000 years old!

Venus of Laussel approximately 25,000 years old

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Venus of Laussel in Bordeaux museum.
Detail of the right arm and the horn.
Detail of the left arm and hand.

The Venus of Laussel is a Venus figurine, a 1.5 foot high limestone bas-relief of a nude female figure, painted with red ochre. It is related to Gravettian Upper Paleolithic culture (approximately 25,000 years old).

The figure holds a wisent horn, or possibly a cornucopia, in one hand, which has 13 notches. According to some researchers, this may symbolize the number of moons or the number of menstrual cycles in one year.

Alexander Marshack said about the Venus of Laussel that "One cannot conjecture on the basis of one engraved sequence any meaning to the marks, but that the unusually clean horn was notated with storied marks is clear."[1]

She has her hand on her abdomen (or womb), with large breasts and vulva. There is a "Y" on her thigh and her faceless head is turned toward the horn.

The figure was rediscovered in 1911 by J. G. Lalanne, a physician. It was carved into large block fallen in a limestone rock shelter (abri de Laussel) on the territory of the commune of Marquay, in the Dordogne department of southwestern France. It is now in the Muse d'Aquitaine, in Bordeaux, France.

Before the monument (8000 BC forward) From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge

Archaeologists have found four, or possibly five, large Mesolithic postholes (one may have been a natural tree throw), which date to around 8000 BC, beneath the nearby modern tourist car-park. These held pine posts around 0.75 metres (2 ft 6 in) in diameter which were erected and eventually rotted in situ. Three of the posts (and possibly four) were in an east-west alignment which may have had ritual significance; no parallels are known from Britain at the time but similar sites have been found in Scandinavia

  7.2 Proto-Indo-Europeans

Indo-European topics

Albanian -Armenian -Baltic
Celtic -Germanic -Greek
Indo-Iranian (Indo-Aryan, Iranian)
Italic -Slavic

extinct: Anatolian -Paleo-Balkan (Dacian,
Phrygian, Thracian) -Tocharian

Vocabulary -Phonology -Sound laws -Ablaut - Root - Noun - Verb
Europe: Balts -Slavs -Albanians -Italics -Celts -Germanic peoples -Greeks - Paleo-Balkans (Illyrians -Thracians -Dacians) -

Asia: Anatolians (Hittites, Luwians) -Armenians -Indo-Iranians (Iranians -Indo-Aryans) -Tocharians

Homeland -Society -Religion
Abashevo culture -Afanasevo culture -Andronovo culture -Baden culture -Beaker culture -Catacomb culture -Cernavodă culture -Chassen culture -Chernoles culture -Corded Ware culture -Cucuteni-Trypillian culture -Dnieper-Donets culture -Gumelniţa-Karanovo culture -Gushi culture -Karasuk culture -Kemi Oba culture -Khvalynsk culture -Kura-Araxes culture -Lusatian culture -Kurgan -Koban -Kura-Araxes -Shulaveri-Shomu -Colchian -Trialeti -Maykop culture -Leyla-Tepe culture -Jar-Burial -Khojaly-Gadabay -Middle Dnieper culture -Narva culture -Novotitorovka culture -Poltavka culture -Potapovka culture -Samara culture -Seroglazovo culture -Sredny Stog culture -Srubna culture -Terramare culture -Usatovo culture -Vučedol culture -Yamna culture


The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE), a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.

Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics. Linguistic reconstruction is fraught with significant uncertainties and room for speculation. According to some archaeologists, PIE speakers cannot be assumed to have been a single, identifiable people or tribe, but were a group of loosely related populations ancestral to the later, still partially prehistoric, Bronze Age Indo-Europeans. This view is held especially by archaeologists who posit an original homeland of vast extent and immense time depth. However, this view is not shared by linguists, as proto-languages generally occupy small geographical areas over a very limited time span, and are generally spoken by close-knit communities such as a single small tribe.

The Proto-Indo-Europeans in this sense likely lived during the late Neolithic, or roughly the 4th millennium BC. Mainstream scholarship places them in the forest-steppe zone immediately to the north of the western end of the Pontic-Caspian steppe in Eastern Europe. Some archaeologists would extend the time depth of PIE to the middle Neolithic (5500 to 4500 BC) or even the early Neolithic (7500 to 5500 BC), and suggest alternative location hypotheses.

By the late-3rd millennium BC offshoots of the Proto-Indo-Europeans had reached Anatolia, the Aegean, Western Europe, the Iranian plateau, and Northwestern China;[citation needed] they reached northern India later.


The following traits of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and their environment are widely agreed-upon but still hypothetical due to their reconstructed nature. Some of the basic facts are:

The Proto-Indo-Europeans were a patrilineal society, possibly semi-nomadic, relying largely on agriculture, but partly on animal husbandry, notably of cattle and sheep. They had domesticated horses *eḱwos (cf. Latin equus). The cow (*gwous) played a central role, in religion and mythology as well as in daily life. A man's wealth would have been measured by the number of his animals (small livestock), *peḱus (cf. English fee, Latin pecunia).

