The Archaeological Evidence for OIT – I

(source)

The Chalcolithic & Bronze Age civilizations geographically closest to the Harappan or the Saraswati-Sindhu civilization were the twin Eastern Iranian civilizations of Helmand and Halil Rud/Jiroft and the Central Asian civilization of BMAC spread over the southern margins of Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan and as far east as Tajikistan.

We have discussed the genetic evidence which showed profound Harappan influence in Helmand and BMAC while the aDNA from Halil Rud civilization, situated in the Kerman province of modern Iran, further west of Shahr-i-Sokhta, remains to be sequenced and published.

After having had a look at the genetic data that supports an Out of India migration into these adjacent regions of Eastern Iran & Central Asia, it would be in the fitness of things to also have a brief encounter with the archaeological evidence that can prop up the above said genetic evidence.

The archaeological data is much varied and quite interesting. However there is a lot more to learn and perhaps we have so far just scratched the surface.


Helmand & Halil Rud

The twin civilizations of Helmand and Halil Rud, situated to the west of the Harappan civilization, were not known until a few decades ago and even today we know very little about them. In many ways, we know even less about them than what we know about the Harappan civilization itself.

From what we know it is fairly clear that both of these Eastern Iranian civilizations preceded by several centuries the BMAC civilization and were roughly contemporaneous with the Harappan civilization. All of these southern civilizations, including the Harappan, are in turn considered to have played a defining role in the formation of the BMAC, a proposition which has been confirmed by ancient DNA evidence.

Both the Helmand civilization and its western neighbour, the Halil Rud civilization were intimately in contact with their geographically massive eastern neighbouring civilization of the Harappans.

In order to avoid an unduly long post, I shall limit myself over here to the very intriguing linkages of Harappans with the Helmand civilization only.

Helmand & Harappan

 

(Mundigak, Afghanistan)

(Burnt Building, Shahr-i-Sokhta)

The Helmand civilization centred on the river Helmand which flows from Afghanistan into Sistan province of Eastern Iran. We know atleast two of its major sites – Mundigak in Afghanistan and Shahr-i-Sokhta in eastern Iran.

The genetic evidence from Shahr-i-Sokhta, the biggest Helmand site, confirms that the relations with the Harappans were quite strong with nearly half of all ancient samples from that site considered to have been migrants from the Harappan region, especially from Baluchistan and the rest of the ancient samples showing admixture from these migrants.

According to the French archaeologist, Jean Francois Jarrige, the principle excavator of Mehrgarh, as stated in this article, the foundation of Mundigak, the other Helmand site, can be interpreted as the settling of people from Baluchistan of the Mehrgarh Chalcolithic tradition and the remains of Period I at Mundigak fit almost perfectly the cultural assemblage of Mehrgarh Period III.

It is also significant that the pottery of Mundigak I, the earliest occupation of the “Helmand” cultural complex, corresponds to the Mehrgarh III pottery, in technique—quality of the paste and manufacture— as well in the shapes and decoration, probably within a phase dated to the end of the 5th millennium. The pottery of Mundigak I-II (fi g. 2: 3-5, 7-8) can also be related to the context of Balochistan ceramic productions, especially from Mehrgarh IV around 3500 BC. (link)

The foundation of Mundigak, incidentally dates to around 5000 BC and is therefore significantly older to the foundation of Shahr-i-Sokhta, its sister site in Helmand more than 400 kms to its west, whose earliest dates go only upto 3300 BC and where we have already seen that the Harappan or Baluchistani migrants were already present from the earliest period.

While , “..there is general agreement that Shahr-i Sokhta and Mundigak have the same material culture including similar buff ceramic material, validating the existence of a Helmand Valley archaeological culture at the time corresponding to Period I at the former and Period III at the latter…” it also needs to be understood that “Shahr-i-Sokhta I nonetheless has inter-regional connections that are not recorded at Mundigak. In particular, a series of objects point to contacts to the west…”(link)

With regard to Shahr-i-Sokhta, which in its most expansive phase was atleast around 150 hect. it should be noted that “…Shahr-i-Sokhta I is the foundation period of this site and that no other site (or no context at this site) has been observed thus far in Seistan with older archaeological deposits. Since no evidence for an older settlement is observed in this region, the most rational reconstruction is that Shahr-i Sokhta was founded by communities coming from (an)other area(s) in the late fourth millennium BCE.” (link same as above).

An important provenance study of the Shahr-i-Sokhta ceramics also indicated a strong influence from the west from the Baluchistani region and Mundigak. Almost all of the deluxe pottery that was found at the site and associated with elite graves was of non-local origin and were imports from the Iranian and Pakistani Baluchistan region.

The authors of this study also observe, “The possibility indeed remains that, for instance, the cultural assemblage at Mundigak, or  a part of it, belonged to people who later moved to Shahr-i-Sokhta.”

We have already noted earlier how, Mundigak itself likely derives from the Mehrgarh Chalcolithic tradition of Pakistani Baluchistan. This tradition, also known as Damb Sadat or Quetta pottery tradition is one of the 4 major early pottery traditions of Early Harappans.

The strong eastern provenance of the Helmand civilization can be further appreciated when we see the following material and non-material connections with the Harappan civilization.

Ceramics

The cermaics from Shahr-i-Sokhta show similarities with more than 1 type of ceramic traditions of the Early Harappans. There are similarities with the Quetta or Damb Sadat pottery tradition and infact the earlier Helmand site of Mundigak is even considered by some as part of that early Harappan Quetta tradition and established by migrants from people of the Chalcolithic Mehrgarh tradition, as already noted.

Besides, there is a Southern Baluchistan pottery tradition known as the Nal which is part of the Amri-Nal culture with Amri tradition extending into Sindh and Northern Gujarat. This Nal pottery is also quite prominent at Shahr-i-Sokhta. Finally, there are also some  pottery samples which have been considered to be of the Kot Diji tradition, an early Harappan culture of Greater Punjab region and thus from the very heart of the Harappan culture.

A motif found on the potteries at Shahr-i-Sokhta is the pipal leaf motif. According to archaeologists Vidale and colleagues,

Pipal leaves are a distinctive motif of the pre-Indus ceramic complexes across wide regions of the Subcontinent; they become very common in the Kot Dijian phase (approximately 2800-2600 BCE), and often appear on the famous verres ballon of the Helmand civilization. The variant with the symmetrical swirling elements is well-known at Kalibangan, in Haryana, where it occurs in different versions, painted or incised in a plastic state. Besides such a possible link with Kalibangan and Haryana, similar sherds are reported from an enormous region, stretching from Kech Makran, Period IIIb (about 2800-2600 BCE) to Mundigak.

 

The ‘Priest-King’

This type of figurine and its fragments, long considered as a Harappan artifact, is not just limited to the Harappan zone where it is found at Mohenjo-Daro and Dholavira but also at Helmand sites of Mundigak and Shahr-i-Sokhta and also in BMAC at Gonur (reference).

Since this figurine likely gives a very important insight into the socio-cultural and religious aspects of the people to whom it belonged, the fact that it was not limited to the Harappan region but was also present in Eastern Iran and Central Asia further supports the argument of shared socio-cultural and religious beliefs and values among the people of these civilizations in the Bronze Age.

(Priest-King figurine from Dholavira)

 

Zhob-like Figurines

Connected with similar figurines found during the Kot Dijian phase in Northern Baluchistan

 

Terracota Cakes

… Shahr-i Sokhta is the only site in the eastern Iranian plateau where such terracotta cakes, triangular or more rarely rectangular, are found in great quantity. Their use, perhaps by families or individuals having special ties with the Indus region…The most important group of incised terracotta cakes comes from Lothal, where the record includes specimens with vertical strokes, central depressions, a V-shaped sign, a triangle, and a cross-like sign identical to those found at Shahr-i Sokhta.”

 

Stamp Seals

Stamp seals found at Shahr-i-Sokhta are found all across the Harappan horizon including in its eastern sphere at several sites in Haryana such as Bhiranna & Banawali.

(courtesy : link)

 

Steatite Disk Beads

The beads found at Shahr-i Sokhta, in contrast (taken from the collection in CCXV, cut 3), were morphologically identical to the Indus specimens; the chemical characterization showed minor variations from the Indus beads…fi-red steatite disk beads could have been locally produced at Shahr-i Sokhta with a distinctively Indus technique.

Etched carnelian beads, another indicator of Indus trade and exchange activities, are reported from Mundigak. A possible ivory bead was reported at Shahr-i Sokhta...”

 

Mouse-Traps

“… the overall similarity of the ceramic containers suggests a parallel adaptation, based upon shared know-how, for coping with common problems of rodent infestations in the “domestic universes” of the two civilizations.”

 

Gaming pieces, dice and gaming boards

This was something spread across a wider region and included even Mesopotamia.

(courtesy – link )

 

Houses

The architecture of Shahr-i-Sokhta is not very well understood but from what little we know, it appears that the planning of the houses mirrored those of the Harappans.

The third millennium b.c. dwellings consisted of mud-brick buildings formed by rather asymmetrical groups of square rooms. The basic ground-plan was rectangular in shape and covered an area of 90–150 sq m laid out around a courtyard from which the only door providing access to the exterior opened towards the east…At Shahr-i Sokhta access to the ground floor was through the external wall or from one side of the internal courtyard.

Compare the above description with the description of the typical Harappan house,

Houses range from 1-2 stories in height, with a central courtyard around which the rooms are arrangedStairs led to the upper stories through a side room or the courtyard…

 

Burials

The burials at Shahr-i-Sokhta mostly consisted of simple burial pits but it also consisted of brick lined graves.

(A pit burial from Shahr-i-Sokhta)

    (Typical pit burial from Rakhigarhi)

Pit Burials and Brick lined graves are also a feature of Harappan burials. Most Burials at Harappan sites are oriented North or northwest. Although, the orientation of Shahr-i-Sokhta burials is not clear, the burials from the Necropolis of Gonur in BMAC, which is said to be majorly influenced by Shahr-i-Sokhta, show a North to Northwest orientation. So a similar burial orientation at Shahr-i-Sokhta is quite possible.

Another burial practice that the Harappans shared with the people of the Helmand civilization is the Cenotaph or the symbolic burials which consisted of an empty burial filled with burial offerings but devoid of any human remains.

(A cenotaph burial from Gonur)

Such a peculiar type of burial was found among a small percentage of burials at Shahr-i-Sokhta and at the site of Gonur in BMAC as well as across most of the Harappan sites. At Dholavira, for example, the Cenotaph burial features prominently.

 

Zebu Cattle

A review of the animal remains found at Shahr-i-Sokhta indicates that while sheep and goats consituted the majority of domestic animals, cattle consituted the next big number and that among the cattle, the Zebu clearly predominates.

