The question Davidski asks is, "What are the linguistic implications of Oldade et al, 2019?"
But first, let me interject and introduce you to some badass re-enactment photos from Jak obléci pračlověka. These are well done. Very well researched and up to date in many details.
Here's his site. I'd like to feature a subsequent post on just these, and of course, a few comments.
|Czech Bell Beaker drawing down for the kill|
I think Beakers spoke a single language or intelligible dialects. I'm confident that that language was Indo-European based on how the child cultures develop in the EMBA in Central Europe, particularly those descending into Bronze Age Italy. Also, the low countries have strong continuity in the Hilversum and Elp Cutures and these are hypothesized to be speaking an IE language that was neither Celtic nor Germanic. That follows to pre-LBA Britain and Ireland.
Rather than try and defend the IE character of Bell Beaker, I think I'd rather make a case that they spoke a single language based on their habits, regardless of what the DNA says.
Why one language?
1. The geographic expanse of Bell Beaker was enormous. Janusz Czebreszuk went so far as to say that in the history of Europe only the EU was of comparable size. Very large inter-regional networks generally communicate in a single language regardless of what is spoken at home.
2. Beaker spreads across Europe shockingly fast. In a short time they are in Ross, Doagh, Man, the Orkneys, little islands in the North Sea and the Baltics. They're all over the Western Mediterranean, sometimes in islands previously uninhabited or seldom visited. They are literally in the Arctic and the Sahara at the same time. If you read Volker Heyd's comments on the early Aegean Bronze Age or Jan Turek's "Echos", it's possible these people were really canoeing waaaay out there.
They moved over long distances quickly because they were horse-riders and boatsmen.
3. It wasn't all style. Most everywhere, Beakers lived by or with other people, maybe even in the same house. Even when they lack Steppe ancestry, their heads are still deformed which means as infants they were raised as Beakers. So their culture is more than hip artifacts and styles, it's their upbringing and their ancestry.
4. Beaker religion and superstition is clearly different from the Neolithic. Their expressions are, as Antonio Valera commented, almost iconoclastic, being always schematic, geometric and skeumorphic. Because they were not literate, traditions and myth were conveyed through storytelling and singing. Beaker religion and Beaker language were almost certainly connected as we should expect for Bronze Age religion and language.
5. Beakers essentially controlled most of the avenues of movement in Western Europe. Lots of peoples lived around Csepel Island. Lots of people lived around the Tagus Estuary. But it is Beakers who impose themselves in these examples as the dominant, intrusive group. This is an important point, because it really doesn't matter what language most people in Portugal or Hungary spoke, the important thing is that if you wanted something, or wanted to go somewhere, you'd be dealing with Beakers. VanderNoort made a somewhat similar observation regarding riverine and island hopping settlements.
6. Beakers seemed to have recognized and sometimes tolerated Beakers from other regions. It's fascinating to see Beakers who plausibly come from different backgrounds in the same locality or even in the same cemetery as other Beakers (consider Southern Britain, or the Mesetas, or Little Poland). This is huge because it tells us about how they viewed themselves as a nation. Beakers from Brittany, the Middle and Lower Rhine, and probably Portugal, can be found within several miles of each other in Southern Britain.
Time, space, money, identity and God, I'll bet there was only one language.