They practiced a polytheistic religion centered on sacrificial rites, probably administered by a priestly caste. Burials in barrows or tomb chambers apply to the kurgan culture, in accordance with the original version of the Kurgan hypothesis, but not to the previous Sredny Stog culture nor to the contemporary Corded Ware culture, both of which cultures are also generally associated with PIE. Important leaders would have been buried with their belongings in kurgans, and possibly also with members of their households or wives (human sacrifice, suttee).

Many Indo-European societies know a threefold division of priests, a warrior class, and a class of peasants or husbandmen. Such a division was suggested for the Proto-Indo-European society by Georges Dumzil.

If there was a separate class of warriors, it probably consisted of single young men. They would have followed a separate warrior code unacceptable in the society outside their peer-group. Traces of initiation rites in several Indo-European societies suggest that this group identified itself with wolves or dogs (see also Berserker, werewolf).

As for technology, reconstruction indicates a culture of the late Neolithic bordering on the early Bronze Age, with tools and weapons of very likely of "natural bronze" (i.e., made from copper ore naturally rich in silicon or arsenic). Silver and gold were known, but not silver smelting (as PIE has no word for lead, a by-product of silver smelting), thus suggesting that silver was imported. Sheep were kept for wool, and textiles were woven. The wheel was known, certainly for ox-drawn wagons.

 History of research

There have been many attempts to claim that particular prehistoric cultures can be identified with the Proto-Indo-European-speaking peoples, but all have been speculative. All attempts to identify an actual people with an unattested language depend on a sound reconstruction of that language that allows identification of cultural concepts and environmental factors which may be associated with particular cultures (such as the use of metals, agriculture vs. pastoralism, geographically distinctive plants and animals, etc.).

The scholars of the 19th century who first tackled the question of the Indo-Europeans' original homeland (also called Urheimat, from German), were essentially confined to linguistic evidence. A rough localization was attempted by reconstructing the names of plants and animals (importantly the beech and the salmon) as well as the culture and technology (a Bronze Age culture centered on animal husbandry and having domesticated the horse). The scholarly opinions became basically divided between a European hypothesis, positing migration from Europe to Asia, and an Asian hypothesis, holding that the migration took place in the opposite direction.

In early 20th century scientific racism, the question was associated with the expansion of a supposed "Aryan race". The question is still contentious within some flavours of ethnic nationalism (see also Indigenous Aryans).

A series of major advances occurred in the 1970s due to the convergence of several factors. First, the radiocarbon dating method, invented in 1949, had, by the 1970s, become sufficiently inexpensive to be applied on a mass scale. Through dendrochronology (tree-ring dating), radiocarbon dates could be calibrated to a much higher degree of accuracy. And finally, before the 1970s, parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia had been off limits to Western scholars, while non-Western archaeologists did not have access to publication in Western peer-reviewed journals. This problem was at least partly addressed by the pioneering work of Marija Gambutas, assisted by Colin Renfrew, organizing expeditions and arranging for more academic collaboration between Western and non-Western scholars.

The Kurgan hypothesis is currently the most widely held theory, is based on linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence, but is not universally accepted.[7][8] It suggests PIE origin in the Pontic-Caspian steppe during the Chalcolithic.[citation needed] A minority of scholars prefers the Anatolian hypothesis, suggesting origin in Anatolia during the Neolithic. Other theories (Armenian hypothesis, Out of India theory, Paleolithic Continuity Theory) have only marginal scientific support.[citation needed].

 Urheimat hypotheses

Scheme of Indo-European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BC according to the Kurgan hypothesis. The magenta area corresponds to the assumed Urheimat (Samara culture, Sredny Stog culture). The red area corresponds to the area which may have been settled by Indo-European-speaking peoples up to ca. 2500 BC; the orange area to 1000 BC.[citation needed]

In the 20th century, Marija Gimbutas created the Kurgan hypothesis, a modern variation of the traditional invasion theory. The name is taken from the kurgans (burial mounds) of the Eurasian steppes. The hypothesis is that the Indo-Europeans were a nomadic tribe of the Pontic-Caspian steppe (now Eastern Ukraine and Southern Russia) and expanded in several waves during the 3rd millennium BC. Their expansion coincided with the taming of the horse. Leaving archaeological signs of their presence (see battle-axe people), they subjugated the peaceful European Neolithic farmers of Gimbutas' Old Europe. As Gimbutas' beliefs evolved, she put increasing emphasis on the patriarchal, patrilinear nature of the invading culture, sharply contrasting it with the supposedly egalitarian, if not matrilinear culture of the invaded, to a point of formulating essentially feminist archaeology.

Her theory has found genetic support in remains from the Neolithic culture of Scandinavia, where bone remains in Neolithic graves indicated that the megalith culture was either matrilocal or matrilineal as the people buried in the same grave were related through the women. Likewise there is evidence of remaining matrilineal traditions among the Picts. A modified form of this theory by JP Mallory, dating the migrations earlier to around 3500 BC and putting less insistence on their violent or quasi-military nature, is still widely held.

The Anatolian hypothesis is that the Indo-European languages spread peacefully into Europe from Asia Minor from around 7000 BC with the advance of farming (wave of advance). The leading propagator of the theory is Colin Renfrew. However, this theory is contradicted by the fact that ancient Anatolia is known to have been inhabited by non-Indo-European people, namely the Hattians, Khalib/Karub, and Khaldi/Kardi. Also, the culture of the Indo-Europeans as inferred by linguistic reconstruction contradicts this theory, since the early Neolithic cultures in Anatolia had neither the horse, nor the wheel, nor metal, terms for all of which are securely reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European.

