Call for papers

Dear Colleagues!
The editorial team of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics (CAES) accepts articles for publication in CAES Vol. 9, No. 3, which is going to be published in the middle of September 2023. The deadline for submission of materials is August 28, 2023.

CAES Vol. 9, № 2


Think pieces

The etymology of the hydronym Okhta

Alexander Akulov

Okhta [ohta] is a river in the southern part of the Karelian Isthmus. This hydronym is generally supposed to have originated from Uralic languages, however, really it has no trustworthy Uralic etymology. The hydronym can be explained through the language of the people who lived in the region in the Neolithic period. Those people spoke a language that was a juncture between Yeniseian languages, Caucasian languages, Hattic, and Sumerian. The component oh of ohta can be correlated with Proto-Yeniseain *ʔoq “to smear”, and the component ta can be correlated with Pumpokol tet “river”. Also, ohta can be correlated simply with Ket word-form ɔqtij “to smear (with clay)”. And, thus, ohta most probably was originally oq-tat and meant “smearing river”.  The water of Okhta is quite muddy, with notable impurities of silt and peat.

Keywords: Okhta;substrate hydronymy; Leningrad oblast; Neolithic period; Paja Ul Deˀŋ


Words kapa and kuro from Linear A tablets

Alexander Akulov

The words kapa and kuro can be seen in the text of some tablets of Linear A. The word kapa is usually placed at the beginning of a text.  This word corresponds to the Hattic verb pa – “to put”, “to place” accompanied by the prefix ka- expressing dative/locative or “on” meanings in verbal word-forms, and also this prefix is used in imperative forms. And thus, the word kapa can be translated as imperative/demand “supply”, “provide”.  The word kuro is placed mainly at the end of a text and is followed by the signs of numbers. This word is usually conventionally translated as “total”. I suppose that the word kuro can be connected to the Hattic verb kur “to stand”, “to stay”, “to hold up”, and so it seems to be more correct to translate kuro as “there is” “there are” or “[we] have”.  

Keywords: Linear A; Minoan language; Minoan Crete; Hattic language


Composition and incorporation in Itelmen

Alexander Kitaev

The Chukotko-Kamchatkan, or Chukchi-Kamchatkan languages spread in Russian Far East are divided into Chukotkan and Itelmen clusters. These two branches show us both similarities and distinctions. Because of these distinctions, some scholars spoke out doubts about the possible relationships between these clusters and interpreted the Chukotko-Kamchatkan unity as a sprachbund explaining similarities as borrowings. One of key arguments against the relatedness of Itelmen and Chukotkan clusters was that there are no composition and incorporation in Itelmen while they are widely used in Chukotkan languages. However, really in Itelmen there is incorporation and composition, and in the current paper I show examples of compounds and incorporative complexes in Itelmen. Composition and incorporation in Itelmen aren’t as well-developed as in languages of Chukotkan cluster, but anyway they exist in Itelmen.

Keywords: Chukotko-Kamchatkan; Chukchi; Itelmen; linear model of word-form; incorporation; composition


The etymology of the ethnonym Saeki/Sapeki

Tresi Nonno

Saeki 佐伯 is an ethnic group mentioned in Nihon shoki and Fudoki. According to Aston, they could be a group of Ainu origin. In Fudoki they are described as robbers who walked the country. The kanji 佐伯  is a rather meaningless combination, they were chosen just to express the original sound of the name that evidently is not of Japanese origin. To get the reading of these kanji that were used in the period when Fudoki was created, we have to turn to the kan’on reading. The kan’on of 佐 is sa, the kan’on of 伯 is haku, and the original reading of 佐伯 is sa-paku. This word-form looks like a compound of the following Ainu roots: sa “side” + pa “to step” + kur “human being”. And thus, sa-pa-kur can be translated as “people walking from side to side” or “wandering people”.

Keywords: Saeki; Sapeki; Nihon shoki; Fudoki; Emishi; Ainu; Ainu history; Ancient Japan


Tanzania: coffee production

Yuliya Vorotilova

The current article is inspired by my impressions of a visit to “Materuni” – a family coffee plantation on Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest volcano in Africa (Tanzania). The trip was taken on February 2022 and aimed to get acquainted with the local culture and coffee-growing traditions. In the current paper attention is focused on the history of coffee production in Tanzania in the context of the world industry of coffee, and also on harvesting and processing of coffee in the country. This paper is an attempt to find out what problems locals face in producing coffee on plantations and what importance they attach to this industry today.

Keywords: Tanzania; Kilimanjaro; coffee; Coffee Belt; Arabica; Robusta


CAES Vol. 9, № 1


Think pieces:

On the etymology of the hydronym Oredezh

Alexander Akulov

The hydronym Oredezh has neither Uralic nor Indo-European etymology, but can be explained through the language of the people who lived in the region in the Neolithic period. Those people spoke a language that was a juncture between Yeniseian languages, Caucasian languages, Hattic, and Sumerian. Oredezh/Uredezh originally was *ur-deʔG;it consists of Proto-Yeniseian roots: *ul/ur – “water” and *deʔG “lake”. And this name meant simply “river oxbows” or “river backwaters”. In the current context the root *ul/ur means “river”, but not just “water”. The Oredezh river is famous for its meanders and swampy oxbows. The level of the Littorina Sea was 5 to 7 meters higher than that of the present Baltic Sea, and therefore the level of water in rivers that flew into the sea also was higher than the present, so there were more oxbows in the Oredezh river, and they probably were larger than the modern.

Keywords: hydronymy; substrate hydronymy; Leningrad oblast; Neolithic period; Paja Ul Deˀŋ


Poinamukaru niushpe ashinka shiri tinka

Alexander Akulov

Describing the Ainu of the Northern Kuril islands D. M. Pozdneev shows the following proverb:  poinamukaru niushpe ashinka shiri tinka, and, according to Pozdneev, this saying means: “cutting a tree with a stone ax took great efforts”. However, this translation shows just the general meaning, but doesn’t express the precise meaning of the saying, and also the recording of the proverb is quite inaccurate. This proverb originally had the following view: poyna mukar ni-us-pe asin-ke sir e-cin-ke and its original meaning is the following: “to cut a tree [with] a stone ax is [as difficult as] to stretch land like a skin of an animal”.  

Keywords: Ainu; Ainu of the Northern Kuril islands; Kuril Ainu; Ainu language; Kuril islands


Some questions on reflexes of –eu– in Slavic languages

Alexander Kitaev

The Slavic languages are traditionally believed to have (-)ju- as the result of the change of the proto-IE diphthong (-)eu- in the first syllable and, as a consequence, the elision of -j- with the palatalization of the consonants before: Ceu > Cju > C’u. Some scholars try to show examples of this palatalization, and some even try to reconstruct this prosthetic -j- as a Balto-Slavic isogloss. This reconstruction seems to be currently accepted. But when we start checking the list of all stems proposed to us to illustrate this sound change, we face some serious contradictions and difficulties that could make us call this description into question.

Keywords: phonology; etymology; Slavic; Balto-Slavic; reconstructions


How many voices are there in Ainu really?

Tresi Nonno

Japanese linguists usually describe Ainu as a language with a passive voice. One example considered as passive is hapo or wa a-en=koyki – “I was scolded by mother”. Such sentences can’t be considered examples of passive since they contradict all conditions of the passive voice. Other items considered passive are personal markers enci= (1sg) and unci= (1pl) used in Ishikari/Asahikawa dialect. These markers show that the marked person is a patient/target/beneficiary of an action. When these markers are used, then other personal markers are absent. These markers could be considered as implementations of passive, but in Ainu there are no personal markers like enci= and unci= for other persons and numbers. A voice cannot carry out itself only for some persons and numbers, so this case also can’t be considered a true passive. And thus, Ainu should be considered a language without voices.

Keywords:  Ainu language; passive voice; voices


Uganda: impressions of a trip

Yuliya Vorotilova

The current paper is the first part of the trip report of the ‘grand voyage’ to Uganda and Tanzania that I took in February 2022. The primary purpose of the visit was to participate in the International conference at the Russian Cultural Center (Dar es Salaam). The first part is devoted to Uganda (Fig.1). The current paper consists of my own impressions of the places, that I visited, and my own live photos from the trip. Having only one week, I visited the so-called Grand triangle of Uganda: Kampala – Jinja – Masindi, and thus crossed the country from the Central part to the West, but in this article I focus on the sites of the Uganda capital – Kampala.

Keywords: Uganda; Kampala; boda-boda; Kasubi tombs; Baganda people; Buganda kingdom


CAES Vol. 8, № 4


Editor’s foreword


How often the Neolithic people of Okhta 1 could visit those of Sarnate and Šventoji 43: some preliminary notes on seafaring of Paja Ul Deˀŋ

Alexander Akulov

There are two routes from the mouth of Paleo-Okhta to the region of Sarnate Šventoji : a short and a long. The short one is about 800 km, the long one is about 1000 km. The short route took about 37 days, the long route took about 44 days. For Paja Ul Deˀŋ a matter of vital importance was not to waste time in the favorable season for navigation. Therefore, they go on such a voyage in a group of about 8 to 16 people. Such a group was divided into ‘watches’ that replaced each other, maintaining the pace of the voyage. A large and roomy boat was required for a group of 8 – 16 people. It is possible to conclude that sea boats of Paja Ul Deˀŋ were frame structures covered with the skins of marine or land animals. Such voyages took the whole summer, and therefore hey could not be performed more often than once a year.

 Keywords:  Neolithic period; Neolithic people; Neolithic seafaring; Neolithic boats; Paja Ul Deˀŋ


Think pieces:

On the etymology of the hydronym Sestra

Alexander Akulov

In early recordings the river Sestra, which flows into Sestroretskii Razliv, is mentioned in the form of Sestreya which originated from Finnish Siestar-oja. This hydronym has neither Balto-Finnic nor Slavic etymology. The Sestra is a relatively large river on the Karelian Isthmus, and at least 9 Neolithic sites were discovered near its mouth. The main summer activity of the Neolithic people who lived in the region was fishing, and those people definitely could consider the mouth zone of Sestra as a good location for fishing. Those people spoke a language that was a relative of the Yeniseian family: sies of siestar correlates with Yeniseian ses “river”, tar correlates with Ket tɯl and Yugh tar “lower reaches of the river”. Thus, sies-tar/ses-tar means “lower reaches of the river”, this name refers not to the whole river, but to the part that was most important for the Neolithic people.

