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Old European culture
Some archaeologists and ethnographers use the term Old Europe to characterize the autochthonous ('aboriginal') peoples who were living in Neolithic southeastern Europe before the immigration of Indo-European peoples. According to this model, Indo-European peoples arrived beginning around 4000 BCE, across the plains north of the Black Sea. Their ultimate origins did not concern the culture of "Old Europe."
The term "Old Europe" was introduced by Marija Gimbutas, in The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe : 6500-3500 B.C. (1974). Finding her evidence in a meticulous study of pottery and sculpture and combining the tools of archaeology, comparative mythology, linguistics, and, most controversially, folklore, Gimbutas developed a new interdisciplinary field, archaeomythology . Excavations in what was then Yugoslavia, in Macedonia, Greece and Italy made it possible for Gimbutas to focus on an investigation of the Neolithic period (which she termed "Old Europe") in order to understand cultural developments in settled village culture, which she characterized as peaceful and matrilinear, before the Indo-European influences which she broadly characterized as nomadic and patriarchal. She associated the Indo-European immigrants with the Bronze Age "Kurgan culture" that she identified.
Few details of Old European culture are widely agreed upon, and even the date of the Indo-European arrival in Old Europe is questioned, whether in a Late Neolithic or a Bronze Age context. One major reappraisal of the evidence by the archaeologist Colin Renfrew proposes that the Indo-European 'invasion' is instead linked to the relatively rapid spread of farming from Anatolia into Europe, and was Neolithic in date (from about 6500 BCE ).
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza has also summarized the study of prehistoric European population genetics and demographics in The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution (written with his son Francesco).
List of Old European cultures
Before the Indo-European migration described by Marija Gimbutas as beginning around 4000 BCE, several Neolithic archaeological cultures are known from Europe, particularly in the Balkans. These are known collectively as Old European cultures. However, many archaeologists do not now see these archaeological cultures as indigenous to the south-east, but as Indo-European farmers who migrated to this area from Anatolia, arriving in Europe about 6500 BCE .
- Linear Ceramic culture
- Starcevo-Cris culture
- Precucuteni culture
- Cucuteni culture
- Vadastra culture
- Vinca culture
- Dudesti culture
- Salcuta culture
- Lengyel culture
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