Kurgan Culture, Yamnaya Culture, or Aliens? Old Europe and Indo-European Speakers by Alma T. C. Boykin

Kurgan Culture, Yamnaya Culture, or Aliens? Old Europe and Indo-European Speakers by Alma T. C. Boykin

image from pexels. unrelated.

So, a few weeks back, a commenter argued that the peoples of Old Europe were more or less egalitarian and possible matriarchal until the people of the Kurgan Culture appeared and imposed a horse-riding patriarchy on everything. I admit, as soon as I saw “Kurgan Culture,” I knew the well-meaning individual was not current on the state of research concerning the two groups involved. So what is the state of research, and what the heck is this all about anyway?

The area centered roughly between the Tisza River in Hungary, the Dniester and Dnieper Rivers to the east, the Polish/Slovak Carpathians to the north, and the Iron Gates of the Danube to the south, is where a series of cultures that archaeologists lump together as the Danube Culture or “Old Europe” developed. There are a number of sub-groups within this Old European culture, and the ones I’m the most familiar with are the late-phase pair known as Cucuteni-Trypillia. Cucuteni is found in Transylvania and adjoining parts of what is now Romania, and Trypillia was on the eastern side of the Carpathians, in the Dniester and Dnieper River watersheds. The timespan for Old Europe is around 6000 BC/BCE to roughly 3500 BC/BCE.

Marija Gimbutas did intense research on the Danube Culture, and published in English. She also wrote several popular archaeology books about the Danube Culture. She proposed that the lack of obvious markers of social rank, the lack of apparent weaponry, and the prevalence of female “deity” images meant that Old Europe had been matrilocal, matriarchal, peaceful, and egalitarian. They had farmed and had done well for centuries. The end of Old Europe came at the hands of the horse-riding “Kurgan Culture” nomads from the steppe, who were warlike, nomadic, and patriarchal. Gimbutas, like many activists of the 1970s, felt that the peaceful, woman-led Old European culture had been far superior in many ways to the aggressive, hierarchical warrior nomads who buried their dead with weapons, animal and human sacrifices, and lots of gold and silver. The nomads erected hills, called kurgans, leading to the term Kurgan Culture.

Fast forward to the year 2014, when I inadvertently started doing research into the Cucuteni-Trypillia phase. I was actually trying to learn a lot more about steppe nomads in order to do some comparative work for an academic paper. I ended up with sources for the Cucuteni-Trypillia people as well as what I wanted. In 2019, I started digging deeper into the Cucuteni stuff, and discovered that a lot remains unknown, and what we do know is very odd, in the sense that it doesn’t match a lot of theories people have developed about how societies change over time. It also doesn’t match Gimbutas’ early work, either. She has been discredited in many ways, although she remains the pioneer*, and her term Old Europe is still in common use.

The rest of this little essay can be summed up as “we don’t know much yet, but what we do know is Odd.” It also reflects my personal interest, and is not in any way a survey of the entire 3000 year period.

Cucuteni-Trypillia started out as a single cultural group. People lived in villages of up to several hundred people, and farmed. They had domesticated sheep and goats, but also ate a lot of deer, some beef (probably very old animals), rabbits, squirrel, and other things. They gathered nuts, berries, and other wild foods in season, and had some domesticated or wild apples and possibly plums. Maybe. They gathered wild grains to augment their domestic grains. They also had very highly decorated pottery, and made items from copper and some very primitive bronzes. Houses came in three general types, wattle-and-daub, log houses, and semi-subterranean. The Old European people are considered Chalcolithic, or Copper Age, bridging between Neolithic and Bronze Age.

We have no idea about their language. It was not Indo-European. The Danube peoples migrated up from Anatolia around 5500 BC/BCE, before Indo-European languages developed. It is thought that some traces of the root language can be found in Greek and Sardinian, but that’s still open to debate. The western groups seem to have had some sort of written symbols, perhaps a form of writing, but thus far no long inscriptions have been found, and no way of translating the tablets and seals exists.

We also don’t know anything about who or what they worshipped, or their government. The Trypillia Large Settlements (TLS) seem to have a major building or two near the center of the settlement, and lots and lots of smaller houses built into groups, almost neighborhoods. A wall of some kind seems to have encircled the TLS, as was common for settlements. No sign of status markers like obvious palaces, or caches of goods, or graves with lots of stuff, have been found. That isn’t to say that some won’t be found, or that non-durable status goods didn’t exist. Textiles were a high-demand trade good, but very few of them survive from pre-history. Without written documents or obviously high-status places, we can only guess as to how the people of the TLS organized themselves. They could have indeed been an egalitarian matriarchy. Or an egalitarian patriarchy. Or they could have been rigidly organized in castes and commanded by priest-kings or Brahmin-like priestly castes. Or something no one has thought of yet. Status might have been based on access to food, textiles, animal products, or things that were destroyed upon the death of the owner and scattered into the rivers.

To make modern researchers even more puzzled, the last century or so of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture left almost no graves, either in Romania or in Ukraine and Moldova. Low numbers of graves from earlier eras have been found, leading to some speculation that cremation or exposure (like the Parsi do with their Towers of Silence) was used to dispose of the dead. The last century or so? Nothing, or as close to nothing as can be found. Without graves, it is hard to determine social organization, the presence or absence of disease and warfare, the sex ratios of a culture, and so on, since there were no written documents.

The Trypillia side has gotten the most attention, because of those large settlements. As in, up to 15,000-20,000 people large. That alone is very unusual. Each house had a built-in oven, and probably a grain-storage mini-house near-by. The buildings had a second story, a loft or storage space, that was reached from outdoors by a ladder. The houses were wattle-and-daub with clay over the outside. Each house was about the same size. None seem unusually large or small, and all that have been excavated had similar internal features. Perhaps the houses had small shrines inside, and each family worshiped clan deities and totem animals (all the bull-headed things that have been found), as well as venerating sky and earth deities as a group? Perhaps worship was done away from the houses, and only small tokens kept as reminders or for personal devotions.

The houses, walls, storage buildings were all burned to the ground every 60-80 years or so. The entire settlement went up in flames, deliberately burned. People either tidied up and rebuilt on the site, or moved to a new site. That’s unheard of. Was it a ritual of some kind, a communal death and rebirth and sacrifice? Since some items seem to have been “killed” before the burning, that’s one thought. Another is that so many vermin and so much garbage piled up that burning the place down served as a public health protection.

The Cucuteni people didn’t have such large settlements, although they seem culturally very close to the Trypillia people, based on surviving artifacts. They too burned the settlements, rebuilding on the same site.

So, what happened in that last 150 years? Did the nomadic horsemen from the steppes (the Kurgan, or more accurately Yamnaya Culture) attack, burn, pillage, loot, enslave, rob, and generally beat up on the peaceful matriarchy until it vanished, leaving Europe to the Indo-European speaking barbarians? Um, probably not. One suspicion is that a shift in weather patterns favored the newcomers as weather in the area turned cool and moist, then colder and drier. This was great for grass and grazing, but not great for farmers. Questions about the exact timing of the cultural contacts relative to the weather shift are still open. Another very recent speculation, based on the genetic analysis of the few late-phase bodies found this far, hints that disease might have moved ahead of the steppe peoples, as happened with the Plague of Justinian and later waves of disease. Again, timing and transmission mechanism are still hotly debated, and I’m one of the sceptics.

What we do know is that the TLS settlements went away, the Danube Culture disappeared or was absorbed by the Yamnaya Culture (the steppe people) and with two exceptions, Indo-European languages filled up Europe. Basque is one exception, Maltese is the other. Horses grazed where the Danube peoples had farmed, and the Bronze Age had arrived.

I borrowed a lot of this for my Familiars novels, added a generous dollop of Handwavium and speculation, and turned the end of the TLS into a cautionary tale about making very bad bargains with forces beyond your control. After all, I’m a lazy writer. I steal good ideas from history so I don’t have to think up new stuff for myself.

Sources:

Anthony, David. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language.

Ibid. The Lost World of Old Europe (an exhibit catalogue with papers and photos)

Haarmann, Harald. The Mystery of the Danube Civilization  (excellent IF you have some background in archaeology)

Müller, Johannes et al. Trypillia Mega-Sites and European Prehistory: 4100-3400 BC

Menotti, Francesco Et al. The Tripolye Culture Giant Settlements in Ukraine. (this one is focuses just on the Trypillia Large Settlements.)

Olsen, Birgett Annet et al. Tracing the Indo-Europeans (a collection of papers. Updates Anthony, but can be very technical.)