Keywords: Karelian Isthmus; Sestra river; hydronymy; etymology; Neolithic period; Paja Ul Deˀŋ


On the etymology of the Ainu word *emciu/*emciw

Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno

Japanese words emishi, ebisu and ezo were derived from Ainu *emciu/*emciw. In the word-form of emciw can be singled out the suffix of –iw that is used in counting people: iwan-iw “six people”, i.e.: the –iw suffix means “human being”, or “people”. We suppose that the word-form of emciw is an example of fusion: i belongs to the suffix and to the stem at once, so the stem is emci. This emci correlates with the personal marker of enci= that is used in Ishikari/Asahikawa and in Tokachi dialects. This personal marker expresses first person singular in the forms that can be interpreted as passive, it shows that first person singular is a patient, a target or a beneficiary of an action. In this enci= the attention is especially focused on the first person singular. And thus, the word emciw can be translated as “my people”, “my group”, “ours”.

Keywords: Emishi; Emciu; Emciw; Ainu; Ainu language; etymology


On the etymology of the word Alatyr and the origin of the Alatyr stone

Yelena Kolesnikova

The Alatyr is a stone mentioned in Russian folklore; it is described as the navel of the earth, endowed with sacral and healing properties. The word Alatyr has no Indo-European etymology, but can be explained through Yeniseian languages. The component ala correlates with Ket al “in the wood” and Pumpokol ála “field”. The component tɯr correlates with Ket and Yugh tɨ̄ĺ [tɯl] “navel”, and Proto-Yenisseian *tɨr [tɯr]. Thus, alatɯr means “taiga navel”. One of the main activities of Neolithic people was hunting, and it was important for them to mark the boundaries of hunting grounds of different local groups. Initially notches on trees were used as boundary markers, but stones with natural and artificial dimples were more stable markers. The word alatɯr initially denoted notches on a tree (in Ket there is the word ĺátɨĺ [latɯl] “depressions in tree trunks”) and later it also began to denote dimples on stones.

Keywords: sacral stones; Alatyr; mythology; folklore; etymology; Neolithic period


On Japanese recording of some Ainu toponyms in the late 18th century

Vasilii Shchepkin

Some Japanese text of late 18th centuries written by officials who inspected southern Kuril Islands provide us with valuable data of how Ainu toponyms were recorded for the first time. Japanese authors mention Ainu toponyms when describing their trips along the islands and accompany them with explanation of names or description of places to which the toponyms relate. At the same time, collation of etymology of Ainu names and their descriptions by Japanese provide ground for questioning some names to be toponyms and raises some issues concerning the usage of toponyms in Ainu everyday life and the influence of recording toponyms on their being.

Keywords: toponyms; Ainu; Japanese; Kuril Islands; cartography; oral societies


CAES Vol. 8, № 3


Editor’s foreword


How closely the Neolithic people of the site of Okhta 1 were related to the Neolithic people of the sites of Sarnate and Šventoji 43?

Alexander Akulov

The Pit-Comb Ware from the Neolithic site Okhta 1 is much alike that from the Neolithic sites located on the territories of the Baltic states. The degree of relatedness of the Neolithic people of Okhta 1 to those of Sarnate and Šventoji 43 can be estimated by calculating the degree of resemblance of the corresponding assemblages of potsherds. The degree of resemblance between the assemblages of potsherds from Okhta 1 and from Sarnate is 0.32. The degree of resemblance between the assemblages of potsherds from Okhta 1 and from Šventoji 43 is 0.42. The degree of resemblance between the assemblages of potsherds from Sarnate and Šventoji 43 is 0.39. It means that the regularity of contacts of the Neolithic people of Okhta 1 with those of Šventoji 43 was the same as the regularity of contact between the Neolithic people of Šventoji 43 and those of Sarnate.

Keywords: Pit-Comb Ware; Neolithic period; Neolithic pottery; ornaments of pottery; Mathematical Semiotics


A function describing the regularity of changes of the potential relative error that occurs in the comparison of randomly selected assemblages of potsherds

Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno

The error that occurs in estimating degrees of resemblance of randomly selected assemblages of potsherds depends on the ratio of the numbers of potsherds. Originally the error is determined by the following points: if the ratio of numbers of potsherds is 1 – 0.7 the error is 0.01 or less, if the ratio is 0.65 – 0.6 the error is about 0.045, if the ratio is 0.55 – 0.5 the error is about 0.075, if the ratio is 0.45 the error is 0.14, if the ratio is 0.4 and less the error is about 0.19. To derive a function from the above-shown data was employed an online calculator that used several regression models to approximate an unknown function given by a set of data points. The function that fits the above-shown data best way is the following quadratic regression: δ =  – 0.88r2 + 1.52r + 0.35, r is the ratio of numbers of potsherds.

