Tug of war between Balto-Slavic and West Uralic (II)


It is firmly established since (at least) the 1980s that Balto-Slavic, Baltic and Slavic show a strong Uralic substrate, even though many details are still the subject of ongoing controversies. Here is how the Baltic linguistic area was described in Thomason’s Language Contact (2001):

Overall, the Baltic area has the same characteristics as the Balkan area: areal linguistic features are distributed differentially among the languages, and the features themselves vary in details of their structure. As for the sources of the Baltic features, some can be traced to Uralic and some to Indo-European, especially Germanic. The Indo-European languages most

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Basic framework of language contact-induced change


The standard textbook for studying language contact, as far as I know, was Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics, by Sarah Grey Thomason & Terrence Kaufman, UCP (1991, c1988). The reader will surely recognize many of this text’s proposals of language contacts in my books.

Posts of the Language Contact series (reverse chronology):

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N-Z1936 thrived around the Urals in the Middle Ages


New preprint Early Medieval Genetic Data from Ural Region Evaluated in the Light of Archaeological Evidence of Ancient Hungarians, by Csaky et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Based on linguistic evidences, the Hungarian language, belonging to the Ugric branch of the Uralic language family, was developed at the eastern side of Ural Mountains between 1000-500 BC. According to the written and linguistic sources and archaeological arguments, after the 6th century AD, part of the predecessors of Hungarians moved to the Western Urals (Cis-Ural region) from their ancient homeland. Around the first third of 9th century

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RISE1.SG, R1b from Poland CWC, a likely mislabelled Balto-Slav


When I started ruminating in 2016 over the apparent differences between populations that kept the two-velar distinction of Indo-Tocharian, and the only two unrelated dialectal groups that showed a strong satemization trend, I believed that – much like in modern times – there would be no clear-cut division in terms of ancestry or Y-DNA haplogroups between neighbouring forest-steppe and steppe populations.

The answer to the question of interacting ethnolinguistic groups had to lie, as everything else, on the investigation of fine-scale population movements that must have put Uralic-speaking peoples as the main substratum of Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian.

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R1a-Z93-rich Classical CWC-like Fatyanovo replaced Volosovo


Open access Genetic ancestry changes in Stone to Bronze Age transition in the East European plain, by Saag et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Y-DNA chromosome haplogroup

(…) the Bronze Age Fatyanovo Culture individuals [] maternal (subclades of mtDNA hg U5, U4, U2e, H, T, W, J, K, I and N1a) and paternal (chrY hg R1a-M417) lineages were ones characteristic of CWC individuals elsewhere in Europe. Interestingly, in all individuals for which the chrY hg could be determined with more depth (n=6), it was R1a2-Z93, a lineage now spread in Central and South Asia, rather than the

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Slavs in the Making – History, Linguistics and Archaeology


Florin Curta strikes again with the early release of an unpublished book, Slavs in the Making. History, Linguistics and Archaeology in Eastern Europe (ca. 500 – ca. 700), Routledge (2021), freely available now at Academia.edu.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, minor stylistic changes for clarity):


Much has been made of the supposed conservatism of the Slavic ceramic repertoire. In reality, the fossilization of pottery forms and, occasionally, patterns of decoration, are typically indications of maintaining pottery-making and its appearance “as remembered.” As such, conservatism (leading to the treatment of pots as heirlooms, a material reminiscence of life

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Demic vs. cultural diffusion and patrilineal Megalithic societies


Recent paper A dynastic elite in monumental Neolithic society, by Cassidy et al. Nature (2020) 582:384–388.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Neolithic Admixture

We sampled remains from all of the major Irish Neolithic funerary traditions: court tombs, portal tombs, passage tombs, Linkardstown-type burials and natural sites. Within this dataset, the earliest Neolithic human remains from the island—interred at Poulnabrone portal tomb14—are of majority ‘Early_Farmer’ ancestry (as defined by ADMIXTURE modelling), and show no evidence of inbreeding, which implies that, from the very onset, agriculture was accompanied by large-scale maritime colonization. Our ADMIXTURE and ChromoPainter analyses do not distinguish between

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De-Neolithisation of Corded Ware groups in the Eastern Baltic


New paper (behind paywall), Fishers of the Corded Ware culture in the Eastern Baltic, by Piličiauskas et al. Acta Archaeologica (2020) 91(1):95-120.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):


Traditionally the people of the Corded Ware culture (hereafter CWC) were considered mobile stock breeders who brought animal husbandry into the eastern Baltic, ca. 2800-2400 cal BC; a viewpoint substantiated by reconstructed settlement patterns and a lack of substantial structures at CWC sites, which despite being located in various environments have largely yielded little material culture. Indeed, the zooarchaeological evidence alongside the stable isotope data obtained from human bone collagen have generally

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