A scenario that could reconcile Renfrew's and the Kurgan hypotheses suggests that Indo-European migrations are somehow related to the disputed Black Sea deluge theory, the hypothesized submersion of the northeastern part of the Black Sea around 5600 BC:[9] while a splinter group who became the proto-Hittite speakers moved into northeastern Anatolia around 7000 BC, the remaining population would have gone northward, evolving into the Kurgan culture, while others may have escaped far to the northeast (Tocharians) and the southeast (Indo-Iranians). While the time-frame of this scenario is consistent with Renfrew, it is incompatible with his core assumption that Indo-European spread with the advance of agriculture.

Using stochastic models of word evolution to study the presence or absence of different words across Indo-European languages, Gray & Atkinson suggest that the origin of Indo-European goes back about 8500 years, the first split being that of Hittite from the rest, supporting the Indo-Hittite hypothesis.[10] They go to great lengths to avoid the problems associated with traditional glottochronology, and they carry out various sensitivity tests of their assumptions. However, their calculations rely entirely on Swadesh lists, and while the results are quite robust for well attested branches, their crucial calculation of the age of Hittite rests on a 200word Swadesh list of one single language. A more recent paper (Atkinson et al., 2005) analyzing 24 mostly ancient languages, including three Anatolian languages, produced the same time estimates and early Anatolian split.[11] These claims are still controversial, however, and most traditional linguists consider these methods too inaccurate to prove the Anatolian hypothesis.

Another hypothesis connected with the Black Sea deluge theory suggests that PIE originated as the language of trade between early Neolithic Black Sea tribes.[12] Under this hypothesis, University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Fredrik T. Hiebert proposes that the transition from PIE to IE dispersion occurred during the deluge.[13]

The Armenian hypothesis is based on the Glottalic theory and suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highland. It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in its scenario. The phonological peculiarities of PIE proposed in the Glottalic theory would be best preserved in the Armenian language and the Germanic languages, the former assuming the role of the dialect which remained in situ, implied to be particularly archaic in spite of its late attestation. Proto-Greek would be practically equivalent to Mycenean Greek and date to the 17th century BC, closely associating Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (viz., Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).

The Armenian hypothesis argues for the latest possible date of Proto-Indo-European (sans Anatolian), a full millennium later than the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis. In this, it figures as an opposite to the Anatolian hypothesis, in spite of the geographical proximity of the respective Urheimaten suggested, diverging from the timeframe suggested there by a full three millennia.


The rise of archaeogenetic evidence which uses genetic analysis to trace migration patterns also added new elements to the origins puzzle. In terms of genetics, the subclade R1a1a (R-M17 or R-M198) is the most commonly associated with Indo-European speakers. Most discussions purportedly of R1a origins are actually about the origins of the dominant R1a1a (R-M17 or R-M198) subclade. Data so far collected indicates that there are two widely separated areas of high frequency, one in South Asia, around North India, and the other in Eastern Europe, around Poland[citation needed] and Ukraine. The historical and prehistoric possible reasons for this are the subject of on-going discussion and attention amongst population geneticists and genetic genealogists, and are considered to be of potential interest to linguists and archaeologists also. In 2009, several large studies of both old and new STR data[14] concluded that while these two separate "poles of the expansion" are of similar age, South Asian R1a1a is apparently older than Eastern European R1a1a, suggesting that South Asia is the more likely locus of origin.[citation needed]

Out of 10 human male remains assigned to the Andronovo horizon from the Krasnoyarsk region, 9 possessed the R1a Y-chromosome haplogroup and one C haplogroup (xC3). mtDNA haplogroups of nine individuals assigned to the same Andronovo horizon and region were as follows: U4 (2 individuals), U2e, U5a1, Z, T1, T4, H, and K2b.

90% of the Bronze Age period mtDNA haplogroups were of west Eurasian origin and the study determined that at least 60% of the individuals overall (out of the 26 Bronze and Iron Age human remains' samples of the study that could be tested) had light hair and blue or green eyes.[15]

A 2004 study also established that during the Bronze Age/Iron Age period, the majority of the population of Kazakhstan (part of the Andronovo culture during Bronze Age), was of west Eurasian origin (with mtDNA haplogroups such as U, H, HV, T, I and W), and that prior to the 13th-7th century BCE, all Kazakh samples belonged to European lineages.[16]

Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Alberto Piazza argue that Renfrew and Gimbutas reinforce rather than contradict each other. Cavalli-Sforza (2000) states that "It is clear that, genetically speaking, peoples of the Kurgan steppe descended at least in part from people of the Middle Eastern Neolithic who immigrated there from Turkey." Piazza & Cavalli-Sforza (2006) state that:

if the expansions began at 9,500 years ago from Anatolia and at 6,000 years ago from the Yamnaya culture region, then a 3,500-year period elapsed during their migration to the Volga-Don region from Anatolia, probably through the Balkans. There a completely new, mostly pastoral culture developed under the stimulus of an environment unfavourable to standard agriculture, but offering new attractive possibilities. Our hypothesis is, therefore, that Indo-European languages derived from a secondary expansion from the Yamnaya culture region after the Neolithic farmers, possibly coming from Anatolia and settled there, developing pastoral nomadism.

