Finns - Theories of The Origin of Finns

Theories of The Origin of Finns

In the 19th century, the Finnish researcher Matthias Castrén prevailed with the theory that "the original home of Finns" was in west-central Siberia. But later, it was considered more credible that an ancient homeland of all Finno-Ugric speaking peoples was situated in a region between the Volga and Kama rivers in the European part of Russia. Grouping Finnic with the controversial Altaic macrofamily ("Turanian") was popular in the 19th century, and much serious research was made by Finnish researchers in an attempt to link Finns with "Altaic-speaking" peoples such as Mongolians.

Until the 1970s, most linguists believed that Finns arrived in Finland as late as the first centuries AD. But accumulating archaeological data suggested that the area of contemporary Finland had been inhabited continuously since the ice-age, contrary to the earlier idea that the area had experienced long uninhabited intervals. However, there is no certainty to which ethno-linguistic culture the first dwellers within the borders of contemporary Finland belonged. The hunter-gatherer Sami were pushed into the more remote northern regions.

A recent and controversial theory is that the ancestors of the Finns lived during the Ice Age in one of three habitable areas of southern Europe, so-called refugia, while the other two habitable areas were occupied by the speakers of Indo-European and Basque languages. This was proposed in the 1990s by Kalevi Wiik, a professor emeritus of phonetics at the University of Turku. According to this theory, Finno-Ugric speakers spread north as the ice melted. They populated central and northern Europe, while Basque speakers populated western Europe. As agriculture spread from the south-east into Europe, the Indo-European languages spread among the hunter-gatherers. In this process, both the hunter-gatherers speaking Finno-Ugric and those speaking Basque learned how to cultivate land and became Indo-Europeanized. According to Wiik, this is how the Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, and Baltic languages were formed. The linguistic ancestors of modern Finns did not switch their language due to their isolated location. The main supporters of Wiik's theory are Professor Ago Künnap (Univ. of Tartu), Professor Kyösti Julku (Univ. of Oulu) and Associate Professor Angela Marcantonio (Univ. of Rome). Wiik has not presented his theories in peer-reviewed scientific publications. Many scholars in fenno-ugrian studies have strongly criticized the theory. Especially Professor Raimo Anttila, Petri Kallio and brothers Ante and Aslak Aikio have renounced Wiik's theory with strong words, hinting strongly to pseudoscience and even at right-wing political biases among Wiik's supporters. Moreover, some dismissed the entire idea of refugia, due to the existence even today of arctic and subarctic peoples. The most heated debate took place in the Finnish journal Kaltio during autumn 2002. Since then, the debate has calmed, each side retaining their positions.

Read more about this topic:  Finns

Famous quotes containing the words theories of the, theories of, theories and/or origin:

    Our books of science, as they improve in accuracy, are in danger of losing the freshness and vigor and readiness to appreciate the real laws of Nature, which is a marked merit in the ofttimes false theories of the ancients.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    The real trouble about women is that they must always go on trying to adapt themselves to men’s theories of women, as they always have done. When a woman is thoroughly herself, she is being what her type of man wants her to be. When a woman is hysterical it’s because she doesn’t quite know what to be, which pattern to follow, which man’s picture of woman to live up to.
    —D.H. (David Herbert)

    Whatever practical people may say, this world is, after all, absolutely governed by ideas, and very often by the wildest and most hypothetical ideas. It is a matter of the very greatest importance that our theories of things that seem a long way apart from our daily lives, should be as far as possible true, and as far as possible removed from error.
    Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95)

    High treason, when it is resistance to tyranny here below, has its origin in, and is first committed by, the power that makes and forever re-creates man.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)