For a good website article about Old Europe:

https://patrickwyman.substack.com/p/old-europe?s=r

*This is Sarah speaking, not Alma who is a gentle soul.
Isn’t it curious that Gimbutas, Mead and all the rest are found to have made up stuff wholesale, but remain “respected” and — like Marx — we get told “but it still has applications, even if it was wrong.”? Meanwhile, anyone dissenting from the narrative of the left is considered “thoroughly discredited” if they once got a word wrong.
Be the unicorn, my friends. Puncture that nonsense. Why else the razor sharp horn?

266 thoughts on “Kurgan Culture, Yamnaya Culture, or Aliens? Old Europe and Indo-European Speakers by Alma T. C. Boykin

  1. Good stuff! I think the change in climate theory is pretty likely, because cooling is invariably bad for agricultural peoples…

  2. I’ll go with climate change and…individual houses, no big superstructure at the center…capitalists, destroyed by galloping protomarxists.

    1. Hey, how ’bout the theory that in distant prehistory, Earth had a different orbit so that it only became fully dark once every 60-80 years, and the Trypillia and Cucuteni people went crazy with fear and burned everything to the ground in desperation for light?
      I’ll shut up now.

      1. ‘Nightfall’ by Isaac Asimov. Planet in a multiple-star system hasn’t experienced night in living memory. One astronomer predicts that soon, all of the suns will be either below the horizon or eclipsed, leading to…DARKNESS!!

        Naturally, the Establishment Scientists sentence him to have his tongue cut out for blasphemy. 😮

        1. Turned into a movie. Haven’t seen it, though. I was aware of it before it was made, but it apparently dropped into obscurity immediately afterwards. So it likely wasn’t any good.

          The only part of the story I’ve read is the very end.

          1. I rented the movie back in the days when that was a thing. It would not permit itself to be watched. I got about 20 minutes in.

            Remember the Star Trek episode with the brain-dead Stone Age jungle people who worshipped Vaal the evil supercomputer? The makers of that so-called film basically turned ‘Nightfall’ into that, only with worse acting and special effects.

            It was right down there with the film travesty of Starship Troopers for taking the title of the story in vain.

            1. you only watched 20 minutes of it? So you missed the hinted (very broadly hinted – like, only making the barest effort to “hide” it) incest? Lucky you.

              But that experience did make me swear that the *next* time a movie made me that uncomfortable I was going to leave the theater.

              1. Wow, you made it through 20 minutes of “Nightfall”? I think there’s a combat badge for that. We lasted 10 minutes and then demanded our money back from the theater manager. We obviously weren’t the first. He apologized so profusely that I suddenly understood the origins of the phrase “bowing and scraping.”

  3. To an outsider – all this intense speculation without data looks more like reaffirming one’s prejudices than research. (If only we had other examples of how research can be aimed at other pre-defined conclusions in say… medicine.) I’d suggest it is driven by discontent with the present culture and similar to the noble savage garbage that used to be applied to the Native Americans. Unfortunately we know too much about them now for that to fly so we move on to another ill documented civilization to admire.They desperately want there to have been an ideal culture (According to their tastes.) somewhere in the past that could be emulated today. People are selfish and violent and some people just can’t accept that. They do not wish to define which is a superior culture by plain old survival. Not if the winners are deplorable barbarians by their definitions. There simply MUST be a peaceful, socialist, vegetarian, female led civilization somewhere in the past to match their model if they only keep looking.

    1. It IS the noble savage garbage in barely “scientific” lingerie. And it’s ugly.
      Also, Mac, I miss you terribly. Sent you email and didn’t hear…..

          1. I’m getting the same thing on Monster Hunter Nation, sporadically. Sometimes my posts pop right up. Most of the time they don’t show up for hours or even a day or more; when Jack cleans out the blocked posts, I guess.

                  1. It’s the WEF using the Panama Papers to influence Putin to lean on Belarussian cyberhackers to ransomware the Clinton Foundation bank accounts to make them use Perkins Coie to hire a French spy to post bad things under his name on other blogs to get WordPress to mark his posts here for pre-approval.

                    I mean, obviously. Wake up, sheeple!

                    (What? I’m just trying to get into the spirit of some of our recent comments around here.)

                    1. That seems to be kin to a Bulwer-Lytton entry from 1984 (yeah, I know…) that I saved…
                      “It came to him in a cocaine rush as he took the Langley exit that if
                      Aldrich had told Filipov about Hancock only Tulfengian could have
                      known that the photograph which Wagner had shown to Maximov on the
                      jolting S-bahn was not the photograph of Kessler that Bradford had
                      found at the dark, sinister house in the Schillerstrasse the day that
                      Straub told Percival that the man on the bridge had not been Aksakov
                      but Paustovsky, which meant that is was not Kleist but Kruger that
                      Cherensky had met in the bleak, wintry Grunewald and that, therefore,
                      only Frau Epp could have known that Muller had followed Droysen to the
                      steamy, aromatic cafe in the Beethovenstrasse where he told Buerger
                      that Todorov had known since the Liebermann affair that McIntyre had
                      not met Stoltz at the Goerlitzer Bahnhof but instead had met Sommer at
                      the cavernous Anhalter Bahnhof. (Winner, Spy Fiction category)”.
                      I’ll go quietly now… 😉

                  2. The only time I recall having my comments here evaporate with no trace is when I’ve tried to link to You-Know-Who’s blog. If he tried to share something TPTB at WP disapprove of that could explain SOME of the disappearances.

              1. wordpress gets snarly on me when I change my process, and accidentally change what I put in for email/username.

                I think they must work very hard to get the AI to handle it in so confusing and erratic a way.

                In conclusion:
                1. WordPress delenda est
                2. Smartphones delenda est
                3. Automatic browser updates delenda est.

                1. I’ve been getting randomly filtered since I changed away from a gmail address, too.

                  Not sure if it’s because of the Russian guy I’ve been dueling for user names since I was 14, or due to Be Evil, or the change itself, or…who knows.

                  1. Is there a good alternative to WordPress? Google definitely doesn’t count as one.

              2. Hmm, my ISP just did battle with their third-party email provider, so I sympathize with the unwanted hoops. (Frustrating. I didn’t know if $NEPHEW needed to contact us. Bad time to lose email. Arggh.)

                FWIW, if anybody is using a mail service owned by everyone dot net (looks like they have several brands/clients), they got acquired and TPTB managed to do the most incompetent platform migration in ages. My ISP seems to have been at the bottom of the priority list for getting unscrewed. Now I need to think seriously about a backup email, preferably not one run by GoogleYahooMS and their minions.

                A WAG (not enough data to be a SWAG 🙂 ), could the apostrophe in Mac’s handle cause WP to freak out?

            1. MHN started blocking me a couple of years ago I think. I don’t post to Larry’s often, but I do read. I didn’t consider it worth the effort to figure out what went on, so I just read for now.

              1. This has happened to me in a half dozen blogs. Note — glares at crazy commenter in another post — I don’t make it my life’s mission to run around screaming they banned me wrongly.

    2. “To an outsider – all this intense speculation without data looks more like reaffirming one’s prejudices than research.”

      It seems that way because it actually, really IS a steaming pile of crap that’s nothing more than reaffirming prejudices than actual rigorous research. You get grants based on your politically correct conclusions rather than solid foundational work that lays out what the data reveals and does nothing more. You can *question* things about the past, but once you start making assertions about “culture,” “religion,” and “socio-political structures” you’re on very, very shaky ground.

      You are absolutely right to doubt. There’s something rotten in the state of anthropology today, and it’s been decaying for a long time now.

      1. Sadly it’s metastasized to more rigorous sciences (no offense but if there is no mathematical proof it’s philosophy. ) lots of science tosses data that disagrees with pet theory.

        1. Truth. My focus was in physical anthropology, which held the closest to hard facts rather than the squishier side (cultural anthropology). It’s now in medicine, creeping into physics and engineering, there’s social justice math for Bob’s sake.

          A society cannot long survive when the fundamental sciences are this corrupted. The Gods of the Copybook Headings warn against such things for good and well proven reasons.

          1. Yep. The saddest part is that some of the questions that are “answered” by these squishy theories are real and do have root causes that resemble what the squishies think. E.g. crime is higher in a minority population, illnesses are higher, etc. But instead of trying to change the variables we can today we think that calling out the past will change it. It’s magical word thinking.