Haplogroup R1a distribution

Spencer Wells suggests in a (2001) study that the origin, distribution and age of the R1a1 haplotype points to an ancient migration, possibly corresponding to the spread by the Kurgan people in their expansion across the Eurasian steppe around 3000 BC. About his old teacher Cavalli-Sforza's proposal, Wells (2002) states that "there is nothing to contradict this model, although the genetic patterns do not provide clear support either", and instead argues that the evidence is much stronger for Gimbutas' model:

While we see substantial genetic and archaeological evidence for an Indo-European migration originating in the southern Russian steppes, there is little evidence for a similarly massive Indo-European migration from the Middle East to Europe. One possibility is that, as a much earlier migration (8,000 years old, as opposed to 4,000), the genetic signals carried by Indo-European-speaking farmers may simply have dispersed over the years. There is clearly some genetic evidence for migration from the Middle East, as Cavalli-Sforza and his colleagues showed, but the signal is not strong enough for us to trace the distribution of Neolithic languages throughout the entirety of Indo-European-speaking Europe.

Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup R1a1, thought to have originated in the Eurasian Steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas, is associated with the Kurgan culture, or the "Indus Valley"[17] the Indo-European languages, as well as with the postglacial Ahrensburg culture which has been suggested to have spread the haplogroup originally.[18] Alternatively, it has been suggested that R1a arrived in southern Scandinavia during the time of the Corded Ware culture.[19] The mutations that characterize haplogroup R1a occurred ~10,000 years bp. Its defining mutation (M17) occurred about 10,000 to 14,000 years ago. Ornella Semino et al. propose a postglacial spread of the R1a1 haplogroup from north of the Black Sea during the time of the Late Glacial Maximum, subsequently magnified by the expansion of the Kurgan culture into Europe and eastward.[20]

 See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Calvert Watkins. "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 2000". http://www.bartleby.com/61/8.html. Retrieved 2008-04-12.

  2. ^ a b The Oxford Companion to Archaeology - Edited by Brian M. Fagan, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-507618-4, p347 - J.P. Mallory

  3. ^ "The Indo-Europeans knew snow in their homeland; the word sneigwh- is nearly ubiquitous." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 2000

  4. ^ The Oxford introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European world - J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams, Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-19-929668-5, p249

  5. ^ "Yet, for the Indo-European-speaking society, we can reconstruct with certainty the word for god, *deiw-os, and the two-word name of the chief deity of the pantheon, *dyeu-pəter- (Latin Iūpiter, Greek Zeus patēr, Sanskrit Dyauṣ pitar, and Luvian Tatis Tiwaz)." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 2000

  6. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=YvzCBBTqyzUC&pg=PA89&dq=%22Zeus+Pater%22+Illyrian&hl=en&ei=F12PTsOHEIP6sgaY__zpDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22Zeus%20Pater%22%20Illyrian&f=false

  7. ^ Underhill, Peter A., et al. (2010). "Separating the post-Glacial coancestry of European and Asian Y chromosomes within haplogroup R1a". European Journal of Human Genetics 18 (4): 47984. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.194. PMC 2987245. PMID 19888303. http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v18/n4/full/ejhg2009194a.html.

  8. ^ Sahoo, Sanghamitra, et al. (January 2006). "A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 103 (4): 84348. doi:10.1073/pnas.0507714103. PMC 1347984. PMID 16415161. http://www.pnas.org/content/103/4/843.full?sid=a8acc8b7-8327-48f1-96a1-48347c536b36.

  9. ^ As alleged by Ryan and Pitman, in Noah's Flood : The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event that Changed History (1998)

  10. ^ Their results were first published in Gray & Atkinson. 2003. "Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin." Nature 426, 4359. More detail is given in subsequent papers.

  11. ^ Atkinson, et al. 2005 "From Words to Dates: Water into wine, mathemagic or phylogenetic inference?" Transactions of the Philological Society 103 (2), 193-219.

  12. ^ "Welcome to the Black Sea Trade Project". http://www.museum.upenn.edu/Sinop/SinopIntro.htm.

  13. ^ "14 January 1999 - Pennsylvania Current: Q & A: Fredrik Hiebert". http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/current/1999/011499/Hiebert.html.

  14. ^ see Mirabal et al. (2009) and Underhill et al. (2009)

  15. ^ [1] C. Keyser et al. 2009. Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people. Human Genetics.

  16. ^ [2] C. Lalueza-Fox et al. 2004. Unravelling migrations in the steppe: mitochondrial DNA sequences from ancient central Asians

  17. ^ "ISOGG 2010 Y-DNA Haplogroup R". Isogg.org. http://www.isogg.org/tree/ISOGG_HapgrpR.html. Retrieved 2010-06-23.

  18. ^ Passarino, G; Cavalleri GL, Lin AA, Cavalli-Sforza LL, Borresen-Dale AL, Underhill PA (2002). "Different genetic components in the Norwegian population revealed by the analysis of mtDNA and Y chromosome polymorphisms". Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 10 (9): 5219. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200834. PMID 12173029. http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v10/n9/full/5200834a.html.