Keywords: comparing assemblages of potsherds; mathematical semiotics; ornaments of pottery; semiotics


Think pieces:

Substrate words of Sami which correlate with Sumerian words

Alexander Akulov

In Sami there are 30 words that have no Uralic etymology; they could be borrowed from the language of Paja Ul Deˀŋ. It is supposed that Paja Ul Deˀŋ spoke a language belonging to the western branch of the Ainu-Minoan stock. Recently Sumerian language has been proved to belong to the western branch of the Ainu-Minoan stock, so Sumerian can be applied to these words of dim etymology. At least six words can be correlated with Sumerian words: kipp’tε “to cook” ~ Sumerian kibiKAK; Kildin Sami (KS) luhpel’ “1 y.o. reindeer” ~ Sumerian lahar, lahar2 “ewe”, “sheep” (however the word lahar can be of Akkadian origin, this point requires a special research); KS modžes “beautiful” ~ Sumerian mu5 “beautiful”, “good”; KS mun “frost” ~ Sumerian: mabi, mabi2, mammi2; KS nigkeš “pike” (fish) ~ Sumerian ni2-kiku6 “fish”; KS nissε “to kiss” ~ Sumerian níg̃-sa6-ga “pleasure”, “happiness”, niĝ2-sag9-ga (nig2-sag9-ga) “goodness”, “good (thing)”.

Keywords:  substrate in Sami; Paja Ul Deˀŋ; Sumerian; Ainu-Minoan stock


Androgynous deities/beings in mythologies and art of the Ainu-Minoan people as a sign of positive attitude toward variations of gender

Tresi Nonno

If certain languages are related, i.e.: belong to the same family/stock, then the corresponding cultures share certain similar/look-alike conceptions/ideas/patterns. The more closely are certain cultures related, the larger is the set of their similar conceptions. In the case of such language unities as Ainu-Minoan only very basic ideas can be common. One of the common ideas of the people of the Ainu-Minoan stock is a pretty positive attitude toward variations of gender. This idea/tendency is expressed by the presence of androgynous deities/beings in the corresponding mythologies and art. In the most obvious form this tendency is expressed in Sumerian culture in the cult of Inanna. In Chinese culture this tendency is expressed by the figure of Lan Caihe. In Jōmon culture this tendency is expressed by clay figurines dogū depicting androgynous beings. In Minoan Crete this tendency is expressed by frescoes depicting people of ambiguous gender.

Keywords: androgyny;Inanna; Sumerian culture; Chinese culture; Jōmon; Minoan Crete


Between income and prestige: an essay on Roman landowning

Vladislav Semenov

Many of those who get acquainted with the history of the ancient world, Roman history, and in particular the history of the economy of Ancient Rome, believe that the Romans organized their economy on the rational principle of income extraction, transferring the modern realities of the capitalist world to the history of the ancient world. However, this does not correspond to what our sources show. From them it can be seen that the economy of the ancient world was quite archaic, and demonstrative consumption played a big role in it, to indicate its status in society and prestige. One of the elements of prestigious consumption was in the possession of land. The Roman aristocracy is trying to increase the size of its possessions, despite the low and even negative profitability of the estates, going bankrupt at the same time.

Keywords: economics; history of Ancient Rome; ancient world; history, prestige, classical studies


CAES Vol. 8, № 2


Editor’s foreword


Dating of the Neolithic site of Toksovo by the comparison of frequencies of ornamental imprints on potsherds

Alexander Akulov

The Neolithic site of Toksovo was discovered in 1926, but has never been properly dated, however, a collection of potsherds was picked on it (the site is located in the southern part of the Karelian Isthmus, on the southern bank of Kavgolovo lake). Not far from the site of Toksovo there is another Neolithic site (Hepojarvi) that was properly dated (5314 – 2342 cal BCE). The Comb-Pit Ware of Hepojarvi site is subdivided into three subtypes: the Comb-Pit Ware of the early stage, of the developed stage, and of the late stage. The collection of potsherds of Toksovo site is very close to the developed Comb-Pit Ware of Hepojarvi, and so Toksovo site existed in the 4th millennium – in the very beginning of the 3rd millennium BCE.  Both sites belonged to the same group of people; initially people dwelled on the site of Hepojarvi and later appeared the site of Toksovo.

Keywords: Comb-Pit Ware; Neolithic pottery; ornaments of pottery; mathematical semiotics


A modification of the formula used in the comparison of randomly selected assemblages of potsherds

Tresi Nonno

The formula that was usually used in the comparison of two randomly selected assemblages of potsherds didn’t account for the potential error, though the information about the possible error was reported separately. And so it is useful to have a formula that would account for the potential error. Previously in a special paper it was shown that the potential error is connected with the ratio of numbers of potsherds of the compared assemblages. The potential error can be accounted for if the (1 – δ) coefficient is inserted into the formula (δ is the relative error). This parameter shows how close the compared collections are in the quantitative aspect, and to what extent the possibility of deviation is excluded. Also in the paper is shown a table containing values of the degree of resemblance which were given by a standard set of assemblages of the Pit-Comb Ware.  

Keywords: comparing assemblages of potsherds; mathematical semiotics; ornaments of pottery; semiotics


Think pieces:

Some thoughts on the roots of the Ainu bear ritual iomante

Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno

The Ainu bear ritual iomante, in our opinion, began when hunters killed a she-bear and brought her cubs to their settlement, raised them, and then killed them to get their meat; this happened in a very distant past, perhaps even before the Jōmon period. While the cubs were raised, the people began to treat them as beings that had ontological status close to human beings. These bears already were not just prey, and so the killing of such bears should have implied an apology for the murder. Gradually the practice of propitiating the souls of bears developed, and the rites became more elaborated. Bear rituals could exist at least in the late Jōmon: in some sites attributed to this time were found clay figurines depicting bears. These figurines mean that there were certain special notions about bears, and so it is possible to suppose the existence of some bear rituals.

