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Friday, 27 May 2016

Buddhist Influence on Ka'ba

There are many theories regarding the original cultural background of Muhammad . Recently, I read this  post . Though, I don't support his ideas on Indian History, he makes some good posts in his website. But my aim in this post, is not to focus on Muhammad but on the Ka'ba , the holiest place in Islam. Now, coming to the point , I was reading the book Buddhism in Iran: An Anthropological Approach to Traces and Influences by Mostafa Vaziri. I have to say, that the book is a gem , it unearths many of the Buddhist traits hidden in the cultural sphere of Iran and neighboring nations!. But much to my surprise, in Chapter 6 of the book ,titled  Nawbaha¯r and Stu¯pa-
Like Islamic Shrines from p.94 to p.95, we read :

Various accounts also claim that the paintings on the walls of the Ka‘ba portraying the prophets included Abraham with the portrait of his son, Ismā‘il, facing him on a horse, as well as the portrait of Jesus with his mother Mary; apparently they were well preserved until the Ka‘ba was destroyed in a civil war. 27 Other celestial (or holy) characters were said to have been depicted in the Ka‘ba’s artwork. 28 It seems far-fetched that the pre-Islamic paintings of the Ka‘ba, a shrine whose patrons before the Prophet of Islam were neither Christian nor Jewish, would have contained paintings of biblical characters. The nature of these paintings may have been the remainder of pre-Islamic Hindu-Buddhist art work, if any. The task of giving Islamic identities to these un-tagged or “unknown” paintings and portraits in the Ka‘ba was presumably the work of the Muslim authors. It can be only speculated that the paintings were still preserved after the Ka‘ba was Islamized because the pictorial prohibition in Islam seemed to be imposed based on hadīth transmission only much later.
Further indication to the potential presence of the Buddhists in Arabia is that the thirteenth-century Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍlallāh, in his Jāmi’ al-Tawārīkh, asserts that in pre-Islamic times, the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina and certain Arabs and Persians were adherents of the Buddha Shakyamunī and that statues of the Buddha were kept in the Ka‘ba. 29 This assertion by Rashīd al-Dīn may possibly corroborate with a miniature of the thirteenth century showing the Prophet at Ka‘ba destroying two statues seemingly to be the seated Buddha in a meditational position and one statue of Hanuman (a Hindu deity with the head of a monkey). 30 Other characteristics of the pre-Islamic Arabs that Shahrastānī describes may further corroborate with the Indian beliefs. It is said that before the advent of Islam, the Arabs believed in reincarnation and had rejected the concepts of revelation and prophecy, 31 all of which also correspond with the Buddhist belief.
Moreover, Mas‘udī in his discussion of the Buddha (Budāsef) refers to the Buddha’s followers as communities of idol worshippers whose temples included the Ka‘ba ( bayt al-harām ). 32 He also describes the Quraysh tribe of Mecca as having two gold-plated deer statues, one to be placed at the entrance of the Ka‘ba andthe other to be kept inside. 33 During the flood in Mecca that destroyed the Ka‘ba, one of these golden deer went missing, and the Quraysh tribe therefore decided to remove the other deer. 34 The deer, as discussed in the previous chapter, is a typically Buddhist symbol. In a significant parallel, the statues of two golden deer on either side of the iconic Wheel of Dharma are placed at the entrance gates of Buddhist vihāras to this day.

How could Buddhism have reached Mecca? The sea journeys of Indians to
Yemen, Arabia, and Egypt are somewhat documented. In pre-Islamic times, Mecca was a tolerant polytheistic society as well as a trade center, lying near the Red Sea via the Spice Route and attracting traders and missionaries of different backgrounds via land and sea. The Meccan sanctuary was not only a place for an annual pilgrimage in pre-Islamic times, where no bloodshed was permitted, but was also a place wheremerchants from different lands, including India, would hold a common market fairfor the pilgrims. 35 According to another Islamic tradition, the Brahmans of India traveled to Mecca for worship and paying homage to the idols in pre-Islamic times. 36
Nāsir Khosrau of the eleventh century refers to seeing Indians of Yemen with their particular type of hair dress, beard, and cloth ( lungī ) wrapped around their waist come to Mecca. 37 We can only presume that these Indians who continued coming to Mecca for trade, interestingly, without prohibition may have been a mixture of Hindus and Buddhists, but in medieval times both communities were casually known as Hindus (referring to Indians). Other historical references do point to the link between India and Arabia. The Indian settlements in Arabia, Yemen, Babylonia, and Egypt during the peak of commercial trade are recognized in historical writings. 38 Indians are even believed to have settled in Mecca and Medina, explaining the presence of several Sanskrit words and names of Indian spices in the
Arabic language (e.g., ‘ambar ,mushk ,zenjabil, and kāfur ).39

