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Konstantin A. Alekseev


For a long time there was an opinion in Indo-European studies that the bearers of farming cultures of Old Europe could not migrate eastward - to the steppes of Eurasia - and could not become classical nomads, as Indo-Europeans always seemed to be. The purpose of this article is to introduce English-speaking specialists to the latest trends in Russian and Ukrainian studies in solving the problem of the origin of Indo-Europeans on the example of Tocharians migrations. Abandoning the speculative attributes that were traditionally ascribed to the Indo-Europeans (the cult of the horse, the cult of fire, carts, stone rods), we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the data of archaeology, anthropology, glottochronology and paleogenetics on the principle of their mutual convergence and, as far as possible, consistency. We have retrospectively traced back from archaeological cultures and societies with reliable ethnic attribution to their supposed ancestors to determine the source of migration and the mother culture. As a result, it was possible to trace the logistic chain of migrations of indigenous farmers of the Central European Lengyel culture, who first penetrated into the area of the Trypillia culture, and then far to the east - into the Steppes of Eurasia. The Dnieper ceased to be an insurmountable frontier – the ancestors of the Tocharians  easily forced it, as indicated by the Lengyel ceramics found in the Orlik mound on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnieper in the Poltava region of Ukraine. Thus, the model of migration from West to East, to the very Heart of Asia, gets a complete form, gaining an evidence base at each stage of migration.

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