Keywords: Ainu beliefs; bear; bear ritual; Ainu; Jōmon


A formalization of rituals that allows estimating degrees of their similarity

Tresi Nonno

Any ritual is a semiotic system and can be formalized just like any other semiotic system, and after formalization, it is possible to estimate the degrees of similarities of different rituals. Any ritual can be considered as a play/performance and can be described by the following system of sets: Participants (P), Tools and locations (T), Actions (A), and Expected results (R). To estimate the degree of similarity of two rituals should be estimated the degree of similarity of P of one ritual with P of another ritual, T of one ritual with T of another ritual, and so on, finally should be taken arithmetic mean of four received values. The procedures of formalizing and comparison of rituals are shown on the material of the Ainu bear ritual – iomante, Ainu ritual kamuy nomi, and the bear ritual that was practiced in Lithuanian Panevėžys.

Keywords: rituals; comparison of rituals; cultural anthropology; semiotics; mathematical semiotics


Roman townsman in the countryside

Vladislav Semenov

In most studies of the socio-economic history of ancient Rome, attention is paid either separately to urban life or rural life, but the phenomenon of a person entering an alien environment stands aside. In this regard, the question arises: to what extent in ancient times there was a discrepancy between the inhabitants of the city and the countryside. This small study on how a Roman citizen behaves in a village raises a number of problems of this nature. What was the countryside like for the inhabitants of a Roman city? How did he behave there? And whether a Roman citizen wanted to live in a village? The article attempts to find answers to these questions.

Keywords: ancient Rome; ancient city; townspeople; villagers


CAES Vol. 8, № 1


Think pieces:

A conclusion about the structure of the winter settlements of Paja Ul Deˀŋ after experiments on making stone axes in the winter period

Alexander Akulov

Manufacturing of stone axes/adzes was a matter of vital importance for Paja Ul Deˀŋ. In winter boulders are covered with a thin layer of ice, and therefore, before grinding an ax/adz on a boulder it is necessary to remove ice from it. The best way is to pour hot water on the boulder or build a fire on it. However, if the manufacturing of stone axes is required regularly, it is much more convenient to make a boulder always be without ice. If a boulder is placed inside a dwelling where the positive temperature is constantly maintained, then it is not covered with ice. It is logical to suppose that in order to be able to produce axes/adzes at any time Paja Ul Deˀŋ could bring medium-sized boulders to winter dwellings, or winter dwellings could be specially constructed so that natural boulders convenient for making axes would be inside dwellings.

Keywords: Neolithic stone industry; Neolithic dwellings; experimental archaeology


Sumerian and the Ainu-Minoan stock

Alexander Akulov

Since the very deciphering of the Sumerian language many pretty naïve attempts to attribute it to different language families have been made. It seems highly possible that Sumerian is rather close to Northeast Caucasian languages which belong to the Ainu-Minoan stock. To resolve this question in the current paper Sumerian is compared with Tabasaran by the Verb Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI). If a value of VGCI is about 0.4 or more then the compared languages are related. VGCI of Tabasaran and Sumerian is 0.4, it means that Tabasaran and Sumerian belong to the same family, and due to the transitivity of relatedness, Sumerian is a part of the Ainu-Minoan stock.

Keywords: Sumerian; Tabasaran; Northeast Caucasian; VGCI; comparative linguistics


Medeina/Medeinė as a relic of Neolithic beliefs

Yelena Kolesnikova, Mindaugas Peleckis

Medeina originally was a deity of forests in Lithuanian mythology, later in the 13th – 14th centuries she became also a deity of war. The fact that a deity of forests became one of the central deities in the mythology of medieval society is rather unique. Also a fact pointing to the archaism of Medeina is her connection with the bear cult. The character of Medeina seems to be a relic of beliefs of a substrate ethnic group. The name of Medeina/Medeinė is derived from Lithuanian words medis “tree” or medė “forest”; which have no reliable Indo-European etymology. The root mede “tree” / “forest” can originate from a language of the Neolithic people of the East European plain, these people spoke a language related to Yeniseian, Caucasian, and Hattic. The root mede “tree” / “forest” correlates with Proto-Northwest Caucasian form *maźV “pine-tree”. The name Medeina/Medeinė originally could sound like Mæde/Mædə.

Keywords: Medeina; Lithuanian mythology; bear cult


The meaning of Sumerian culture for the reconstruction of cultural patterns existing in societies speaking languages belonging to the Ainu-Minoan stock

Tresi Nonno

Sumerian language belongs to the Ainu-Minoan stock. The relatedness of languages supposes a certain similarity of the corresponding cultures. Sumerian culture is especially valuable for understanding conceptions existing in cultures of the Ainu-Minoan stock because throughout its history it developed by its internal logic, without experiencing serious external influences, and also had a well-elaborated tradition of recording different aspects of its own life. The closer a certain Ainu-Minoan culture (in geographical, historical, and social aspects) is to Sumerian culture, the more it is possible to project onto it items of Sumerian culture. Cultures remote from Sumerian culture both in time and geographically have usually only the most basic features in common with it. However, if the question is a reconstruction of patterns/mechanisms of a certain culture of the Ainu-Minoan stock, then Sumerian culture can be used more as a certain ideal example rather than as a source of direct analogies/projections.

Keywords: Sumerian culture; Ainu-Minoan stock;cultural patterns


The semantics of the Ainu bear ritual iomante: bear as a kind of inaw

Tresi Nonno, Alexander Akulov

Bear was one of the most important beings for Ainu. Bears were not only named kamuy, but were considered as true kamuy by the Ainu. And bear ritual iomante was one of the most significant rituals in the system of Ainu rituals. In the system of Ainu religion inaw is a universal sacrifice, i.e.: a bridge between the world of people and the world of kamuy, a bridge through which ramat can flow from the world of kamuy to the world of people. And the iomante ritual serves to establish a connection/bridge with the world of kamuy, and grace from the world of kamuy flows over the bridge into the world of people: people become more successful in hunting. And thus, bear in the iomante ritual can be considered as a kind of inaw.

Keywords: Ainu beliefs; bear; bear ritual; bear feast; Ainu


CAES Vol. 7, № 4


Editor’s foreword

Think pieces:

Social aspects of Neolithic technology of firing pottery in bonfires

Alexander Akulov

Firing pottery was one of the most complicated Neolithic technologies since it requires certain natural conditions to be met and the existence of an organized group that could successfully make firing. Such group/team consists of a person that can be denoted foreman of firing and assistants. A foreman of firing maintained stable and active fire and managed the process of firing in general. The main task of the assistants was the preparation of brushwood. Firing of a large vessel required many efforts, so there could be two or three teams, which replacing each other continuously maintained the fire. The Neolithic technology of firing evidently was built up with many restrictions and rituals which were aimed to avoid distractions/bustle. Foremen of firing could predict the dry weather, so they played the roles somehow like those of shamans. Foremen of firing could be informal leaders of their local groups.

Keywords: Neolithic technology of firing pottery; Neolithic society; experimental archaeology


The Kaftiw spell against Asiatic disease from the London Medical Papyrus

Alexander Akulov

The text of the Kaftiw/Minoan spell against Asiatic disease from the London Medical Papyrus is the following: sAn tikApwp wAAywAti yman tiirkAkA. The original phrase probably was the following: sa-n(1) ti-kapu-p(V)(2) u-waa-pi-wā-at(3) imallen(4) ti-hir-kar-kar(5) – “horns of health-giving Moon(1-2) help me(3) this way(4) clean the rash(5)”. Kaftiw/Minoan language can be decoded through Hattic language. The form sAn tikApwp looks much like Hattic possessive genitive where the possessor has suffix –n, and the possessed has prefix te/še/le; sA ~ Hattic sa “to make healthy”; tikApwp has root kap “Moon” and a partial reduplication, so kApwp probably means “crescent”. wAAywAti ~ u-waa-pi--at where: u – agent, waa – patient, pi – centripetal version, and – root “to set”. yman ~ Hattic imallen “thus” / “this way”.  tiirkAkA – ti-hir-kar-kar where: ti/te – optative, kar-kar – root “to rake”, “to scrape”, hir ~ Hattic hil “to strew”, and so ti-hir-kar-kar means “may [this/someone] remove the rash”.

Keywords: Minoan language; Kaftiw language; Kaftiw; Egyptian Papyruses; Minoan Crete  


On the Ainu origin of the ethnonym Emishi/Ebisu/Ezo

Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno

The main arguments of the Ainu origin of the name Emishi were presented by Kindaichi, however, that these arguments were presented rather haphazardly. This paper is aimed to represent facts found by Kindachi in a more systematic way.  It is possible to say that the Japanese form emishi is the oldest form. Japanese emishi was derived from Ainu *emciu. The form ebisu came out from the form emisu. Key points of transformation of *emciu into ezo are the following: 1) emchiu became enju: [m] of emciu became [n] under the influence of subsequent alveolar/alveolo-palatal sound [t]/[tɕ]; 2) Ainu language doesn’t distinguish voiced and unvoiced consonants, so enciu became enju; 3) enju was pronounced as enzo in Tōhoku. Ainu word-form enju can’t originate from Japanese ezo: if ezo would be borrowed by Ainu it would become *ento. Also the word enciu/enju was used as self-naming by Ainu in sacral narratives/in tales. 

Keywords: Emishi; Ainu; Kindaichi


Emishi chief Ryōkō/Ri-o-kur from the scroll about emperor Bidatsu

Tresi Nonno

In the 20th scroll of Nihon shoki there is a name of Emishi chief 綾糟 that is read as Ayakasu. This reading is unlike typical Emishi/Ainu names of chiefs: Emishi were a branch of Ainu, and names of Ainu chiefs usually end with kur – “person”. It seems that Ayakasu was ascribed to these kanji in late time. The kan’on of 綾糟 is ryōsō, but if a name ending with kur is recorded by kanji then such recording evidently should end with a kanji sounding like kur (with a kanji that is read as ki/ko//ku). Probably the original kanji of the name were 綾糠 and it was pronounced as Ryōkō, later 糠 was mistakenly replaced by 糟. Ryōkō originally was Ri-o-kur; it consists of the following components: kur – “man/person”; ri – “to be tall/high”, “to be growing”; o – “penis”.  Thus, Ri-o-kur means “A man with an erected penis”.

Keywords: Emishi; Nihon shoki; Ainu


On some connections of Celtic and Baltic peoples

Mindaugas Peleckis

In ancient times both Celtic and Baltic languages were spread in the vast areas of central and northern Europe. It’s possible that Celtic and Baltic tribes met on the trade route Amber Road which took place from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean Sea since the 16th century BC. In this paper I want to consider a grammatical feature that is common to Celtic and Baltic languages: nominative singular case marker -as that is seen best in Scottish Gaelic (and also traced in Old Irish, Irish, Cornish, and Welsh) and Lithuanian, and also about some common place names and a common god.

Keywords: Celtic, Baltic, Gaulish, Scottish Gaelic, Old Irish, Irish, Cornish, Welsh, Lithuanian, Old Prussian


CAES Vol. 7, № 3


Editor’s foreword

Think pieces:

The bear stones of Olkhovka

Alexander Akulov

The complex of sacral stones of Olkhovka is usually dated to the Iron Age and to the Middle Ages. However, there are some facts indicating that the stones could be used by the Neolithic people yet. Finnish/Karelian name of Olkhovka was Lapinlahti (literally: “Sami bay”). The practice of cup stones is unknown in Sami culture, but there is the cult of noticeable stones (the cult of sieidis). The word sieidi/sejjd has no Uralic etymology, but can be explained through Hattic šail – “lord”, “master”.  Ancient Sami had contacts with the Neolithic population of the Russian Northwest, which spoke a language that was a juncture between Yeniseian, Hattic, and Caucasian languages. Also a noteworthy fact is that almost all stones with artificially created cups resemble lying/sitting bears, and so ritual practices around these stones could be formed by the Neolithic people yet, who definitely had certain bear rites and bear myths.

Keywords: sacral stones; Sami; pre-Sami substratum; Paja Ul Deˀŋ


The deciphering of the Linear A tablet Malia 10

Alexander Akulov

The Linear A tablet Malia 10 has inscriptions on four sides of six. Sides A and B have relatively well-preserved inscriptions containing syllabograms, logograms depicting different vessels, and numerals. Previously it was shown that Minoan and Hattic are rather close, so phrases from the tablet can be decoded through Hattic. The component tew from the phrase dupitewa from side B correlates with Hattic tepušne/tewuušne “libation”. The -a ending correlates with Hattic imperative -a. The component –u– in the syllable du correlates with Hattic marker of 2sgsb- u– / un-. The syllable pi correlates with Hattic marker of plural object –p-. The phrase ru from the side A correlates with Hattic verb lu “to be able”.

Keywords: Linear A; Minoan language; Hattic language


The etymology of the toponyms of Murino and Murom

Alexander Akulov, Yelena Kolesnikova

Near Saint Petersburg there is a town named Murino. The toponym has no reliable etymology but seems to be connected with Murom. Murom also has no reliable etymology. Folklore says that in Murino and in Murom there were dense forests where different criminals and devilry dwelled. Thus, both toponyms seem to be connected with forest. In Kildin Sami there is the word murr “tree” that has no Uralic etymology, but can be explained through Proto-Nakh *murq̇a “alder-tree” and Proto-West Caucasian maźV “pine-tree”. Sami had direct contacts with the Neolithic people, and it is supposed that these toponyms came from the language of Neolithic people who spoke a language that was a juncture between Yeniseian and Caucasian languages. Toponyms Murino and Murom mean probably the forest that was used as a place of residence by the relict groups of Neolithic people who maintained their culture in the Metal age.

Keywords: Pre-Uralic toponyms; substrate toponyms; Murino; Murom; Muri Deˀŋ


Some place names of Ainu origin in the islands of Ryūkyū: toponyms with the component pira/hira

Tresi Nonno

In the islands of Ryūkyū there are some toponyms containing the component pira/hira that originated from the Ainu word pira “cliff” / “rock”: Kabiraiishizaki in the island of Ishigaki, the island of Hirari near Ishigaki, Kotohira in the island of Yoron, Takahira in the island of Takeshima, and Takahira in the island of Yakushima. The component pira/hira can’t originate from any other language except Ainu. Toponyms with the same component pira/hira exist in Hokkaidō. Toponyms with the pira/hira component evidently should be traced back to the Jōmon language. The fact that toponyms of Jōmon origin can be decoded through modern Ainu means that the language of Jōmon and modern Ainu are pretty close. The fact that in the islands of Ryūkyū there are toponyms with the same component as in the island of Hokkaidō means that in ancient times Ainu inhabited the whole Japanese archipelago from Ryūkyū to Hokkaidō.

Keywords: Ryūkyū islands; Ainu toponymy; Ainu language; Jōmon language; substrate toponymy


Beira, Mari, and Indo-Europeanization of non-Indo-European Divinities

Ian Ryan

It has often been thought that the Basques, in language and religion, are completely free of Indo-European influence. And, as this paper shows, this is certainly not the case. The chief of the Basque pantheon, Mari, is shown to have extreme influence from the Celtic peoples that surrounded the ancestors of the Basques on all sides. This paper will focus on the comparison between Mari and the Irish Cailleach Bheara. I propose regular sound correspondences between the names of Mari and Bheara. Also, I will show sound correspondences between the words for colors turning up in Celtic and Basque religion proposed by Zelikov. These points show that the Celts had a great amount of influence on Basque religion.