Based on the animal remains as well as the cattle figurines,3/4th of which were of Zebu, it appears the dominant form of cattle at Shahr-i-Sokhta was of the Zebu type, further confirming the strong eastern provenance of this major Helmand site.


The above brief review should make it clear that the links between the Helmand civilization and the Harappan is quite substantial and fully corroborates the major presence of Eastern migrants as deduced by the ancient DNA samples from Shahr-i-Sokhta.

Saraswati & Helmand

(The Helmand river)

It may be pertinent to note here that the ancient Saraswati river of the Rig-veda has been identified with this very same Helmand river rather than the more natural identification with the Ghaggar-Hakra by some Indologists. Their contention  is that the incoming Indo-Aryans first settled on the Helmand river  in Afghanistan whom they named as Saraswati. This is based on the argument that the Avestan Harahvaiti, whom they say is none other than Helmand, is the exact cognate of Rigvedic Saraswati. Hence, in a Aryan Migration model this very same Helmand river was also the Rigvedic Saraswati.

However, no archaeological evidence to support such west to east movement has been presented.

On the other hand, some scholars have argued, on more reasonable grounds, that the movement of people appears to have been from East to West, based on Rigvedic and Avestan evidence.  There was civilization in the core Harappan regions of Greater Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Western UP which parallels the early Vedic geography. Similarly, there was a civilization on the Helmand river closely related to the Harappan civilization, which mimics Avestan geography. And the balance of evidence, as presented here and in the previous post, clearly indicates migration from the Harappan zone into the Helmand basin.

Could this archaeological and genetic phenomenon be related to the migration of early Iranians westwards after their separation from the early Vedic people ? And might this be how, the name of Vedic Saraswati, on the dried up bed of which majority of Harappan settlements now stand, was transposed by the migrating Iranians onto the Helmand river ? Most assuredly, this is a far more sound argument that what the invasionists have been able to muster.

It may also be noted that in the Rigveda, the camel is an exotic animal and is mostly associated with the Iranian kings who bring it as a gift to the Indo-Aryan Purus.  Camel is also said to have played a major role in the economic and social life of the Andronovo cultural horizon also associated with Indo-Iranians. The latest archaeological and genetic data shows that the earliest evidence of camel domestication comes from Eastern Iran and SW Central Asia from where it most likely spread across Central Asia and the steppe.

The Importance of Shahr-i-Sokhta

Shahr-i-Sokhta as a site shows us several features which can an decisively help us in identifying the place of origin of the Indo-Europeans, a subject that remains quite contentious to this day.

According to a widely accepted proto-Indo-European reconstruction the word for wool is said to have been known to the PIE people before their separation and hence they are believed to have been rearing sheep for wool. The earliest archaeological evidence of woollen textiles anywhere across Eurasia is found at none other than the site of Shahr-i-Sokhta.

Wine-making is also said to have been known to Proto-Indo-Europeans and it is also attested at Shahr-i-Sokhta.

One of the burial types found at Shahr-i-Sokhta which becomes very common in the BMAC domain is the catacomb burial.

(Schematic of a catacomb burial from Shahr-i-Sokhta)

Quite pertinently, one of the successor cultures of the Yamnaya on the steppe is the culture known as the Catacomb culture which is considered by some European archaeologists as Indo-Iranian. The Yamnaya culture is also amazingly enough also known as the Pit-Grave culture.

Map of early to middle Bronze Age cultures in Europe between 2500 and 2000 BCE - Eupedia

This steppe catacomb culture’s origins are likely later than the earliest catacomb burials found at Shahr-i-Sokhta itself.

Infact, archaeologists had already noted decades back that,

A more complex type of grave has a pit opening into an underground chamber dug in the clay. At Shahr-i Sokhta it has been found to have been used for multiple burials accompanied by richer grave goods. The shape closely recalls that of the later catacomb graves of southern Siberia and Soviet Central Asia, though it is too early to say whether there is a common ideological background behind this convergence.

If the catacomb culture of the steppe was Indo-Iranian, it certainly needs explaining as to who the people in Eastern Iran and Central Asia during the Bronze Age were that were also practicing the catacomb burial.

EDIT :- It appears that wool only makes it appearance on the steppe among these catacomb burial people. So we see Shahr-i-Sokhta has catacomb burials and evidence of wool at an earlier date and then we see the apperance of catacomb burials on the steppe who bring wool to the steppe.

The use of wool in textile production started later than linen, only becoming common in the later fourth and third millennia (Sherratt 1981, 1997a, 539; Barber 1991, 137; McCorriston 1997, 519; Good 1999). As for the Eurasian steppe region, our previous research led to the conclusion that the use of wool fibres can be first recorded in western areas of Eurasia only by 2500–2000 cal BC among Catacomb-Grave culture people, and in eastern areas between
1800–1500 cal BC among Timber-Grave and Andronovo culture peoples (Orfinskaya et al. 1999; Shishlina et al. 2001).

Continuing this subject, in the next post we shall focus on the Jiroft or Halil Rud civilization.

 

 

 

67 Replies to “The Archaeological Evidence for OIT – I”

  1. Jaydeep Singh Rathod wrote:
    “Wine-making is also said to have been known to Proto-Indo-Europeans and it is also attested at Shahr-i-Sokhta.”

