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Human migrations in Europe
Here is our personal attempt to pull European pre-history into a coherent narrative.
Between 43000 and 41000 years ago (approx.), a first wave of migrating people from the Middle East colonized all
Mediterranean coasts. It was a brief interstadial event, about as warm as present-day. These Cro-Magnon people spoke languages
which were not related to Proto-Indo-European (PIE). Initially, they colonized most of Western Europe, up to
Scandinavia. But then (± 39000 BC) the climate deteriorated and they were forced to abandon the North and to stay around the
warmer Mediterranean Sea. The Ice Age would reach its full depth.
As soon as the climatic conditions allowed it (start of the pre-Younger Dryas in 12000 BC), a new, second wave hit Europe.
Most of Continental Europe was recolonised by hunter-gatherers who came from the shores of the Black Sea and the Balkan region.
The new climatic conditions created a world with a lot of grass, ideal for big game. During the Younger Dryas, roughly 12000 ->
8000 BC, most Europeans migrated seasonally: to the north in the spring and to the warmer south in autumn.Winterly concentrations
of humans in respectively Bavaria and Aquitaine caused increasing language uniformity. By contrast, all regions on the shores of
the Mediterranean Sea were littered with very different languages.
We call the language spoken during the Younger Dryas in modern Germany Maglemosian. Maglemosian is ancestral PIE.
We suppose the existence of a northern Maglemosian language spoken by people who lived more like modern Eskimos close to the
last Scandinavian Ice Sheet and who did not go south (or not that far) in winter (period: 12000 -> 8000 BC).
The Younger Dryas period had a climate (steppe = grassland) which favoured very much big animals like bison, deer, etc.
After the start of the much warmer Holocene (8000 BC), seasonal migration stopped. People remained within the boundaries of their
hunting grounds. Over the following millennia, the languages in Europe diversified. What were at first dialects evolved into
separate languages. But the language family background remained more or less intact.
During the Holocene, the grasslands changed into forests, which are much less favourable for big game. This means that the food
supply for humans dwindled. And subsequently the human population.
Period: about 12000 BC up to around 4000 BC in the more remote corners of western Europe.
Around ±7000-4050 BC, the spread of agriculture reintroduced the PIE language, especially in the less
populated northern regions. The language base in the north was already present, but was now completely renewed. Maglemosian became
proto-Germanic. This was not a third wave of human migrants. It was a technological and linguistic wave. Human
migration did happen but as most inhabitable regions were already inhabited, this migration was limited in numbers.
The Azelian language around the North Sea was changed into proto-Germanic and the rest of the Atlantic coasts, including modern
Portugal, changed into proto-Brythonic.
We suppose that agriculture eventually always prevailed.
We think that for instance the Maglemosian people who lived in the valley of the Danube, to the southeast of modern
Austria, were open minded people. The similarity in language helped a lot. New PIE became mixed with the old version and gave
birth to proto-German in the north of the valley and proto-Occitan (later: Latin) to the west of the Hungarian plain,
closer to the Adriatic Sea. The latter language would later jump to Italy.
We think that the Azelian people who lived in Portugal and Galicia were at first reluctant to accept agriculture and its
language, but eventually accepted it without much afterthought. The local language changed in proto-Brythonic. That language
spread itself along the Atlantic coasts.
However, proto-Germanic reached the shores of the North Sea, including England, way before proto-Brythonic reached Cornwall.
[The spread of the Slavonic languages can be due to the rise of the Kurgan people in South Russia and happened later, around 3500
PIE did not evolve in separate languages