The Homeland – University of Copenhagen

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The Homeland: In the footprints of the early Indo-Europeans

Indo-European languages – including Danish, German, English, Spanish, Russian, Greek, Armenian and Hindi – are spoken by almost half of the world’s population today. These languages descend from a common proto-language, Proto-Indo-European, which must have been spoken at some point before 4,000 BC. Proto-Indo-European is not documented in writing, but by means of linguistic reconstruction it is possible to gain knowledge of the language and of the world in which it was spoken – for instance, the speakers must have known concepts like wool, honey bees and horses.

By correlating concepts like these with archaeological findings, "The homeland" aims at identifying when and where Proto-Indo-European was spoken. The project is cross-disciplinary, linking linguistics and archaeology from the outset. Most former studies have addressed the question from either a linguistic or an archaeological perspective.

"The homeland" covers three sub-projects:

  • a PhD project  addressing  a linguistic problem within the homeland problem;
  • a postdoctoral project, “The archaeological evidence”, collecting and analysing the relevant archaeological material;
  • project leader Thomas Olander’s project “The linguistic evidence”, collecting and analysing the linguistic material.

The revant linguistic and archaeological findings will be incorporated into a database.

The project is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics.