CHAPTER 8

THE ADAMIC PLACE NAMES

With preparation from preceding discussions we are in a better position to search for Adam. I shall begin the search with place names scattered throughout Europe, the Near East, into India, and on into the South Pacific.
 

The most significant of these are carried by rivers in Europe and India. They bear the name Don or some variant of that name.
 

The famous Don river of Russia originates near Moscow and flows approximately 1200 miles southward into the Sea of Azov. Another Don river originates near Sheffield, England and flows eastward into the river Humber. A third Don river originates in the Grampian mountains of Scotland and flows eastward into the North Sea near AberdeenRHDEL.
 

The Danube flows out of the mountains of Germany, through Austria and Hungary, between Rumania and Bulgaria, and on into the Black Sea. It is known as the Donau to Germans, and Duna to Hungarians. On its lower end it was known as the Ister since ancient timesRHDEL, AE.
 

Other rivers in Europe also carry the Don form. The Donets flows southeast into the Don. Donets is a local phonetic variation of Don. The Dnieper and the Dniester both flow through Ukraine into the Black Sea. The name Dniester can be explained from the two names for the Danube. If Don is married with Ister we obtain Don-Ister, and this is the Dniester name with a contraction of the Don syllableRHDEL. However, the name may be a contracted form of an earlier DanastrisAE. This last name carries the same linguistic meaning with phonetic variation from differences in language.
 

If we were to ask a native of Russia to explain the origin of the Don river names he probably would reply that they are Kimmerian, since the Kimmerians occupied the regions of southern Russia and the Ukraine in ancient times, circa 600 BC. He might even tell us the name meant "water" to those ancient people. But if one were to point out that, as far as we know, the Kimmerians did not inhabit the British Isles he would be at a loss to explain the names in England and Scotland.
 

Importantly, the ancient Greeks did not use the river names used by the natives. Herodutus, the Greek historian, used Borysthenes for the Dnieper, Tyras for the Dniester, Ister for the Danube, and Tanais for the Russian Don. He acknowledged that he did not use the native namesPW:IV.
 

Dispersion of cultures over a wide geographical span from Ireland to the regions around the Black Sea is known from the middle of the first millennium BC for the Keltic tribes. Their influence extended from Ireland and Wales, to England, France, north Spain, north Italy, Austria, the Balkan peninsula, and into Rumania and Turkey. The word "Celtic" was originally pronounced "Keltic" from the Greek "Keltoi," their name for the Keltic tribes. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Galatians of Asia Minor, a Keltic people. A city in modern Rumania is called Galati, a certain Keltic name. The name Gaul is Keltic, as well as the name for the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland. In classical mythology Galata was the ancestress of the Gallic people. The Keltic, Gallic, Galatian, and Gaelic names are all related linguistically. They derive from a common word root which I shall discuss in greater depth in a later chapterRHDEL,OED.
 

The wide geographical dispersion of the Don river names agrees substantially with the dispersion of the Keltic tribes. This would suggest that the origins are Keltic. However, as Eilert Ekwall expressed it, "Don is an old river name, Brittanic Dana, which is related to the name Danube and is really an old word for 'water,' found in Sanskrit danu for rain or moistureCODEPN." Don river names beyond the Keltic regions are known by Dhan, Dhon, and Dhansiri in IndiaTWIG. These are much beyond the reach of the Kelts, the Kimmerians, or any other known historical groups from Europe or Asia Minor. If a common cultural influence existed over this region it is much farther removed in time.
 

A common cultural influence over this area is known from the Indo-European languages, including Teutonic, Romance, Keltic, Slavic, Iranian and Indic. Etymological studies show numerous common words and word elements across these varied groups of people, originating in some very ancient common language now lost to human memoryRHDEL. The river names display the same antiquity.
 

The common language and name elements, in turn, are related to the distribution of the so-called Caucasoid race over the same geographical regions. According to anthropological estimates the Caucasians are approximately 30,000 years old, appearing on the world scene at the beginning of the last ice age concurrent with the disappearance of Neanderthal man. From the evidence of language and race one is inclined to believe there must have been a common origin to these phenomena. The Don river names are merely another factor suggesting a common source. If the links in race, language, and river names date to such remote times they would, indeed, be very ancient.
 

Other ancient phenomena are common to these regions. The famous cave paintings of Europe extend from the Iberian peninsula and France into Russia. Recent studies also show notational systems for recording cycles of the moon on bone and stone throughout these same regions. Both the cave art and the notational artifacts date as far back as 30,000 years ago, coincident with the beginning of Caucasian manROC.
 

