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 around 4,000 BCE. 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 – by comparing the vocabulary of its descendants, we may conclude that 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 main sub-projects of “The Homeland” project are the following:
- “The Indo-European homeland: The linguistic evidence” which collects and analyses the linguistic material (Thomas Olander, associate professor, project leader)
- “Wheeled technology and social structure among the early Indo-Europeans” (James Alan Johnson, postdoc)
- “The cladistic position of Anatolian” (Tobias Mosbæk Søborg, PhD student)
- “The Homeland timeline map”, an interactive map showing archaeological and genetic evidence relating to the Indo-European homeland discussion (Mikkel Nørtoft, research assistant)
The main outlets disseminating the results of the project to a wider public are the following:
- an interactive map showing archaeological and genetic evidence relating to the Indo-European homeland discussion
- a blog discussing problems relating to the Indo-European homeland problem
The project is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics.