There is a lot of debate about where the homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans was. I had thought for years that it was in the southern Ukraine, but that is not correct.
Previously it was thought to be in Anatolia, but that theory seems to be losing support. It is true that the most ancient language within the Indo-European language family is Hittite.
In fact, Hittite is so far removed from the rest that I have long advocated the term Indo-Hittite instead of Indo-European, to show how far removed Hittite is from the rest of IE. Hittite is of course a dead tongue, but it was formerly spoken in Anatolia. There were quite a few other now dead tongues spoken in Anatolia too, such as Luwian, etc. There are still quite a few advocates of various Anatolian theories, but I am not convinced.
There are a few other far-out theories, including the “out of India” theory loved by the Hindutva Indian nationalists, who also insist that European civilization came from India too. Well! I certainly don’t think it did, and I surely hope it won’t come from there in the future, though a walk through downtown London smelling the curry in the air might suggest otherwise.
India isn’t giving the world much but crappy, cheap-labor, job-stealing coders, tons of starvation of varying degrees amidst the world’s highest population of living and uneaten cows, probably the most evil religion on Earth and the world’s most passionate colonizers of 7-11 and gas station franchises. I don’t expect that to change in the future, Academy Awards be damned.
A friend of mine insists that the PIE homeland is in the Baltics on the basis that Lithuanian is a very conservative tongue that supposedly has conserved more of PIE than anything else. I’m not sure sitting in one place and refusing to change proves an Urheimat. Anyway, Balto-Slavic seems to be a very early split-off from PIE, not part of it.
There’s a strange theory out there called the Paleolithic Continuity Theory which suggests that PIE goes all the way back to the first proto-Caucasians that came out of Africa, which would be about 40-45,000 years ago in my estimation. This theory seems absurd because I don’t see how we could reconstruct that much so easily at such a time depth.
The top theory for the PIE homeland is the Kurgan Hypothesis favored by the great female (!) scholar Marija Gimbutas. The earliest settlements in this area are in a region from north of the Sea of Avov in the Donets Basin of Southeastern Ukraine east from Rostov on Don through Kalmykia all the way to the Ural River north of the Caspian Sea. This area stretches from the north Black Sea to the north Caspian Sea and is just north of the Caucasus.
The earliest cultures were the Samara and Seroglazovo cultures. Seroglazovo stretched from Rostov on Don across to the Ural River north of the Caspian. Another major settlement area was north of the Azov Sea in southeastern Ukraine. Samara was about 100 miles southeast of the city of Samara on the Middle Volga, 150 miles north of the far northwestern Kazakhstan border and about 400 miles north of the Caspian Sea. This general area is called the Pontic Steppe.
Additional support for this comes from the recent findings of what seem to be typological affinities, probably borrowings, between PIE and the Northeast Caucasian languages, probably Proto-NE Caucasian. These include the tongue-twisting languages of Dagestan, Chechnya, etc. in the Caucasus.
Dagestan and Chechnya are quite close to the Manych-Kuma Depression (a line running from Rostov to the Kalmykia-Dagestan border), one of the PIE homelands. This area between the Black and Caspian Seas from Rostov to Kalmykia is traditionally considered to be the boundary between Europe and Asia.
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