Monday, December 26, 2011

The Horse, the Wheel and Language by David Anthony

I love the way this book starts. David Anthony says we should look into a mirror and see not only you but your ancestors. We see not only our own face, but a museum. Although you see your face, it is composed of a collage of features you have inherited from your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on.

David Anthony identifies the prehistoric peoples of central Eurasia's steppe grasslands as the original speakers of Proto-Indo-European. This is the Steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas. This is important because roughly half the world's population speaks languages derived from a shared linguistic source known as Proto-Indo-European.

The Steppes of Eurasia go from Eastern Europe to China. These steppes were changed forever by the horse and the covered wagon. Apparently, there was a Secondary Products Revolution that swept Europe in between 3500 and 3000BCE. This revolution included the plow, wool sheep, dairying and the beginning of horse transportation. The secondary products of this this revolution included items like wool, milk and muscular power than be harvested continuously from an animal without killing it.

This SPR is an economic explanation for widespread changes in settlement patterns, economy, rituals and crafts. Much of this has been ascribed by an older generation of archaeologists to Indo-European migrations.

If you like history and anthropology, this is a great book. It also tells us where our language might have originated from and how we got it.

For a preview of this book, see Princeton University Press. Amazon does have surprisingly good book reviews, but you have to scroll almost to the page bottom to find them. For such a review, see Amazon. Another good review is at Dreamflesh. Plus another one at Thinking Out Aloud.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Anthony. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.

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