Kurgan hypothesis

theory of Indo-European origin

The Kurgan model of Indo-European origins is about both the people and their Proto-Indo-European language.

Map of Indo-European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BC, based on the Kurgan model. The red area corresponds to the area that may have been settled by Indo-European-speaking peoples by 2500 BC, and the orange area had been settled by Indo-European-speakers by 1000 BC.

It uses both archaeology and linguistics to show the history of their culture at different stages of the Indo-European expansion.

The Kurgan model is the most widely accepted theory on the origins of Indo-European.

"The Kurgan solution is attractive and has been accepted by many archaeologists and linguists, in part or total. It is the solution one encounters in the Encyclopædia Britannica and the Grand Dictionnaire Encyclopédique Larousse".[1]
"The single most popular proposal is the Pontic steppes".[2]



When it was first suggested in 1956, Marija Gimbutas's answer to the question of Indo-European origins was a pioneering interdisciplinary synthesis of archaeology and linguistics. From the nineties on, new archaeological evidence from Northern European prehistoric cultures was put forward on the influence and expansion of Kurgan cultures.[3]



  1. Mallory J.P. 1991. In search of the Indo-Europeans: language, archaeology, and myth. London: Thames & Hudson, 185. ISBN 0-500-27616-1
  2. Strazny, Philipp (ed) 2000. Dictionary of historical and comparative linguistics. Routledge, 163. ISBN 978-1-57958-218-0
  3. Dexter, Miriam Robbins & Jones-Bley, Karlene eds. 1997. The Kurgan culture and the Indo-europeanization of Europe: selected articles from 1952 to 1993. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man. ISBN 0-941694-56-9