31 Jul 2015

The idea of great migrations and new influences on cultures went out of fashion in the 1960s to 1990s - as a result of Marxist influence on archaeology (and almost all the academic disciplines). The idea that outsiders were solely responsible for new innovations had probably been taken too literally and stetched too far in the inter-war years - and the consensus did require a dose of reality. However, the Marxist orientated explanation that all cultures were able to self improve themselves without the requirement of outside or colonial influence went the other way - excluding migrations as an explanations of major cultural change. For a long period history was being conducted on a false premise - but genetics, it would seem, is blowing a bit of fresh air into the cloisters of academia (welcome or otherwise).

As a result of genetic studies, migrations (sometimes over very long distances) are back on the agenda - and about time too. Genetics, for the moment, is regarded as proof positive with little argument from mainstream. In the August issue of Current World Archaeology 72 (2015) it is noted that the Hallstatt culture grew out of the Bronze Age Urnfield culture - in the 8th century BC. The next phase of the Iron Age in central and western Europe, defined by the label La Tene, began in the 5th century BC. These two dates converge on two episodes visible in tree rings - in just those centuries, two anomalies that were chosen as the beginning point of the calibration curve. It is in effect a C14 plateau - which suggests an injection of C14 into the atmosphere (with a cosmic origin) - on two separate occasions. This is where Velikovsky placed his Mars catastrophes, ending them in 687BC instead of much later. That may or may not have a bearing on the matter but it would be interesting to find out if there were genetic changes in Europe coinciding with the cultural change from Urnfield to Hallstatt to La Tene - as a result of migration induced by 'events'. We may also wonder if there were genetic markers at around 1200BC - the end of the LB age in the Mediterranean and Near East. For example, did the Scythians invade Europe? They are recorded in northern Mesopotamia in the 7th century - but may have been in the Transcaucasus region for a while before penetrating further to the south. Their descendants still live in the Transcaucasus region. The Cimmerians are also recorded as invading the Transcausus, and spilling over into Anatolia. Later, they appear to have occupied Crimea (a geographical region derived from Cimmerian - Biblical Gomer).