A more recent, revised and updated version of this paper has been published (2019)

Late Indo-European expansion

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Anthony’s third migration wave of ca. 3000-2800 BC[Anthony 2013] must include the expansion of peoples of R1b1a1a2a2-Z2103 and R1b1a1a2a1-L51 lineages into Europe.

The most obvious material division within the early Yamna horizon was between east and west. According to forming and TMRCA dates of R1b1a1a2a2-Z2103 lineages, communities carrying different R1b1a1a2a2-Z2103 subclades might have already developed differentiated groups based on clans within the Volga–Ural–North Caucasian zone, a part of the more mobile eastern Yamna pastoral economy[Anthony 2007]. This region included the Volga-Ural variant between the Volga and Ural Rivers (with Lower Volga, Middle Volga, and Ural regions), and the North Caucasus variant (right bank of the Volga River region, Kalmykia, and North Caucasus until the Terek River). In the central region of Kalmykia, a late sample at Stalingrad Quarry ca. 2675 BC – after the migrations into south-eastern Europe – shows a subclade R1b1a1a2a2c-Z2106[Allentoft et al. 2015].

The remaining North-West Indo-European community – separated from Pre-Tocharian speakers – lived more likely around the South Bug – Lower Don steppe, and it is possible that their lineages were dominated by R1b1a1a2a1-L51 lineages, which had expanded with successful clans probably by 3900 BC according to its TMRCA, and to the same time of formation of subclade R1b1a1a2a1a-L151.

This region included the Don River variant (Lower Don from the Ilovlya River to the mouth of the Don River and valley of the Western Manych River); the Siverskyi Donets variant (right bank of the Siverskyi Donets River between modern Kharkiv and Luhansk cities); the Azov variant (steppe of the Northern Azov Sea coast); the Crimea variant; the Lower Dnieper variant (from the Orel River and the Inhulets River to the Black Sea cost) with the Bilozirka, Nikopol, Kryvyi Rih, Dnieper “Stone stream”, Left bank of the Dnieper, and Black Sea coast regions; the North-Western variant (steppe and forest-steppe borderland on the Middle Dnieper and to the west from it), and the South-Western Variant (between Bug and Danube rivers).

Local groups of the north Pontic steppe include the Donetsk group, the Middle Dnieper group, the Lower Dnieper and the Azov-Crimea groups, and the Southern Bug group. The kurgans between the Dniester and the Prut Rivers received influences from the main neighbouring regions – such as EBA of central and south-east Europe, Globular Amphora, and Corded Ware, Foltești 2 and Coţofeni cultures –, and two cultural-chronological variants are described: the Early Dniester variant and the Late Budzhak variant[Rassamakin and Nikolova 2008].

The western community expanded west possibly early within the southern stream of the third migration wave (with a TMRCA ca. 2800 BC for R1b1a1a2a1a-L151), from the Bug-Dnieper-Azov steppes into the lower Danube valley and Bulgaria. They pushed farther up the Danube to the middle Danube valley in eastern Hungary through an Old Europe in crisis – contemporary with late Baden / Cernavodă III[Anthony 2007][Anthony 2013].

copper-age-early_yamna_steppe.jpg Diachronic map of Copper Age migrations ca. 3100-2600 BC [Anthony 2007][Harrison and Heyd 2007][Rassamakin and Nikolova 2008][Sjogren, Price, and Kristiansen 2016][Heyd 2007][Heyd 2014].


  • [Allentoft et al. 2015] ^ Allentoft, Morten E., Martin Sikora, Karl-Goran Sjogren, Simon Rasmussen, Morten Rasmussen, Jesper Stenderup, Peter B. Damgaard, Hannes Schroeder, Torbjorn Ahlstrom, Lasse Vinner, Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, Ashot Margaryan, Tom Higham, David Chivall, Niels Lynnerup, Lise Harvig, Justyna Baron, Philippe Della Casa, Pawel Dabrowski, Paul R. Duffy, Alexander V. Ebel, Andrey Epimakhov, Karin Frei, Miroslaw Furmanek, Tomasz Gralak, Andrey Gromov, Stanislaw Gronkiewicz, Gisela Grupe, Tamas Hajdu, Radoslaw Jarysz, Valeri Khartanovich, Alexandr Khokhlov, Viktoria Kiss, Jan Kolar, Aivar Kriiska, Irena Lasak, Cristina Longhi, George McGlynn, Algimantas Merkevicius, Inga Merkyte, Mait Metspalu, Ruzan Mkrtchyan, Vyacheslav Moiseyev, Laszlo Paja, Gyorgy Palfi, Dalia Pokutta, Lukasz Pospieszny, T. Douglas Price, Lehti Saag, Mikhail Sablin, Natalia Shishlina, Vaclav Smrcka, Vasilii I. Soenov, Vajk Szeverenyi, Gusztav Toth, Synaru V. Trifanova, Liivi Varul, Magdolna Vicze, Levon Yepiskoposyan, Vladislav Zhitenev, Ludovic Orlando, Thomas Sicheritz-Ponten, Soren Brunak, Rasmus Nielsen, Kristian Kristiansen, and Eske Willerslev. 2015. Population genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia. Nature 522 (7555):167-172.
  • [Anthony 2007] ^ 1 2 3 Anthony, D. 2007. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
  • [Anthony 2013] ^ 1 2 Anthony, D. W. 2013. Two IE phylogenies, three PIE migrations, and four kinds of steppe pastoralism. Journal of Language Relationship (9):1-21.
  • [Harrison and Heyd 2007] ^ Harrison, Richard, and Volker Heyd. 2007. The Transformation of Europe in the Third Millennium BC: the example of ‘Le Petit-Chasseur I + III’ (Sion, Valais, Switzerland). Praehistorische Zeitschrift 82 (2).
  • [Heyd 2014] ^ Heyd, Volker. 2014. Families, Prestige Goods, Warriors & Complex Societies: Beaker Groups of the 3rd Millennium cal BC Along the Upper & Middle Danube. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 73:327-379.
  • [Rassamakin and Nikolova 2008] ^ 1 2 Rassamakin, Yuri Ya., and Alla V. Nikolova. 2008. Carpathian Imports in the Graves of the Yamnaya Culture on the Lower Dnieper. Some Problems of Chronology and Connections in the Black Sea Steppes During the Early Bronze Age. Edited by F. Bertemes and A. Furtwängler, Import and Imitation in Archaeology. Langenweissbach: Beier & Beran.