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Thread: Is there Tocharian influence in Uralic? Implications?

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    Is there Tocharian influence in Uralic? Implications?

    I am guessing Uralic was spoken near the Volga/Kama around 3500 BC. Tocharian is often said to have expanded from the North-Central or North East portion of Yamnaya so was likely the closest IE speaking group around 3500 BC. Any Tocharian-Uralic contacts known? If not would that mean

    1. Uralic was still elsewhere or

    2. Did Tocharian expand from somewhere else (or not use the Northern route-seems unlikely they took the southern route because they would have likely ended up dominating South-Central Asia and even much more southern regions rather than the Tarim plus Afanasievo is obviously in the North.)

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    Looks like they indeed had linguistic contacts and influenced each other languages. It is interesting that the exchange happened in both directions what was not the case between Indo-Iranians and Finno-Ugrians so that their relationship was probably much deeper. But i am not sure how valuable my sources are.
    The phonetic correspondence va~ u~ vibetween Finno-Baltic and Mordvin is not only very unusual, never attested in Uralic cognates, but it distinctly identifies Tocharian loanwords in these languages. Some of them are shared with other branches of Uralic and they have been duly listed among the oldest loanwords of Indo-European origin. Some others, which have not been clearly identified as Tocharian so far, provide new and valuable insight into the prehistory of Proto-Tocharian and ProtoFinno-Volgaic. Our analysis suggests that Proto-Tocharian was once spoken in the easternmost extension of the Acer Platanoides maple around the Kama River and that Proto-Tocharian speakers remained in contact with Proto-Mordvin speakers for a longer period than is usually assumed. The general stratification of Indo-European loanwords in Uralic certainly needs to be emended. As noted by Fortson (2004:352) exchanges and influences between Uralic and Tocharian happened in both directions: “Some structural features [of Tocharian], such as the large number of cases in the noun and the limited stop inventory (only voiceless stops), are not typical of IE languages but are found in Uralic, Turkic, and Mongolian languages ofwestern and central Asia. It has been suggested that the Tocharians picked these features up from contact with those languages.” It is possible that lasting interactions with Finno-Volgaic and Mordvin are responsible for the un-Indo-European features of Tocharian. In addition one word tends to show that early Proto-Tocharian had preserved a contrast between at least two series of stops.
    http://diachronica.pagesperso-orange..._Tocharian.pdf

    http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasia...arians2009.pdf
    Last edited by Coldmountains; 04-06-2015 at 12:00 AM.

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    What is about the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon? Could they be Proto/Para Tocharians who rapidly expanded into the forest and forest steppe zones of northern Eurasia ?

    Seima-Turbino phenomenon refers to a pattern of burial sites dating around 1500 BC found across northern Eurasia, from Finland to Mongolia, which has suggested a common point of cultural origin, advanced metal working technology, and unexplained rapid migration. The buried were nomadic warriors and metal-workers, travelling on horseback or two-wheeled chariots. The name derives from the Seima (Sejma) cemetery at the confluence of the Oka River and Volga River, first excavated around 1914, and the Turbino cemetery in Perm, first excavated in 1924.[1]

    These cultures are noted for being nomadic forest and steppe societies with metal working, sometimes without having first developed agricultural methods.[2] The development of this metalworking ability appears to have taken place quite quickly.[3]

    The Altai Mountains in what is now southern Russia and central Mongolia have been identified as the point of origin of the cultural enigma of Seima-Turbino Phenomenon.[2][4] The culture spread from these mountains to the west.[3] Although they were the precursor to the much later Mongol invasions, these groups were not yet strong enough to attack the important social sites of the Bronze Age.[5]

    It is conjectured that changes in climate in this region around 2000 BC and the ensuing ecological, economic and political changes triggered a rapid and massive migration westward into northeast Europe, eastward into China and southward into Vietnam and Thailand across a frontier of some 4,000 miles.[4] This migration took place in just five to six generations and led to peoples from Finland in the west to Thailand in the east employing the same metal working technology and, in some areas, horse breeding and riding.[4] However, further excavations and research in Ban Chiang and Ban Non Wat, Thailand argue the idea that Seima-Turbino brought metal workings into southeast Asia is based on inaccurate and unreliable radiocarbon dating, and remains a hotly debated theory among archaeologists
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    I read in the russian Wikipedia that some associate this burial sites either with Finno-Ugrians (souds very unrealistic) or with a group of far eastern Indo-Europeans. (Proto-Tocharians ? , Para-Tocharians? ). They were distinct from Andronovo Indo-Iranians and had quite different metal-working techniques. But their nomadic ,horses and two-wheeled chariots using culture and also advanced metal working technology points to an Indo-European origin and makes a Finno-ugrian origin extremly unlikely. They are also too late to be associated with the spread of Finno-Ugrian languages. They seem to orginate near the Altai Mountains and here also the Afanasevo culture was present so it makes much sense to associate them with Tocharians or Para-Tocharians.


    The Seima-Turbino horizon marks the entry of the forest-steppe and forest-zone foragers into the cycle of elite competition, trade, and warfare that had erupted earlier in the northern steppes. The tin-bronze spears, daggers, and axes of the Seima-Turbino horizon were among the most technically and aesthetically refined weapons in the ancient world, but they were made by forest and forest-steppe societies that in some places (Tashkovo II) still depended on hunting and fishing. These very high quality tin-bronze objects first appeared among the Elunino and Krotovo cultures located on the upper and middle Irtysh and the upper Ob in the western foothills of the Altai Mountains, a surprisingly remote region for such a remarkable exhibition of metallurgical skill. But tin, copper, and gold ores all could be found on the upper Irtysh, near the confluence of the Irtysh and the Bukhtarta rivers about 600 km east of Karaganda. The exploitation of these ore sources apparently was accompanied by an explosion of new metallurgical skills.
    One of the earliest and most important Seima-Turbino cemeteries was at Rostovka in the Omsk oblast on the middle Irtysh (figure 16.14). Although skeletal preservation was poor, many of the thirty-eight graves seem to have contained no human bones at all or just a few fragments of a skeleton. In the graves with whole bodies the skeleton was supine with the legs and arms extended. Grave gifts were offered both in the graves and in ritual deposits at the edge of graves. Both kinds of offerings included tin-bronze socketed spearheads, single-edged curved knives with cast figures on the pommel, and hollow-core bronze axes decorated with triangles and lozenges. Grave 21 contained bivalve molds for making all three of these weapon types. Offerings also included stemmed flint projectile points of the same types that appeared in Sintashta graves, bone plates pierced to make plate armor, and nineteen hundred sherds of Krotovo pottery (figure 16.14). One grave (gr. 2) contained a lapis lazuli bead from Afghanistan, probably traded through the BMAC, strung with beads of nephrite, probably from the Baikal region.29
    Seima-Turbino metalsmiths were, with Petrovka metalsmiths, the first north of Central Asia to regularly use a tin-bronze alloy. But Seima-Turbino metalsmiths were unique in their mastery of lost-wax casting (for decorative figures on dagger handles) and thin-walled hollow-mold casting (for socketed spears and hollow axes). Socketed spearheads were made on Sintashta anvils by bending a bronze sheet around a socket form and then forging the seam (figure 16.15). Seima-Turbino socketed spearheads were made by pouring molten metal into a mold that created a seamless cast socket around a suspended core, making a hollow interior, a much more sophisticated operation, and easier to do with tin-bronze than with arsenical bronze. Axes were made in a similar way, tin-bronze with a hollow interior, cast around a suspended core. Lost-wax and hollow-moldcasting methods probably were learned from the BMAC civilization, the only reasonably nearby source (perhaps through a skilled captive?).

