Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Slavs in the Making. History, Linguistics and Archaeology in Eastern Europe (2021)

  1. #1
    Registered Users
    Posts
    313
    Sex

    Slavs in the Making. History, Linguistics and Archaeology in Eastern Europe (2021)

    Looks like Florin Curta is releasing a new book soon.

    (Link here, available to read: https://www.academia.edu/43351673/Sl...._500_ca._700_ )

    A very interesting read. From my understanding, Curta belongs to the "autochthonous" camp as it relates to the ethnogenesis of the Slavs. He claims that while small scale and small distance migration did play a role, migration as it is typically presented in relation Slavic origins is misleading (and tied up heavily in Nationalism/politics of the countries involved). Rather, he states that the origin and spread of the Slavs can be better represented by a "lingua franca or a koiné" model that introduced Common Slavic to a mix of peoples. Possibly through the use of a Common Slavic language in the lands of the Pannonian Avars.

    Curta starts off by providing a brief history of the search for the Slavic homeland, covering the fields of hydronymy, linguistics, archeology, and the use of ancient texts by historians to that effect.

    Here are a few quotes I found interesting, especially considering some recent aDNA finds (and the rumors of more that are upcoming)

    Regarding the use of hydronymy and linguistics to locate the Slavic homeland:

    The problem is that Vasmer’s idea of identifying the Slavic Urheimat on the basis of river names is based on a dubious assumption, namely that one can establish with certainty that the names in question are Thracian, Illyrian, Iranian, or Slavic, as opposed to Indo-European, in general.
    Regarding the use of linguistics to locate the Slavic homeland:

    According to one of them, the Slavic Urheimat was in the region between the Carpathian Mountains, the Pripet, and the Middle Dnieper. Another theory favors the Middle Danube region inside the Carpathian Basin. Finally, the third theory locates the Slavic Urheimat in the lands between the Oder and the Vistula rivers, in modern-day Poland. Because all three theories have been exposed to serious criticism, many have begun to raise doubts about the entire search of a Slavic Urheimat...
    Building upon an earlier suggestion of the American historian Omeljan Pritsak (1919–2006), the American linguist Horace G. Lunt (1919–2010) argued that Common Slavic spread across Eastern Europe as a lingua franca, obliterating old dialects and languages, while at the same time remaining fairly stable and remarkably uniform through the 9th century
    The most serious problem of all attempts to reconstruct early Slavic history on the basis of linguistic data is the lack of chronological precision. In the absence of written sources, linguistic changes can be dated with dificulty, if at all. That is why dates offered by various scholars studying Common Slavic vary widely.
    Regarding the use of written sources to locate the Slavic homeland:

    With one exception, no historian, linguist, or archaeologist writing about the early Slavs in East Central and Eastern Europe has used the Bavarian Geographer in support of his or her efforts to locate the Slavic Urheimat. Most scholars have instead relied on five earlier sources, two in Greek (Procopius of Caesarea and Theophylact Simocatta) and three in Latin (Jordanes, Fredegar, and Martin of Braga)
    here is actually no information in Jordanes, Procopius, or Theophylact Simocatta that could be of any use for the reconstruction of early Slavic history in East Central or Eastern Europe. The earliest source with extensive information about the early Slavs in that part of the Continent is the chronicle of Fredegar. The Wendish account in that chronicle also contains the earliest “ethnogenetic myth” about the Slavs in Central Europe
    For how long have they been there, and whence did they come? No answer is possible to any of those questions on the basis of the written sources, but it is very significant that the “ethnogenetic myth” in the chronicle of Fredegar links Slavs to Avars. The beginnings of Slavic history in the Carpathian Basin are linked to the beginnings of the Avar polity
    Curta then goes on, in detail, to examine each of the common regions often presented as the main candidates for the Slavic Urheimat: The Carpathian Basin, Bohemia/Moravia and East German lands, Poland, Western Ukraine and Belarus, and Eastern Ukraine and Russia.

    Regarding the Carpathian Basin:

    Those finds were published as “early Slavic” under the assumption that the handmade pottery was typically Slavic. Why would anyone regard the Suchohrad finds as Slavic, after all? The main reason is that they were treated as of the Prague type, for they matched the types of one of two taxonomies currently in use for the description of the early medieval pottery in the northern and northeastern regions of the Carpathian Basin
    Conversely, no trough-like settlement features like those found in Nova Tabla are known from any site of the so-called Prague culture. The earliest such structures found elsewhere in the Carpathian Basin cannot be dated before the Avar age
    Regarding the Bohemia/Moravia and East German lands:

    (Northern Germany)
    German archaeologist Joachim Herrmann (1932–2010) argued that several migratory waves of speakers of Slavic came to northern Germany, beginning with those immigrants who brought the Prague culture from Moravia and Bohemia to the lands between the Elbe and the Saale as early as the 6th century. However, such ideas are contradicted by the archaeological evidence and the new dates obtained by means of dendrochronology from samples of wood collected from several sites... the region along the Lower Oder River in the Uckermark and in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania seems to have been severely depopulated during the 6th century, with only a few small settlements surviving...None of the settlement sites in north(east)ern Germany, which have been attributed to the Slavs almost exclusively on the basis of pottery, may be dated before 700
    (Bohemia)
    On the other hand, if one takes seriously Godłowski’s idea that the Slavs came into lands previously evacuated by the Germanic populations, the late dates of some of the inhumation cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia strongly suggest that the Slavic migration could not have possibly happened before ca. 600
    Roztoky may well have been a “service settlement.”...During the first half of the 7th century, the Avars were the only power capable of collecting tribute from the lands in East Central Europe
    There is little evidence to substantiate the idea that the early Slavs came to Bohemia from southwestern Ukraine and/or southern Poland.
    Nor is there any evidence of migration from Ukraine or southern Poland. If anything, the examination of the archaeological record of 7th-century Moravia and south-western Slovakia shows connections of both regions with the Carpathian Basin during the Early Avar age.
    There is now clear evidence of a local production of combs. Some of the sites of the early Slavic culture are located immediately next to those of the pre-Slavic population. Moreover, there is also evidence of the use of the same cemetery site by those favoring inhumation and those practicing cremation... such observations suggest that the so-called early Slavic culture with Prague-type pottery in Moravia and Bohemia may be the result of dramatic social and political transformations taking place in the lands previously inhabited by the populations that buried their dead
    Regarding Poland:

    While those parallels and analogies are not necessarily an indication of the direction of migration, they suggest that different groups came to different parts of Poland at the same time, but, perhaps, from different directions.
    The many settlements excavated in Żukowice produced material that is different in many respects from that in southeastern Poland, which suggests that the settlement of Lower Silesia cannot be attributed to immigrants from Lesser Poland
    Romanian archaeologist Ioan Stanciu, for example, has noted that the “classical” Korchak type defined by Irina Rusanova (her type I A 1–2, the equivalent of Stanciu’s types 1.1a and 1.1c) is not documented either in Poland (except Bachórz) or in Bohemia (except Roztoky)
    Regarding Western Ukraine/Belarus:

    In reality, as Kazimierz Godłowski long ago put it, the material in Polesie cannot be dated with any precision...Gavritukhin was not even sure that the site, along with others in the Lower Pripet region, belonged to the Prague or to the Kolochin culture.
    Vostrau thus became the earliest settlement of the Prague culture in what many regard as the Urheimat of the early Slavs. However, does it truly belong to the Prague culture? The only(reconstructed) pot found in house 3 does not match any of the existing taxono-mies of the early Slavic pottery. During the 4th and early 5th century, the region along the middle and lower course of the Pripet River was part of the Kiev culture, and the pottery found in Vostrau may be compared with one of the two variants of that culture so far identied on the territory of Belarus. While there is actually no evidence of the Prague culture in Vostrau, the misattribution of the site is the least of all problems
    Given that the latter was created on the basis of ceramic assemblages from Poland, none of which could be dated before ca. 600, those matches strongly suggest a similar date for the corresponding sites in Ukraine. It is in fact important to note that with just one exception, all chronological markers available point to a late 6th- or 7th-century date for most, if not all, sites in western Ukraine that have produced pottery of the so-called Prague type.
    The existing evidence strongly suggests therefore that assemblages with pottery of the so-called Prague type appear almost simultaneously in various parts of western Ukraine, but without any precedents that could be dated to the first half of the 6th or to the late 5th century
    Regarding Eastern Ukraine/Russia:

    Because of the stratigraphic situation (graves cut-ting through settlement features, which must therefore be earlier), the excavator attributed the settlement to the earliest phase of the Pen’kivka culture, and dated it to the 5th and 6th century. However, there are no artifacts that could be dated to that period, and it is more likely that the settlement is of a much earlier date—4th or 5th century—and could thus be attributed to the Kiev culture
    There are no formal parallels between the Prague-type pottery and the ceramic repertoires either of the Kolochin or the Pen’kivka cultures, which have their own specific taxonomies.
    No evidence exists that that Kolochin culture expanded during the 6th and 7th century, either to the southwest or to the south
    From what I can make of all this, Curta is making the claim that Common Slavic was a lingua franca that developed under the Avars in the carpathian basin. Poland, having been largely depopulated, was then settled by peoples from multiple directions (Bohemia from the west, Ukraine/Belarus from the east, and Carpathian Basin from the south). Curta also seems to challenge the dating and relationship of Prague culture to the Korchal/Penkovka/Kolochin finds throughout Eastern Europe (Ukraine/Belarus/Russia).

    We now have M458 aDNA (I can't help but bring this up whenever I can ) from the Hallstatt culture. There are two separate rumors I have read, that L1029 has been found in La Tene samples, and another (less reliable AFIAK) that the Great Moravian Elite are turning up L1029+ as well. Considering how focused this is on Bohemia, and in context of Curta's work here, I wonder if L1029/L260 can be considered "major players" in the Prague culture group that formed around Bohemia and would have for sure been present in the Carpathian region around the time of the Avars. If the Avars were indeed the catalyst of Common Slavic through the use of a Lingua Franca, then perhaps that explains how m458 spread, along with Common Slavic, over such a large area quickly and uniformly? Along with the other typically Slavic ancient yDNA markers that seem to be turning up in the Carpathian Basin region...

    Has anyone else read this yet? And if so, what are peoples thoughts on the matter?
    Last edited by Brent.B; 07-25-2020 at 05:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered Users
    Posts
    503
    Ethnicity
    Macedonian
    Y-DNA (P)
    E-Y16729
    mtDNA (M)
    H

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent.B View Post
    . Rather, he states that the origin and spread of the Slavs can be better represented by a "lingua franca or a koiné" model that introduced Common Slavic to a mix of peoples. Possibly through the use of a Common Slavic language in the lands of the Pannonian Avars.
    I think that ancient DNA will disprove much of what Curta writes.
    It's obvious even now that Medieval Slavic migration from its urhmait to the Balkans wasn't a small scale migration as Curta writes but a large one. If Curta ever do a DNA test will realize what I am talking about. The amount of shared matches of his with Northern Slavs will be enough to realize that the Slavic languages weren't spread as Coine was but with people migrating.
    That being said Curta is not the first Romanian that tries to make the Slavic migrations of medieval look like a process not involving much migration. He plays on the autochthonous card not because he cares about the Slavs but because he cares about the Romanians.

  3. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Aspar For This Useful Post:

     Brent.B (07-28-2020),  Coldmountains (07-25-2020),  George (07-27-2020),  Michał (07-30-2020),  Riverman (07-27-2020),  td120 (07-27-2020)

  4. #3
    Registered Users
    Posts
    336
    Sex

    Curta is worthless, maybe the only thing you could use him is that you could get some valid criticism of the classical theories from his unfounded contrarianism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspar View Post
    I think that ancient DNA will disprove much of what Curta writes.
    It's obvious even now that Medieval Slavic migration from its urhmait to the Balkans wasn't a small scale migration as Curta writes but a large one. If Curta ever do a DNA test will realize what I am talking about. The amount of shared matches of his with Northern Slavs will be enough to realize that the Slavic languages weren't spread as Coine was but with people migrating.
    That being said Curta is not the first Romanian that tries to make the Slavic migrations of medieval look like a process not involving much migration. He plays on the autochthonous card not because he cares about the Slavs but because he cares about the Romanians.
    Let's not exaggerate, he ultimately writes from America and probably just has some weird personal reason why he is so contrarian to what seems an overall solid theory of Slavic ethnogenesis, but it doesn't have to be nationality.
    Last edited by Granary; 07-27-2020 at 01:22 PM.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Granary For This Useful Post:

     George (07-27-2020),  Michał (07-30-2020)

  6. #4
    Registered Users
    Posts
    336
    Sex

    Languages don't magically arise or mix together to from coherent lingua francas that somehow spread in all direction as if they were an homogenous linguistic community all along.
    Both genetics and linguistic thoroughly makes Curta's theory impossible; archeology can't meaningfully counter that, heck not even written evidence could.
    Last edited by Granary; 07-28-2020 at 04:24 AM.

