This is a scholarly synopsis of the public lecture I’ll be giving in the Fall on reconsidering Vedic origins. This version will be used in the article I plan on submitting to a scholarly journal at a later date.
The public version will be much more informal in its presentation. Most of the public lecture will deal mostly with the topic of the last sentence but I needed to establish the scholarly relevance here.
I welcome your comments.
The Indo-European languages are the most widely spoken in the world. About 44% of the global population are native Indo-European language speakers and they cover the vast majority of the planet, including practically all of the Western hemisphere and Europe plus the majority of the landmass of Asia and Oceania. Yet at one time they were a small group of people who occupied a very minor part of the globe during the Early Bronze Age c. 5000 BCE. The timing and mechanisms of their spread and the place of their origins are still debated.
This presentation examines new archaeological and anthropological evidence in the past two decades and suggests that the old paradigm of a relatively rapid spread over a relatively short period of time by pastoral nomads is mistaken. It proposes a new paradigm that emphasizes interaction rather than invasions/migrations and that this process occurred over a much longer period of time. It was the spread of a cultural/linguistic group, not a racial one. It is called the Middle Asian Interaction Theory (MAIT). It contends that, while invasion/migration played a role in the expansion, it was not the only factor.
The major impetus for the spread of the Indo-European culture and language involved the adoption of the Indo-European Cultural Package which originally involved long-distance trade and revolutionary cultural and technological transfers along the Proto-Indo-European Corridor among primarily agricultural-pastoral peoples. These included the spread of agriculture, animal husbandry, trade goods, proto-scientific/spiritual worldviews, technologies like metallurgy, wheeled vehicles, and the domestication of the horse. One of the ramifications of this theory is a new understanding about the timelines and cultural identities of the peoples of Middle Asia, particularly South and South Central Asia.