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Thread: Celtic from the West

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    Celtic from the West

    The name is somewhat of a clue, but what exactly is the "celtic from the west" hypothesis and what are the arguments for and against it?

    Have the papers by Haak et al and Lazaridis et al shifted opinion at all, and how likely is it to be rejected or accepted in the next few years?

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    The "Celtic from the West" hypothesis was propounded by eminent Celticists Profs John Koch (linguistics) and Barry Cunliffe (archaeology) a few years ago. They challenged the standard theory that Celtic developed in Central Europe in the Iron Age, and spread with the La Tène culture. Instead they propose that it spread from Iberia, perhaps with Bell Beaker.

    There are indeed problems with the the idea that Celtic spread with La Tène. We have evidence of widespread Celtic before La Tène. Eminent prehistorian Kristian Kristiansen said in a lecture on 31 October that the theory of Celtic spread with La Tène is dead. He is not the only scholar to think so.

    The idea of a spread of Celtic with Bell Beaker is not new. It has been proposed intermittently since the 1930s. But ideas have changed over the origin of Bell Beaker. Since 2001 it has been generally accepted that BB began in Iberia. Add to that a language once spoken in Iberia (Celtiberian) which linguistically is the most archaic known form of Celtic, plus place-names indicative of an older Indo-European language, you can see why the idea of Celtic developing in Iberia would appeal.

    However linguists other than Prof. Koch seem unimpressed. One can see why. Proto-Celtic appears to have developed in contact with a precursor of Germanic. Koch himself recognised at the start that there was an alternative explanation for the archaic nature of Celtiberian, to wit that it was a language that retained archaic features by being cut off from the continuing development of Celtic in its heartland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Since 2001
    What was the turning point?

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    As someone with a fairly basic level of knowledge at best, over the years I've hear about "Iberian" celts and "Germanic" celts. If such cultures existed around roughly the same period what connects them - is it dna to some extent, or just "cultural" and why the commonality?
    A bit fanciful maybe, but is it possible that celtic culture partly emerged from the earlier people of the Isles, who certainly weren't dummies given what they achieved and who had the advantages of mineral and other wealth, particularly as metal working processes developed, acknowledging that it could have been a two-way process over a long period? They seemed to have had very early sea links with the mediterranean and other parts of the outside World. Interesting to ponder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by V-X View Post
    The name is somewhat of a clue, but what exactly is the "celtic from the west" hypothesis and what are the arguments for and against it?

    Have the papers by Haak et al and Lazaridis et al shifted opinion at all, and how likely is it to be rejected or accepted in the next few years?
    There were three phases of the Cunliffe, Koch proposal:

    1) Celtic from the West
    https://www.academia.edu/7336002/Cel...and_Literature

    2) Atlantic Europe in the Metal Ages
    http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/project/CE10AF...9-14D0A73C0816
    https://www.academia.edu/14176791/Ph...d_Proto-Celtic

    3) Indo European from the East, Celtic from the West
    https://www.academia.edu/8299894/Ind...ter_prehistory

    https://www.pinterest.com/gerardcorc...from-the-west/
    Gerard Corcoran
    R1b-DF21-S5456-S6166, H1C1

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    Quite funny that they appear to be backtracking. This looks to me like a good example of a 'degenerative research program' as described by Imre Lakatos. They are fiddling with the protective belt to protect their hard core. Even if they are paying lip service to the idea of being skeptical, in practice they are supporting only their theory, if those slides are anything to go by.

    Confirmation bias has gotten hold of them. (A must read psychology paper for any kind of researcher)
    The knowledge that people typically consider only one hypothesis at a time and often make the assumption at the outset that that hypothesis is
    true leads to the conjecture that reasoning might be improved by training people to think of alternative hypotheses early in the hypothesis evaluation process
    They shot themselves in the foot by specifying Iberia I think. If they had stuck to a more broad "celtic from the bronze age" it would have been easier to fit the developing detail into that framework. Clearly some celtic elements are present in Iberia, but I don't see the need to select any of the available options that go beyond what we actually know, when there are multiple possibilities that are equally well supported by the available evidence. That's especially the case when we expect that there will be plenty of groundbreaking evidence and surprises over the next few years.

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    In his summary, Prof. Cunliffe called on everyone, meaning the archaeologists, linguists, and geneticists in the room, to "look at our own data without preconceptions."

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    Quote Originally Posted by J1 DYS388=13 View Post
    In his summary, Prof. Cunliffe called on everyone, meaning the archaeologists, linguists, and geneticists in the room, to "look at our own data without preconceptions."
    And yet everyone will interpret the next evidence in light of their own pet theory.

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    This video seems to be a concise exposition. The way he speaks about it makes it sound like it's mainly the origin of the celtic language(s) that is in question.


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    The introduction to the first Celtic From the West book addresses that.

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