Wednesday, September 22, 2021

DNA validates Marija Gimbutas Kurgan hypothesis



DNA validates Marija Gimbutas Kurgan hypothesis
 about the demise of Old Europe

 For those unfamiliar with the work of Marija Gimbutas, whose revolutionary work with archeology in what she called "Old Europe" has had tremendous impact in re-envisioning our "his-story", as she re-discovered the ancient World of the Goddess, wide-spread, long lived, peaceful civilizations that displayed no art or artifacts dedicated to war or conquest, and whose prime Deity was a Goddess, a Great Mother.  She believed that this culture was gradually extinguished by waves of Indo-European, horse riding nomads coming west from the Russian steppes - she called them the "Kurgans".  They were a very different culture than that of the Old European agriculturalists, with an emphasis upon conquest and "sky Gods" of war.  Gimbutas' controversial findings have been challenged by conventional archeologists repeatedly, yet she has influenced a huge following (which includes me).

ADDENDUM:  Here is a further related corroborating article someone posted on Facebook:

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/how-genetics-is-settling-the-aryan-migration-debate/article19090301.ece/amp/

Also,  this Commentary (much better than mine!) from the Association of Study of Women and Mythology(ASWM):  


It also shows how DNA evidence can upset established archeological theories and bring rejected ones back into contention. The idea that Indo-European languages emanated from the Yamnaya homeland was established in 1956, by the Lithuanian-American archeologist Marija Gimbutas. Her view, known as the Kurgan hypothesis—named for the distinctive burial mounds that spread west across Europe—is now the most widely accepted theory about Indo-European linguistic origins. But, where many archeologists envisaged a gradual process of cultural diffusion, Gimbutas saw “continuous waves of expansion or raids.” As her career progressed, her ideas became more controversial. In Europe previously, Gimbutas hypothesized, men and women held relatively equal places in a peaceful, female-centered, goddess-worshipping society—as evidenced by the famous fertility figurines of the time. She believed that the nomads from the Caspian steppes imposed a male-dominated warrior culture of violence, sexual inequality, and social stratification, in which women were subservient to men and a small number of élite males accumulated most of the wealth and power.

 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/12/14/the-skeletons-at-the-lake

link to full article from the new yorker (excerpt below):

In Iberia during this time (of the "Kurgan" invasions into Old Europe), the local type of Y chromosome was replaced by an entirely different type. Given that the Y chromosome, found only in males, is passed down from father to son, this means that the local male line in Iberia was essentially extinguished. It is likely that the newcomers perpetrated a large-scale killing of local men, boys, and possibly male infants. Any local males remaining must have been subjugated in a way that prevented them from fathering children, or were so strongly disfavored in mate selection over time that their genetic contribution was nullified. The full genetic sequencing, however, indicated that about sixty per cent of the lineage of the local population was passed on, which shows that women were not killed but almost certainly subjected to widespread sexual coercion, and perhaps mass rape.


We can get a sense of this reign of terror by thinking about what took place when the descendants of those ancient Iberians sailed to the New World, events for which we have ample historical records. The Spanish conquest of the Americas produced human suffering on a grotesque scale—war, mass murder, rape, slavery, genocide, starvation, and pandemic disease. Genetically, as Reich noted, the outcome was very similar: in Central and South America, large amounts of European DNA mixed into the local population, almost all of it coming from European males. The same Y-chromosome turnover is also found in Americans of African descent. On average, a Black person in America has an ancestry that is around eighty per cent African and twenty per cent European. But about eighty per cent of that European ancestry is inherited from white males—genetic testimony to the widespread rape and sexual coercion of female slaves by slaveowners.

In the Iberian study, the predominant Y chromosome seems to have originated with a group called the Yamnaya, who arose about five thousand years ago, in the steppes north of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. By adopting the wheel and the horse, they became powerful and fearsome nomads, expanding westward into Europe as well as east- and southward into India. They spoke proto-Indo-European languages, from which most of the languages of Europe and many South Asian languages now spring. Archeologists have long known about the spread of the Yamnaya, but almost nothing in the archeological record showed the brutality of their takeover. “This is an example of the power of ancient DNA to reveal cultural events,” Reich told me.

It also shows how DNA evidence can upset established archeological theories and bring rejected ones back into contention. The idea that Indo-European languages emanated from the Yamnaya homeland was established in 1956, by the Lithuanian-American archeologist Marija Gimbutas. Her view, known as the Kurgan hypothesis—named for the distinctive burial mounds that spread west across Europe—is now the most widely accepted theory about Indo-European linguistic origins. But, where many archeologists envisaged a gradual process of cultural diffusion, Gimbutas saw “continuous waves of expansion or raids.” As her career progressed, her ideas became more controversial. In Europe previously, Gimbutas hypothesized, men and women held relatively equal places in a peaceful, female-centered, goddess-worshipping society—as evidenced by the famous fertility figurines of the time. She believed that the nomads from the Caspian steppes imposed a male-dominated warrior culture of violence, sexual inequality, and social stratification, in which women were subservient to men and a small number of élite males accumulated most of the wealth and power.

