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VES #44, November 1, 2012   Logically, there is something askew in the newly published University of Tartu doctoral thesis by Tõnu Esko, et al.  The study not only claims that we are closer to Latvians and Russians, genetically, than to Finns, but reflective of foreign rule in Estonia beginning in the 13th century, also to a considerable extent the Italians, Spanish and French (none of whom were ever directly a part of any influx into Estonia). Mainly, though, it does not take into account the possibility of analogously reverse conditions or incidences. According to the internatio-nally known Dr. R. Indreko: the prehistoric dwelling sites in Kunda (commonly referred to as: the Kunda Culture), date to the first half of the 7th millennium [B.C.], establishing that the Finno-Ugric ur-ancestry already lived in Estonia then.  Fish-spear or harpoon tips found there, date back to the tail end of the Magdalenian [the Upper Paleolithic era in Western Europe] period (pre-9000 B.C.). Archeological finds show that this type of harpoon spread across Western Europe [the eastern verge of its spread being Moravia] by the close of the Magdalenian, but was completely absent in the Urals and Eastern Europe. We know that Northwestern (current) Russia belonged to and was inhabited by Finno-Ugric tribes and (specifically) the Livonians inhabited what is now known as Northern Latvia and parts of Southern Estonia. Some history books still teach that somehow our forbears arrived from the east – that is: proto-“Russia,” which at that time, of course, did not exist. But how did our forbears arrive at the northern edge of the World when the lands surrounding them (and, specifically: to the north and east) were covered with arctic ice?  The hunters and fishers of nomadic tribes could not have come from the north, but, rather, must have travelled from the south (& west), to settle the land absent or freed from glacial sheeting [see: the retreat of the Weichselian (a.k.a. Vistulian) glacier/glaciation].  Is it possible that tribes or clan-families arrived on the shores of the Baltic Ice Lake even earlier than studies done (to this point) have exposed or is previously known?  Questions remain:  Who are we?  From whence did the Finno-Ugric tribes migrate to Northwestern and Northern European territories, as the glacial ice was receding? The theory in Edgar V. Saks’ “Studies In Ur-European History”; based, earnestly, upon his research on topographical names in Europe; tells us that upon migration, the Indo-European tribes entering Western Europe encountered other tribes in the immense forests and rivers of Europe, which they either annihilated or integrated. The majority of the existent place names were retained although often badly transliterated. Unfortunately the ancient explorers and historians [referring here to the explorers, cartographers, travelers, et al. from Ancient Greece, Rome and the like] named practically all West European tribes after well-known, invading conquerors or tribes, such as the Scythians, Celts, Gauls or Germans.  However some historic references do refer to the fact that the original tribes, who had different cultural as well as language/dialect aspects, were conquered and/or uprooted.  Sadly, the topographical and nautical names used by the original tribes, and often retained and perpetuated by the invading Indo-Europeans, were mispronounced and transliterated in these ancient explorers’ journals, as they had no meaning, nor aesthetic in their language and so, said persons and other speakers were unable to decipher them. But much of the original terminology and many of the names are still in use among Finno-Ugric people. Of particular interest are the descriptions of some ancient historians which assert that these tribes were so, damned, independent, did not adhere to a more cohesive governmental structure among their tribes, were quick to acquire the conqueror’s language and seemed to have been successful in claiming a place in the invaders’ establishments due to their intellectual capabilities, most especially in the practiced spiritual customs and religions.  Are these behavioral patterns still exhibited by our people? There seem to be a few studies that promulgate the migration of peoples using the basis of language and topographical names to track and explain such movements.  Language and its mutations however, are an important and deep source of understanding and information, which may not otherwise, be available (through the discovery of objects or sites …documents –which are the typical methods employed in Archaeology -the ones most adhered to, at any rate-) or researchable.  Without closer scrutiny many such theories and postulations, no matter how strong, will remain labeled, and often commonly treated, as “pseudo-science” and not given due regard, value or weight.  Granted some ideas may be far fetched, however there has been a profound lack of new research undertaken or completed, either to coincide with, prove or revoke the facts shown or ideas posited in these studies. It is well-past time for Estonian scholars to commence research on their own heritage, their progenitors and antecedents and engender thorough investigation into their deep, complex cultural background, uninfluenced by the biased points of view of those relying upon information acquired through, derived from or affected by the subsequently described obfuscators, and to stop regurgitating and re-broadcasting what the conquerors of our ancient tribes, and indeed, our more recent historical subjugators, claim to be true or accurate. There now exist new methods, which could throw more light on the aforementioned, allegedly pseudo-scientific, theories and perhaps establish us as descendants of the primary Finno-Ugric civilization in Europe. At least research can bring to light a great deal of the true history of our people and the areas surrounding the Baltic (as lake or sea) and offer insight into the development of, not only that area of the planet and its cultures, but human culture, language and development overall. My feeling is that this media announcement regarding the new research, implies that the Estonians are partly Russians. Yet, the truth is that the Russian tribe is a much later arrival in the area [try, around 1000 BC, in fact – near the confluence of the Volga and the Dnieper] and, in fact, the contributors to their DNA were descendants of the Finno-Ugric tribes that lived in those territories from time immemorial, but whose communities, languages and culture are almost annihilated by selfsame Russian ‘cousins’. Thus, more often than not, the media still classifies Estonians as Eastern Europeans although we may, in truth, be the Ur-Europeans!   Tenno Andra  


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