Languages and migrations in pre-historic Europe

Roots of Europe Summer Seminar

at NorS and the National Museum of Denmark
7–12 August 2018

Poster - Languages and migrations in prehistoric Europe

Linguists, archaeologists and geneticists dig into Europe’s prehistoric past in a new, cross-disciplinary collaboration

The RoE Summer Seminar is a collaboration between the National Museum of Denmark and Roots of Europe, a research center at the University of Copenhagen devoted to tying together the linguistic, archaeological and genetic evidence of Europe’s prehistoric past, beginning with the Late Neolithic and moving into the Bronze Age.

Prehistory – defined as the time period before the emergence of written records – has traditionally been explored and described by archaeologists. Historical linguists as well have reconstructed language stages deep into prehistory, despite the lack of written records. Due to the new revolutionary methods emerging in the natural sciences – in particular the discovery of ancient DNA and strontium isotopes – archaeologists and archaeolinguists are now able to compare and connect their findings with unprecedented precision. As a result, we have an increasingly complex and vivid idea of Europe’s Neolithic and Bronze-Age populations: their languages, migrations, mutual warfare, religion, mythology and social organization.

These topics were presented and discussed by a panel of internationally leading experts at the seminar.


Click here for the printed programme; click on the titles of the talks to see the slides. 

Tuesday, 7 August

At the National Museum

10:45 – 11:45

The Indo-European languages

Thomas Olander PhD, DPhil. (University of Copenhagen)

12:00 – 12:30

Introducing The Homeland Timeline Map:
Prehistoric migrations in “real time”

Mikkel Nørtoft, MA


Indo-Europeans, Aryans and Nazi mythology

Benedicte Nielsen Whitehead PhD (University of Copenhagen)

15:30 – 16:30

The genetic evidence for prehistoric migrations

Hannes Schroeder PhD (University of Copenhagen)

Wednesday, 8 August

At the National Museum

10:45 – 11.45

The Indo-Europeanization of Europe

Prof. Kristian Kristiansen (University of Gothenburg)

12:00 – 12:30

The chariot, the horse, the winged depas:
Once again on the journey of the Sun-god

Laura Massetti PhD (University of Copenhagen & Harvard Center for
Hellenic Studies

14:00 – 15:00 

Indo-European society and language: 
An archaeolinguistic perspective

Prof. Birgit Anette Olsen (University of Copenhagen)

15:30 – 16:30 

Celtic-Germanic relationships:
4000 years as neighbours

Adam Hyllested PhD (University of Copenhagen)

Thursday, 9 August

At the National Museum

10:45 – 11:45

Prehistoric Scandinavian disruptions

Lasse Sørensen PhD (National Museum of Denmark)

12:00 – 12:45

The arrival of Indo-European speakers in southern Scandinavia:
An archaeolinguistic approach
(Part I: Kroonen – part II: Iversen)

Rune Iversen PhD (University of Copenhagen)
Guus Kroonen PhD (Universities of Copenhagen and Leiden)

14:00 – 15:00

Emergence of the Germanic languages in Northern Europe

Seán Vrieland PhD (University of Copenhagen)

15:30 – 16:30

The Bronze Age agricultural expansion into Norway – including northermost Norway – as demonstrated by the iconographic, rock art, evidence

Flemming Kaul DrPhil

Friday, 10 August

At the National Museum

10:45 – 11:45


The archaeology and linguistics of Indo-European origins and spread

Prof. David Anthony (Hartwick College)

12:00 – 12:30


The diseases of the Indo-European peoples

Matilde Serangeli PhD (University of Copenhagen)

14:00 – 15:00


Migrations in a long-term perspective

Jeanette Varberg (National Museum of Denmark)

15:30 – 16:30


The indo-European homeland problem:
Traditional methods and current problems

Prof. James P Mallory (Queen’s University of Belfast)

Saturday, 11 August

At the University of Copenhagen

The weekend sessions will be dedicated to front-line research, i.e. work in progress, allowing for plenty of discussions.
Most speakers  will announce their topics at a later time.

10:45 – 11:45

Re-theorising genes, culture, language and migrations

Prof. Kristian Kristiansen, University of Gothenburg

12:00 – 12:30

From Indo-European to Russian:
A study of sound change and its relative chronology

Florian Wandl, PhD student (University of Zürich)

13:30 – 14.30

The first horse herders and the impact of early Bronze Age steppe expansions into Asia

Guus Kroonen PhD (Universities of Leiden and Copenhagen)

15:00 – 16:00

Linguistic Palaeontology

Prof. James P Mallory (Queen’s University of Belfast)

Sunday, 12 August

At the University of Copenhagen

10:45 – 11:15

Rumselçuk Caravanserais of 13th  Century Anatolia

Else Marie Johansen Cand.arch. 

11:30 – 12:30 


Prof. David Anthony

13:30 – 14:30      

A critique of recent developments in the archaeology of the Indo-Europeans

James Alan Johnson PhD (University of Copenhagen)

15:00 – 16:00


Panel discussion

All lecturers

Where and when

The seminar lasted from 7–12 August 2018, from 10.30 AM–4.30 PM and was jointly hosted by the National Museum of Denmark and the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen.

All talks were open to the public.

Attending the RoE Summer Seminar as a PhD course

The Summer Seminar was approved as a PhD course.

Unlike in previous years, the Roots of Europe does not offer a summer school; but we would like to draw your attention to the Archaeomics Summer School that takes place in the week just following the seminar at the department of GeoGenetics.