The Migration Age

Over several centuries, and hindered by conflicts with each other and with the Romans, waves of people moved out of Asia and into Europe. (Others went east and south within Asia, notably the Sanskrit-speaking Indo-Europeans into India.) The traditional theory for why this happened was that they were being pushed by the advance of the Huns out of Mongolia, but the facts may have been more complicated, including alliances of different peoples.

Looking at the archeological evidence to try to date the migrations of Indo-European-speaking peoples into Europe, scholars suggested that the Beaker People represented the Celtic and Italic peoples moving into continental Europe; their characteristic drinking vessels may indicate alcohol consumption (possibly as a cultural innovation) and are not found in Scandinavia.

The Germanic peoples appear to have moved down from Scandinavia into continental Europe in the Bronze Age, starting before 1000 BCE (by which point they had reached the Ems and central Pommerania). There are two conflicting theories on where they came from. Some archeologists argue that they must have originated in Scandinavia. The Indo-European language evidence implies they came in from the east, through Finland or via the Baltic. If the latter - which used to be the generally accepted view (with the use of the term "Battle-Axe Culture" to identify some of the archeological traces) - then the earlier, Iron Age petroglyphs are products of a previous indigenous Scandinavian culture which we can identify with the Vanir-worshippers, and the new people who later populated the continent with the worshippers of the Ćsir.

Waves of people continued to move into and through Europe with greater or lesser disruption until the sixth century CE or later. The Huns themselves moved into Central Europe in the 4th and 5th centuries.


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