Given these indications and assertions by certain chroniclers, we can only guess that the Ka‘ba may have possibly been another Buddhist vihāra before Islam. Consider the acts required of Muslim pilgrims on hajj even today that include, in contrast to the Buddhist, anticlockwise circumambulation ( tawāf ) of the Ka‘ba and prostration. In addition, hajj pilgrims are required to shave their head and wear monastic robes (sleeveless and unsewn clothes) and must forbear wearing closed-toe shoes, cutting branches of trees, killing prey, and having sexual intercourse. These injunctions strongly match the rituals of the Buddhist monastic tradition. 40 Yet in the Muslim tradition, these norms are described as temporary states of purity that are performed in the Ka‘ba by the pilgrims and are considered as a substitute for the purity of the Garden of Eden, and circumambulating is explained as being associated with Adam’s sin. 41 Despite these explanations on behalf of Islamic tradition, their similarity to Buddhist rituals is rather remarkable.However,it seems no historical memory remains of Buddhist connections with relation to Mecca.

I believe this was right under our nose . The Idea that Ka'ba is a Shiva Temple, is of course lunatic, propagated by Hindu Nationalist buffoons .But it seems, that there is,an indirect relation with Indic and Buddhist influences.We perhaps can also put the presence of Z-93 in Arabia into this context!.

Also Buddhist presence on the south coast of Arabia (Yemen, Socotra island), is not excluded, a friend of mine , met once a French archaeologist there, who told of ''ruins apparently of a Buddhist vihara with stupas in Yemen''. Also recently, there were Indian temples in Aden , also see here .We do know that, even  from the times of SSVC , there were robust trade relations with those parts of the world.

Goa: Dholavira site has first evidence of tsunami-protection wall in the world, say scientists

The discovery made by a group of Marine Archaeologist of NIO in February this year was based on a scientific probe and preliminary excavation 

Donapaula Published:May 25, 2016, 22:49
Scientific dating of ‘Fortified-walls’ around the Dholavira archaeology site in Kutch, Gujarat dates back to over 6000 years claim scientists from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography. According to them, earlier misunderstood for reinforced forts to protect the port-town from enemy invasion, was in reality meant to protect the city from tsunami. The discovery, made by a group of Marine Archaeologist of NIO in February this year, was based on a scientific probe and preliminary excavation. Wall measuring thickness about 15-18 metres surrounded Dholavira, which the initial team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) led by R.S. Bisht concluded that the fortified structure was either protection wall or a reservoir, but it could be scientifically explained. 


“It was only recently when we tried to probe using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and basic excavation that realised we discovered that it was far more broader for a enemy retaliation and did not show signs of reservoir,” Dr. Rajiv Nigam, Consultant and former Head of Marine Archaeology Unit said.

According to Nigam, study of Oceanography showed that Makkran coast that was close to Bhuj was a highly tsunami prone area and their research study indicated that the earliest recorded tsunami in the region was about 8000 years old. “So when the Dholavira was raised, the builders who had knowledge about the former catastrophe wanted to secured the walls from Tsunami and storm. The model of the wall is similar to that of 400 kilometre ‘sea-wall’ that Japan is said to have started last year, of course given the use of concrete material these days the width of the sea-wall, we have learnt is 12 metres, but the idea is the same. It means our ancestors were aware of Tsunami and succeeded in creating a defence to it,” he said. For the third-leg of the probe, the NIO team says it has already received the approval from the Archaeological Survey of India for further exploration at Dholavira. However the ambitious ‘discovery’ project has hit a dead-end due to impending financial impetus from Gujarat Council of Science and Technology. “It has been over nine-months since we sent the proposal to Gujarat Council of Science and Technology, but we have not received any update from them. It’s disappointing as we could have fastracked the discovery and probed if the ancient indigenous ‘Tsunami-wall’ was capable in deterring the catastrophe in modern times, since till date no reliable warning system has been found for the deadly ‘seismic sea wave’,” said the NIO team.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Oxygen isotope in archaeological bioapatites from India: Implications to climate change and decline of Bronze Age Harappan civilization

 Anindya Sarkar, Arati Deshpande Mukherjee, M. K. Bera, B. Das, Navin Juyal, P. Morthekai, R. D. Deshpande, V. S. Shinde & L. S. Rao
The antiquity and decline of the Bronze Age Harappan civilization in the Indus-Ghaggar-Hakra river valleys is an enigma in archaeology. Weakening of the monsoon after ~5 ka BP (and droughts throughout the Asia) is a strong contender for the Harappan collapse, although controversy exists about the synchroneity of climate change and collapse of civilization. One reason for this controversy is lack of a continuous record of cultural levels and palaeomonsoon change in close proximity. We report a high resolution oxygen isotope (δ18O) record of animal teeth-bone phosphates from an archaeological trench itself at Bhirrana, NW India, preserving all cultural levels of this civilization. Bhirrana was part of a high concentration of settlements along the dried up mythical Vedic river valley ‘Saraswati’, an extension of Ghaggar river in the Thar desert. Isotope and archaeological data suggest that the pre-Harappans started inhabiting this area along the mighty Ghaggar-Hakra rivers fed by intensified monsoon from 9 to 7 ka BP. The monsoon monotonically declined after 7 ka yet the settlements continued to survive from early to mature Harappan time. Our study suggests that other cause like change in subsistence strategy by shifting crop patterns rather than climate change was responsible for Harappan collapse.
So,   they don't suggest climate as solely responsible for the de-urbanization  , but it had a significant role .

They also suggest:

The study also indicates increasing dependence on summer crops like millet and has been inferred as a direct consequence of lesser rainfall80. Such pattern have also been found elsewhere in Indus valley where the Harappans shifted their crop patterns from the large-grained cereals like wheat and barley during the early part of intensified monsoon to drought-resistant species of small millets and rice in the later part of declining monsoon and thereby changed their subsistence strategy16,81. Because these later crops generally have much lower yield, the organized large storage system of mature Harappan period was abandoned giving rise to smaller more individual household based crop processing and storage system and could act as catalyst for the de-urbanisation of the Harappan civilization rather than an abrupt collapse as suggested by many workers82,83,84,85. Our study suggests possibility of a direct connect between climate, agriculture and subsistence pattern during the Harappan civilization.

See also :
Sindhu Civilization Was Indeed Harmed Badly By Climate
Indus era 8,000 years old, not 5,500; ended because of weaker monsoon
Did climate change kill the Indus civilization?

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

New Presentation: Harappan Burial Sites of India: Recent Research Trends

The concluding remarks in that picture , are interesting .  They speak of Neolithic genetic exchange,  from Iranian plateau via trade . That almost certainly is of 4500-3800 BC period , as recorded in archaeology. The second which they link with trade, in the 1st millennium BC, also has archaeological record. But I think rather trade , migration is the way to see it . I am confident , that the first genetic exchange/migration is related to the arrival of IE's.

Harappan civilization flourished mainly in northwestern province of Indian subcontinent, roughly between 4000 to 1500 BCE. There are about more than fifty burial sites of the Harappa Civilization discovered so far. Lothal, Kalibangan, Rupar, Rakhigarhi, Farmana, Sanauli etc are major sites yielding the remains of Harappan burial.
Until the early 1980’s,the study of human skeletal were primarily focused to answer specific questions pertaining to establishing the ethnic or racial identity of the concerned population and was used primarily to complement archaeological hypotheses of cultural migration or diffusion. Recently, however, efforts are made to study diet, health and composition of Harappan population. Some of these issues are tackled by using Stable Isotope and DNA analyses. The aim of present paper is give overview of so far research done on the Harappan burials and to focus on latest scientific research carried out on Harappan burial studies.


