Re-theorising mobility and the formation of culture and language among the Corded Ware Culture in Europe

Kristian Kristiansen*, Morten E. Allentoft, Karin M. Frei, Rune Iversen, Niels N. Johannsen, Guus Kroonen, Łukasz Pospieszny, T. Douglas Price, Simon Rasmussen, Karl Göran Sjögren, Martin Sikora, Eske Willerslev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


Recent genetic, isotopic and linguistic research has dramatically changed our understanding of how the Corded Ware Culture in Europe was formed. Here the authors explain it in terms of local adaptations and interactions between migrant Yamnaya people from the Pontic-Caspian steppe and indigenous North European Neolithic cultures. The original herding economy of the Yamnaya migrants gradually gave way to new practices of crop cultivation, which led to the adoption of new words for those crops. The result of this hybridisation process was the formation of a new material culture, the Corded Ware Culture, and of a new dialect, Proto-Germanic. Despite a degree of hostility between expanding Corded Ware groups and indigenous Neolithic groups, stable isotope data suggest that exogamy provided a mechanism facilitating their integration. This article should be read in conjunction with that by Heyd (2017, in this issue).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-347
Number of pages14
Issue number356
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


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