The DNA from the Iberian skeletons can’t tell us what kind of culture the Yamnaya replaced, but it does much to corroborate Gimbutas’s sense that the descendants of the Yamnaya caused much greater disruption than other archeologists believed. Even today, the Y chromosomes of almost all men of Western European ancestry have a high percentage of Yamnaya-derived genes, suggesting that violent conquest may have been widespread. 


16 comments:

Roberta Shoemaker-Beal, MFA, ATR-BC said...

Comment: Thank you very much for this valuable posting about an up-dating and support of the remarkable work of Dr. Marija Gimbutas, and her #KurgenConquestTheory. Perhaps, this emerging, deep DNA coding, developed by modern science, will be able to assist in an understanding of the pervasive confrontation between the #GenePools of those seeking peaceful and diplomatic solutions, the #PeaceNics, to global problems, in contrast to those seeking war and violent disruptions of governments, to support the spread of corporate interests, who we may called, for emphasis, the #WarNics: those who are just being exposed, as possible actors, who choose war, and invasion as solutions to any global conflict, through authoritarian and militaristic means.

From my perspective, I can go back to my psychiatric training, which alerted health care professionals to the fact that “human societies keep 5% or more of warriors in their gene pools, as protective guardians, in case of times of war, and to control any who are unruly among us, remembering the poor of spirit will always be with us! Psychiatric personnel, in the 70’s, were alerted to look out for any of an unusual XYY chromosome cases, some patients who would not, or could not, make changes in their pathological behaviors, and would undermine effective therapeutic interventions for others. (1) Such people, called #SS patients, would need to be removed out of the hospitals, perhaps to jails, if they had been given the option of rehabilitation, often for substance abuse, by a Judge, in court. (2) Behaviors were that 1. these “potential mercenaries” could be counted on to kill, without conscience slowing them down. And, 2. also note, of these YY chromosome, usually men, some would sacrifice themselves to protect the other members of their tribe and society, seen as an honorable social action. 3. Shall we pause to ask, what possible percentage of a. an XYY chromosomal population make-up do we want, along with b. violently raised children, receivers of trauma, who tend to repeat trauma violence and hurting others, in our society, unless identified at an early age and channeled into healthy behaviors to become productive citizens? With the defunding of public schools, where “troubled and traumatized students, who might hurt themselves or others,” could have been identified at an early age, before pass on their “wounding” to others, have we created a “wounded or LOST generations of citizens”? What balance between #PeaceNics and #Warnics do we want to have in a “consciously co-created society?

Does my creativity dynamics research, into resolving personal conflict, now need to be up-dated, to treat those confounding psychiatric #PeoplePuzzles, who returned to our psychiatric center after years of verbal therapy, to seek deeper solutions than “talk therapy”? Does my #CreativityLabWork, need to be up-dated on how to reach students identified with failing grades in academic-focused schools, those such obviously bright students from good families, could be identified as “mystery learners”? (Pierce and Shoemaker-Beal)? Could these academically “trashed students,” who we identified as pre-verbal learners, whose deeper creative resources had not yet been found in their academic track schools, where the arts were defunded: students whose natural mode of learning is music, dance, the graphic arts, drama and poetry? (Shoemaker-Beal, 2000 Contact at Creatas.com) End of Part I

Lauren Raine said...

Thank you for your very thoughtful post. So many questions, truly. I myself, being an artist from a very early age, understand what it is to "think outside the box", i.e., being a visual thinker and learner in a world that is "left brained".

I think what makes the work of Gimbutas so important for so many of us is that there have been long lived societies in which women were, apparently, equal partners, long lived societies that were peaceful and were not focused upon war, conflict, and "alpha male/chieftan" heirarchies. Patriarchy has not always been, and God was once a woman.

Aidan M G Moore said...

In western Ireland 'beyond the Pale' where I was born and raised, ancient folk memories persist, older than in the rest of Europe. They are preserved in folklore, myth and legend.
The earlest society, which was matriarchal, was said to be founded by the 'Parthalon', later displaced by the 'Fir Bolg' whom the Romans called 'Belgae', an iron-using warrior Celtic race. Its symbol was the Clyde Solis, 'Sword shining like the Sun', ie an iron sword. It is featured on Irish postal stamps as a symbol of national pride up until the 1960s.

Irish legend says the great passage mounds (Brughan) of Bru na Boinne (Newgrange) and elsewhere e.g the Brughan Mor (Bryn Mawr) on Holy Island and related monuments on the Sulis Bru plain were built in honour of the Earth Mother Donna by the Parthalon who then died off. Later Celtic Irlsh tribes knew nothing about them and thought the Brughan were the graves of the Parthalon. 19thC scholars also mistook them for 'tombs'.

They are not so much tombs as wombs, with a birth canal facing East, leading to the rising sun of the New Year. The King of the Old Year who died, symbolically or actually, voluntarily or not, on Midwinter's Night 22 Dec was taken to the Bru and spent three days dead in the womb-tomb. If he emerged on 25 December he was acclaimed as 'the New-born King' of the New Year. If he didn't, a new King was selected on 25 December, thus being 'born' on that day.

