Ethnolinguistic Prehistory

The Peopling of the World from the Perspective of Language, Genes and Material Culture


This volume provides the most up-to-date and holistic but compact account of the peopling of the world from the perspective of language, genes and material culture, presenting a view from the Himalayas. The phylogeny of language families, the chronology of branching of linguistic family trees and the historical and modern geographical distribution of language communities inform us about the spread of languages and linguistic phyla. The global distribution and the chronology of spread of Y chromosomal haplogroups appears closely correlated with the spread of language families. New findings on ancient DNA have greatly enhanced our understanding of the prehistory and provenance of our biological ancestors. The archaeological study of past material cultures provides yet a third independent window onto the complex prehistory of our species.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
George van Driem, Ph.D. (1987), Leiden University, holds the Chair of Historical Linguistics at the University of Bern in Switzerland. He has published several grammars of previously undescribed Himalayan languages and authored The Tale of Tea (Brill, 2019).
List of Figures

Part 1 Historical Contexts in Which We Live

1 Prehistory and the Present
Crossing National and Mythical Boundaries
 1  European Identities
 2  A Tablet of Unusual Composition
 3  A Pieterskerk Skull Migrates to Switzerland
 4  Migration and Population Replacement in Prehistoric Europe

2 Evolving Scientific Views of Our Origins
As Opposed to Political Projections upon the Prehistoric Past
 1  Recent History Can Distort Our Perception of Prehistory
 2  Indigenism in India
 3  The Aryan Invasion and the Ancient Indian Fatherland
 4  Colonial Expansion out of India and into India
 5  The Zeal of Jihād and Reconquista Are Brought to the Subcontinent
 6  The Continuing Saga of Colonialism

3 A Fascination with Phenotypical Diversity
The Manifold Ways in Which We Humans Can Look Beautiful
 1  The Rise of Race
 2  Enchanted by Human Phenotypical Diversity
 3  The Slippery Slope from Physical Anthropology to Racism
 4  A Molecular Understanding of Heredity and the Fallacy of Race
 5  The Tenacity of Obsolete Labels and the Rise of New Fictions
 6  Endogamy and Exclusion vs. Conquest and Élite Dominance
 7  Decolonising East Asian Prehistory

4 Chinoiserie Old and New
Language Typology with and without Racial Prejudice
 1  Spellbound by Language Typology
 2  Racist Linguistic Typology vs. Linguistic Relativity
 3  Ex Occidente Lux
 4  The Creoloid Origins of Chinese
 5  Asian Negrito Populations and the Birth of Lexicostatistics
 6  Lexicostatistics under the Novel Guise of ‘Phylolinguistics’

Part 2 Episodes of Our Shared Prehistory

5 Beyond the Linguistic Event Horizon
The sub-Himalayan Hill Tracts and Adjacent Plains Serve as a Conduit
 1  The Rapacious Species
 2  The Colonisation of Eurasia
 3  Mixing with the Neighbours
 4  Walking the Dogs Back to Africa
 5  Long Lost Cousins
 6  Eastward through the Clement Climatic Corridor
 7  Yet Another Wave Washes through the Subcontinent
 8  Human Paternal Lineages as Molecular Tracers
 9  Paternal Starburst in the Subcontinent
 10  Subsequent South Asian Y-Chromosomal Starbursts

6 Holocene Dispersals
Genetic Correlates of Major Linguistic Phyla in Eastern Eurasia
 1  From the Himalayan Heartland to Hyperborea
 2  Austro-Tai Comprises Austronesian and Kradai
 3  Older Layers of Peopling Shine through
 4  Austroasiatic and para-Austroasiatic
 5  Trans-Himalayan and Yangtzean

7 From India to Europe and Back
From the Holocene to the Beginnings of Recorded History
 1  Dene-Kusunda and beyond Beringia
 2  Burushaski and Indo-European
 3  The Discovery of the Indus Civilisation
 4  The Dravidians and the Indus Civilisation
 5  Nihali and Vedda
 6  Crossing the Pacific with Coconuts and Sweet Potatoes
 7  The Discovery of America
 8  Meanderings in the Pacific and Indian Oceans
 9  Ancient Culture on the Beautiful Maldives
 10  As Bassas de Chagas
 11  Epilogue

All readers interested in the prehistory of our species, where we come from, how different ‘nations’ or ethic identities arose and when and where languages spread.