  7. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Granary For This Useful Post:

     Brent.B (07-28-2020),  George (07-27-2020),  Michał (07-30-2020)

  8. #5
    Registered Users
    Posts
    313
    Sex

    I’m not saying I agree with Curta, but what specifically do you find flawed in his arguments?

  9. #6
    Registered Users
    Posts
    336
    Sex

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent.B View Post
    I’m not saying I agree with Curta, but what specifically do you find flawed in his arguments?
    Because he effectively thinks Slavic "just arose" as lingua franca out of nowhere or out of mixing, he doesn't know or denies the real genetic evidence of recent demographic expansion, he doesn't really account for how internally similar Slavic was for the first centuries after the expansion.

    Yes yes, bias is universal but he is particularly biased towards his own weird views to simply see the writing on the wall.
    Last edited by Granary; 07-28-2020 at 04:34 AM.

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Granary For This Useful Post:

     Brent.B (07-28-2020),  Michał (07-30-2020)

  11. #7
    Registered Users
    Posts
    313
    Sex

    Quote Originally Posted by Granary View Post
    Because he effectively thinks Slavic "just arose" as lingua franca out of nowhere or out of mixing, he doesn't know or denies the real genetic evidence of recent demographic expansion, he doesn't really account for how internally similar Slavic was for the first centuries after the expansion.

    Yes yes, bias is universal but he is particularly biased towards his own weird views to simply see the writing on the wall.
    Yeah, I find it hard to imagine there was no demographic impact as a result of the Slavic expansions in the 6th century onwards.

    My main interest in his work is the archeological interpretation/dating of the generally accepted Slavic cultures of the time period, like the Prague culture.

    For example, one of the quotes I listed above had to do with the Prague culture's dating in Ukraine...

    Vostrau thus became the earliest settlement of the Prague culture in what many regard as the Urheimat of the early Slavs. However, does it truly belong to the Prague culture? The only(reconstructed) pot found in house 3 does not match any of the existing taxono-mies of the early Slavic pottery. During the 4th and early 5th century, the region along the middle and lower course of the Pripet River was part of the Kiev culture, and the pottery found in Vostrau may be compared with one of the two variants of that culture so far identied on the territory of Belarus. While there is actually no evidence of the Prague culture in Vostrau, the misattribution of the site is the least of all problems
    I am not well versed in this, but his argument seems to be that the dating/identity of certain sites might be a bit off. What this means for how/when the Slavs spread from, I am not sure. I'd be curious to see what others here have to say on the matter.

  12. #8
    Registered Users
    Posts
    336
    Sex

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent.B View Post
    Yeah, I find it hard to imagine there was no demographic impact as a result of the Slavic expansions in the 6th century onwards.

    My main interest in his work is the archeological interpretation/dating of the generally accepted Slavic cultures of the time period, like the Prague culture.

    For example, one of the quotes I listed above had to do with the Prague culture's dating in Ukraine...



    I am not well versed in this, but his argument seems to be that the dating/identity of certain sites might be a bit off. What this means for how/when the Slavs spread from, I am not sure. I'd be curious to see what others here have to say on the matter.
    Archeology often times is completely useless to talk about real linguistic or demographic changes, for example I heard some scholars argue that initally the Arabic expansion was archeological invisible, was it not real or game changing?
    Archeology is often used by some people to push various strands of autochthonous theories that would be untenable on linguistic or genetic grounds, the entire "pots not people" concept has been severely undermined by genetics in many places.

    My suggestion is to find some other archeologist for the topic, Curta already has his conclusion set since 2 decades and more, you are always going to get a specific interpretation no matter how much evidence against it you find.

  13. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Granary For This Useful Post:

     Brent.B (07-28-2020),  Michał (07-30-2020)

Similar Threads

  1. Ethnic history of the Eastern Slavs
    By AlexRus in forum Eastern
    Replies: 122
    Last Post: 03-08-2021, 07:50 AM
  2. Replies: 103
    Last Post: 02-12-2021, 12:05 AM
  3. Middle Eastern Archaeology and History News
    By History-of-Things in forum Archaeology (Prehistory)
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 04-22-2016, 09:15 PM
  4. Scandinavia Archaeology and History News
    By History-of-Things in forum Archaeology (Prehistory)
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 07-27-2013, 03:39 PM
  5. Eastern, Southeastern, and Central Europe Archaeology and History News
    By History-of-Things in forum Archaeology (Prehistory)
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 07-27-2013, 03:12 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •