Monday, April 30, 2007

The Indo-European Puzzle - farming

Date Line April 30, 2007

In “The IE puzzle” (1987), the author, Colin Renfrew , asserts:
“the IE Neolithic Dispersal, which is based on the observation that the only moment in European prehistory which might coincide with a gigantic change such as the presumed Indo-Europeanization of Europe is the beginning of farming in the VII millennium B.C.”

As farming originated in the Middle Eastern Levant area (Southern Anatolia) and archaeology affirms a modest migratory contribution from that direction into southern Europe, via the introduction of farming: Renfrew was able to conclude Proto-Indo-Europeans were these early farmers initiating IE in southern and central Europe.

Moreover, the conclusion compels a further conclusion: subsequent dispersal of farming techniques commenced from the dispersal of Indo-Europeans from the southern and central Europe.

Therefore, the Anatolian Haplogroup population becomes the initial locus for determination of agricultural technologies; another locus is created in a pastoral population along the shores of the Black Sea.

The question then becomes, “who domesticated the horse?” This question takes on meaning in association with lactase-persistence (the evolution of the enzyme necessary to allow adult digestion of milk sugar from animals) and the nomadic ability to digest the high concentration of milk sugar in mare’s milk.

The nomadic culture which is noted for consuming mare’s milk is mentioned, in association with the Black Sea, by Herodotus in his Histories (440 BCE). Herodotus also makes reference to an ancient kingdom on the eastern shores of the Black Sea, Colchis.

Herodotus cites a practice of circumcision in the Colchis Kingdom, and associates its people with Egyptian appearance and practice. It is clear this infers, in the absence of any other circumcision citation context, that Colchis was ruled by a Judaic population.

The area in which Colchis lies is the northwestern Caucasus range which marks the southern border of a territory associated with (Ge 10:3) the son of Gomer, grandson of Noah, named Ashkenaz.

In Greek mythology Colchis is the home of Aeëtes and Medea and the destination of the Argonauts. The earliest mention of Colchis is by Aeschylus (525–456 BC); thus its existence, and connection to Judaic practices, follows within several generations of a diaspora which brought Judaic practices to the region.

Colchis is the land of the Golden Fleece. In Svaneti, a remote area of the ancient Colchis region, villagers use sheepskins to trap the fine gold particles in the rivers that flowed from the Caucasus Mountains. The gold fleck permeated skins would then be dried and vibrated to release the gold dust.

Does this add fact to myth? Were Centaurs, those half-horse-men a thing of myth, or a description of something the world had never seen before the emergence of Indo-Europeans – equestrians?

Mythology is interesting. It reflects what we think we know, or what we wish to explain but have a vague understanding of.

Figures of legendary existence must be studied to understand the world of the past through the eyes and ears of those who lived then.

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