The migration of people between Indus Valley and Europe 5000 – 30 BCE

This article summarizes a bigger study, the results of which are reported in Malmi et al. (2021), together with the full research data. Based on this study, Indus Valley received genes from all directions around 5000 BCE, and then from Europe 3700 – 1800 BCE. When we combine genetic studies to the distribution of ancient personal names as place names, we can detect migration paths from the Indus Valley to Africa, Iberia, Northern Europe and South Eastern Asia. This empirical evidence provides tentative support for an unconventional hypothesis, according to which the Harappan civilization sent explorers, tradesmen and “cultural emissaries” to all directions, and spread its cultural influence as far as Scotland, Norway and Finland already 3000 – 1500 BCE.

The purpose of this blog is to find fact checkers and academic peer reviewers for the book, and to offer them a fair compensation for their work. Please note that this article has not been peer reviewed yet!

Genetic evidence

According the Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History, Indus Valley received genes from Iran and China around 5218 BCE, and then from Finland, Lithuania and Cyprus around 3678 BCE.  The migrations from Europe continued around 3000 BCE, when Indus Valley received genes from Finland and Northern Italy. The motive of these migrations was possibly the attraction of Indus Valley as a destination: it was one of the most advanced places in the world, measured by cultural achievements such as medicine, astronomy, architecture, metallurgy, and technology.

The route that the prehistoric Finns and Lithuanians used around 3678 BCE may have passed via River Volga. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the Finns of Bothnia and southwestern Finland have the highest amount of Yamnaya genes in the world. This suggests that there was a strong connection between the Yamnaya people of the Pontic Steppe and the prehistoric Finns. A natural connecting path between Finland and the Pontic Steppe is River Volga. This hypothesis receives support from the Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History, according to which Indus Valley received genes from Northern Europe around 5200 – 1600 BCE. The map below shows all genetically confirmed European migrations from that period. It seems that not only the Indus Valley was an attractive destination for migrations. Also all the central spots on the Baltic – Volga – Caspian route attracted immigration, also from the Indus Valley. This suggests that this route was an important trade route already 5000 – 2000 BCE.

Although the map does not prove that the migrations went via the Baltic Sea – Volga – Caspian Sea route, this route seems more likely than, for example, migration from Scotland to Indus Valley via the Mediterranean Sea, or walking directly from Scotland to India via Balkan and Anatolia.

Using place names and personal names as evidence of migrations

Etymologists have traditionally started their study of names from the assumption, that long distance migrations were impossible during prehistoric times.  Based on this assumption they tend to conclude that if the same name appears in two distant locations like Finland and India, it must be a coincidence. When we focus at single names, the chance for random emergence of the same name in different regions is relatively big, especially if the name is short. However, when we find long names like Kalevala as personal names and place names in India and Finland, we should not be too stubborn in defending our assumption that long distance migrations have been impossible. In order to reduce the credibility of the random emergence argument, researchers can also study larger name sets of ancient names and focus at the longer names, whenever possible. The following chapters show results of the study of a dozen of name sets, which contained together some 500 names.

Names of Mitanni kings and Phoenician names

According to genetic evidence, western Syria and Lebanon received genes from the Indus Valley around 2600 – 1700 BCE. This evidence opens up space for the hypothesis, according to which the Mitanni and the Phoenicians received a big part of their culture from the Indus Valley. The following maps shows the incidence of Phoenician and Mitanni names as place names based on The arrows start from the urheimat of these names, meaning the area of highest appearance and highest density. The paths then lead to outer areas, connecting the names to their nearest outer instances.

The urheimat of the Mitanni and Phoenician names seems to have been the region of Greater Gedrosia, meaning the area consisting of eastern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. This conclusion is based on the fact that the Mitanni and Phoenician names have their highest appearance and highest density in Greater Gedrosia, measured not only by the place names by also by the personal names of people of the modern times.

African names

According to the Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture history, there was migration from India to Ethiopia around 1860 BCE. This evidence matches with the writings of the Eusebius and Philostratus (c.a. 230 CE), according to whom Eastern Africa was colonialized by people from the Indus Valley. These Greek writings match with Indian Puranas, according to which the hero Indra ruled in Cusha-Dwipa, which could be interpreted as the land of Kush. In addition to this evidence, the Fulani people of Africa resemble genetically the Nadar people of Southern India. These pieces of evidence suggest that the Harappans or their successors might have colonialized parts of Africa. In order to test this hypothesis, we studied the geographic distribution of Ethiopian, Berber, Fulani and Kushite names. The map below shows the incidence of these names as place. Hypothetical migration paths start from the area of highest density of each name:

Based on this figure, a large number of the Ethiopian, Berber, Fulani and Kushite names seem to have had their urheimat in Greater Gedrosia. The migration paths provide some tentative support to the old Berber tradition, according to which the Berber tribe came from Atala. The name Atala has three instances as a place name in Cameroon, and six in the Greater Gedrosia.

Indo-Asiatic, Celtic and Norse names

According to Viking sagas, the divine ancestors of the Norse tribes came from Asia. The following map illustrates the geographic distribution of some Celtic, Iberian and Indo-Asiatic names, and divine Norse names as place names. In Europe, these names are most common along the river Dnepr, which connects the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, and along Danube. The names Asia and Bragi also appear along the Caspian Sea – Volga – Baltic Sea route.

In Africa, these names are most common around Lake Victoria, Lake Chad and the valley of Niger River. The suggested migration paths for the names Indra, Asia, Sunna, Sandra and Bragi give some tentative support for the Viking saga of the Asiatic origin of the Norse tribes.

Hyksos names

According to a relatively popular hypothesis, the tribe of the Hyksos, which conquered Egypt 1650 BCE, came from the Middle East. In order to get a better picture of this hypothesis, we studied the geographic appearance of the names of the Hyksos kings. As the name set was relatively small, we studied also the appearance of the names as personal names. The results are shown below in the map below, in which the numbers show the total appearance of the names of the name set in each area, calculating together the amount of place names and the amount of mode values of personal names. For example, the mode value of the surname Sakir is “India”, as the name has higher incidence in India than in any other country. The colors of the map illustrate the frequency (incidence per population size) of surname Sakir in each country.

Although the name Har is very short, and could have emerged randomly in various regions, it tends to appear on the map very close to the name Sakir. This is interesting, as the name of one Hyksos king of Egypt was Sakir-Har. This name combination appears on the map in Yemen, India and Indonesia. It would be rather unlikely that Sakir and Har appear as place names right next to each other due to random emergence. Based on the analysis of the appearances and densities of the Hyksos names, we concluded that the urheimat of this name set is in the Greater Gedrosia.

Harappan influence in the British Isles?

According to old Irish tradition, a powerful tribe of strangers arrived to Ireland with 65 ships, in the prehistory of Ireland. The following map shows the geographic distribution of the names or these strangers as place names and personal names. The colors illustrate the density of the forename Tara in each country. The names Mil and Espain are written to Pakistan in italics, as these names are more common in Pakistan than in any other country.

The link between Greater Gedrosia and Ireland is weak, and the place names do not form a migration path via the Caspian Sea and River Volga. Instead, the hypothetical migration path would go from the Gulf of Khambhat to the valley of River Niger, and then to Ireland via the Canary Islands. If we assume that the mythological Irish ancestors arrived to Ireland with 65 ships, they seem to have come from a marine culture. This opens up space for a hypothesis, according to which this culture sailed to Nigeria and Lake Chad around Africa and then later on, expanded its excursions towards Iberia and Ireland. Such an unconventional hypothesis, however, would require a lot more evidence before it could be taken seriously.

Where did the Sea Peoples come from?

According to Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egypt was attacked several times by a coalition of the Sea Peoples. These attacks occurred 1200 – 1100 BCE. The prince of the Libu (Libya) led the attacks. The following map shows the distribution of the Sea Peoples names. The urheimat of these names seems to be in Greater Gedrosia, as that is the area of highest appearance and highest density for the Sea People names. However, the Sea People name “Teresh” is also relatively frequent in England.

Although the name Tere is short, and could have emerged randomly in different cultures of the world, it appears relatively systematically close to the longer Sea People names. This occurs in Nigeria (Tere and Danouna), Ethiopia (Teres and Tere), Indonesia (Teres and Tere) and Turkey (Lukka and Tere). This suggests that Tere could be a variant of the Sea People name Teresh.

Atlantean names

According to Herodotus, the Atlanteans were a tribe that lived in northwestern Africa. This location of the Atlanteans in Africa receives support from Pliny the Elder, according to whom the former name of Aethiopia (meaning the sub-Egyptian Africa) was Atlantis. The following map shows the geographic distribution of all of the names that Plato mentioned in his Critias as brothers of King Atlas, except for those names that were most likely translated. These potentially Atlantean names have their highest appearance in Greater Gedrosia, and the Maghreb region close to the Atlas Mountains is the second.

Some people claim that Solon had translated the names from an unknown language and that therefore, the Atlantean names in their Greek form are just random names that have no connection to their original Atlantean versions. This argument makes a strong assumption, according to which Solon saw the manuscript of the original story of Atlantis in Egypt, and then translated the names to Greek. Although the grounds of this assumption are somewhat shaky, let us appreciate it and then concentrate only at  the names Gadeirus and Gades, which were not translated names according to Plato. After limiting the list of potentially Atlantean names to Gadeirus and Gades, and after accepting only place names, the map still shows the highest concentration of these names in Greater Gedrosia, sub-Saharan Africa being the second in density:

The high appearance of the Atlantean names in Africa matches the description of Pliny the Elder, according to whom the earlier name of Aethiopia was Atlantis. It also creates space for a new interpretation of Herodotus, according to whom the Atlanteans came from the vicinity of Mount Atlas, which was a perfectly round mountain that was so high that clouds covered its top during summer and winter. This mountain could possibly be Kilimanjaro, which is located close to the names Katira and Kutus at the bottom of the map. This highly unconventional hypothesis receives some tentative support from the fact that the name Agadi has its highest frequency in Uganda, close to Kilimanjaro. The name Gadara is relevant for resolving the mystery of Atlas and Gadeirus, as Gadara was a king in Ethiopia around 200 BCE. In addition, Gadara appears as a place name at the Gulf of Khambhat in the map of al Idrisi (1054 CE), possibly based on older Phoenician or Greek maps.

The place names Gåde and Gade in Sweden and Denmark could be completely unconnected to Gadeirus, Gadara and the land of Gade(s), which is located in Tibet. However, these names could have also traveled to the Baltic Sea via the Caspian Sea – Volga route or from Iberia, via the Atlantic Ocean. The etymology of the name Gade in Danish means a person, who came via “throughways”. This could possibly refer to a person who came via the Caspian Sea – Volga – Baltic Sea route or via the Black Sea – Dnepr – Baltic Sea route.

Where was Kalevala?

According to the Finnish mythology of Kalevala, the Kalevalan heroes Ilmarinen, Lemminkäinen, Ahti Saarelainen and Väinämöinen lived in Kalevala. This name means “The place of Kaleva and his tribe”. In one poem of Kalevala, Väinämöinen wants to construct a boat, but he needs to ask for advice from an ancient sage Antero Vipune(n), who was sleeping below the ground, dead. This story resembles the Middle Eastern and Indian stories of the fallen gods and titans, who were forced to the underworld, and the stories of heroic yogi, who voluntarily laid under water or underground in a deep sleep or trance. We studied the name set of the Kalevalan names and the results are shown below on a map, in which the colors illustrate the density of the forename Kaleva in each country.

Based on this map it seems that either Kalevala was originally in Finland, and the Kalevalan names migrated to India 5000 – 2000 BCE, or alternatively, Kalevala was in India and the names migrated to Finland around 2000 – 30 BCE. This map also gives a new perspective to the Kalevalan name Kaukomieli, which means “The one who yearns to travel far”.


Based on the study of Indo-Asiatic, Kushite, Ethiopian, Fulani, Berber, Sea People, Iberian, Celtic, Irish, Norse, Kalevalan and Atlantean names, the Indus Valley culture and its Indian successors seem to have influenced the naming cultures in far-away locations like Finland, Lithuania, Scotland, Iberia, Morocco and Nigeria.  The following map shows the appearance of the names of the studied name sets as place names, together with their hypothetical migration paths. The migration paths start from the area of highest density of each name, and then reach out by connecting instances of the same name.

The northern migration path from India to the Baltic Sea is relatively well supported by the genetic studies, which show the flow of genes from northern Europe to the Indus Valley 5000 – 1800 BCE, and the flow of genes to the opposite direction around 2000 – 30 BCE. The southern path from India to Nigeria, Morocco and Iberia, however, would require much more evidence. The only clear genetic evidence is the one, according to which Ethiopia received a notable amount of Indian genes around 1860 BCE. This matches the description of the Greek historiographers, according to whom almost half of the population of Aethiopia were Indians.