UPDATE : A new related post has appeared, It seems to be yet another modification of abstract , see here  :

[New Presentation] 24th Federation Meeting of Korean Basic Medical Scientists 2016

     Harappan Burial Sites in India: A Review Based On the Latest  Anthropological Research Approaches 

          Astha Dibyopama1, Vasant Shinde1, Dong Hoon Shin2 and Nilesh P. Jadhav1
1Department of Archaeology, Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, India
2Department of Anatomy, Institute of Forensic Science, Seoul National University, Korea
Burial is one of the important evidence to know about our ancestors. Harappan civilization flourished mainly in northwestern province of Indian subcontinent, roughly from between 4000 to 1500 BCE. There are about more than fifty burial sites of the Harappa Civilization discovered so far most of them belonging to a period between 2500-1500 BCE. Lothal, Kalibangan, Rupar, Rakhigarhi, Farmana, Tarkhanwala Dera, Sanauli, Bedwa, Puthi Seman, Bhorgarh, etc. are major sites yielding the remains of Harappan burial. Until the early 1980’s, the study of human skeletal were primarily focused to answer specific questions pertaining to establishing the ethnic or racial identity of the concerned population and was used primarily to complement archaeological hypotheses of cultural migration or diffusion. Recently, however, efforts are shifted to anthropological studies on diet, health and composition of Harappan population. Some of these issues are undertaken by high-end using Stable Isotope and DNA analyses. We intend in this presentation is to focus how these scientific methods which are freshly applied in Harappan burial research are fairly valuable for reconstruction of a variety of aspects of Harappan civilization.
Keywords: Harappan Civilization, Burial sites, Human skeletal remains, Stable Isotope, DNA study

See also :

Rakhigarhi more important than Mohenjo Daro: Data

Upcoming Paper on Sindhu-Sarasvati Valley Civilization

Rakhigarhi: Indian town could unlock mystery of Indus civilisation

J.P. Mallory's Current assessment on Proto-Indo-Europeans

He still favors the Steppe Model , which is natural , he is after all , regarded as one of the most celebrated proponents of the theory. But in recent publications , a clear change is visible . He has now accepted the importance of Agriculture, in the Proto-Indo-European culture . He correctly admits that, this importance of agriculture , is a serious flaw for the steppe argument . But just not for The Kurgan Model, actually, he shows no hesitation when he remarks :

If there are any lessons to be learned, it is that every model of Indo-European origins can be found to reveal serious deficiencies as we increase our scrutiny.
Talk about honesty . That is certainly as best as it can get!.Indeed, time has come when we start forgetting about the theories and start following actual data . There will be of course difficulties, there must be , but at least , we will be under no illusion . Yes, illusion, which is generated by creationism .

Here are the two latest articles by him :

Twenty-first century clouds over Indo-European homelands

The Problem of Tocharian Origins: An Archaeological Perspective 

BTW, recently, I have also found a nice attempt , concerning the Indo-European History of India. I think , that this attempt has the spirit, which is scientific and necessary !.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Missing the mountain in the room

How important were the mountains in the culture of Proto-Indo-Europeans? . The straightforward answer is : very ! . I will now post some related researches on the issue . I have plans to edit the post in the future ,with each new data, that I will find .

In a recent research on PIE and Proto-Altaic Landscapes , Russian scholar Anna Dybo makes the following conclusion :

The article is the first part of a larger work that represents an attempt to systematize our ideas on the natural environment and material culture of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It is based on a more or less complete selection of reconstructed words from the appropriate semantic areas and on their comparison with a similar selection performed for a protolanguage of similar time depth, whose speakers evidently inhabited a territory that was not in contact with the Proto-Indo-European one — Proto-Altaic. In this part, only the words that belong to the semantic field of landscape terms are analyzed. The main conclusion is that the hypothesis of a steppe environment is more applicable for the Proto-Altaic population, whereas for Proto-Indo-Europeans a mountainous region seems more appropriate. As for the water bodies, for Proto-Indo-Europeans we should suppose the existence of a sea (or of a very big lake), and for speakers of Proto-Altaic, the existence of very big rivers with season floods.  
But long before her research as she also refers there,Tamaz Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav Ivanov in their well known book Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A reconstruction and historical analysis of a proto-language and a proto-culturemade the following observations,  from page 575:

The ancient lndo-Europeans' conception of high mountains
An essential distinguishing feature of the ancient Indo-European conception ofmountains and cliffs is the image of mountains of great height reaching to thesky. This is what must have given rise to the Proto-Indo-European image of' stone sky ' . In Indo-European the very word for ' stone ' also means ' sky' ,conceived of as a stone vault: Skt. asman- ' rock, cliff', ' stone tool, stone hammer', ' thunder god's stone' , ' sky'; cf. Avest. asman- ' stone; sky ' . Traces of suchusage are preserved in Greek, where the cognate akman ' stone anvil' is also usedin reference to the sky: akmifn ho ouranos. In Homer, Zeus suspends ' twoanvils' (akmonas dUO, Iliad 1 5 . 1 9), i.e. two huge stones, from Hera's feet as shehangs head down from the sky (see Reichelt 1 9 1 3). Cognates meaning ' stone' inother Indo-European languages are used of the ' stones' of the thunder god, whothrows them down to the earth from the skies: Lith. Perkiino akmuif ' stone ofPerkunas ' , Pol. kamien piorunowy ' stone of Perun' . The Balto-Slavic mythicimage of a thunder god who lives in the sky on a high cliff is a reflex of thesesame Proto-Indo-European concepts of a sky made of stone and stony cliffsreaching to the sky.

The connection of mountains and clouds in the perception of the ancientlndo-Europeans
The image of high mountains is further connected with the ancient IndoEuropean
conception of clouds as mountains (Potebnja 1 9 14 : 1 76) and of rain as
sent by a mountain deity. In the Rigveda the Proto-Indo-European words
meaning 'mountain' and ' cliff' , parvata-, girf- , adri-, also have the meanings
' cloud, storm cloud'. In an Old Latvian rainmaking ritual, prayers are offered
to the mountain god Perkons on hills in thick groves (Ivanov and Toporov
1 974:9).
The combination of meanings 'mountain' and 'cloud' in one word is explained
by properties of the actual topography - high mountains literally
reaching to the level of the clouds. A similar polysemy is displayed by PIE
*nebh. ' sky, fog, cloud' , which also reflects physical reality - the fact that the
sky is often cloudy and foggy. Compare Skt. nabhalJ 'cloud; sky; air, space' ,
Latv. debess ' sky, cloud' .
The original polysemy of *nebh. i s transformed i n most daughter languages,
so that only one of the two meanings is preserved. In some dialects, reflexes of
*nebh. mean ' sky ' , while other words are used of clouds; in other dialects,
reflexes of *nebh- mean ' cloud' while special words for ' sky' are innovated:3
' Sky': Hitt. nepis ' sky' (beside alpa- ' cloud'); Avest. nabah- ' sky ' , 'air, space'
(beside awra- ' cloud; rain'); OCS nebo, gen. nebese ' sky ' , Russ. nebo id.
' Cloud' : Gk. nephos ' cloud; fog; mist' ; nephele ' storm cloud' , ' fog' (beside
ouranos ' sky'); Lat. nebula 'fog, cloud' (beside caelum ' sky'), OIr. nel ' cloud,
fog' , OHG nebul (Ger. Nebel) 'fog' , OE nifol 'fog, mist' (beside OHG himil,
Ger. Himmel ' sky ' , OE heofon, Engl. heaven), Lith. debesis ' cloud' (beside
dangus 'sky').
The polysemy of words with the range of meanings ' mountain' , ' cloud' (and
similarly of words meaning ' sky' , ' cloud') reflects the physical reality of the
ancient Indo-Europeans ' topography: the physical fact of clouds building up at
peaks of mountains has left its traces in the semantic links found among these
words throughout early Indo-European traditions.

