The satem shift, Armenian siseṙn, and the early Indo-European of the Balkans
The satem languages should have been contiguous and in a limited area at the time of the changes they share. The most likely area is the Russian steppe and immediately adjacent areas of the upper Balkans and Ukraine, between 3500 and 2500 BC. The location of Armenian at this time is somewhat controversial. Innovations/loan words like <i>*īwōn</i> ‘pillar’, shared with Greek, indicate at least geographic proximity before the satem change. The word <i>*ier-</i> is found, meaning ‘chickpea’ or ‘grass pea’. The grass pea, not the chickpea, is found in the satem area (the upper Balkans) in the proper time frame and may provide the original meaning. Since Armenian has this word with the satem reflex, <i>siseṙn</i>, we can argue that pre-Armenians were in the upper Balkans at the time of the satem change.