A kurgan (Russian: курга́н) is a type of tumulus constructed over a grave, often characterized by containing a single human body along with grave vessels, weapons and horses. Originally in use on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, kurgans spread into much of Central Asia and Eastern, Western and Northern Europe during the 3rd millennium BC.
- “Gimbutas, following most recent Russian work, has departed from Childe, to the extent of deriving the Kurgan cultures from the steppes on the Lower Volga and farther east (…) While linguistic opinion has been moving in the direction of putting the Indo-European homeland in the region of the Vistula, Oder or Elbe, archaeological opinion is now putting it in the Lower Volga steppe and regions east of the Caspian Sea.”
- Ward H. Goodenough: “The Evolution of Pastoralism and Indo-European Origins”, in G. Cardona et al., eds.: Indo-European and Indo-Europeans, p.253-265, specially p.255, with reference to V. Gordon Childe: The Aryans. A Study of Indo-European Origins, London 1926., quoted in Elst, Koenraad (1999). Update on the Aryan invasion debate New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
- “Local evolution cannot account for such abrupt changes (…) The pottery is relatable to the earliest Neolithic in the Middle Urals and Soviet Central Asia.”
- Russian scholar N. Merpert traces the Kurgan culture to the “Volga-Ural region, developing there under the influence of Neolithic cultures of the south-east Caspian zone”.