    See sections V C 3 of the long article below:

    https://talageri.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-elephant-and-proto-indo-european.html

    “The evidence of the words for “wine” is even more devastating for the AIT. The word is either a “Semitic loan” word, or “an ancient Near Eastern migratory word” (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:559) found in both in the Semitic (*wayn-, Akkadian īnu, Ugaritic yn, Hebrew yayin, Hamitic Egyptian wnš) and South Caucasian (*ɣwino- “wine”, Georgian ɣwino, Mingrelian ɣwin-, Laz ɣ(w)in, Svan ɣwinel, and *wenaq- “vineyard”, Old Georgian venaq, Mingrelian-Laz binex- Svan wenäq) languages. Gamkrelidze also refers to “the considerable development of viticulture and wine-making in the Transcaucasus” (GAMKRELIDZE 1995:560 fn 64), even as he suggests that the PIEs could also have originally developed this word in the West Asian-Transcaucasus region.”

    “1. The word is completely missing in the three eastern branches Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Tocharian, but is found in all the other nine western branches.”

    1. @mayuresh
      Oldest winery is attested from Areni cave armenia 4000bce (3 L1a1 from IVC/Turan area) plus qpAdm says presence of geoksyur_EN ancestry from turan

      This is also the region which gives 30-50% ancestry in the formation of yamnaya_samara EBA from Khvalysnk in the 4th millenium.
      This is how you get the wine loan in the western IE languages, but not eastern.

  2. “Saraswati-Sindhu civilization.”

    The use of Saraswati here is kind of silly. The Indus Valley civilization started in the Indus Valley, and later expanded into Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

    I know this is a political issue (Indians want some claim over the IVC so renaming it after a river found in India makes them feel better), but still.

    1. “Indians want some claim over the IVC ”

      So who has claim over it then? And why aren’t any excavation being done on those lands anymore?

      1. “Who has claim over it then”

        The people of the Indus Valley have the claim over the Indus Valley Civilization. Same as the people of the Nile having the claim over ancient Egypt, people of the Euphrates/Tigres having the claim over Mesopotamia, and so on.

        When North-Indians try to claim it its cringe. Like if a Sudanese tried to claim Egypt, a Syrian calming Mesopotamia, or a Manchu claiming the Yellow River civilization.

        1. But why are these Indus people not claiming it then? Why are they allowing these N-Indians to claim it? Shouldn’t it worry these “Indus people”?

          Why are these genetics and archaeologist etc excavating “N-Indian” lands claiming to be finding Indus valley sites? Shouldn’t they be excavating supposedly these proper “Indus people” lands?

          1. The IVC is mentioned in Pak textbooks, so I don’t know what you mean by not claiming it.

            More IVC excavations are in India than Pakistan for the same reason the fake-gangsters are the ones who wear the most chains. When you are pretending, you tend to overcompensate.

          2. LOL, there is no need to overcompensate here. You talk as if we dont know the real reasons why there are no excavation in Pakistan

        2. When North-Indians try to claim it its cringe. Like if a Sudanese tried to claim Egypt, a Syrian calming Mesopotamia, or a Manchu claiming the Yellow River civilization.

          these are bad analogies. the recent nation-state divisions don’t erase thousands of years of shared history. that’s qualitatively different than the examples you give.

          (i agree with you about the lack of utility of renaming)

          1. I think they want to rename it to mark exclusivity over the IVC.

            And considering the politics around it over they years, who could blame them.

          2. The Egypt-Sudan analogy was a stretch. The other’s weren’t.

            Northern-Syria and Iraq have dramatically more shared history than the Indus Valley and North-India. Yet one would never hear a Syrian try and claim Mesopotamia from Iraq.

        3. INDTHINGS wrote:
          “The people of the Indus Valley have the claim over the Indus Valley Civilization. Same as the people of the Nile having the claim over ancient Egypt, people of the Euphrates/Tigres having the claim over Mesopotamia, and so on.”
          We are talking about an area that had highly differentiated cultures and ethnic backgrounds (read skin color!) already spread over at least 4-6 modern nations. The order of the ancient Indic and Iranian texts is beyond doubt no matter where the starting point of the PIE was.

          So much emotion has been invested into the question of primogeniture. Who came first? It is important to realize that in the Indic and Iranian traditions alike LATER DOES NOT MEAN LESSER. In what way are the white people living in California less than those in New York? This is not a perfect analogy but it will suffice the purpose.

          On a personal level, the people in my community KNOW that their lineages derive from people mentioned in the later texts. Does than then mean we are lesser/inferior to the Harayanvis? And even that were be true, people from Chandigarh can claim superiority over the rest of the Harayaynvis also. So where does one draw the line?

          We know that this history unfolded over large swaths of territory and over at least 5000 years if not more, depends on who you ask. So not every one and every ethnic and linguistic identify came into being all at once.

    2. @INDTHINGS

      Just want to understand your contention here and what you mean by “claim”?

      Do you mean to say:
      1. The folks who founded the IVC were the direct ancestors of the current occupiers of the Indus region.
      AND
      2. They were not the direct ancestors of most of the folks whose recent ancestry comes from the rest of India. Ex – Brahmins of UP or Yadavs of MP etc.

  3. Any new dates for the Iran HG and AASI mixture time period after the Rakhigarhi paper was published? The paper only mentioned dates of separation of different Iran HGs.