  19. ^ Dupuy, B. et al. 2006. Geographical heterogeneity of Y-chromosomal lineages in Norway. Forensic Science International. 164: 10-19.

  20. ^ http://hpgl.stanford.edu/publications/Science_2000_v290_p1155.pdf

 Further reading

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  7.2.1 Indo-European languages Map


English: A map showing the approximate present-day distribution of the Indo-European branches within their homelands of Europe and Asia. The following legend is given in the chronological order of the earliest surviving written attestations of each branch:

   Hellenic (Greek) [1]
   Italic (includes Romance) [3]
   Celtic [4]
   Germanic [5]
   Armenian [6]
   Albanian [9]
   Non-Indo-European languages
Dotted/striped areas indicate where multilingualism is common (more visible upon full enlargement of the map).
Source For the names of the branches, see citations in legend (based on "Indo-European Languages". The College of Liberal Arts. UT Austin. 2008.) and "Indo-European languages" from Britannica.com.

The distribution is essentially and approximately based on the map "Indo-European languages Approximate locations of Indo-European languages in contemporary Eurasia" from Britannica.com, although with the following minor modifications:

The two articles "Balto-Slavic languages" and "Indo-Iranian languages" from Britannica.com stress the lack of scholarly consensus on these branches. That is, for the former, whether Baltic and Slavic developed from a common ancestral language, or that the similarities are the result of parallel development and of mutual influence during a long period of contact. To cater for both scholarly viewpoints, this map shows Baltic and Slavic with two distinct shades of green under "Balto-Slavic". For the latter, the dispute is whether the Indo-Iranian languages include just the Iranian and Indo-Aryan (or, Indic) language groups, or Nūristānī and Bangani too. To prevent disagreement (and also because this map only represents the primary branches of Indo-European), all of Indo-Iranian is represented with one shade.

The article "Romance languages" from Britannica.com states that the Romance languages form "a subgroup of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family".

It should be noted that this map is only approximative and simplified, and glosses over some multilingual areas (particularly in eastern Russia, which is difficult to represent accurately). For some areas, more regional maps have been used as sources for greater accuracy, namely "Languages of Switzerland" from Ethnologue.com, "Russia ethnic plurality" from Freelang.net, "Major ethnic groups in Central Asia" from Globalsecurity.org, and "South Asian Language Families" from "Language families and branches, languages and dialects in A Historical Atlas of South Asia". Oxford University Press. New York 1992.
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  7.3 Vinča symbols

The Vinča symbols, sometimes called the Vinča script or Old European script (also Vinča signs, Vinča-Turdaş script, etc.) are a set of symbols found on Neolithic era (6th to 5th millennia BCE) artifacts from the Vinča culture of southeastern Europe.

The symbols are mostly considered as constituting an instance of "proto-writing"; that is, they probably conveyed a message but did not encode language, predating the development of writing proper by more than a millennium.


A drawing of a clay vessel unearthed in Vinča, found at depth of 8.5 meters.

In 1875, archaeological excavations led by the Hungarian archeologist Zsfia Torma (18401899) at Tordos, Hungary (today Turdaş, Romania) unearthed a cache of objects inscribed with previously unknown symbols. In 1908, a similar cache was found during excavations conducted by Miloje Vasic (18691956) in Vinča, a suburb of Belgrade (Serbia), some 120 km from Tordos. Later, more such fragments were found in Banjica, another part of Belgrade. Since, over one hundred and fifty Vinča sites have been identified in Serbia alone, but many, including Vinča itself, have not been fully excavated.[1] Thus, the culture of the whole area is called the Vinča culture, and the script is often called the Vinča-Tordos script.

The discovery of the Tartaria tablets in Romania by Nicolae Vlassa in 1961 reignited the debate. Vlassa believed the inscriptions to be pictograms and the finds were subsequently carbon-dated to before 4000 BCE, thirteen hundred years earlier than the date he expected, and earlier even than the writing systems of the Sumerians and Minoans. To date, more than a thousand fragments with similar inscriptions have been found on various archaeological sites throughout south-eastern Europe, notably in Greece (Dispilio Tablet), Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, and southern Ukraine.

Most of the inscriptions are on pottery, with the remainder appearing on whorls (flat cylindrical annuli), figurines, and a small collection of other objects. Over 85% of the inscriptions consist of a single symbol. The symbols themselves consist of a variety of abstract and representative pictograms, including zoomorphic (animal-like) representations, combs or brush patterns and abstract symbols such as swastikas, crosses and chevrons. Other objects include groups of symbols, of which some are arranged in no particularly obvious pattern, with the result that neither the order nor the direction of the signs in these groups is readily determinable. The usage of symbols varies significantly between objects: symbols that appear by themselves tend almost exclusively to appear on pots, while symbols that are grouped with other symbols tend to appear on whorls.

Fragment of a clay vessel with an "M"-looking incision.

The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the bulk of the Vinča symbols was created in the period between 4500 and 4000 BC, with the ones on the Tărtăria clay tablets even dating back to around 5300 BC.[2] This means that the Vinča finds predate the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk (modern Iraq), which is usually considered as the oldest known script, by more than a thousand years. Analyses of the symbols showed that they have little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that these symbols and the Sumerian script probably arose independently. There are, however, some similarities between the Vinča signs and other Neolithic symbologies found elsewhere, as far afield as Egypt, Crete and even China, but scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development of proto-writing which evolved independently in a number of societies.

Although a large number of symbols are known, most artifacts contain so few symbols that they are very unlikely to represent a complete text. Possibly the only exception is the Sitovo inscription in Bulgaria, the dating of which is disputed; regardless, even that inscription has only around 50 symbols. It is unknown which language used the symbols, or indeed whether they stand for a language in the first place.

 Meaning of the symbols

Clay amulet, one of the Tărtăria tablets unearthed near Tărtăria, Romania, and dated to ca. 5300 BC

The nature and purpose of the symbols is a mystery. It is dubious that they constitute a writing system. If they do, it is not known whether they represent an alphabet, syllabary, ideograms or some other form of writing. Although attempts have been made to decipher the symbols, there is no generally accepted translation or agreement as to what they mean.

At first it was thought that the symbols were simply used as property marks, with no more meaning than "this belongs to X"; a prominent holder of this view is archaeologist Peter Biehl. This theory is now mostly abandoned, as same symbols have been repeatedly found on the whole territory of Vinča culture, on locations hundreds of kilometers and years away from each other.

The prevailing theory is that the symbols were used for religious purposes in a traditional agricultural society. If so, the fact that the same symbols were used for centuries with little change suggests that the ritual meaning and culture represented by the symbols likewise remained constant for a very long time, with no need for further development. The use of the symbols appears to have been abandoned (along with the objects on which they appear) at the start of the Bronze Age, suggesting that the new technology brought with it significant changes in social organization and beliefs.

One argument in favour of the ritual explanation is that the objects on which the symbols appear do not appear to have had much long-term significance to their owners - they are commonly found in pits and other refuse areas. Certain objects, principally figurines, are most usually found buried under houses. This is consistent with the supposition that they were prepared for household religious ceremonies in which the signs incised on the objects represent expressions: a desire, request, vow, etc. After the ceremony was completed, the object would either have no further significance (hence would be disposed of) or would be buried ritually (which some have interpreted as votive offerings).

Some of the "comb" or "brush" symbols, which collectively compose as much as a sixth of all the symbols so far discovered, may represent numbers. Some scholars have pointed out that over a quarter of the inscriptions are located on the bottom of a pot, an ostensibly unlikely place for a religious inscription. The Vinča culture appears to have traded its wares quite widely with other cultures (as demonstrated by the widespread distribution of inscribed pots), so it is possible that the "numerical" symbols conveyed information about the value of the pots or their contents. Other cultures, such as the Minoans and Sumerians, used their scripts primarily as accounting tools; the Vinča symbols may have served a similar purpose.

Other symbols (principally those restricted to the base of pots) are wholly unique. Such signs may denote the contents, provenance/destination or manufacturer/owner of the pot.

 Marija Gimbutas and Vinča as pre-writing

The primary advocate of the idea that the markings represent writing, and the person who coined the name "Old European Script", was Marija Gimbutas (19211994),[citation needed] an important 20th century archaeologist and advocate of the notion that the Kurgan culture of Central Asia was an early culture of Proto-Indo-Europeans. She reconstructed a hypothetical pre-Indo-European "Old European civilization", which she defines as having occupied the area between the Dniester valley and the Sicily-Crete line.[3] Gimbutas observed that neolithic European iconography was predominantly femalea trend also visible in the inscribed figurines of the Vinča cultureand concluded the existence of a "matristic" (woman-centered, but not necessarily matriarchal) culture that worshipped a range of goddesses and gods. (Gimbutas did not posit a single universal Great Goddess.) She also incorporated the Vinča markings into her model of Old Europe, suggesting that they might either be the writing system for an Old European language, or, more probably, a kind of "pre-writing" symbolic system. However, Vinča logographics themselves have not been found on an area wider than southeastern Hungary and western Bulgaria, as described by Winn.[4]

 Fringe literature

Like most suspected undeciphered writing systems, the Vinča symbols have attracted the attention of fringe as well as serious authors. Griffen (2005) claims to have deciphered three symbols as logographs. He proposes that different numbers of strokeswhich resemble tally marksmean "bear", "bird", or "goddess". He compares two spindles, Jela 1 and 2, with similar sets of radiating strokes, and sees similar strokes on bear and bird figurines. He interprets the spindle inscriptions as reading "bear goddess bird goddess bear goddessgoddess", which he interprets as meaning "bear goddess and bird goddess: bear goddess indeed", or "the bear goddess and the bird goddess are really a single bear goddess". Griffen compares the amalgamation of a goddess with bearlike and birdlike attributes in Greek Artemis.

 See also


 Notes and references

  1. ^ Tasic, Nikola, Dragoslav Srejovic, and Bratislav Stojanovic. "Vinča: Centre of the Neolithic Culture of the Danubian Region". Belgrade: Centar za arheoloska istrazivanja Filozofskog fakulteta, 1990. http://www.rastko.rs/arheologija/vinca/vinca_eng.html (accessed 2009.06.22).

