J. .P Mallory speaks on Indo-European Dispersals and the Eurasian Steppe at the Silk Road Symposium held at the Penn Museum held in March 2011.
Contacts between Europe and China that bridged the Eurasian steppe lands are part of a larger story of the dispersal of the Indo-European languages that were carried to Ireland (Celtic) in the west and the western frontiers of China (Tokharian, Iranian) in the east. Reviewing some of the problems of these expansions 15 years ago, the author suggested that it was convenient to discuss the expansions in terms of several fault lines -- the Dnieper, the Ural and Central Asia. The Dnieper is critical for resolving issues concerning the different models of Indo-European origins and more recent research forces us to reconsider the nature of the Dnieper as a cultural border.
Recent research has also suggested that we need to reconsider the eastern periphery of the Indo-European world and how it relates to its western neighbors.
J.P. Mallory is Professor of Prehistoric Archeology at Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.