        2. And so you become a philosopher since the statement that if there’s no mathematical proof it’s philosophy is,Itself, philosophy and there is no mathematical proof of it. Welcome aboard.

          1. Pretty much. Philosophy is the bulk of human knowledge. It is observational and since there are so many variables they will be confounded things can only function as such. Much of science is nothing but models of observations. Acceleration in a vacuum is math. Acceleration in reality is a model (drag coefficients, etc are all just k factors that are derived from observations with all of the associated ambiguities).

            Plus logic should be the underpinning of science and that is philosophy too

    3. Gimbutas, Mead and all the rest are found to have made up stuff wholesale, but remain “respected”

      I’m just surprised that no one has accused Gimbutas of … I don’t know, Sinophobia or something… for saying that raiders from the eastern steppes were savage, brutal, and wiped out European (and therefore white, by leftist reckoning) people.

      1. She wouldn’t have been. Gimbutas was on the right (left) side. She wouldn’t have been censored any more than Biden was for his racism. Or any of the other examples that escape me at the moment. Anthropology has become *very* political, and she had the correct politics to get away with it.

      2. It might have something to do with the number of times that raiders from the eastern steppes who everyone agrees were savage and brutal have swept in and stomped on the European civilizations of the time even during recorded history. It’s kind of hard to rule out the possibility when we have records of it actually happening.

        Also, sino- typically refers to China, and the Chinese have had their own problems with steppe raiders over the centuries..

    4. Yes, the matriarchal Noble Savage culture will never be found, and never existed…But agricultural peoples are probably a bit less warlike than the herders who are more mobile and can raid profitably…

      1. Walls.

        Walls about communities are vast investments of time and labor. You don’t build them except as fortifications.

        (Though some have been known to claim they are symbolic divisions of inside and outside. . . .)

        1. We visited the Cherokee cultural center in Tahlequah, OK a few years ago. (I picked up a copy of Pow-Wow Chow there for giggles). They have a model village and guess what? It’s completely surrounded by a wooden palisade. The, um, uninformed couple with us accepted everything the pleasant young guide told us, but my beloved asked about the wall. The guide said it was to keep out wild animals. Right. You need a 10 or 12-foot wall to keep out the wolves.
          The other couple nodded earnestly but my spouse made it clear he was skeptical. Given that, it was interesting we wound up having our pictures taken with the guide and another young Cherokee woman, almost as if it was the Cherokee version of, “wink, wink, nudge nudge.” I think the animals walked on two legs…

          1. To be fair, you do need either dogs or a tall fence to keep the deer out around here. Darn hooved rats.

            1. Yes. Do need dogs or tall fences around the garden, and other crops, to keep out the hoofed rats (deer/elk/pronghorn, etc.). But not around habitation. Now around habitation structures, would need palisades to deter, slowdown, both four legged, and two legged, predators. Won’t keep out either, but will get more warning than without. I’m betting the palisades weren’t around the fields.

        1. His statement depends on the meaning of “warlike”.

          A peaceful agricultural tribe might still be able to “put the hurt” onto anybody who attacked them.

          They may not routinely go out “making war” upon their neighbors but are quite willing & able to protect themselves (including hitting their neighbors before their neighbors hit first). 😉

          1. Most agricultural primitives we know do raid other agricultural primitives. Because primitive agriculture is chancy, and the neighbors got food. (And are made of food, in fact.)
            Weapons and agricultural implements are often indistinguishable.

            1. Beat your swords into plowshares, and your spears into pruning hooks. (And vice versa. It’s in the Bible both ways.)

            2. Actually, most Indian raids (at least in Eastern Woodlands areas) were more about raiding for people than goods. I mean, sure, if it were something light and easy to carry, or if somebody had just finished making dinner or butchering a deer. But nobody was stealing jars of corn or nuts. Pretty girls, teenage boys who could work, maybe a little kid if somebody back in the village had just lost one. Maybe get ransom, maybe use them for spells, but usually it was new slaves.

              1. It was also popular to burn a village out, so that they would have to leave their productive bottomland to be taken over by your own tribe, even if you had to build a new and more defensible village.

                Warfare for land was mostly a thing in North America after corn agriculture and the Mississippian cultural complex came along.

  4. To bad that the clans weren’t willing to correct Marija Gimbutas. 😉

    Of course, they don’t exist in our world, or do they? 😀

  5. Notice how the Marxists always come up with “historical research and analysis” that asserts that at some distant time in the past there was a perfect communist society that was destroyed by ruthless invaders who imposed a brutal oppressive non-communist society that exists to this day?

    They aren’t engaged in research; they are engaged in theology.

    FYI, the only Kurgan that interests me is the one from Highlander.

    1. Also makes you wonder how superior those ancient cultures really were if they kept getting conquered by random yahoos who happened to move into the area.

        1. It is morally superior to let your people and culture die? One of the most moral things a man can do (or a woman) is defend their home. If you are unable or unwilling to do so, you are evil. I believe you were being sarcastic, snelson134, but that is the kind of statement we must smack down whenever it raises its ugly head.

          1. I don’t think That’s What He Meant.

            I suspect he was talking about the attitudes of the Woke concerning those cultures.

            IE The Cultures may have lost the wars but they were Still Morally Superior.

            And no, I don’t think the Woke believed that those cultures “just surrendered”.

          2. Sarcastic? Moi? What could ever lead you to that conclusion? 😎

            My actual thoughts would be identical to Mr Col Dubois in Starship Troopers on “Violence never solves anything”…. but much less polite.

            1. Hear!!! Hear!!! Col Dubois is (will be?) an optimist with respect to human nature :-).

          1. If by making sense you mean “I’m too stupid to figure out how to build the Pyramids, so those primitive screwheads sure as hell couldn’t have. It must have been aliens”, then yeah.

            1. It at least makes sense (higher tech = a god is a standard trope). A society with no war, discontent, etc, I can believe aliens much more easily

    2. Speaking of people who are still everywhere despite being wrong about everything, Noam Chomsky in his introduction to the English translation of Daniel Guerin’s Anarchism spoke of how libertarianism was inherently socialist. The actual existing trope does yeoman work there.

      1. Some of Chomsky’s work on grammar seems of some utility, but most of his work seems like BS to me.

        1. 95% BS, and I’m being generous. He pretty much killed linguistics as a field for two academic generations, if not more. But I have a wee bit of a dog in that fight and am biased.

          1. Having to read his work in undergrad is one of the reasons I did not go for an advanced degree in Linguistics

            1. Chomsky seemed mostly to entirely BS when referenced in my anthropological linguistics courses. OTOH, works on computer parsing of language that I found useful made reference and use of some of Chomsky’s grammar concepts. On the gripping hand, those works primarily addressed parsing of constructed languages (programming, data, production rules like Lindenmayer systems, etc.), not true natural languages.

              1. That actually makes sense. Chomsky is a Platonist, indeed more a Platonist than a Marxist, and Platonism only works on stuff that is finite and constructed. Any Platonist who wants to have a go at me on that, come on if you think you’re hard enough.

                  1. Marxism is weaponized Platonism. Both force the world into the mind rather than the mind into the world.

                    1. Religion, unless you’re a contemplative, tempers that by dividing the ideal from the world, and — at least in functional sects — driving back towards the world.
                      As one who tends to get lost in Plato’s cave, I despise “the system, not the reality” Because instinctively I’d be like that, but I’ve been slapped enough.

                    2. Philosophically I’m a skeptic, not quite a Pyrrhonian and certainly not a Cartesian, but I tend to be opposed to dogmas. Awkward for an RC. Pyrrhonian skepticism is put forth as therapeutic — a way to maintain calm in the face of all the competing claims. It works, sometimes, a bit, up to a point.

                      I want to be a Thomist, but my mind simply doesn’t work that way.

                    3. I consider myself a not-very-good Stoic with hints of Epicureanism. Most philosophy — especially theistic philosophy — strikes me as kind of pointless, if not harmful to actual human flourishing.

                    4. Oh, well. I’m an INSTINCTIVE Platonist, saved by anti-authority syndrome a mile wide.
                      My response to “we should all” is to poke holes in it. And I DESPISE sanctimony.
                      I do however respect sanctity.
                      Having found a local church where the presence still resides — it’s been disappearing or getting feeble — I’ve identified the taste of it. (to riff off Foxfier)
                      It tastes clean and safe.

                    5. Marxism is an atheistic religion. I test the likelihood that a religion is divinely inspired by observing whether it begins with oneself repenting or causing other people to repent. The problem always seems to come when one requires others to conform to one’s own prejudices, Marxism is entirely about making others conform or die. I think it was Kierkegaard who remarked that a religion didn’t need a god but it did need a devil. Christianity has certainly had its problems, but even these tended to be about “die heretic” where they weren’t just power politics.

                      I’m a bit of a heretic about salvation since I’m fairly sure that you don’t have to be a RC to be saved.

                      As a practical matter, religious people in the west seem to be happier on all the measurements of happiness. I think that might be because so many of the west’s notions of human flourishing arose from. Christianity in the first place.

                    6. The longer I live, the more I think He knows and calls His own, of any religion or none. And by their fruits thou shalt know them.
                      For the record, I’m not sure I’m one of those, but I know who they are around me.

                    7. It is the unfounded certainty that one is completely right with Him that worries me. We are born broken. Innocent, but not tending towards any virtue unless properly brought up and taught. Doctrinal squabblings have never interested me.

                      But goodly men and women of faith are always welcomed for the brothers and sisters they are. There is no place on Earth that is so blessed that it could not find a use for more such people.

                      We are a handful, we people of all faiths. But I have faith that He knows His own, too. Even if I am wrong in this, I believe it better to have lived a life with faith than one without, for myself. For the rest, for our country and countrymen, I have prayers.

                    8. Fellow RC “heretic” here. I like to put it thusly: “I do not presume to know the mind of God.”

                      That, plus the idea that Lewis put out, that those who follow the path of salvation in any clothing can achieve it, no matter how we humans stumble about with our definitions.

                    9. Actually replying to comments below (WP will not let me reply to them, WDE!), and to make plain what I believe is Truth- Christianity (indeed, Our Lord Himself) does assert plainly that one cannot come to the Father except by the Lord Jesus Christ. No other being can suffice. How He appears to other humans in this world, that I dare not presume to say (but it must be Him).

                    10. >> “I’ve identified the taste of it. (to riff off Foxfier)”

                      I’m not entirely comfortable with this “mind-taste” business of Foxfier’s. I mean, I get the concept – it’s a sense of someone’s/something’s essential character – and as a concept it’s a useful one. But the term makes me imagine you people are going around licking things in order to form judgements. It’s also making me morbidly curious as to how I “mind-taste,” and that’s just not a place my brain ever expected to have to go.

                      And no, you can’t lick me. Back off. Seriously, your husband would object and I have a gun.

                    11. ROFL.
                      The only creature who licks people in my household is Havey.
                      It’s gotten so bad since Greebo died and he became LONELY that usually my first words every morning and how Dan knows I’m awake are “STOP LICKING ME.”
                      Because Dan loves me, usually his first words are “Come here Havelock. Leave mommy alone. I’ll pet you.”

          2. His work is bloody foolishness for linguistics. I have no kind words to say about that man. He’s not just wrong, he’s anti-learning the way things actually work.

                1. I’m not hunting over bait.
                  Though in this mess we’re heading for I couldn’t have asked for a better collection of reprobates to make common cause with.

                  1. >> “I’m not hunting over bait.”

                    You misunderstand me; for a certain type of mind this place IS bait, whether you mean it to be or not.

              1. “OMG.
                I FOUND MY PEOPLE.
                Sniffle. I love you all so much.”

                I think we all feel that way.

                1. Pretty much. Most of us have been outsiders for a long time, got used to it, and maybe even forgot that other such people might exist (if they didn’t have a few living in their own family, that is).

                  The human need for community, understanding, and socializing ain’t a flavor trait. Even hermit-introverts need a minimal amount of human contact, even be it through a flickering screen.

          3. I had started to study linguistics, but Chomsky completely put me off it. Everything he touched turned to manure and I agree he set back the discipline, which was so promising, back by generations. Number one son, the PhD student in linguistics, hates Chomsky with the heat of a thousand suns.

            1. I love comparative linguistics and historical linguistics. Chomsky gutted those. If so much work on Indo-European and other things hadn’t been done before his arrival, we’d probably still be isolating babies from speech to see if they spoke the proto language of Eden. [Yes, people did that. With the results you’d expect for the poor kids.]

              1. That’s what attracted me too. I came to it first through Tolkien. Chomsky, as you say, gutted it. Sampson wrote a great piece about this and I found other people worth reading through him.

                In a way, though, Chomsky did me a great favor since I would have been a terrible academic. I’m not submissive enough to get tenure and not quite smart enough to get it any other way.

                1. I came to it first through Tolkien.

                  Heh. My final paper in Linguistics 101* was “is there an analog to Grimm’s Law between Sindarin and Quenya?” Sadly, and as I explored in the paper, even agglomerating all the extant sources there just isn’t enough information. There are hints and gestures toward a regular relationship, but Tolkien clearly created so many of his etymologies ad hoc, and didn’t present anything like a complete dictionary to work from. I got a B+.

                  *(not that there was anything other than “101” at Williams in 1986; there just happened to be prof hired to teach English but whose doctorate was in linguistics. IIRC he was kinda sorta a soft Chomskyite but that wasn’t the focus of the course.)

              2. Because I know enough of language acquisition, and how the window closes, and how we ARE human because we have speech in some form, I have been queasy about “language delays” in kids over Covidiocy. For how many is that permanent?

                1. Even one is too many. The coof face coverings, the abuse of little girls and boys in gender confusion, the hypersexualization, the crippling of mathematics learning that is Common Core, the corruption of the English language, the politicization of *everything*…

                  It’s all bad, but the window a child has to learn the language closes quickly. You don’t get that time period back. If they don’t get it by the time they pass two years if I recollect right. Science used to call depriving children of language ‘The Forbidden Experiment.’

                  I wonder if they still do.

                    1. Four times, I think. Pharoh Psamtik, HRE Fredrik II, James IV of Scotland, Mughal Emporer Akbar. There are stories of such, several secondhand (Herodotus, for the pharoh), so these may or may not be historically accurate.

            2. That’s why I quit academic linguistics, too.

              I’m no mathematician, but I am just educated enough to have the first glimmerings of mathematical intuition. I could tell, upon seeing the description of Chomsky’ universal generative magic flavour of the month grammar, that the thing was impossible, and that a rigorous proof of its impossibility would resemble Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. I didn’t have the chops to work out such a proof myself, but I was bemused and a bit gratified some years later, when I found that and Indian mathematician had worked out exactly such a proof.

              Academic linguistics spent forty years trying to square the circle, and meanwhile lost most of its contact with real languages.

            3. One of our sons majored in linguistics at UCLA…He was widely traveled, and thought Chomsky was disconnected from the real world and pretty much irrelevant…

          4. In American linguistics, you have Chomsky, whose approach was kind of Platonistic, and you have Greenberg, whose approach was kind of Aristotelian. Greenberg has his own flaws (as did Aristotle), but I greatly prefer him. He made his name not by coming up with elegant axioms but by cleaning up the classification of African languages—that is, by doing actual linguistics.

        2. Until you dive deeper into the work on grammar and realize,no. He’s full of shit there too. (It’s MY field, okay? Yeah, I know I don’t write like it.)
          The Chompy Gnome needs to shut up.

          1. I saw some utility with respect to Chomsky’s work on context-free grammars in terms of computer parsing. I have little exposure to his grammar work with respect to natural languages, so will defer to your judgement on that point, especially as my exposure to his work in other areas left me with a sour impression.

    3. “It was better in the past,” may be archetypal. It’s certainly not limited to Marxists. I’m in Purgatory just now (Dante’s variety) and it’s got multiple references to the Golden Age and the people therein’s moral superiority. (Mostly in terms of how simple their dietary habits were).

      1. One way or another.
        Mary Renault had fun with it in The King Must Die, gosh, 60 years or so ago? Theseus encounters a matriarchal, Goddess-centered culture and becomes “King,” by killing his predecessor. But since he doesn’t want to be offered up next year, he enlists the local guys and Takes Steps….

        1. You’d love Jungle Jim’s out by Fairfield, OH. It’s HUGE (over 200,000 square feet). Only place I’ve ever seen rattlesnake under plastic wrap and a whole sheep’s head for sale in the meat dept. It’s something of a tourist attraction. Haven’t been there for years, but it does stick in the memory.

          1. Jungle Jim’s is great– an excellent selection of international and regional foods. If you’re ever in the Cincinnati area, you need to go!