  2. ^ Haarmann, Harald: "Geschichte der Schrift", C.H. Beck, 2002, ISBN 3406479987, p. 20

  3. ^ Gimbutas, Marija (1974). The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500 to 3500 BCE: Myths and Cult Images (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 17.

  4. ^ Winn, Shan M (1981). Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe: The Sign System of the Vinča Culture ca. 4000 BCE. Calgary: Western Publishers. p. 15.

 External links

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Vin%C4%8Da_symbols&oldid=475210628"

 7.4 Vinča culture
Vinča culture
Map showing the extent of the Vinca culture within Southeastern Europe.
Period Middle Neolithic
Dates c. 55004500 BCE
Type site Vinča-Belo Brdo
Major sites Drenovac
Gornja Tuzla
Rudna Glava
Characteristics Large tell settlements
Anthropomorphic figurines
Vinča symbols
Preceded by Starčevo culture


The Vinča culture, also known as Turdaș culture or Turdaș-Vinča culture, is a Neolithic archaeological culture in Southeastern Europe, dated to the period 55004500 BCE.[1] Named for its type site, Vinča-Belo Brdo, a large tell settlement discovered by Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić in 1908, it represents the material remains of a prehistoric society mainly distinguished by its settlement pattern and ritual behaviour. Farming technology first introduced to the region during the First Temperate Neolithic was developed further by the Vinča culture, fuelling a population boom and producing some of the largest settlements in prehistoric Europe. These settlements maintained a high degree of cultural uniformity through the long-distance exchange of ritual items, but were probably not politically unified. Various styles of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figurines are hallmarks of the culture, as are the Vinča symbols, which some conjecture to be an early form of proto-writing. Though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or "Copper Age", the Vinča culture provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy.

 Geography and Demographics

The Vinča culture occupied a region of Southeastern Europe (i.e. the Balkans) corresponding mainly to modern-day Serbia and Kosovo, but also parts of Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece.[1]

This region had already been settled by farming societies of the First Temperate Neolithic, but during the Vinča period sustained population growth led to an unprecedented level of settlement size and density along with the population of areas that were bypassed by earlier settlers. Vinča settlements were considerably larger than any other contemporary European culture, in some instances surpassing the cities of the Aegean and early Near Eastern Bronze Age a millennium later. The largest sitessome more than 300,000 square metresmay have been home to up to 2,500 people.[2]


The origins of the Vinča culture are debated. Before the advent of radiocarbon dating it was thought, on the basis of typological similarities, that Vinča and other Neolithic cultures belonging to the 'Dark Burnished Ware' complex were the product of migrations from Anatolia to the Balkans. This had to be reassessed in light of radiocarbon dates which showed that the Dark Burnished Ware complex appeared at least a millennium before Troy I, the putative starting point of the westward migration. An alternative hypothesis where the Vinča culture developed locally from the preceding Starčevo culturefirst proposed by Colin Renfrew in 1969is now accepted by many scholars, but the evidence is not conclusive.[3][4]

The Vinča culture can be divided into two phases, closely linked with those of its type site Vinča-Belo Brdo:[5]

Vinča culture Vinča-Belo Brdo Years BCE
Early Vinča period Vinča A 55004800
Vinča B
Vinča C
Late Vinča period Vinča D 48004200


In its later phase the centre of the Vinča network shifted from Vinča-Belo Brdo to Vrac, and the long-distance exchange of obsidian and Spondylus artefacts from modern-day Hungary and the Aegean respectively became more important than that of Vinča figurines. Eventually the network lost its cohesion altogether and fell into decline. It is likely that, after two millennia of intensive farming, economic stresses caused by decreasing soil fertility were partly responsible for this decline.[6]

According to Marija Gimbutas, the Vinča culture was part of Old Europe a relatively homogeneous, peaceful and matrifocal culture that occupied Europe during the Neolithic. According to this theory its period of decline was followed by an invasion of warlike, horse-riding Proto-Indo-European tribes from the Pontic-Caspian steppe.[7]



Most people in Vinča settlements would have been occupied with the provision of food. They practised a mixed subsistence economy where agriculture, animal husbandry and hunting and foraging all contributed to the diet of the growing Vinča population. Compared to earlier cultures of the First Temperate Neolithic (FTN) these practices were intensified, with increasing specialisation on high-yield cereal crops and the secondary products of domesticated animals, consistent with the increased population density.[8]

Vinča agriculture introduced common wheat, oat and flax to temperate Europe, and made greater use of barley than the cultures of the FTN. These innovations increased crop yields and allowed the manufacture of clothes made from plant textiles as well as animal products (i.e. leather and wool). There is indirect evidence that Vinča farmers made use of the cattle-driven plough, which would have had a major effect on the amount of human labour required for agriculture as well as opening up new area of land for farming. Many of the largest Vinča sites occupy regions dominated by soil types that would have required ploughing.[8]

Areas with less arable potential were exploited through transhumant pastoralism, where groups from the lowland villages moved their livestock to nearby upland areas on a seasonal basis. Cattle was more important than sheep and goats in Vinča herds and, in comparison to the cultures of the FTN, livestock was increasingly kept for milk, leather and as draft animals, rather than solely for meat. Seasonal movement to upland areas was also motivated by the exploitation of stone and mineral resources. Where these were especially rich permanent upland settlements were established, which would have relied more heavily on pastoralism for subsistence.[8]

Though increasingly focused on domesticated plants and animals, the Vinča subsistence economy still made use of wild food resources. The hunting of deer, boar and auroch, fishing of carp and catfish, shell-collecting, fowling and foraging of wild cereals, forest fruits and nuts made up a significant part of the diet at some Vinča sites. These, however, were in the minority; settlements were invariably located with agricultural rather than wild food potential in mind, and wild resources were usually underexploited unless the area was low in arable productivity.[8]


An anthropomorphic figurine with incised lines depicting clothing.