    Beyond the western Altai/middle Irtysh core area the Seima-Turbino horizon was not a culture. It did not have a standard ceramic type, settlement type, or even a standard mortuary rite. Rather, Seima-Turbino metal-working techniques were adopted by emerging elites across the southern Siberian forest-steppe zone, perhaps in reaction to and competing with the Sintashta and Petrovka elites in the northern steppes. A series of original and distinctive new metal types quickly diffused through the forest-steppe zone from the east to the west, appearing in late Abashevo and Chirkovskaya cemeteries west of the Urals almost at the same time that they first appeared east of the Urals, beginning about 1900 BCE. The rapidity and reach of this phenomenon in the forest zone I surprising. The new metal styles probably spread more by emulation than by migration, along with fast-moving political changes in the structure of power. Seima-Turbino spearheads, daggers, and axes were displayed at the Turbino cemetery in the forests of the lower Kama, southward up the Oka, and as far south as the Borodino hoard in Moldova, in the East Carpathian foothills. East of the Urals, most Seima-Turbino bronzes were tin-bronzes, and west of the Urals, they were mostly arsenical bronzes. The source of the tin was in the east, but the styles and methods of Seima-Turbino metallurgy were diffused across the forest-steppe and forest zones from the Altai to the Carpathians. The Borodino hoard contained a nephrite axe probably made of stone quarried near Lake Baikal. In the eastern direction, Seima-Turbino metal types (hollow-cast socketed spearheads with a side hook, hollow-cast axes) appeared also in sites on the northwestern edges of the evolving archaic Chinese state, probably through a network of trading trails that passed north of the Tien Shan through Dzungaria.30
    The dating of the Seima-Turbino horizon has changed significantly inrecent years. Similarities between Seima-Turbino socketed spearheads and daggers and parallel objects in Mycenaean tombs were once used to date the Seima-Turbino horizon to a period after 1650 BCE. It is clear now, however, that Mycenaean socketed spearheads, like studded disk cheekpieces, were derived from the east and not the other way around. Seima-Turbino and Sintashta were partly contemporary, so Seima-Turbino probably began before 1900 BCE.31 Seima-Turbino and Sintasha graves had the same kinds of flint projectile points. Sintashta forged socketed spearheads probably were the simpler predecessors of the more refined hollow-cast Seima-Turbino socketed spearheads. A hollow-cast spearhead of Seima-Turbino type was deposited in a Petrovka-culture chariot grave at Krivoe Ozero (k. 2, gr. 1); and a Sintashta bent and forged spearhead appeared in the Seima-Turbino cemetery at Rostovka (gr. 1)(see figure16.15).
    The metal-working techniques of the northern steppes (Sintashta andPetrovka) and the forest-steppe zone (Seima-Turbino) remained separateand distinct for perhaps one hundred to two hundred years. But by the beginning of the Andronovo period they merged, and some important Seima-Turbino metal types, such as cast single-edged knives with a ringpommel, became widely popular in Andronovo communities.
    Anthony, David W. (2007). The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. p.443-448

    Maybe Seima-Turbino is directly or indirectly connected to the Tocharian loanwords in Finno-Ugrian languages and the adoption of terms connected with horse breeding and metallurgy points to that.
    Nevertheless, some Tocharian group could be involved in the migratory stream westward: in the languages of the Finno-Ugrian peoples there are Tocharian inclusions, some of which can be interpreted as Indo-European in general but others quite clearly correspond with the Tocharian dialects. These borrowings indicate that contacts took place in the period preceding the disintegration of Ugric unity, but after the isolation of early Permic dialects from the other Finno-Permic languages, which corresponds to the mid-2nd millennium BC to the early 1 st millennium BC. These contacts involved practically all of the Uralic languages despite their disintegration, and terms connected with horse breeding and metallurgy were borrowed. This links the infiltration of the Tocharian lexicon into the Finno-Ugrian languages with the migration of the Seima-Turbino tribes [Napolskikh, 1994; 1997, p. 155]. However, it is impossible to connect the Seima-Turbino migration entirely with the Tocharians: in the Tarim basin Tocharians were to be found from the early 2 nd millennium BC.

    https://www.academia.edu/3742220/Anc...ei_2002_496_pp
    Last edited by Coldmountains; 04-06-2015 at 08:09 AM.

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