          2. Jungle Jim’s is my go to for ethnic foods, specialty foods, and American brands not carried at Kroger. They’ve got the German gummies my wife’s German grandmother addicted her to, the stroopwaffels my mother loves ever since I brought some back from a business trip, a better selection of Italian specialties than anywhere else in the area, a great deli selection, and a few frozen Philippine specialties my wife got used to growing up as a Navy brat.

            1. It’s certainly an experience. If you’re ever anywhere near Cincinnati or Dayton, even just passing by on I-75, it is worth the stop, IMHO. I wouldn’t drive cross-country for it, but if you’re within an hour or so I think it is worth the diversion.

    1. Video games are probably about as accurate as much of the “research” by supporters of Marxism masquerading as history.

    2. Personal favorite moment: “THas a goood fight ShUpurd. You cant hear em but I;ve goht ARLlakh co,mpany chantin SHEPAR SHEPAR your name you know. as we down some ryNCOL to heal my woundS^&!!( ryCNol!”

      1. “Yeah, humans don’t have that.” “Oh. That must have been painful then.” (Wrex is awesome.)

  6. I’ve been seeing studies, yes I know, that show a collapse in Y chromosome diversity around 7k years ago. Is there a connection? Is this really a thing or just more BS

    1. I haven’t seen the studies (do you have a link?) but it is certainly plausible. Small warrior band comes in, kills the males, keeps the females to breed more warriors. I am told Temujin is an ancestor to a significant fraction of the human race.

    2. I’d need to see which population group or groups are being discussed. In South Asia, the Proto-Indo-European speakers don’t seem to have arrived until around 1500 BC/BCE, for example.

      1. Zeng, T.C., Aw, A.J. & Feldman, M.W. Cultural hitchhiking and competition between patrilineal kin groups explain the post-Neolithic Y-chromosome bottleneck. Nat Commun 9, 2077 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04375-6

        I sorta follow this literature and this concept has bounced into view again.

        1. When you dig into the data (its free, not behind a paywall or scholarly credentials required), it looks like they are extrapolating using 299 whole-Y chromosomes form 110 distinct populations over a range of time (you can’t nail these things down too closely, not unreasonable). That’s less than 3 individuals per population. Sample size is an issue, as it is with *all* prehistoric studies, so take things like this with heavy grains of salt.

          What it can and does state is that for these discrete individuals there was probably a reduction in Y chromosome variability at the time the individual lived. The source material places the time period at around 10kya from what I read. That is pretty close to the last ice age, on the tail end of it perhaps. Whether or not that was a factor I cannot say.

          The article attempts to infer cultural influences for the reduction in Y-chromosome variability. This is where, and I can’t repeat this enough, you NEED to be VERY SUSPICIOUS. The study of prehistory is rife with fiction masquerading as science.

          There are very limited things one can infer about the past without creating fiction. Gimbutas fell into this trap, but she’s not the only one. Suggesting cultural influences on the reduction of Y-chromosome variability is not supported by the evidence mostly because we don’t know all that much about the cultures in question. And in some cases we literally *can’t* know.

          If there were texts extant and we had some Rosetta Stone analogue to translate it into modern language (several, given the different locations and likely cultures involved), then we could say more. But, as TXRed has mentioned, those things don’t exist for many of the cultures in question (I’d say all of them, but I don’t have that information).

          So. Suspicious claim is culture caused the drop in variability. Possibly true, but we don’t know because we can’t know. Yet. Without evidence one way or another it could be true. Or not true. The timing is slightly suspicious (ice age), but again it may not be an issue. The fact that the measured individuals show evidence of a localised drop in variability is up to the accuracy of the instruments, which is much more scientific than assertions not backed up by evidence.

          To your question as to whether or not there is a connection, possibly. A localised or even global shift in climate could cause mass death scenarios. A bad year for crops from drought, blight, or soil exhaustion could also cause a lot of deaths. As could warfare. Something that caused a mass drop in Y-chromosome variability could well be linked to a drastic population change via mass death over a certain period of time. I don’t have the information to tell you one way or the other though, and that information may not yet exist.

          1. Thank you, this was very helpful. One of the issues a layman like me has is whether 299 is a good number or what. I work in finance with high frequency data where the data sets are, literally, beyond astronomical, and one day in 1987 or a week in 2008 is enough to falsify any number of theories and any theory that ignores or discounts those few dates, as most of them do because sociology of academia, is worse than useless.

            I do wonder why it’s popped up again though. I was reading this post and it popped up on number one son’s Twitter feed. Perhaps it’s just the white Ford car phenomenon and a I just hadn’t noticed.

            1. 299 is actually a good number. The number of sites we have for prehistoric humanity is severely limited, and every one is precious in the possibilities it holds to expand our knowledge of the past. My major objection is when those that bloody well should know better go about making assertions that make the entire field look like bloody fools, if you’ll pardon the phrase.

              As to it popping up again, I couldn’t say. There is a bit of politicking nuttiness in the study itself (attributing cultural influence where evidence is absent), but nothing newsworthy, I would guess.

                1. When compared with the average piece of anthropological study it has been my displeasure to come across a bit is sort of accurate. Compared to any SANE study that keeps to the boundaries of evidence mind…

                  Well, yeah. You have a point. Nevermind what I said. (Don’t go trolling the literature if you want to keep a healthy heart rate is all I’ll say).

                  1. Ah, I begin to see the problem. I didn’t actually notice since I’m not alert for the pitfalls, and I tend to gloss over any of the PC crap anyway, it’s so ubiquitous my brain seems to hear it as Charlie Brown’s mother. You find the same thing in markets, everyone has a narrative, all of them are wrong. it’s why I don’t read any of the financial press anymore, except zerohedge, but then I know how to read zerohedge.

                    Sarah, I hope you didn’t buy Olin because you could buy it on deep discount today.

                    1. I may be hypersensitive to PC crap. Teensy bit *holds fingers close together* Just a wee bit. Cultural Relativism was still creeping into anthropology when I got my degree and I had a but of a reaction to it. Still do. That stuff’s the ill begotten child of Marx and the rest of it is mixed with a decades dead Soviet disinformation program that has infiltrated the broader culture at large. Everything it touches it corrupts.

                      *reconsiders 453rd long winded rant on the evil, vile, putrid, greedy, envvious, murderous ideology that is leftism*

                      It’s bad, mmkay?

                    2. I’ll see what I can do. Gotta keep up with the arbitrary chapter schedule (its for mental health while I’m job hunting. I clock in to write words until someone hires me).

                    3. Mkay. I don’t even see it anymore, I think I’ve developed a screening mechanism blah, blah, n
                      Blah, data, blah blah, data data. My filters don’t seem to be developed, yet, in this space.

                      Thanks again,

                    4. Zerohedge is worrying me by making sense.

                      I haven’t got around to it. In fact, after year from HELL Dan and I seem paralyzed even on things that need doing….

                      However…. deep discount…..

                    5. Discounts can always get deeper. just sayin. Things are really, really bad.

                      Zerohedge always makes sense, for a certain value of sense. I read it because they talk about the things the others simply won’t and they infuriate the serious. FB banned them last week for example. About 20% of it is good, the trick is which 20%. Still, when things go into the toilet, like now, their average goes up, a lot.

                      Albert Edwards from SocGen remarks that he never has to make the feel good case because all the other analysts make it for him.

                    6. >> “Things are really, really bad.”

                      What’s the saying? The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets?

                      I’m still hoping GameStop gets a bit cheaper.

                    7. I’m betting that there’ll be a lot more blood before it’s done. I think the best time to buy is when the blood starts to dry a bit, better risk reward set-up. Don’t catch falling knives.

                      You can do better than GameStop.

                    8. >> “I think the best time to buy is when the blood starts to dry a bit”

                      Assuming the Dems don’t cheat like last time – which might actually start a full-scale boog – I’m guessing that right after the elections might be a good time to buy.

                      >> “You can do better than GameStop.”

                      No, YOU can do better than GameStop. I’m not that good at this (at least so far). I just figure GameStop’s a safe mid-to-long term bet because they’re legally compelled to buy the shares back eventually.

                    9. he who sells what isn’t his’n must buy it back or go to pris’n

                      If you want to learn how to pick companies, buy Graham’s The Intelligent Investor and begin work from there. His Security Analysis would be next. The tuition bill on stock picking can be very, very high. Read Bogle, then buy index funds. Best bet is Vanguard ETF or Mutual Index funds. They’re the cheapest and cheap is what you want, why pay a fee for nothing?

                    10. >> “he who sells what isn’t his’n must buy it back or go to pris’n”

                      Yeah, I’ve been seeing that phrase go around ever since I first started paying attention to the GME debacle. Although, given our two-tiered injustice system I doubt the people responsible will be punished outside of a fall guy or two.