    1. There is just one problem with this “pakistan as the land of indus, existing as a distinct country for 5 thousand years” theory. it is a barely 25 year old theory. it developed in the wake of breaking away of east pak, when a soul searching among the pak intelligentsia led them to seek roots in the land they live upon. it became noticeable only after the publication of “the indus saga” book by aitzaz ahsan.

      in some ways the theory is still better than the “pakistan as the adopted home of expatriate arabs” theory, so my best wishes to them. whatever sails your boat.

      1. You are conflating Pakistan as land of the Indus (which nobody serious disagrees with), to Pakistan as a distinct entity for 5000 years (which nobody serious agrees with).

        The Pakistan nation is a modern concept, dating back to the early 1900’s. Though the Indian nation isn’t much older, dating back maybe 100 years earlier.

        Pakistan has never claimed to be Arab. Some groups claim medieval Middle-Eastern Ancestry, but that’s not at all the same thing. You should read some of the Indus Nationalism on Pak-forums, its extreme cringe.

        1. R.K. Sinha wrote:

          “How can a Pakistani claim over IVC when they proclaim that their ancestors came from Saudi desert?”

          Lets look at the positive side. Speakers of Indo Aryan languages now DO want to stake claim on the SSC (IVC). Gold rush! Earlier it used to be just the Dravidian language speakers, and even among those the Dravidian supremacist have been the most vocal about it.

  4. Do only Pakistanis and Indians have claims on IVC?
    We Bangladeshis also want some claim on IVC as at one time even our ancestors lived there. 😉

    1. Indus traditions contributed to hinduism which has impacted culture all across S Asia. The genetic components of the IVC- Iran Mesolithic HG Majority w/ AASI minority- form the bulk of the DNA of nearly all S Asian populations. Linguistically, nobody really knows but I suppose S India can carry that flag. In the end, the IVC is written as the dawn of Indian Civilization in most textbooks for a reason, even if the Dawn newspaper publication rejects that.

      1. >Indus traditions contributed to hinduism which has impacted culture all across S Asia.
        We don’t know how much of the non-IE impact was Indusian and how much it was local south Asian outside of the IVC, or how much of it came from BMAC for that matter. Damn it, its times like this when I really feel bad about there being no known proper contemporaneous description of IVC society.

        1. Can you name a single conquest and history even a straightforward conquest where the native culture was completely erased from the identity of the people I just can’t. the native culture may be put down. it may serve a secondary role from then on but it never really disappears completely. the other thing is the Indus culture was pretty mature there was a lot going on. to think it did not influence Indian civilization as a whole going forward in anything less than a substantial way, in my opinion, is wrong.

          1. You misunderstood my post. I didn’t say that there is an uncertain influence of IVC on hinduism in terms of an actual influence. What I mean is that we don’t know how the IVC influenced hinduism. Which is to say what parts came from the IVC, what parts came from later local syncretism with locals outside of IVC and what parts came from BMAC. Now the nature of the interaction might dictate the kind of influence there was. If it was only antagonistic, then I’d image that most of the IVC influence was in the form of a rejection of its culture instead of absorbing/syncretizing it, or it could be more complex like a rejection with some emulation involved. On the other hand, a lot of the non-IE things might have come from interactions with the people later on outside of the IVC zone. We don’t know the details so I have simply presented an example where there is weak continuity at best as a worst case scenario.

    2. “Do only Pakistanis and Indians have claims on IVC?
      We Bangladeshis also want some claim on IVC as at one time even our ancestors lived there”

      Bro when mallus are claiming IVC and writing books on it, pretty sure everyone and their mother can claim IVC

  5. Damn it, its times like this when I really feel bad about there being no known proper contemporaneous description of IVC society.

    there are many many tens of thousands of cunieform tables that are not translated. there are literally 8 people in the world who study Mesopotamian medicine from these tablets.

    basically, someone should fund translation and tabulation into databases and see what they were saying about meluhhans


    1. “basically, someone should fund translation and tabulation into databases and see what they were saying about meluhhans”

      May be Saddam should have spent some money on translation of Mesopotamian tablets instead of building his stockpiles of WMDs.

      But wait.., WMDs were never found. Nevertheless US spent its own trillions on eliminating those non-existing WMDs.

      In the meantime, true believers think that there is no use translating these tablets, because the day of judgement will be upon us any time now. so they do what they have to do…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1pGJPMp9fY

      This is world we live in. Is it a surprise I am so cynical.

  6. Great research Jaydeep. Since you have done so much hard work in writing the article, I believe it is obligatory on us to read it in full and then comment instead of just shooting the mouth without thinking, as most people are prone to do here.

    So let me summarize arguments presented by you.

    1. There was a great deal of cultural and demographic connection between the bronze age civilizations of IVC, BMAC and Helmand. (Presented with lots of evidence. I believe this was never in doubt anyway).

    2. IVC was nothing but Rigvedic culture, and Helmand was Avestan culture. (Hypothesis. No evidence presented.).

    3. Earliest evidence of camel domestication comes from eastern Iran and SW central asia. therefore steppe cultures must have learnt it from bronze age iranians.

    4. There is common root word for wool in PIE, and since earliest evidence of woollen textiles come from Shahr-e Sokhta, PIE speaking people must have originated from Shahr-e Sokhta.

    (So you do accept that there was a common root language of all IE people? this is important to note because most out-of-india theorists actually deny the existence of anything called PIE, calling it just a hoax.)

    5. Catacomb burial culture of shahr-i-sokhta predates steppe catacomb cultures, hence the migration of cultues/people was from shahr-i-sokhta to steppes.