Alternative hypotheses concerning the migration of these names include the random hypothesis, colonialism hypothesis, Alexander the Great hypothesis, the Arab conquest hypothesis and the Hyper-Gedrosian hypothesis. According to the random hypothesis, the names of the map were randomly created in different areas of the world, because human beings are good at inventing names. Therefore, the place names like Sagara in Japan, Indonesia, India, East Africa and West Africa have nothing to do with each other, and have emerged randomly. According to the colonialism hypothesis, most of these names were originally born in Europe or around the Mediterranean Sea, and were then migrated to remote locations of the world along with the colonialists. According to the Alexander the Great hypothesis, the majority of these names were born within the Greek culture, and were then distributed to India along with the conquests of Alexander the Great. According to the Arab conquest hypothesis, most of these names are ancient Arabic names, which were distributed all around the world by the Arab and Muslim conquests, and by the expansion of the Islamic religion. According to the Hyper-Gedrosian hypothesis, the Harappan civilization and its successors extended their influence to much more distant locations than archeological evidence has shown, so far. This influence, however, never reached Greece, as is shown in the map above. This lack of Hyper-Gedrosian influence in Greece matches with Plato’s story of Atlantis, according to which Greece was the only country that was able to resist the attacks and the cultural influence of the Atlanteans.

If the Harappan culture was the root of the Atlantean tribes of Africa, then where did the city of Atlantis sink into? One possible candidate is the Gulf of Khambhat, where an ancient settlement submerged to the Indian Ocean three times 7000 – 780 BCE, and was rebuilt two times to a higher altitude from the sea level. Although some critics have questioned the authenticity of the archaeological evidence concerning the dating of the older parts of this city to 7000 BCE, there is also other archaeological evidence close by. Marine archaeologists, for example, have found a 24 km long submerged floodwall that was dated to year 6000 BCE. If the local civilization was capable of constructing such a wall year 6000 BCE, why would it have been so difficult for the same civilization to construct a city to the area of Khambhat around 6000 BCE? This hypothesis of the early emergence of cities in India receives support from the Greek historiographer Megasthenes, according to whom the first kings ruled India already 6000 – 5000 BCE. The full study of the different theories of Atlantis, and their comparison with empirical evidence, is available here.

As this study of prehistoric migrations is producing a very unconventional theory of the evolution of the African, Iberian, Celtic, Irish and Nordic cultures, it needs to be carefully fact checked and peer reviewed before jumping to conclusions of its validity:

  1. If you find errors in the book Titan Atlas and the Roots of the Mediterranean Cultures, please report these errors with our  Error and Feedback Survey ! I will compensate your efforts by sending you a signed copy of the book, once it has been peer reviewed and finalized. Note that this compensation applies to all errors that have not been reported by someone else before. The list of reported errors will be maintained at our Facebook group.
  2. If you have a Ph.D. in archaeology, genetics, migration studies, history, linguistics, philology or mythology, please sign in at as a potential peer reviewer! Our publisher has budgeted 5000 € for the peer review payments. The peer reviewers will be selected by an independent Editorial Board.
  3. If you are an IT specialist with experience of geographic databases and maps, please join our team! Our goal is to create a geographic information system that connects genetic data, place name data, personal name data, linguistic data and archaeological databases in order to calculate the geographical origin of any ancient name set, together with its most likely migration paths and migration dates.


Pasi Malmi
and the authors of the book Malmi, Isomäki, Iorco & Pal (2021)


Malmi, Isomäki, Iorco and Pal (2021) Titan Atlas and the Roots of the Mediterranean Cultures


Pasi Malmi

I received my master's degree 1992 and my doctoral degree 2009. During my academic career (and hobby) I have focused at the analysis of cultural evolution using the "Dawkins-Habermas theory" of cultural evolution as my frame of reference. Year 1988-1992 I applied this theory to the analysis of the evolution of organizations and other social systems. After that, I studied cultural evolution and cultural services 1993-1995. During years 2004 - 2010 my focus was at the analysis of the discourses, memes and power-spheres that cause gender discrimination. Year 2020 I studied the evolution of the discourses and beliefs that caused international health organizations not to recommend face masks to the greater public in spring and summer 2020.

My newest research challenge is to apply the Dawkins-Habermas theory of cultural evolution to the analysis of Indo-European and African prehistory.

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