Keywords:  Basque Studies, Basque Religion, Cailleach, Celtic Studies, Celtic Religion


CAES Vol. 7, № 2


Think pieces:

Estimating the degree of resemblance of assemblages of stone axes/adzes

Alexander Akulov

To estimate the index of resemblance of two collections of stone axes/adzes, it is necessary to compare the following characteristics: 1) the total numbers of items of the compared collections, 2) the distributions of the material of which the items were made, 3) the percentages of items that can be compared, 4) concrete parameters of items selected for comparison: material, the shape of the working edge, width, cross-section and so on. The last point can contain several points if more than one pair of items is compared. Each of these points gives a certain value laying in the diapason from 0 to 1, and then the degree of resemblance of two collections is the arithmetic mean of indexes of resemblance for each point.

Keywords: stone axes; stone adzes; chopping tools comparison; Neolithic chopping tools


On the etymology of the toponym Tiuri/Tiura

Alexander Akulov

In the North-East part of the Karelian Isthmus not far from Priozersk there are ruins of a fortified Novgorodian settlement that existed in the 13th – 15th centuries. The site is known as Tiversk. The place name initially had the form of Tivra/Tiuri. In the Medieval epoch the site was located on an island near rapids. There are several naïve explanations of the etymology of the place name through Finnic languages. Really the toponym has originated from the language of Neolithic inhabitants of Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region, i.e.: from the language of Paja Ul Deˀŋ. In the word of Tiuri/Tiura can be singled out the component ur that correlates with Proto-Yeniseian *xur1 “water” and with Hattic ur or uri “spring”/“source”. The component ti correlates with Proto-Yeniseian *tiʔŋ “to spin”, “to roll”. Thus, Tivra/Tiuri/Tiur means “rolling water” or “spinning water”. This name very well conveys the features of the place.

Keywords: Leningrad region; Tiversk; Tiuri; Paja Ul Deˀŋ; substrate hydronyms


Substrate lexical items of Sami which correlate with words of Northeast Caucasian languages

Alexander Akulov

In Sami there are 30 words of unknown etymology; they could be borrowed from the language of Paja Ul Deˀŋ. Recently it was shown that Northwest and Northeast Caucasian are related, so the origin of these words of dim etymology can be searched for in Northeast Caucasian languages: Sami abbr’ – “rain” correlates with Chechen ʕowr-as; Sami cigk – “mist” correlates with Ingush deχko “fog”; Sami kuras – “empty” correlates with Proto-North Caucasian: *xāro “hollow”; Sami puaz – “reindeer” correlates with Proto-North Caucasian *wħɨ̄swe – “deer”, Sami murr – “tree” correlates with Proto-Nakh *murq̇a “alder tree”. Now we have a list of 12 words: about 58.3% of the list has Caucasian or Hattic etymology, about 33.3% of this list has Yeniseian etymology, about 8.3% has Yeniseian and Hattic etymology at the same time. The language of Paja Ul Deˀŋ seems to be closer to Caucasian languages and to Hattic rather than to Yeniseian.

Keywords: Ainu-Minoan stock; Paja Ul Deˀŋ; substrate in Sami


The role of parents in the development of minority languages by children

Rodion Kosorukov

In the process of revitalizing the minority language, activists face many challenges. Most of the developments are aimed at increasing the ease of learning a language, creating entertaining content, developing methods of teaching a language from an early age and creating a language environment. Often experts come to the conclusion that for a successful revival of the language, new young speakers must appear. This task is the cornerstone of the whole issue of the revival of the minority language. Indeed, only in the communication of new native speakers will the language be able to revive and fully function. However, in all discussions, the important question of the role of parents in the acquisition of a minority language by children escapes. In this article, we will try to identify the role of parents in the development of minority language by children and outline the directions for further research.

Keywords: parents’ role; minority languages; language revitalization


A preliminary attempt to reconstruct the lexeme of “man” / “person” of the Ainu-Minoan proto-language

Tresi Nonno

The paper is devoted to a preliminary attempt to reconstruct the Proto-Ainu-Minoan lexeme “man” / “person”. The Ainu-Minoan stock is formed by the following languages and/or language families: Ainu, Great Andamanese, Sino-Tibetan family, Hattic, North Caucasian, and Minoan. And also Yeniseian family belongs to the same stock. Using Sino-Caucasian reconstructions made by the group led by S. A.  Starostin: Proto-Yeniseian *keʔt, Proto-North Caucasian *kwV̆nVṭV (*ḳwV̆nVtV), Proto-Sino-Tibetan *wăH, Proto-Sino-Caucasian *[k]wV̆́n[ṭ]V, and also Ainu kur, and Great Andamanese lao it is possible to reconstruct Proto-Ainu-Minoan form *[k]wVd[V]. I suppose that a reconstructed proto-form should not be just mechanical compounding of different local proto-forms.

Keywords:  Ainu-Minoan stock; Proto-Ainu-Minoan lexicon; linguistic reconstruction