    So help me understand this. You do not seem to be denying the iron age influx of steppe genes into indian population. your argument seems to be centered on the assertion that they were the same people who migrated to steppes from IVC/BMAC/Helmand, and were simply returning back. right?

    Second question – since you already claimed that IVC was vedic, these returning steppe people did not bring anything new with them except the genes (because sanskrit, rigveda etc must already be present in India. Can you explicitly state this.

  7. Northern-Syria and Iraq have dramatically more shared history than the Indus Valley and North-India. Yet one would never hear a Syrian try and claim Mesopotamia from Iraq.

    this is not really true. i actually thought about it. syria and iraq don’t have dramatically more shared history. i know, because i know a lot more than you. you can disagree (i’m asserting this for other commenters who are well aware i know more things than you).

    the difference between syria and mesopatamia is well illustrated by the phil-hellenic tendencies of the umayyads of damascus and the persianite orientation of the abbassids of bagdhad. the levant faces west. mesopatamia has been more integrated with the east.*

    * half of the syrian nation-state is in mesopatamia of course

    1. rare occasion to agree with razib. iraq and syria are actually notable for always falling into opposite political camps. other examples –

      during the days of islamic civil war – iraq the stronghold of ali and his descendants, syria always in the control of muawiyya and later yazid.

      during the age of gunpowder empires – iraq under the orbit of safavids while syria under ottomans.

      i guess geography dictates this. Euphrates/Tigris valley is more easily accessible from Iranian plateau while syria is more accessible from anatolia. between the heartland of syria and iraq lies formidable desert which is not easy to cross.

    2. I disagree, but I agree broadly you know more about this stuff than me.

      Northern-Syria is different than Levantine Syria. Linguistically, culturally, historically, etc. You also overestimate the shared history between the the Indus Valley and North-India. They were politically and culturally separate entities for much of Indian history.

      1. what do you define as ‘northern syria.’ syria on the euphrates is PART of mesopatamia to a great extent historically. levantine syria is very distinct.

        ISIS thought the border was a joke and abolished it. otoh, the roman-persian border here is somewhat of a big deal culturally (jews and christians are both sides are quite culturally distinct), so over time ‘upper mesopatamia-in-syria’ became closer to the levant than in it had been in deep antiquity.

    3. Do you know of any unpublished data or an ancient dna study in progress on the Neolithic and PPN period of Northern Mesopotamia? With Northern Mesopotamia I mean South-Eastern Turkey, Northern Iraq and Northern Syria.

  8. @Jaydeep
    I appreciate the hard work you have put into this although I do not necessarily agree with your conclusions. One thing that I did notice, however, is regarding the term for ‘wool’. The proto-IE word referred to felt and not threaded wool. Shahr-I-Shokta is ONE of the first sites where woolen textile has been reported from (dated 3100 – 1800 BCE), most certainly not THE first. The very paper you cite says so, adding that woolen textile has also been reported from Maykop at a much earlier date (3700 – 3200BCE).

  9. @Jaydeep
    Given the lack of any steppe at bustan 1600bce, but the presence of cremation rites along with the 3 vedic fires found there (corresponding to asvalayana grihysutra, a late vedic text), we can consider the role of steppe in vedic culture immaterial.
    Heres the broad model im working with.
    Oldest IE cline – Graeco-armeno-Aryan
    4000bce – Areni Cave Armenia – 3 L1a1 found, along with Geoksyur_EN_ivc ancestry (3 geok samples with indian iran farmer ancestry but almost no Ganj_dareh I8503, I8505, I8531. rest 18 geoksyur samples have a lot more Ganj_dareh lot less Indian iran farmer) Armenia_C can be modeled by qpAdm as 31% Anat_N, 61% Geoksyur_EN_ivc + 8% Khvalysnk)
    Geoksyur presence in the region is also confirmed by Geoksyur ancestry in steppe maykop. This region is a swim across the caspian sea from geoksyur. http://eurogenes.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-steppe-maykop-enigma.html

    Greek Minoan Lassithi can be modeled as 69% Anat_N + 31% Armenia_EBA.

    Whereas Anatolia_BA (hittite ruling over Hattian speakers?) are broadly same as Anatolia_chalc genetically.

    Yamnaya Samara is modeled as 50-70% khvalysnk_en + a combination of anatolia_N and CHG, likely from the Armenia area. This would form the proto IE language which would spread to europe.

    Balto-slavic/finno ugric would later receive loanwords and influence from the bmac migrants initially in 2nd mill and later the iranian speaking sakas (for balto slavic mainly) in the 1st millenium bce. Steppe people into NW india would also bring about some language change in already IE NW india.

    Mitanni loanwords could be explained by BMAC ancestry flowing west (hajji_firuz_IA has 30% BMAC acc to qpAdm). Plus, the zebu and elephant paper shows IVC influence all the way till anatolia in 2nd mill bce.

  10. AK wrote:
    “Oldest winery is attested from Areni cave armenia 4000bce (3 L1a1 from IVC/Turan area) plus qpAdm says presence of geoksyur_EN ancestry from turan”

    Fits like a glove with the genetic piece coming in too. Talageri will be thrilled!

  11. Scorpion Eater,

    Thanks for the appreciation.

    “2. IVC was nothing but Rigvedic culture, and Helmand was Avestan culture. (Hypothesis. No evidence presented.).”

    There is no conclusive proof for such a triumphalist assertion. But it is striking how a large percentage of Harappan sites straddle the Rigvedic Saraswati while the Helmand civilization straddles its namesake river which is important in Avesta. And the direction of movement & influence is from East to West.