'Mountain' as 'high' 
Words with the meaning 'mountain' in the ancient Indo-European languages
often combine with attributives derived from *bh(e)q􀄽h. 'high ' , forming a
single lexical phrase. This usage is still well preserved in the Anatolian languages:
Hitt. parku- 'high' in parga(m)us IjUR .SAGMES-u! (acc. pI.) 'high
mountains ' , KUB XXXIII 9 Vs. 11.7, Luw. parrai- 'high' in the collocation
parrayanza IjUR.SAGMES 'high mountains ' , KUB XXXV 45 IT 5 (see Laroche
1 963). In the Rigveda the phrase is constructed with a derivative of the same
Indo-European root, brh-ant- 'high', together with parvata- ' mountain' : brhatas
parvattit (abI. sg.) 'from the high mountain', brhatas parvattin (acc. pI.) 'high
mountains ' , etc.;4 Arm. lerna-berj 'high as a mountain' (beside erkna-berj 'high
as the sky').
This archaic usage of *bhergh. in attributive function 'high ' S in combination
with ' mountain ' frequently leads to substantivation of derivatives of this stem with the specific meaning 'mountain' : 'high mountain' > 'high' > 'height' >
'mountain' . Examples include: Avest. barazant- 'high' (Pers. buland), baraz'
high; height; mountain' (Pers. burz 'mountain'), barazah- 'height' , barasnu'
height; high place; sky ' , Oss. brerzond 'high, heights, mountain' ; Arm. -berj
'height ' , cf. barjr 'high'. Gaul. Brigantes (ethnonym), lit. 'mountaineers' , OIr.
bri 'mountain' , Brigit, female deity (Vendryes 1 948:27 1 , de Vries 1 96 1 :80).
Goth. bairgahei 'mountainous area' , OIcel. bjarg, OHG berg 'mountain' (Ger.
Berg), OE beorh, beorg 'mountain' ; in Germanic these new terms for 'mountain'
displace the lost original term.
The term for 'mountain' , 'heights'
For Indo-European we can postulate an additional word meaning 'mountain' ,
'heights, high place ' , formed from the root *khel-: Hitt. kalmara- 'mountain'6
( * k h \- m o r - o - ), Lat. culmen, co lumen 'peak, top ' , columna 'column'
(* k h ! - m e n - ), collis 'hill' (*khJ- n i - or * kh o l - n i - ) , Mlr. colI 'head'
(*khol-n-), cf. OCS celo 'forehead '; OE hyll, Engl. hill (* kh!-ni-), OIcel.
holmr ' small island' (*khol-m-); Lith. kalnas 'mountain' , Latv. kaTns; Gk.
(Hom.) koldne 'hillock, hill' , kolophdn 'top, peak ' . These cognates include
words from Hittite, Greek, and the Ancient European language group, which
confirms the Proto-Indo-European nature of the derivatives of * khel- 'mountain,
high place' .
The elaborateness of the terminology for mountains in Indo-European
 We have seen that a number of words referring to mountains, rocky cliffs, and
high places can be distinguished in the Proto-Indo-European lexicon. The first
is *pher(kho )u- 'mountain' , 'mountain oak forest' , 'cliff, rock' (see II.4. 1 . 1 .4
above), which appears in a fixed collocation with other terms for 'mountain,
cliff' as an attributive with the meaning 'high, mighty' Gust as the phonetically
related *bhergh- functions as an attributive in the sense 'big, high'). Another
is * H k ' o(e/o)r-, with reflexes in all the main daughter stocks. * k hel- is
preserved in the Ancient European languages, Anatolian, and Greek. Finally,
*(o)nt'- and *mqth- are preserved only in languages of the extreme periphery.
Furthermore, we have seen that mountains were conceived of as a stony mass
reaching to the skies and having a cloud-covered peak.The natural assumption is that such a lexical subsystem could have developed only in a language spoken in a mountainous area.

Then again in p.763 :
The Indo-European proto-homeland as a geographical region with a
mountainous topography
The original territory of the Proto-Indo-European speakers must have been a
geographical region whose ecological, geographical, and culture-historical
characteristics corresponded to the picture of the environment that emerges
from the reconstructed lexicon of the proto  languages.9 The first thing that can
be claimed about the homeland with any reasonable certainty is that it was a
region with a mountainous topography. The most obvious evidence for this is
the great number of lndo-European words denoting high mountains and heights:
see the preceding chapters for *H(e/o)k'o(e/o)r- 'mountaintop' , * on t ' -/ *nt ' '
mountain, cliff, stone', * m(e)n-th- 'mountain, heights ' , * khol- 'heights ',
*bhergh- 'high' (of mountains). This is a landscape where the mountain oak
(* pher-kho-u- 'oak; cliff' , *aik '- 'mountain oak') and other trees and plants
found in regions with high mountains are widespread.
In agreement with this picture is the evidence concerning mountain lakes
(*or-u-o- 'large lake, sea' , cf. *sal- ' sea or lake as salty') and fast, rushing
streams (*Haph- 'river, mountain stream' , *thekho- 'flow swiftly'), and the evidence for a mountain climate with cloudy skies and frequent thunderstorms:
*nebhes- 'cloud, thundercloud, sky' , *Hwenth- 'wind', *Hk'oor- 'mountain
or north wind' , * seu-' * s u - 'rain' , *sneigho- ' snow ' , * gheim- ' winter',
* (y)ek'- and * eis-' *is- 'cold, ice'.
Another set of words connected with climatic phenomena precludes locating
the Indo-European proto-homeland in the northern regions of Eurasia:
*ghoer-m- and *theph- 'heat, warmth' .
This picture of the Proto-Indo-European landscape naturally excludes the plains areas of Europe which lack significant mountain ranges, i.e. the northern part of central Europe and all of eastern Europe, including the northern Black Sea area.