Generally speaking craft production within the Vinča network was carried out at the household level; there is little evidence for individual economic specialisation. Nevertheless, some Vinča artefacts were made with considerable levels of technical skill. A two-stage method was used to produce pottery with a polished, multi-coloured finish, known as 'Black-topped' and 'Rainbow Ware'. Sometimes powdered cinnabar and limonite were applied to the fired clay for decoration. The style of Vinča clothing can be inferred from figurines depicted with open-necked tunics and decorated skirts. Cloth was woven from both flax and wool (with flax becoming more important in the later Vinča period), and buttons made from shell or stone were also used.[9]

The Vinča site of Pločnik has produced the earliest example of copper tools in the world. However, the people of the Vinča network practised only an early and limited form of metallurgy.[10] Copper ores were mined on a large scale at sites like Rudna Glava, but only a fraction were smelted and cast into metal artefacts and these were ornaments and trinkets rather than functional tools, which continued to be made from chipped stone, bone and antler. It is likely that the primary use of mined ores was in their powdered form, in the production of pottery or as bodily decoration.[9]


 Major Vinča sites


 See also


  1. ^ a b Chapman 2000, p. 239.

  2. ^ Chapman 1981, pp. 4051.

  3. ^ Chapman 1981, pp. 15.

  4. ^ Chapman 1981, pp. 3339.

  5. ^ Chapman 1981, pp. 1732; calibrated with CalPal.

  6. ^ Chapman 1981, pp. 132139.

  7. ^ Gimbutas 1976.

  8. ^ a b c d Chapman 1981, pp. 84116.

  9. ^ a b Chapman 1981, pp. 117131.

  10. ^ Cvekic 2007.


 Further reading

 External links

 7.5 Earliest writing? 5,500 years old

'Earliest writing' found

The fragments of pottery are about 5,500 years old

Exclusive by BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse

The first known examples of writing may have been unearthed at an archaeological dig in Pakistan.

So-called 'plant-like' and 'trident-shaped' markings have been found on fragments of pottery dating back 5500 years.



Dr Richard Meadow of Harvard University: "We may be able to follow the history of signs."

Click here for saved copy

They were found at a site called Harappa in the region where the great Harappan or Indus civilisation flourished four and a half thousand years ago.

Harappa was originally a small settlement in 3500 BC but by 2600 BC it had developed into a major urban centre.

[ image: Harappa was occupied until about 1900 BC]

Harappa was occupied until about 1900 BC

The earliest known writing was etched onto jars before and after firing. Experts believe they may have indicated the contents of the jar or be signs associated with a deity.

According to Dr Richard Meadow of Harvard University, the director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project, these primitive inscriptions found on pottery may pre-date all other known writing.

Last year it was suggested that the oldest writing might have come from Egypt.

Clay tablets containing primitive words were uncovered in southern Egypt at the tomb of a king named Scorpion.

They were carbon-dated to 3300-3200 BC. This is about the same time, or slightly earlier, to the primitive writing developed by the Sumerians of the Mesopotamian civilisation around 3100 BC.

"It's a big question as to if we can call what we have found true writing," he told BBC News Online, "but we have found symbols that have similarities to what became Indus script.


[ image: Work at Harappa is likely to fuel the debate on early writing]

Work at Harappa is likely to fuel the debate on early writing

"One of our research aims is to find more examples of these ancient symbols and follow them as they changed and became a writing system," he added.

One major problem in determining what the symbols mean is that no one understands the Indus language. It was unique and is now dead.

Dr Meadow points out that nothing similar to the 'Rosetta Stone' exists for the Harappan text.

The Rosetta Stone, housed in the British museum since 1802, is a large slab of black basalt uniquely inscribed with the same text in both Egyptian hieroglyphs and Greek.

Its discovery allowed researchers to decipher the ancient Egyptian script for the first time.

The Harappan language died out and did not form the basis of other languages.


Dr Meadow: "The earliest inscriptions date back to 3500 BC."

Click here for saved copy

"So probably we will never know what the symbols mean," Dr Meadow told BBC News Online from Harappa.

What historians know of the Harappan civilisation makes them unique. Their society did not like great differences between social classes or the display of wealth by rulers. They did not leave behind large monuments or rich graves.

They appear to be a peaceful people who displayed their art in smaller works of stone.

Their society seems to have petered out. Around 1900 BC Harappa and other urban centres started to decline as people left them to move east to what is now India and the Ganges.

This discovery will add to the debate about the origins of the written word.

It probably suggests that writing developed independently in at least three places - Egypt, Mesopotamia and Harappa between 3500 BC and 3100 BC.

6 Chapter                            Book 2.1