Friday, November 23, 2018

What Influenced Proto-Indo-European Metal Working And Religious Practice?

Eurogenes mentions in the comments to a recent post the following (open access) article, which despite non-standard terminology for what it calls the Hamangia culture sees that culture also known as the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture (a descendant of a first wave Neolithic Anatolian farmer descendant culture) as a primary source of agricultural knowledge, metal working and burial practices of the Sredniy Stog culture (ca. 5000 BCE to 3500 BCE). The Sredniy Stog culture, in turn, is a likely candidate for being the Proto-Indo-European culture, which would explain how these technologies and beliefs could have arrived without carrying Caucasian genetic influences with them.

In other words, this article really starts to connect the dots of early Indo-European origins, in a way that seems to fit with everything else that we know.


The transition from the Neolithic to Eneolithic in the Eastern European steppe was connected with the intensive contacts of people of the Azov-Dnieper, Low Don, Pricaspiy, Samara, Orlovka and Sredniy Stog cultures with the Balkan population and first with the Hamangia culture. The results of these contacts were some imports: adornments from copper, cornelian, marine shells and pots in the steppe sites and plates from the bone and nacre, pendants from teeth of red deer in the Hamangia graves. The Hamangia infuence in the burial rites of the steppe population was very important and caused to use stone in graves and above them, pits with alcove, new adornments of burial clothes. The strongest impact we have fixed for the population in northern area of the Sea of Azov, where the radical changes in the burial rite and the formation of a new Sredniy Stog culture took place. It was connected with the adoption of new religious elements connected with the formation of the centre of steppe metal working.

It is also notable that the Cucteni-Trypillian culture was a more or less direct successor (in a disruptive transition in which farmers overtook steppe people) in roughly the same geographic location to the (basically steppe) Bug-Dneister culture that in my opinion was probably the source for the band of men, who after a long migration, would become the Chadic people of Africa.


neo said...

you're interested in religion as well? iirc this is your first religion post. at least on this blog

andrew said...

Actually, I have 83 of 1540 posts that are tagged "religion", which worked out to about once a month on average, and more that address the issue tangentially without having a tag noting that fact.

neo said...

what are your interests in religion?

I know Stephen Hawking is an atheist as is Steven Weinberg.

On youtube Michio Kaku tackles string theory and God, he evidently believes in some kind of higher power that uses M-theory to create the universe. He, along with Lubos, believes in some sort of deity that created the universe according to the music of supersrings.

andrew said...

I'm interested in religion because it is entwined with human culture and history. I'm a secular humanist myself.

neo said...

Michio Kaku in his documentaries on string theory thinks that string theory does point to a higher power he calls God.

if string /m theory is indeed the TOE physicists have been looking for, Kaku for one things to a deity.

andrew said...


My operational definition of a "God" is some supernatural power or being that acts with moral purpose. A TOE or string theory is neither of those things. It isn't supernatural and is instead fully described by science and doesn't act with moral purpose (even if it is stochastic instead of deterministic). A deity that can't favor good, or evil, or some other moral concept (e.g. a balance between dark and light), that can't influence human beings lives, is not a deity in any meaningful sense of the word. Amoral randomness doesn't cut it, even though it can feel like it has a moral purpose when it doesn't some times.

My definition includes both theistic religions (Abrahamic, pagan, animist), and more ephemeral divine concepts like those of Taoism and Buddhism where reincarnation and karma and similar concepts come into play. It would include the Force, in Star Wars, but probably not a mere infectious disease or the weather.

Where you draw the line between supernatural and natural is tricky, but is less important than it might seem at first glance.

neo said...

Michio Kaku distinguishes between the God of religion and the God of the physicist.

Michio Kaku - The Question Of God

God is the entity that uses the mathematics of M/string theory with which to create the multiverse

for Kaku M/string theory represents the thoughts of God

andrew said...

Too much obscure math can make people go a bit wacky.