Index to the Origins of Indo-European Cultures
Beaker folk [Pre-3000 B.C.E.]
There were many new groups of people emerged in Central Europe during the late Neolithic (New Stone Age) period, one certainly immigrant. Each group may be distinguished archaeologically by characteristic artifacts found in their respective burial sites. One was a Bell Beaker or drinking vessel. We now refer to this group as the Beaker folk. There is still some doubt as to the origins of the Beaker folk, some say Iberia, and some say Central Europe itself. Never-the-less it is believed that they emerge as an independent cultural group around 3000 B.C.E..
The second group is characterized by a perforated battle-axe of stone. Similarly, we now refer to this group as the Battle-Axe folk. Evidence points towards origins in the steppe-lands of southern Russia, between the Caucasus and the Carpathian mountains. The Battle-Axe folk may be attributed with the initial spread of the Indo-European group of languages. The Indo-European group of languages encompasses most of those current in present-day Europe. In Central Europe the Beaker folk and Battle-Axe folk fused to become one European people. Shortly thereafter began the Bronze Age in Europe. It is unclear whether the arrival of the two groups influenced the arrival of the Bronze Age or not. Many think that contact with the Mediterranean and beyond may have influenced this.
From this period onwards the line of continuity which leads directly to the historic Celts may be traced from the archaeological evidence. This is identified by the successive ŕnÍtice, Tumulus and Urnfield cultures of the Central European Bronze Age. The ŕnÍtice culture appears to have emerged from the fusion of Battle-Axe and Beaker peoples and their immediate descendants. The ŕnÍtice culture became the pre-eminent culture in Central Europe by the middle of the second millennium B.C.E.. Because of rich mineral deposits and control of trade routes between the south-east (early Mediterranean cultures) and the more distant parts of Europe, the ŕnÍtice people prospered.
The Tumulus culture which followed the ŕnÍtice, and from which they descended, dominated Central Europe during much of the second part of the second millenium B.C.E.. As the name implies, the Tumulus culture is distinguished by the practice of burying the dead beneath burial mounds. During this period trade contacts with the south-east remained intact and were probably expanded. The Tumulus culture flourished without any disruption of local peoples by large-scale immigration. This was to end, however, toward the close of the second millennium B.C.E., when there is evidence of wide-spread disruption which affected the "higher civilizations" to the south-east and curbed trade.
The focus is on the Scythian, Sauromatian, Sarmatian, Saka, and early Mongolian nomads who inhabited the Eurasian steppes during the first millennium B.C.
* North Caucasus;
* Southeastern Europe;
Difference were of elaborate burial types, grave goods, ethnogeography, metallurgy, kurgan construction, anthropomorphic lithic stelae. Greek and local ceramics, fortified settlements, and subsistence economy.
During the sixth century B.C. to fourth century A.D., climatic changes resulting in a deteriorating steppe ecology necessitating a nomadic lifeway with tribal unions, class formation, and primitive state development and defined a region, chronology, and geographic-ecological characteristics. Despite local variations in burial rituals and contact with classical civilizations, kurgans (semispherical earthen burial mounds) and the Scytho-Sarmatian triad (specialized weaponry, horse harness, and "animal style" depictions) are ubiquitous steppe culture characteristics.
Were actively involved in the political and military expansion of the Achaemenid empire, the fall of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, and the formations of Parthia and later the Kushan empire. Regional delineations of kurgan cemeteries, grave goods, and pottery are made for nine geographic regions.
The early nomads of Mongolia and information on the Late Neolithic, Afanasievo, Slab Grave, and Karasuk cultures were all affected during the period of the great migrations, the nomadic movement literally recarved the ethnic and political map of Asia and areas further to the West.