Linguists and archaeologists have used reconstructions of early Indo-European residence strategies to constrain hypotheses about the homeland and trajectory of dispersal of Indo-European languages; however, these reconstructions are largely based on unsystematic and ahistorical use of the linguistic and ethnographic evidence, coupled with substantial bias in interpretation. Here I use cross-cultural data in a phylogenetic comparative framework to reconstruct the pattern of change in residence strategies in the history of societies speaking Indo-European languages.

The analysis provides evidence in support of prevailing virilocality with alternative neolocality for Proto-Indo-European, and that this pattern may have extended back to Proto-Indo-Hittite. These findings bolster interpretations of the archaeological evidence that emphasize the "non-matricentric" structure of early Indo-European society; however, they also counter the notion that early Indo-European society was strongly "patricentric." I discuss implications of these findings in the context of the archaeological and genetic evidence on prehistoric social organization.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 107-128
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.