Logo: MPI Talking Neolithic: The Indo-European Homeland Problem versus the Origin(s) of the First European Farmers (Workshop)
December 02-03, 2013


  • Bernard Comrie (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology),
  • Guus Kroonen (Copenhagen University)

Local organizer:

  • Claudia Bavero (MPI EVA)

Venue: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Date: December 02-03, 2013

Invited speakers

  • Dr. P. Heggarty (MPI EVA Leipzig)
  • Prof. M.A. Jobling (University of Leicester)
  • Prof. J.P. Mallory (Queens University)
  • Prof. J. Salmons (University of Wisconsin)
  • Prof. P.C.H. Schrijver (Utrecht University)
  • Elena Marinova-Wolff (University of Leuven)
  • Johanna Nichols (Berkeley)

Call for papers

In recent years, the study of archaeological DNA and strontium isotopes has been shedding more and more light on the origins and migrations of the first European farmers. The evidence now seems to confirm that the dispersal of agricultural techniques from Anatolia to Central and Northwest Europe was not merely cultural, but truly “demic”, i.e. induced by migrating farmers.

At the background of this, the debate on the location of the Indo-European homeland recently sparked into life again. In 2012, the widely supported theory that the Indo-European languages reached Europe during a Bronze Age expansion wave from the Ukrainian steppes was challenged once more by the rival Out-of-Anatolia hypothesis. This hypothesis, which claims that the Indo-Europeans spread from Anatolia in the wake of agriculture, gained world-wide media attention after its implementation in a new model for language expansions. Meanwhile, current research on the pre-Indo-European loanwords in Germanic, Celtic, Greek and Latin reveals that the separate Indo-European dialects borrowed a significant part of their agricultural terminology from extinct Neolithic languages. This seems to suggest that the Indo-Europeans and the earliest European farmers were two culturally and linguistically distinct groups.

The questions that thus arise are: “Exactly how agricultural were the Indo-Europeans and how Indo-European were Europe’s first agriculturalists?”

The international workshop Talking Neolithic aims at creating an interdisciplinary focus on the European Neolithic in order to tackle 1. the Indo-European homeland problem and Indo-European expansions, in particular from the perspective of 2. the origin and nature of extinct prehistoric European languages, and 3. the spread of agriculture and/or the first European agriculturalists. The objective is to compare findings from different historical disciplines and unite them into a cross-disciplinary perspective. Within this framework, linguists, geneticists and archaeologists are invited to submit a paper of no longer than 20 minutes on any of these three or closely related topics. Abstracts should not exceed 400 words, fit on a single page, and must be sent to Guus Kroonen no later than July 1, 2013. Please be sure to include your name, institute and contact information (land and e-mail address).

We look forward to welcoming you to Leipzig,
The organizers