Ancient India, archaeology, etc.

I think I have asked before, but I’m soliciting suggestions about a book on Indian prehistory, with a focus on the period between 10 and 2 thousand years ago. India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Subcontinent from c. 7000 BCE to CE 1200 looks decent, but I don’t have an ability to evaluate this stuff.

The reason is pretty simple. I’ve been asked to write a book chapter on the genetics of India. The draft is written, and I think we’re 80-90% done with the genetic “big picture.” The real work is going to be in synthesizing with archaeology. To be entirely frank I’m not sure how open Indian archaeologists are going to be to the new genetics, which is not stopping at any time in the near future. So I think perhaps I should see what I can snap together myself.

Anyway, suggestions appreciated. Though keep in mind that I don’t know much archaeology and don’t care that much about ancient village plans….


12 thoughts on “Ancient India, archaeology, etc.”

    1. Dorian Fuller is not a gold standard. Do not unnecessarily praise him too much. He is just about OK and an authority on South Asian bioarchaeology because he happens to be from one leading U.K. University.

      However he is more in love with his theories rather than facing up to facts.

      Though now there is overwhelming evidence from genetics and archaeology that South Asia is an independent center of rice domestication, Fuller is simply not ready to accept this and is trying to undermine the hard work by other Indian/western researchers.

      1. Why is it important to you that rice be domesticated in India? What is wrong if history shows that Japonica was cultivated in Yangtze Valley 8000 BP, and then slowly introgressed to India in 5000 BP? The same question, with the origin of Aryans or IVC? Why does it matter to you that Aryans arrived from central Asia or IVC from Iranian farmers? What do we gain by being the first actor?

        1. Central asia beats India. As babur said, we are better looking and will love jihadify your women. Genes prove it. We ruled over u for 1000 years. We are the masters. That is what we gain. That is what u lose.

        2. Well, why should it then matter to anyone at all as to where rice was first domesticated ? Such disciplines should be scrubbed from the academia in totality I guess. Waste of precious money on inane subjects.

  1. Dependent on how much knowledge or theoretical knowledge can comment on this: Timepoint of Rakhigarhi IVC samples and before (10,000 years to 2000 BCE?), would you be able to comment about the DNA from Iranian Neolithic farmers, and how far that genetic branch was spread (i.e. From Zagros mountains to IVC is hypothetical range of people relate to Iranian farmer dna at one point) and then talk about the range of the AASI/hunter gatherers ( i.e. were they all the way to the tip of south india,did their range go outside of india, into burma, etc. at that point in time). Also were there any lineages that didn’t survive into present day south asia.
    This is just a thought, but this could be something already covered or maybe it might not have the data to comment on, so no expectations.

  2. “The rise of civilization in India and Pakistan” – Allchin & Allchin
    “The Evolution and History of Human Populations in South Asia: Inter-disciplinary Studies in Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Linguistics and Genetics” – Michael Petraglia

  3. Razib,

    I missed to make a comment and to congratulate you on your engagement and participation to write a chapter in the book – India, The Ancient Past by Burjor Avari. Genetics researches will be more and more important because they will quickly solve many past dilemmas and give many answers. I read the excerpt from the book. I will not make my final conclusion before I read the whole book. Especially, I was interested in the part about Aryans. The author does not speculate who were the Aryans. This is ok but very soon some answers mast be given. It will be probably done by geneticists. This can be your great chance. At some stage some comprehensive study, parallel in Europe and Hindustan, organised by governments and large Universities, will be probably conducted.

    The author used the term Aryans in parallel with other nations (e.g. Iranians, etc) but in a couple occasions he mentioned – Indo-Iranian Aryans. He should explain what does it mean. And to confirm this by comparisons of languages the IIA spoke at that time with Sanskrit. There is also one unexplained mentioning of ‘cultural fusion between the ancient Indians and incoming Indo-Iranian Aryans ’(?).

    My impression is that this book will have some shortcomings because of the missing link in European ancient history. I did say before that parts of European history were falsified and some links with SA history will be missing. I will pass this information to SA scholars (including through this blog as well) who should ask Euroscholars some questions. I think that over-relaying on British neo-colonial academics is also wrong and that the author should diversify his sources.

    For your part, I am not sure if you will use some of directions I mentioned before about the origins and ages of some genes for your further research. In a current situation for this is required a certain courage but some safe steps can be made. It is maybe not part of SA archaeology but the recent discovery of the ancient grave in Iraq (just before American intervention) of the ruler of Assyrian kingdom and founder of Babylon, who was the Aryan leader, can give some answers. The steel weaponry and jewellery found in his grave can be compared with archaeological findings in India. If it is possible to check his DNA one day, that would be something huge (Google: “Serbian arms Baghdad museum”). Good luck with your research.


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