Thus we find five independent phenomena to indicate a cultural and racial dispersion over wide geographical regions from northwest Europe into India. Three of those date to 30,000 year ago: Caucasian man, cave art, and notational artifacts. Two are uncertain in date: the Indo-European languages and the river names.
 

One might argue that the river names are too tenuous a base on which to pursue study. The evidence is much too slim. However, the names contribute to cave art, notational systems, language and race. Furthermore, place names other than rivers contribute to this body of accumulating evidence, although the antiquity of the names is uncertain and the linguistics origins debatable.
 

Donmark (Denmark) is the marriage of Don with "mark," a Teutonic word meaning "boundary."
 

Doncaster is a borough of Yorkshire, England on the Don river.
 

Donauworth, Germany probably acquired its name from the river.
 

Donna Island in Norway displays a female form of the Don name.
 

Donnemore, Sweden is a compound also of two words, perhaps with the female form.
 

Donnenberg, Germany is another inflected form.
 

Donilov, Russia has the Don with "lov" as a suffix.
 

Domremy-la-Pucelle is a village in northern France, the birthplace of Joan of Arc. The interest for our tabulation is that the French pronounce the name as Donremee. The Don to Dom phonetic shift is common in French and is found in other languages. It appears often in Don names.
 

Donegal is a county of Ulster province in North Ireland, but Dongola is a town and former province on the Nile river in North Sudan. If the two names are related, deriving from a common origin, the Don influence extends across Arabia into northeast Africa. Similar names exist in Danakil, Ethiopia and as far away as Donggala, IndonesiaAE,TWIG.
 

We also find Don forms in Dunbarton, Scotland, Dunkeld, Ireland, and in Dunkirk, France. Here the Don-to-Dun phonetic change is very slight.
 

Linguistic scholars believe Dun is a Keltic word which means a place of protection, a fortified location. While it is phonetically close to Don, scholars do not see a semantic connection. This is an example of possible shifts in meaning which may take place over time as later cultures borrowed names from earlier cultures.
 

But dun is also a Teutonic word, found in Old Norse duna = "thunder," whence also our modern English word thunderOED. As we shall see these forms all come out of that most famous of all ancestors.

The following list shows possible Don names over wide geographical regionsRHDEL,OED.  
 

Dan, Israel 
Dan Lake, Ireland 
Dana, Jordan 
Dana, Japan 
Dana, Nepal 
Dana Adasi, Turkey 
Danan, Ethiopia 
Dan Gunu, Nigeria 
Dana Island, Indonesia

Daddan Oilik, ancient site, China 
Puntan Daddan, Marianna Islands 
Danchin Huryee, Monogolia 
Danubyu, Burma 
Dondenong, Australia 
Dan Sai, Thailand 
Dongara, Australia 
Dangrek Mountains, Thailand


  If we permit an "n" to "m" phonetic shift, as illustrated by the French names, we might add the followingRHDEL,TWIG.  
 

Dam, Surinam 
Dama, Viet Nam 
Dam and Damman, Saudi Arabia 
Damoh, India 
Daman district, India

Dumai, Indonesia 
Damar, Indonesia 
Damas, Vietnam 
Dam Doi, Vietnam 
Dum Dum, India and Indonesia


These lists are intended only to illustrate the worldwide scattering of similar place names; they are not exhaustive, nor do I attempt linguistic rigor. Some of them may derive from local expressions and usages, not related to a common linguistic influence. They are part of an accumulating body of evidence which must be considered in any study of place name evidence.
 

If we permit a "d" to "t" phonetic shift we also pick up many other names. A few includeRHDEL,TK.  
 

Tan, USSR 
Tan, North Korea 
Tana, Chile 
Thann, France 
Tan An, Vietnam 
Tan My, Vietnam 
Tana Fjord, Norway 
Tana Lake, Ethiopia 
Tana River, Kenya 
Tana River, Alaska

Tanai, Pakistan 
Tanah Rata, Malaysia 
Tanacross, Alaska 
Tanagrogot, Indonesia 
Tanana, Alaska 
Tanami, Australia 
Thana, India 
Thanh Hoa, Vietnam 
Tana Island, New Hebrides 
Tana River, Scandanavia 
Tanamerah, New Guinea

 

Many other Tan, Tana, Tam, Tem, Tham, and Them forms are known, such as the Thames River, England, Thamsham, Norway, and Tam Ky, Vietnam.
 

