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Conference Information

Full Title: Talking Neolithic

Location: Leipzig, Germany
Start Date: 02-Dec-2013 - 03-Dec-2013
Contact: Guus Kroonen
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: ‘Talking Neolithic: The Indo-European Homeland Problem versus the Origin(s) of the First European Farmers’, December 2-3, 2013, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Organizers: Bernard Comrie (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology), Guus Kroonen (Copenhagen University)

Confirmed invited speakers: Dr. P. Heggarty (MPI EVA Leipzig), Prof. M.A. Jobling (University of Leicester), Prof. J.P. Mallory (Queens University), Prof. J. Salmons (University of Wisconsin), Prof. P.C.H. Schrijver (Utrecht University)

In recent years, the study of archaeological DNA and strontium isotopes has been shedding more and more light on the origins and migrations of the first European farmers. The evidence now seems to confirm that the dispersal of agricultural techniques from Anatolia to Central and Northwest Europe was not merely cultural, but truly ‘demic’, i.e. induced by migrating farmers.

At the background of this, the debate on the location of the Indo-European homeland recently sparked into life again. In 2012, the widely supported theory that the Indo-European languages reached Europe during a Bronze Age expansion wave from the Ukrainian steppes was challenged once more by the rival Out-of-Anatolia hypothesis. This hypothesis, which claims that the Indo-Europeans spread from Anatolia in the wake of agriculture, gained world-wide media attention after its implementation in a new model for language expansions. Meanwhile, current research on the pre-Indo-European loanwords in Germanic, Celtic, Greek and Latin reveals that the separate Indo-European dialects borrowed a significant part of their agricultural terminology from extinct Neolithic languages. This seems to suggest that the Indo-Europeans and the earliest European farmers were two culturally and linguistically distinct groups.

The questions that thus arise are: ‘Exactly how agricultural were the Indo-Europeans and how Indo-European were Europe’s first agriculturalists?’
Linguistic Subfield: Historical Linguistics
Subject Language Family: Indo-European
LL Issue: 24.1838

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