2014 №2 (17)

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Yuliana Yu. Gordova
Institute of Linguistics
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, Russia

Toponymic Stratigraphy of the Middle Oka Region: The Results of a Comparison of Substrate Toponymy Areas and Archaeological Culture Areas

Voprosy onomastiki (Problems of Onomastics), 2014, Issue 2 (17), pp. 35–53 (in Russian)

Received 12 May 2014

Abstract: The article explores the potential of an integrative approach to ethnohistoric reconstruction. Using both onomastic and archaeological data, the author makes an attempt to reveal the correlations between the substrate toponymy of the Middle Oka Region and the areas of the archaeological cultures found on this territory. The results of the research show that the main types of non-Slavic place names of the region correlate with some important archaeological cultures: Fatyanovo-Balanovo culture, Shagar culture, Gorodets culture, cultures of Merya, Muroma, Meshchera and Mordva. Taking into account the most recent etymologies, the paper provides a toponymic stratigraphy of the territory in the remotest periods: Neolithic Era, Bronze Age and early Iron Age. The author argues that the formation of the basic hydronymic systems of the Middle Oka Region may be dated to the Bronze Age and reliably ascribed to the regional corded ware and battle axe cultures (Fatyanovo-Balanovo, Shagar) whilst the formation of the basic toponymic areas of the North-Eastern part of the region may be attributed to a later period (late 1st — early 2nd millennium AD). The article points out that the toponymic data are crucial for the ethnocultural attribution of the population of the settlements poorly studied by archaeologists. They acquire a particular importance when the interpretation of archaeological materials is disputable or insufficient.

Key words: Russian language, substrate toponymy, Middle Oka region, toponymic area, toponymic stratigraphy, archaeological culture area


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