    “4. There is common root word for wool in PIE, and since earliest evidence of woollen textiles come from Shahr-e Sokhta, PIE speaking people must have originated from Shahr-e Sokhta.

    (So you do accept that there was a common root language of all IE people? this is important to note because most out-of-india theorists actually deny the existence of anything called PIE, calling it just a hoax.)”

    PIE does not necessarily have to come from Shahr-i-Sokhta. But in an Indian Homeland scenario it might be asked where is the evidence that the Harappans used or knew wool. With wool present at Shahr-i-Sokhta, a site majorly linked to the Harappans, this question of wool is addressed.

    And yes, I accept the PIE because I believe we have to engage with the data the western scholarship has produced on the subject. We simply cannot dismiss it when we are producing little research on our own. Otherwise we will be isolated and our very legitimate viewpoint will not be heard.

    “5. Catacomb burial culture of shahr-i-sokhta predates steppe catacomb cultures, hence the migration of cultues/people was from shahr-i-sokhta to steppes.”

    Not necessarily. It is possible that the catacomb burial tradition was also present in Chalcolithic Central Asia. So it could have gone to the steppe via Central Asia.

    But if catacomb culture of the steppe was Indo-Iranian, then you will have to accept that the people who practiced this burial in Central Asia and Eastern Iran and who perhaps brought it to the steppe could also have been Indo-Iranian.

    “You do not seem to be denying the iron age influx of steppe genes into indian population. ”

    On the contrary, I am rather skeptical of steppe influx in India. The other OIT proponents are actually accepting it quite readily.

    1. “On the contrary, I am rather skeptical of steppe influx in India.”

      But then it leaves us with the problem of proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room. No steppe dna in the rakhigarhi sample, but loads of it in modern indian population. where did it come from?

  12. Scorpion Eater wrote:
    “(So you do accept that there was a common root language of all IE people? this is important to note because most out-of-india theorists actually deny the existence of anything called PIE, calling it just a hoax.)”

    Not quite. Talageri accepts it fully. According to Koenraad Elst British India WAS the homeland and Sanskrit=PIE. But the Hittite tablets prompted the scholars to introduce laryngeal sounds into the PIE and hence PIE>Sanskrit.

    Here Elst offers a great insight. He says, the linguistic distance between PIE and Sanskrit DID NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN GEOGRAPHICAL DISTANCE BETWEEN BRITISH INDIA AND THE HOMELAND!

    But it became so for reasons that one can only speculate on; Political economic, racial motives and so forth. But with the discovery of a kentum language Bangani around the Himalayas the OITers need not feel besieged by the by gone bogey of imperialism and just dismiss the whole discipline of comparative linguistics as a hoax. Plead guilty to that!

    Then again, Kazanas feels that YES there was a PIE but NO we cannot get to it through the comparative method because it was just too long ago.

    1. “But it became so for reasons that one can only speculate on; Political economic, racial motives and so forth. But with the discovery of a kentum language Bangani around the Himalayas the OITers need not feel besieged by the by gone bogey of imperialism and just dismiss the whole discipline of comparative linguistics as a hoax.”

      This is a classic example of hindu natiionalist delusions. any indian who lives in the west can’t help but notice how *little* americans or other westerners care about indians and their political battles. china gets 100 times more coverage than india. money minded americans are much more anxious for a resolution of trade war with china than the resolution of aryan question of india.

      and i am noticing a subtle change of goal posts by OIT theorists. all along we were given to understand that OIT was about the migration of indo-aryans from india to the world. now, the movement of bronze age people from IVC is being touted as OIT. but these are thousand years earlier events. of course this loose end can be tied if it can be proven that IVC itself was indo-aryan, but where is the hard evidence for that?

      having said that, my gut feeling is that if the linguistic identity of IVC is ever resolved (and it is a big if), then it will leave all of us completely surprised. too many people are claiming it as dravidian or para-munda without any hard evidence either. but till all these questions are resolved, i keep an open mind.

      1. “and i am noticing a subtle change of goal posts by OIT theorists. all along we were given to understand that OIT was about the migration of indo-aryans from india to the world. now, the movement of bronze age people from IVC is being touted as OIT. but these are thousand years earlier events. of course this loose end can be tied if it can be proven that IVC itself was indo-aryan, but where is the hard evidence for that?”

        This is a good point.

        @Jaydeep

        You make some good points that there was migration/influence from South Asia NorthWest but this is too late to account for the spread of IE languages. You should make this more clear.

        Because PIE is not an urban culture like IVC. It is pre-urban, so the OIM (Out of India Migration) that caused it needs to have happened rather earlier. Your post makes it look like you are arguing the IVC was the cause of IE expansion.

      2. Scorpion eater wrote:

        I wrote:

        “This is a classic example of hindu natiionalist delusions. any indian who lives in the west can’t help but notice how *little* americans or other westerners care about indians and their political battles. china gets 100 times more coverage than india. ”

        Ad hominem and irrelevant. This is a quest for truth not a popularity contest.

        “and i am noticing a subtle change of goal posts by OIT theorists. all along we were given to understand that OIT was about the migration of indo-aryans from india to the world. now, the movement of bronze age people from IVC is being touted as OIT. but these are thousand years earlier events. of course this loose end can be tied if it can be proven that IVC itself was indo-aryan, but where is the hard evidence for that?”