Also Italian Indologist Giacomo Benedetti , in his article on Indo-Iranians made the following observations citing Avesta :

If the Aryans were the nomads from the steppe, the situation in the Avesta and Firdusi should be completely opposite. Not only, in the hymns of the Avesta (e.g. Yt. 5) the ancient Iranian heroes are often associated with mountains, including the progenitor Yima, who is described as offering a sacrifice on the Hukairya mountain, which is probably in Pamir. Whence came these traditions if they came from the northern flatlands?
The Conclusion is obvious , mountains were integral part of the Proto-Indo-European tradition. This tradition can't originate in the hypothetical steppe homeland , the hypothetical homeland must be located in a mountainous area .

There is of course the case of Sea and even Seafaring! , but I will point on that intriguing issue in a next post.


A.A. Semenenko Gymnasium No 2, Voronezh, Russia

 Researchers Conclusion :

This means that even during the latest period of AVSh composition the Sarasvati Valley abounded in dairy and grain-producing products.AVSh and not only its most ancient part must be dated not later than at least 2000 BC. RV with its more archaic language and the material of which AVSh plentifully borrows dates to at least approximately 2500 BC.

But as a couple of significant points that a friend points me :

1.  Sarasvati was still important also after 2000 BC, as attested also by Mahabharata, but its mention in AV shows a Western environment.

2. The frequent mention of barley suggests the same and an ancient agriculture.Hence the period can be the same as the tenth Mandala of RV, around the middle of 2nd mill. BC.

The article is at p.362.


Monday, 2 May 2016

Rakhigarhi more important than Mohenjo Daro: Data


Rakhigarhi more important than Mohenjo Daro: Data
Workers carry out excavation work at Rakhigarhi village in Hisar district. Photo: Sunil Phogat 

Deepender Deswal
Tribune News Service
Rakhigarhi (Hisar), May 2
Archaeological findings and scientific data have indicated that Rakhigarhi had been the more important centre of the Indus Valley Civilisation than the townships of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro located in Pakistan.

The team of archaeologists revealed that the excavation at this site is all set to change the view that Mohenjo Daro was the capital city of the Indus Valley Civilisation. “Instead, the scientific data collected on the basis excavations here have strongly pointed that Rakhigarhi, a metropolis, was perhaps the capital of its times about 5,000 years ago,” said Prof Vasant Shinde, in charge of the excavation and Vice Chancellor of Deccan College, Pune. Deccan College and the Haryana archaeological department have been jointly carrying out the excavation at the site from last three years.

To prove his point, Prof Shinde said this site was spread in over 550 hectares, which is about double than that of the Mohenjo Daro site, which was considered the biggest site till now.
“We have collected evidences of massive manufacturing and trade activities in this town, which revealed the economic organisation and the foreign links of people here. They had trade links with people in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Baluchistan and even Afghanistan. The city flourished during the early Harappan era dating back to around 3,300 BC and existed till 2000 BC,” he said.

Moreover, the DNA samples collected from the skeletons at the cemetery here are set to crack a major mystery surrounding their lives, character, diseases and race of the people who lived here 5,000 years ago.

Scientists have, for the first time ever, succeeded in extracting DNA from the skeletons of the Indus Valley Civilisation. More skeletons have been found during the ongoing excavation season from mound no.2 for further analysis. Three different institutes of world repute are conducting the DNA analysis for a foolproof study, so that there is no scope of any contradiction,” Prof Shinde said.

He said this was the best and most unexplored site related to the Indus Valley Civilisation so far. “So much material is available here that it would take 100 years to complete the study on uninhabited mounds on the outskirts of the village.

Health Minister Anil Vij, who visited the site on Saturday, said since Rakhigarhi was turning out to be the biggest and most crucial Harappan site in the world, the state government had decided to set up a museum, research centre and a hostel for the researchers in the village.


See also :
Rakhigarhi: Indian town could unlock mystery of Indus civilisation
Upcoming Paper on Sindhu-Sarasvati Valley Civilization