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The Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe

Objective

Dramatic migrations in the third millennium BC re-shaped Europe, modifying its economy, society, ethnicity and ideological structure for ever. The best incentive proxy are populations that moved from the steppes of Russia, spreading as far west as Hungary, implanting a pastoral economy with widespread innovations. These dynamic people covered thousands of kilometres within a few centuries, and organised direct physical relations over the steppes for the first time. This synchronism is promoted by a society organised to fit to this lifestyle, with new herding techniques, likely use of wagons and domesticated horses, and a protein-rich diet, whose adaptive advantages are evident from the physical record in human skeletons and territorial extensions. This is the Yamnaya complex, whose impact remains visible today in the European gene pool and apparently the propagation of Indo-European languages. This international and interdisciplinary project examines the data from 320 excavated burial mounds and c.1350 burials to calibrate these changes, also against a control sample of supposedly local and neighbouring populations. The archaeological, biological and environmental information allows large, new datasets to be built, whose systematic interrogation and modelling should reveal the formative processes behind these changes. Assessing funeral archaeology, material culture, and exchange pattern defines their culture and impact. Scientific analyses of skeletons expose relations of origin, degrees of consanguinity, diet, and histories of individual mobility over single lifetimes with new precision and replicability. They should also act as proxy datasets for environmental changes using further analytical techniques in a context of landscape evolution. Diachronic patterns within these sets should link with aspects of the internal social dynamics, such as the creation of new status positions, visible later in the Pan-European Corded Ware and Bell Beaker groups.

Field of science

  • /humanities/history and archaeology/archaeology
  • /social sciences/sociology/social problems/migration
  • /humanities/history and archaeology/history
  • /humanities/languages and literature/languages - general
  • /social sciences/sociology/anthropology/ethnology

Call for proposal

ERC-2017-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-ADG - Advanced Grant

Host institution

HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO
Address
Yliopistonkatu 3
00014 Helsingin Yliopisto
Finland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 681 159

Beneficiaries (5)

HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO
Finland
EU contribution
€ 1 681 159
Address
Yliopistonkatu 3
00014 Helsingin Yliopisto
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 245 786
Address
Beacon House Queens Road
BS8 1QU Bristol
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 151 509
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
SZENT ISTVAN UNIVERSITY
Hungary
EU contribution
€ 60 000
Address
Pater Karoly Utca 1
2100 Godollo
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
JOHANNES GUTENBERG-UNIVERSITAT MAINZ
Germany
EU contribution
€ 355 755
Address
Saarstrasse 21
55122 Mainz
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments