There’s no doubt that Renfrew’s theories about IE origins are an important step forward in this field of study, and a stimulus for further reassessments of the IE question. The most important thing is that he proved the inconsistencies of the traditional view, for example the ones regarding the role of horses in the expansion of Indo-Europeans. Needless to say, Renfrew’s theory has generally been rejected by mainstream Indo-Europeanists, who prefer the more traditional view, based on a series of obsolete assumptions about language change and prehistory. Personally, I think that the diffusion of agriculture in the Neolithic must necessarily have had some relevant linguistic consequences, associated with the new technology and the socio-economic changes that it brought about, but it doesn’t seem to be the best explanation for the expansion of IE. As we have variously seen in this blog, this explanation could be found further back in time, in the Paleolithic.
- MALLORY, J. P. (1989). In Search of the Indo-Europeans. Language, Archaeology and Myth. Thames and Hudson.
- RENFREW, Colin (1987). Archaeology and Language. The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins. Pimlico.