                      >> “The tuition bill on stock picking can be very, very high.”

                      Which is the problem. I dabbled a bit, but I’ve had my fun for now and am not willing (or currently able) to pay that tuition in full. That’s why I plan to only go for the safest bet I can see, and even THAT only if the prices come down more.

                      But thanks for the recommendations regardless. I’ve bookmarked your comment so I can find them again if I get serious about trading later; I just don’t think now’s a good time.

                    11. My husband learned a lot about investing when he was on, the union side of, the Pension and 401(k) board for his work. While we do have funds. He also picks stocks. While not 100% sure how he picks the stocks, beyond dividend producing, and what the covered calls market is (to be clear, we own the stock that the call is sold). Right now there is a lot of money in cash because just before the recent crashes, there was a major run up that passed the sold call rate and we got bought out of a lot of stocks automatically. We definitely don’t sell at the high of a stock, but we aren’t selling at a low either. Don’t make a killing. But make good money. Right now with that money sitting in cash hubby is with a lot of people not knowing where or how to get back in. Not 100% anti-biden proof. Thus ends what I know about the process. Alternatively, when he no longer wants to do this, then we will turn the entire system over to investment people.

      2. There are two major genetic bottlenecking/founder effect events in human prehistory I’m aware of offhand, the ‘Out of Africa’ split and the ‘Bering Strait’ split. Neither of those happened around 7kya. If this is falls below that threshold and is merely a localised reduction in Y chromosome variability marked by loss of rarer alleles, that’s something I haven’t seen referenced lately. Is it a newer series of studies?

          1. Worth looking in to. Zeng isn’t one I recognize, but Feldman rings a bell. May be related to the generalized population depression in the late Neolithic/pre Chalcolithic that’s been ill-defined so far.

  7. Completely off topic, am I the only one who thinks East Europe placenames sound like backmasking (playing sounds backwards on a record player)?

      1. When backmasking was Such A Big Deal for some, $SISTAUR took to re-winding cassettes with the tape flipped over so they’d play backwards (with loss as the head was reading through the tape). She didn’t find any Satanic messages, even where they were “supposed” to be. A few amusing intentional backward recordings (“The Surgeon General has determined that playing your records backwards may be hazardous to your phonograph needle”). The nastiest or rudest stuff we found… was in a sermon recorded from radio broadcast.

        1. I REALLY wanted to post that classic Bloom County strip where Milo plays a metal album backwards and gets messages telling him to go to church and say his prayers. I’m surprised I couldn’t find it.

  8. Reading, “… warrior nomads who buried their dead with weapons,” a thought crossed my mind; Doesn’t mean the peoples of Old Europe weren’t warlike, didn’t have weapons.

    Thinking of our Alaska vikings, Tlingit, Haida, raping and pillaging all the way down to Mexico, getting so rich they developed the potlatch, establishing status by who can throw the biggest party and give the most wealth away to the guests. Burying the dead with their weapons is the same kind of bragging.

    However if your an Old Europe guy in the copper age, only seven and a half pounds of bronze in the whole town, ain’t gonna bury that bronze battle axe, instead pass it along through the generations.

    1. Some people believe Indo Europeans conquered with story. They didn’t replace the populations. The populations started to imitate them. Having seen how Europeans act to what they believe is American….. yeah.

      1. Evil Thought.

        If those “glorious” cultures were ruled by women and the women were the Mean Girls, then the men might prefer the Nomad Societies not “their own societies”. 😈

        1. If there were matriarchal cultures, that’s my guess of how they ended. Women power doesn’t scale up well.
          Even in large families, it can turn harmful.
          I’m sorry if I sound sexist, but as a woman who is immediately identified as a pink monkey, I’ve had it up to here and beyond with female power structures, which now envelop several fields and industries, and which are now actually being played by men.
          And men playing female power games are NASTY.

          1. As are women trying to play male power games.
            To throw a speculation out there: Both men and women have limiters on how nasty they will get when playing their own games, but do not pick up the limiters on the opposite sexes games.

            1. I was at a party several years ago when my sister made the “if women ran the world there’d be no wars” remark to the general agreement of all the upper middle class wine moms there. I said, no if women ran the world there’d be one more war and then everyone would be dead. To which they all, ruefully, agreed.

                1. The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

                  She is wedded to convictions – in default of grosser ties;
                  Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!
                  He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild
                  Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child

                2. Yeah, men can be really naïve about women. It’s like they can’t see the clear poison indicators women can see in each other.

            2. I suspect that women really can’t play uncivilized male power games. They can play the queensbury rules version, right up to, but not including smacking things with sticks.

              I also suspect the reason men playing female power games always ends so ugly is cloak and dagger is nasty with hat-pins, but apocalyptic with M1 Abrams.

              1. Raises eyebrow.
                Not unless they have issues.
                Let me introduce you to the bound library.
                Look, women can if they’re larger and stronger than local males. Which happens. At the end.
                We are NOT inherently more civilized.
                The problem is once we start hitting we don’t stop. Because at the back of the brain is the knowledge there are people stronger than us who will kill us if given half a chance.
                So, Scott is right. And you have an undeservedly high opinion of women.

                1. This is accurate. And in many ways it crosses cultural lines. Women fight dirty across the board because they can’t afford not to.

                  If I was to spin you a fairy tale about evolutionary biological influences on male/female combative strategies I’d tell you that when the rubber hits the road, the only* time women are in combat is when all the men are dead and they are the only thing between the children and being hoisted on pikes.

                  The two worst insults in nearly** every culture are calling a man a coward and calling a woman a slut. Because a man who won’t fight to protect his family is beneath contempt and a woman who puts herself before her family is similarly so in the eyes of every culture that I’ve studied in any depth.

                  *: Lethal combat, and yes, I know, but there’s a reason I said that. We’re not designed for civilization, we’re designed for barbarism, life in the wilds with predators that hunt us and danger around every corner. Our brains reflect this. That’s why we remember bad stuff so much easier than good, and have to train ourselves to be properly civilized.

                  **: Only nearly instead of always because there might exist somewhere a culture that does not fit this. But I bet if you studied it in proper context it would…

                  1. A society that chooses to send women into war must either be desperate, or so wealthy or careless that they (think they) can defy Riccardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage, which underlies sex/gender roles in societies where people struggle to survive, or remember what it was like to do so.

                    1. “Wealthy” definitely describes modern American culture. One of the reasons I’m so involved in scouting is that without exposure to things like camping and service projects, a teenager’s scale of “likely,” “safe,” and “natural” gets way out of whack, and scouting provides a basic calibration if the troop is any good.

                      And if you’re involved, you can make sure that the troop is good.

                    2. Slave women have gotten sent to war. Literally as warm bodies to fill out the line, usually. But very few societies are rich enough in women to play that card.

                2. I think we may be saying the same thing in opposite ways. My understanding of women’s power games is they tend to rely on ambush, bushwacking, and otherwise ending any given fight before it can start. That’s pretty nasty, but double the muscle mass of the ambusher and it is that much worse.

                  The male games usually involve some degree of chest beating to convince the other dude that you’re just to big and tough for it to be worth it. (Getting into a fight risks both of you getting nailed, even if you do win.) The female ones just seem to go straight from zero to face stabbing.

                  That said, I would not expect a situation where the women are on average stronger than the men to be more than a transitory state. Our mother was stronger than most men, and could still gainuscle mass into her 50’s. However, all three of her boys were taller, stronger, and generally way physically tougher that she was. I’m told the only reason the schools never succeeded in recruiting any of us into their footballs teams was because, was because we were also such absolute nerds, none of us even cared that the schools had teams…

                  1. No. Women’s power is what you associate with Woke. Not physical at all.
                    It is whispers and cancelling and “the bitch doesn’t need to eat. We’ll keep her out.” ETC. To the most horrifying extremes.
                    It’s the crab bucket. It’s conformity or death.

              1. (Raises hand)
                Am terrified!

                My wife was middle management for a profession that’s almost entirely female or gay.
                The conspiracies, backstabbing and reputational attacks were fearsome to behold. (And that was with me cheerfully oblivious to 90+% of it.)

                Or you could just look at the female rulers of history. They weren’t much given to mercy.
                Was there a single ruler, anytime in history, scarier than Saint Olga?

              2. Male conflict roles seem to be built around the team. Men organize into a hierarchy in order to deal with the issue – whether it be fighting outsiders, or taking down a mammoth.

                Back-stabbing and the like is inherently inimical to that. Your mammoth hunting party *must* trust that all of the other members of the party will cooperate with each other, and that everyone will get their fair share. Because if the members of the hunting party start to suspect otherwise, they’ll find excuses not to participate in your extremely dangerous task. Further, the distraction of wondering whether they’ll be next on your victim list will distract them when they need to be focused on not getting stomped on by a mammoth.

                1. While women are devoted to keep people in the group uniform and quiet and moving as a group.
                  Makes sense for gatherers. And watching each other’s kids.

                2. Indeed. I’ve long phrased it as, “Zorg thinks he should be Hunt Leader instead of Thag, and he’ll talk up the elders and his fellow hunters to try and get their backing at the next festival when the Hunt Leader is chosen. But for now Thag is still Hunt Leader and Zorg would never for one minute think of sabotaging the hunt to make him look bad, because the hunt is more important.”

                  1. Worse, Zorg attempting to sabotage the hunt to make Thag look bad might very well end up getting Ugg killed by the mammoth as collateral damage.

                    Who wants to be a part of *that* hunting party?

          2. It’s funny because whenever I see feminist Mormons complaining about about our all male priesthood, I always think that anything that keeps harpies like them out of power can only be a good thing.

            1. This is my view when people demand that Catholics have female priests. I’ve seen the type who’d want to be priests. SHUDDER. The church has enough trouble already.

              1. Methodists have had female ministers for a long time. They run the gamut from very good to utterly ineffective to, “Let’s leave and not come back,” SWJs. I will admit the “ineffective to flaming SWJ,” types seem a bit more common.

                1. My youngest younger sister is a Methodist minister. Her comments on this are much the same.

                2. Considering that every Catholic woman who goes on about wanting to be a priest is a nutter SJW who probably doesn’t believe in G-d…..
                  (There’s a tradition in Methodism of female ministers, so that’s different.)

                3. Episcopal has female priests. Haven’t been directly involved in the church since just after the one I attended as a child was removed to expand Beltline. Congregation was orphaned until I was out of college. Mom goes regularly. She says their best priests they’ve had were the married couple. They moved on when they each were able to get their own churches on the Oregon coast. Churches that couldn’t entice priests because of their size. But a married couple where the churches were within reasonable commuting distance of a central location, was the enticing factor for them. FYI. Mom’s congregation is now in the same boat. They are having problems enticing a permanent priest and have to work with visiting subs; especially the last 2 years.

    2. Stone weapons last, and you can extrapolate the wooden bits if you are very careful with the excavation and test the soil for biological material where the spear-shaft or arrows would have been. Also discolorations in the soil under the now-vanished wood. Stone mace-heads, spear-points, knives, and other things have been found elsewhere, and those were used along with metals when metals were rare and (often at first) less useful for certain applications than the older stone tech was.

      1. Apparently some Bedouin still use stone tools, if it is easier to make an onsite tool and then leave it at the campsite until next year. Nobody steals stone tools, so you can just leave them behind a rock or a tree. And if a tool does walk away, you just make another one next year. No money lost, and no space needed in the truck, saddlebag, etc.

        Hammers for tent pegs, scrapers, that kind of thing.

  9. Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian are not Indo-European, either (though Hungarian apparently has borrowed a lot of vocabulary from German). They’re Uralic, a different family. There are speculations about its being related to Indo-European, but I don’t think their philological methodology is rigorous.

    1. Maltese is a Semitic language, a by-blow of the Arab conquests which included Sicily for a time. Similar to Romanian, where the structure is Romance but most of the vocabulary is Slavic, Maltese has an Arabic structure but most of the vocabulary is Italian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltese_language

      So it’s not a remnant that survived Indo-European expansion like Basque or the now-extinct Etruscan.

      1. Lifts hand.
        Beg to differ. A LOT if not most (And if it’s not most, it’s 49.5% at least) of Romanian vocabulary is Romance. It’s actually painfully close to Portuguese. (Colonized at the same time.)
        I hate being stuck in the middle of Romanian speakers, because my brain engages in SERIAL glitching. “I SHOULD UNDERSTAND THIS” But the pronunciation is just too weird.

        1. When I went to Romania I could read a fair amount of stuff just with Latin and French. Which was not true of anywhere around it (Hungarian and various slavic languages)

      2. I can mostly read a Romanian Bible if I sound out the words and have the Vulgate for quick reference. That’s a LOT of Romance vocabulary. Ditto some every-day Romanian. Spoken Romanian? Ah, that’s a hard nope.

    2. Sorry, I should have been more specific. Languages that pre-date (or for a long time were thought to pre-date) the arrival of proto-Indo-European languages. You are correct that Estonian and Finnish are not, and the roots of Hungarian parallel geographically PIE but have not thus far been found to correspond. Once you start doing reconstruction of extinct languages, you are in a very thick fog of conjecture, and one I only peer into. I leave the depths for people who do this for a living.

      1. Checking my copy of The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, I see on p. 93 that “The Uralic languages are spoken today in northern Europe and Siberia, with one southern offshoot, Magyar, in Hungary, which was conquered by Magyar-speaking invaders in the tenth century.” The Atlas of Languages, by Bernard Comrie et al., includes Hungarian in Finno-Ugric on p. 46. I don’t have the impression that Magyar being Finno-Ugric and thus Uralic is controversial among linguists. (On the other hand, the Wikipedia articles suggest that there’s some recent controversy over exactly how close Hungarian is to Estonian and Finnish. That’s a complication I hadn’t known of.)

        1. There’s some growing doubts about if Finno-Ugric is still a proper classification, or if it needs a finder subdivision. I read enough to suss out what the fight was over, then fled to greener pastures (pun intended).

          1. And there is work on whether Native American languages are related to Finno-Ugric, and whether various Chinese languages are.

            Very early, and I don”t trust it, but it would be cool. (Which is why it is probably not true. I mean, that is a freaking long time back to have recognizable similarities.)

            1. The wild speculation I like is Dene-Caucasian, a macrofamily that links Na-Dene (the family that includes Navajo and a lot of Canadian languages), Georgian, Basque, and I think proto-Sino-Tibetan. In one of my campaigns I had it be the original tongue of human beings ruled by the annunaki.

  10. What do you mean by “identified as a pink monkey? I’ve never quite understood female power structures.

    Read the book The Horse, the Wheel, and Language years ago and loved it. One thing that struck me was how much they figured out because the people doing the archeology also just happened to be horse-people. Wonder how many other cross connections could be made by people with other areas of expertise who would notice things archeologists normally do not.

    1. I’ve also read that book, and it is excellent.
      Pink Monkey — the monkey that’s dyed pink and dropped back in with its fellows, and is torn apart.
      I “understand” and despise female power structures. They always turn on me. And my instinct is to respond with male-style aggression or leave. So far, I’ve managed to leave, but it’s been close a few times.
      The most destructive thing about female power is that it becomes the thing. And the actual thing that brought people together: science, religion, even getting food ready becomes a distant second.
      This is why the prevalence of female power structures in the current world (deliberate because the idiots thought women were peacemakers) is killing everything from science to industry.

        1. Depends on the gay guy.
          Guys who fight like girls, with nasty underhanded tactics are often heterosexual. VERY. I’m trying to remember the biological name Monkey once told me, but it’s something like “Fast and sneaky f*ckers” and they’re small males who um….. I believe the term the military has for this is Jody.
          In the fish they’re often males who pretend to be females for access to females. In humans…. “What is male feminist” for 100, Alex.

          1. So these days the transgender creeps who want to have sex with lesbians and who get upset when Lesbians don’t want to have sex with them and accuse the lesbians of transphobia

            1. I took his steppe quiz, and he guessed I was an Indian male, because apparently most of the people who know a lot are….. LOL
              That’s….. fine.

        2. My sister ran into this. She had a male subordinate who was giving her trouble after she described his behavior I asked “is he gay?” She said suppressed, and I said “well, there’s your problem”. She was treating him as a man but he was fighting like a woman. This is my lefty sister and I remind her of this when she forgets herself with whatever the current lefty lie is.

      1. My female friends are carefully curated to be the type of people Who Don’t Put Up With That Shit. I think there are a lot of us who don’t like those stupid power plays, and we tend to gravitate towards one another.

        Probably not coincidental that the Venn diagram has a strong overlap with People Who Get Shit Done. (And some of those who don’t have things like ADHD, so they get a pass.)

      2. It’s probably the autism but I never was good with female power games either.

      3. I think a lot of the problem with “female power structure” is that it’s the broken/toxic form– same as thugocracy is broken/feral male.

        This is as background to a recognition of the “fast, sneaky f*er” description and how it overlaps with the “sex as power” nonsense.

        There’s some serious Broken in humans were that stuff shows up. (Which would be a lot easier to be sad about IF THEY WOULD STOP BREAKING EVERYBODY ELSE FOR A WHILE, THANK YOU.)

    2. Elizabeth Barber pointed out that having women with weaving experience is also useful to archeologists.
      “What could all these ceramic balls be for? Is there a religious explanation?” “Uh, no, these are loom weights and spindle whorls.”

      1. Oh yes! From “Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times” I love that book too!

        1. It’s a popularization of her book, “Primitive Textiles ” which is probably three times as long and chock full of interesting information.

      2. Heh. It was generally accepted by scholars that the local Indian tribe had worshipped the phallus, because some anthropologist looked at the archaeological finds, and couldn’t imagine that stone rods with a worn rounded end must have been ceremonial.
        (And not for say, grinding wild grains in the worn hollows of the rocks they were found by.)

        I was still seeing that nonsense pop up in museum exhibits during the ‘90s.

        1. Given our nation’s tendency to let a bunch of dicks run the country, and the Leftist tendency to idolize the ones who’re visibly Left, one could imagine there’s a pattern. ;-p

    3. I’d guess a lot. I recall when Ötzi was found, the archaeologists couldn’t make heads nor tails of the little bits of deer antler in his pouch, nor could they figure out how he strung his bow. Every archer I know had it figured out the instant they read it.

      And back when I was studying history at TCD (circa 1980), I went to a lecture where they discussed the excavation of a medieval monastery and of course the fascination with the kitchen midden. They told us that based on the bones they found the monastic diet was X, but in addition to relatively complete animal skeletons, there were dozens of spare skulls. I went up afterward and suggested they look into head cheese. The archaeologists had never even heard of it.

  11. Agree with the points about female violence. I don’t think socialized female violence has any boundaries, specifically because it is about “anything goes” because the children are in danger. On the other hand, male violence is specifically about measure and de-escalation after the minimum necessary damage is done. Because male violence is not about violence in front of the children — socialized male violence is supposed to happen away from the children. Those are my thoughts, anyway. If I’ve picked that up from anyone else, I don’t remember where.

    But there’s a difference between violence and power. Most info I run into about female power structures seems to be contaminated by “women are the peacemakers” crap, so I still don’t quite understand how it works. Mostly, I’ve worked in male fields and seem to have side-stepped female power structures.

    1. One man’s experience. I’ve been told I was one of the more popular managers of women in the firms I worked for because I didn’t hit on them and I always made sure they got promoted and paid. I much preferred hiring women because I didn’t have to put up with the macho BS and dominance games and, quite frankly, women tended to work harder because they had a chip on their shoulder. I never had a problem with working for women but several women told me how they could never work for women. The thing they all remarked on was how women ought to help,each other out since they were a minority in the field, but that the only help they’d ever got was from men and that the women tended to destroy each other.

      All that said, I don’t think I could work in one of the woman dominated fields. If I have to play dominance games, it’ll be with men where i know the rules since there are rules beyond mass destruction.

      1. Thanks! I needed that explained. People keep telling me to watch something like “Mean Girls,” but I needed it spelled out.

      1. I’d think you’d become the Great Mother! Don’t Get Her Angry! 😈

  12. I will sum it up thusly:

    About 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers settled down and became farmers. Shortly thereafter, itinerant bands of pillagers and rapists settled down nearby and became a government.

  13. On the Steppe nomad side of things, you could do worse than read Razib Khan’s substack
    https://razib.substack.com/ which has a number of posts about the Yamnaya and likely origin of the Aryan/Indo-Europeans. Plus their advance into the places they colonized. And yes genetics means that we know they did the classic “kill the men and rape the women” thing

  14. One suspect the “periodic deliberate burning” was more likely the interval between nomadic raiders, who’d burn the place but get their butts kicked due to insufficient numbers, and would then stay away for a couple generations before memories faded and they tried it again. Rinse and repeat until the nomads’ numbers grew sufficient to overwhelm ’em entirely.

    Or possibly the interval between accidental Great Fires, which are gonna happen now and then with close-built wooden structures and open-flame lamps/cooking.

    I don’t believe in people who were advanced enough to build a city being so primitive-minded that they’d periodically destroy their hard-won wealth. I do believe that archeology is so hung up on “ritual” that they can’t see “practical” or “accidental” at all.

    1. The problem thus far is the temperatures needed to get the results that archaeologists find. It takes a far higher fuel load than what would be found with accidental burning, or “pillage, then burn.” Also, it took work to “kill” ovens and things like that, but people did it. So someone loaded the place with additional fuel, lots and lots of it, then torched things. Then repeated it two-three generations later. That’s seriously strange behavior compared to accidental fires or “pillage, then burn.”

      1. Not an unheard of pattern, but there’s little I’ve seen as to the “why” that was more than speculation. And the less information on the culture involved, the more imaginative the speculation. Explanations I remember were vermin control, a scorched earth tactic to temporarily deny the site to hostile neighbors, a site-wide exorcism, a primitive epidemiological measure, part of funerary rites from a great leader, punishment for losing a war, or a major religious shift. I’m sure I’m missing some. And any or none may have been the reason at one site, and the reason at another may have been different.

  15. The houses, walls, storage buildings were all burned to the ground every 60-80 years or so. The entire settlement … Another is that so many vermin and so much garbage piled up that burning the place down served as a public health protection.

    Currently working on a fic where sanitation is a major issue (more people saved by plumbers than doctors), so this makes a lot of sense to me. What was the sanitation structure of those big settlements? Also, burning down the structures doesn’t mean they burned down their wealth. What if their wealth was mostly in fabric? Move the valuable stuff, burn everything else, move back in. Haven’t we done that even in modern times?

    If that was it, there seems to be an incredibly static social structure. No learning. 80 year burning instead of improving sanitation?

    1. Cause and effect for sanitation can be surprisingly counter-intuitive when you don’t already know it– and that’s before the infamously common “out of sight, out of mind” issue.

      As evidence, I offer how often animal control has to come in to deal with rats, or incorrectly disposed of sewage, or similar issues.

  16. We now have a half-century history of anthropologists, archaeologists, and prehistorians loudly announcing with little real evidence their discovery of matriarchal egalitarian groups, and have even gone so far as to look at non-human primates to find such groups. I am aware of no such announcements that, upon further investigation, could truly be confirmed. How much was outright lies vs. confirmation bias I could say without reading a bunch to refresh my memory. What I can saw with certainty is that the longstanding trend of the MSM to herald these announcements with alacrity is getting really tiresome.

  17. Thank you, Sarah, for that foray into the research of some of the early European cultures/languages – particularly the latter. I’ll have to dig into the other non-PIE language isolate you mentioned (besides Basque). That stuff fascinates me and provides useful distraction from being irritated at the wokestapo and at Brandon & Co. stepping on every rake in the yard and “fouling” up things for the rest of us.

  18. Questions about the exact timing of the cultural contacts relative to the weather shift are still open. Another very recent speculation, based on the genetic analysis of the few late-phase bodies found this far, hints that disease might have moved ahead of the steppe peoples, as happened with the Plague of Justinian and later waves of disease. Again, timing and transmission mechanism are still hotly debated, and I’m one of the sceptics.

    Hm. Where there is trouble, there is opportunity– say, for trade.

    It would be really hard to identify something like “this group was more open to trading with the new people, so they got both diseases *and* tips on how to treat them, but the folks they traded with didn’t have the same treatment suggestions” when you’re working with living, first-hand communities– when it’s that far back? I’m impressed that they were able to identify there WAS some sort of new disease problem.

    [yeah, belatedly, and partly so the comments stop growing before I read them. 😀 ]

  19. For those interested in friendly lay-level overviews I recommend the YouTube channel of Dan Davis. He’s a writer with a historical fantasy series set during the transition from the Old European culture with the Steppe culture. He cites some of the same sources listed above and does a pretty good job of distinguishing “what we know”, “what we think”, and “what I think.”

    Following the links from his videos, you can get the prelude novella to his series with Perseus and Medusa recast as an early bronze age story about a steppe nomad.

    I found him via his video on the first horse riders which would serve as the inspiration for the first of no more than fifty-one bad stories on my part:

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