Evolution of Eurasian and African Family Systems, Cross-Cultural Research, Comparative Linguistics, and Deep History
Currently, the main source for the reconstruction of the most ancient history of humankind is archeology, which almost by definition makes it possible to restore only just a few elements of the most ancient human culture (naturally, almost exclusively – material culture). A mere introduction of comparative linguistic data makes it possible to significantly refine our reconstruction of a respective culture. If a certain linguistic Urheimat may be localized in space and in time within the area and lifespan of a certain archaeological culture, this suggests that we may have an idea of the language spoken by respective population, as the application of comparative linguistic methods allows us to reconstruct the vocabulary of the carriers of the respective protolanguage, that makes it possible to identify a set of terms denoting the realities of family organization, political attitudes, beliefs, etc. A very important part of the reconstructed vocabulary is constituted by the kinship terminology. As is well known (and as is demonstrated in this article again), the kinship terminology displays rather strong correlations with respective types of kinship organization, which could allow to reconstruct important features of clan and family structure of the respective populations. This reconstruction can be further verified by using archaeological and genetic data. It is demonstrated that the papers presented at the International Workshop ‘Murdock and Goody Re-visited: (Pre)history and evolution of Eurasian and African family systems’ that was organized in April 2015 by the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology suggest that we are close to having all the necessary ingredients to undertake such a program of a deep historical reconstruction.