Note the Tanais river name given by Herodotus. This is the Don, and shows the linguistic connection between the don-tan forms.
 

If the Don name was carried to southeast Asia it would suggest the same influence as that which spread across Europe, through the Near East, and into India. We do not recognize a Caucasoid racial tie. However, the light skins and features of the natives of Polynesia and Hawaii cause one to question the genetic origins of those people, other than through late European explorers.
 

Returning to the Don evidence we find forms which show a closer kinship to that familiar name. This is through a prefix. I mentioned that Athens, Greece came from a more ancient Atana. The same name is found across the Aegean Sea in Turkey where the city of Adana is still known by that name. Other names areTWIG.  
 

Aden, Arabia 
Adonara, Indonesia 
Adimi, USSR 
Adama, Ethiopia

Adamawa, Nigeria 
Adam, USSR 
Adam Kiri, Nigeria 
Adamana, Arizona


We know that other Adam names have lost a prefix. The biblical Adamhi in Jordan has become the modern Damiya. Adom on the Jordan river has become Tell-ed-Damiya, and the ancient Adhaman-as-Zaur water course in Iraq has become the modern Damin-as-ZawrTK. This evidence shows that the Adon and Adam forms might have come from earlier Don or Dam. If a phonetic shift took place in one direction, it might also take place in the other.
 

These don/dom/adon/adom/adam names are the first to show a possible connection to the biblical Adam. (Adom is the Hebrew pronunciation of Adam.)
 

These several tabulations show common place names over wide geographical regions extending in an arc from Europe, across the Near East, through India, and into the South Seas. Adamawa and Adam Kiri in Nigeria extends this phenomena across Africa, while Tanacross and Tanana of Alaska, with Adamana of Arizona extend it into North America. Danchin Huryee and Dandan Oilik appear in Mongolia and China. The Don names patterns appear to cover wide areas of the globe.
 

Some persons may object to the random grouping of names which have no apparent linguistic connection except through some obscure phonetic similarity. While the Don river names may be intriguing how can we conclude that other Don names with the many phonetic variations are related? Is Tana related to Don, except through accidental phonetic similarity? Is Adom related to Don?
 

The objection is valid, and deserves attention. What criteria do we have for establishing relationships among the varied names? Although the wide patterns are phonetically similar, perhaps they are nothing more than accidental use of similar sounding names from different languages. How can one separate those names which are related culturally from those which are mere accidental homonyms? How do we know they came out of cultural assignments to ancient personalities or events?
 

If the names date to remote antiquity, long before recorded history, how can we show their cultural origins without written evidence? The earliest written records are no more than 5,000 years old from around the Near East, and perhaps a few stone monuments scattered across the Mediterranean and Europe. If the names originate from more ancient times the sources cannot be traced except through the study of linguistics.
 

The river names provide important clues to this dilemma. Clearly we have Don names in Scotland, England, Germany, Russia, and India. We might add Dyfrdonwy and Trydonwy from Wales. Dyfr in Old Welsh meant "water," as the don form in the old Indo-European root system also meant "water." Dyfr is then compounded with don and "wyCH." Remember Manawydan from Welsh mythology? Here mana is compounded with "wy" and dan.
 

Could the wide spread don names be from some source other than a very famous ancestor? What other cultural object or episode would provide such prominent influence? Did Henry Hudson get his name from the river, or did the river receive its name from the man? If people over such wide areas of the globe wished to honor a common ancestor might they not use the common name? How long ago did he live? What caused his descendants to migrate to such far regions? If the river names did not come from an outstanding personality did they come from some other social or religious influence? On the face of the evidence we cannot say with unreserved conviction that the river names came from an individual named Don.
 

However, we are forced back again to the evidence of race, language, and cultural artifacts. It seems reasonable to assume the Don name originated in some very ancient personality long before historic times.
 

Another possibility is that the name was borrowed from one region to another, but if so, it had to have profound significance, with active commercial trade across the face of the planet in ages now lost to human memory. It is far easier to propose that a very ancient common ancestor was the origin of that cultural memory.
 

Considerable evidence contributes to this body of accumulation information, and provides a solution to the linguistic dilemma. The don name carries a significance which casts a strong light on the origins. We can demonstrate more precisely that many of the place names derive from a personality named Don.