Recent DNA analysis of the Irish population shows that the ancestral population was largely of Iranian (Persian, Parthian) descent. Archaeology shows that they had a society based on agricultural innovation, ie fertility, hence the worship of the Earth Mother that persisted in Ireland. The later Belgic tribes were warlike. The demise of the Parthalon may be another manifestation of the 'Kurgan' or Yamnaya conquest, later than elsewhere in Europe.

Lauren Raine said...

Fascinating! I would love to visit New Grange, and agree that the folk traditions and mythologies of Ireland reveal much about a past not entirely forgotten. I visited Silbury in the UK in 2018, and was struck with the same recognition of the sacred site being identified as part of the Body of the Earth Mother.....in the case of Silbury and other "harvest hills" associated with stone circles like Avebury or Arbor Lowe, they represented the pregnant body of the the Great Mother giving birth. How different indeed would our way of life be now if the prime deity was a Mother, instead of an old testament warrior god?
https://threadsofspiderwoman.blogspot.com/2020/03/earth-speak-envisioning-conversant-world.html

princeminski said...

These ideas were becoming strong when I was in college on the G.I. Bill, and had a very strong effect on my view of the world. It’s nice to see these scientific confirmations of ideas I passed on over the years to college students and museum visitors with the caveat that they were hypotheses that had been attractive in the hippie period. It seems more apparent than ever that there is a short sighted, power driven impulse that is clambering out from under its rock like what might be the final Kurgan wave—one way or the other.

Lauren Raine said...

An interesting way of putting it! I think for many, the ideas of Gimbutas and colleagues gave (and continue to give) hope: hope that there have been times and cultures when human life was not prioritized with war and violence, when women were not enslaved, when peace and the cycles of nature were sacred, instead of the sword and the gun. It gives us hope because we all know, with climate change and nuclear weapons, where exactly we are all headed without the hope of a different paradigm for "human nature". But power does not relinquish power easily.....and there are few examples of individuals or groups in power simply giving it up gracefully. Patriarchy and the celebration of war, the enslavement of women, and the "conquest" of nature have been deeply entrenched in human culture for a long time; it will not yield for those who identify with the "power" of death easily.

Rupert of Hentzau said...

The Basques (Euskadi), generally regarded as the oldest race in western Europe — certainly the only race who do not speak an Indo-European language — are remarkable for the prevalence of Type O blood among them. Do they also have pre-Kurgan Y chromosomes?

Unknown said...

Just a random thought to add to the fascinating DNA evidence supporting the her thesis! If only we had time capsules, right!? I also remember reading something about mitochondrial DNA being more reliable than Y-chromosome, but I would really have to crack that genetics book open again to really say. Anyhow, I just wonder how this fits with Scythian cultures that are likely highly related to/decedents of the Kurgans and DNA evidence of female horse warriors? Super excited for feedback I love learning!

Unknown said...

Oh wow. There is a lot to unpack here. off the cuff answer to the last paragraph? Those kids are neurodiverse. I bet. ADHD or Autistic or both. I am going to have to rabbit hole on the rest of your comment now, you just opened up a connection for me! (I'm also neurodivergent ;)

Unknown said...

I bet a significant proportion of those students had undiagnosed ADHD or Autism- As for the rest of your comment, wow there is a lot to unpack there. You have opened up a connection somewhere in my brain (I am also neurodivergent) and I will have to go run down the research rabbit hole to fully understand the complex statements you are making and comment appropriately. But The last bit- its my feeling, full disclosure no research to back it up, but I bet those students were neurodivergent.

Unknown said...

So my theory based on amateur research (but I do it in the sciences for a living ;)) was that the connection here are the Scythians- they would be considered the Milesians... I think? Then I found this... so thoughts? I just saw patterns between their art and music for some reason. So I am battling confirmation bias haha! https://www.libraryireland.com/Pedigrees1/scythian-family.php

Lauren Raine said...

A good question; I don't know.

yvesfrançois said...

Please check this https://www.ehu.eus/en/web/campusa-magazine/-/the-y-chromosome-variant-in-the-basque-population-emerged-during-the-bronze-age
It seems like a 4500 year old bronze era suggests that they also shared a similar fate as the rest of Iberian males.

Lauren Raine said...

Thank you Yvesfrancois. It does suggest that the Kurgan invasions affected the Basque population as well. Interesting to me that this occured during the Bronze Age, when metallurgy was developed, which meant, metal weapons.

Unknown said...

Transmission of knowledge through the mother tongue starts before birth. As the CNS of a fetus responds to the high frequency sounds of the mother's voice in utero, and the rhythmic beat of her heart, the patterns for lifelong learning are established. Pregnant women who are affected by warfare or other types of social disorder often produce children whose natural receptivity to a lineage of information is impaired in some way. All education needs to be trauma-informed.

Lauren Raine said...

Thank you! That makes sense to me. Plants are affected by trauma, animals are affected by trauma, of course an unborn would be as well.