        River Sarasvati and order of the Vedic books goes from east to west. Skip to the section beginning “to sum up the chronological data.” and particularly the chart at the end:

        https://talageri.blogspot.com/2019/10/devdutt-pattanaik-on-speaking-sanskrit.html

        The earliest books fall in the modern nation state called India.
        There are linguists like Igor Tonoyen Belyayev who have already called it the Out of South Asia Theory (OSAT). Based on the linguistic evidence alone, scholars have proposed over 80 homelands linking various archaeological sites to it. All things considered Sindhu Sarasvati Civilization fits the bill the best as per the OIT. One can just google “Vedic and Harrapan connections” to find out videos and articles available, pictures of seals etc. Apologies. I am on a very slow computer right now.

        As indicated by the earlier article from Clackson linguistic connections between I and E languages do not necessarily mean SSC was not Vedic. The burden of proof rests on the people who claim that it is NOT. So far we have seen that the violent AIT has been replaced by AMT and Aryan Integration Theory and all kinds of terminology. AIT opponents are now calling it Aryan Dance Theory. If Kurgans were found in SSC or even in BMAC the case would have been closed already.

        “having said that, my gut feeling is that if the linguistic identity of IVC is ever resolved (and it is a big if), then it will leave all of us completely surprised. too many people are claiming it as dravidian or para-munda without any hard evidence either. but till all these questions are resolved, i keep an open mind.”

        Glad to hear that. Once again in a very well publicized debate between Talageri and Heinroch Hock regarding the evidence of all the isoglosses from the IE family OIT (that is what Talageri is calling it) came out to be the winner. In fact the AIT is the weakest on LINGUISTIC grounds only.

        http://www.culturavedica.org/pdf/the_out_of_india_theory_the_linguistic_case

        To be sure, the argument cuts both ways. OITers have to prove that other cultures received IE input from outside of themselves. The article at the top of the thread and the various genetic studies are a step towards that end.

        Speaking of shifting the goal post, check out the genetic blogs such as Eurogenes. They say Late PIE homeland is certain but we don’t know where PIE was spoken! How can language be late and also be proto? Quoting from memory, David Reich has said Anatolians don’t have steppe ancestry, and yet people are sure that IVC is not Vedic! Now that is Eurocentrism. Is it not? A chair designed to stand on 4 legs needs well, 4 legs to stand on.


        1. “This is a quest for truth not a popularity contest.”

          Precisely my point. But then, how do you explain this statement of yours.

          “But it became so for reasons that one can only speculate on; Political economic, racial motives and so forth.”

          So you are the one who is assigning political motives to this debate.

          I think I need to address this question head on. So go ahead an speculate. Let us know what political, economic or racial motive any researcher from “imperialist” powers like britain, france or america might have in this game?

          you may not be aware, but in the days when an imperialist power (britain) actually rule india, hindu nationalists didn’t have any issues with the foreign origin of aryans. only in the last 30 years or so this matter of indigenous aryan theory has become an obsession with a kooky subset of hindu nationalists.

          I believe some of this OIT clique just feels too self important. The fact is, average westerner, even those in the academia will not be bothered one way or other over this debate.

          In fact this topic is so esoteric that I dare say that *practical* HN like Modi, or anyone in the top leadership of BJP/RSS will also give it a broad pass. Have you heard any hindu righ winger in the position of power express any opinion on this matter? I am sure if you ask Modi his opinion on the aryan origin question, he will just tell you not to give so much *kasht* to your mind and just chill.

          this debate is an obsession of a very peculiar set of people. they are nerdy, well read, financially secure (but not rich), have too much time on their hands, but have ABSOLUTELY NO POWER change anything in this world. so they engage in these debates just to feel self-important and pretend that their opinion matters.

          1. I solemnly declare that not any researcher from Serbia has any political, economic or racial motive in this game? Maybe, it is just a disappointment. Ok, Frenches are funny, but English – they are almost like Americans. Only better than this would be – Martians. The worst -case scenario – Russians. But, who wants to be a Satanized Serb in the 21st century? It is such anti-climax.

  13. “But then it leaves us with the problem of proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room. No steppe dna in the rakhigarhi sample, but loads of it in modern indian population. where did it come from?”
    forget modern pops. SPGT IA (oldest samples with ‘steppe like’ ancestry) qpAdm model with
    central_steppe_mlba /western_steppe_mlba and indus periphery leads to barely passing p values. Narsimhan had to lower p value threshold from 0.01 to 0.005 to make it pass and then it barely passed with 0.006, with the other (western steppe iirc being 0.003)
    That said, i still believe there was steppe input, maybe even steppe lba input. but the whole thing is not so clear. Steppe like signal may even be some combination of pop from the west.
    for eg.this qpAdm model fits better.
    SPGT = IndusPeriphery1(9 samples, after removing 2 most AHG shifted Inpe Samples) + Bustan_BA_o2 + central_steppe also passes with 39%, 51%, 10% with a p-value 0.06.
    Bustan_BA_o2 = 77% IndusPeriphery + 23% Steppe_LBA (narsimhan paper, also independently verified)

  14. SDutta wrote:

    “The proto-IE word referred to felt and not threaded wool. Shahr-I-Shokta is ONE of the first sites where woolen textile has been reported from (dated 3100 – 1800 BCE), most certainly not THE first”

    The linguists themselves admit that they cannot be sure what a reconstructed word would have meant. James Clackson has criticized David Anthony for his use of the reconstructed word for wheel (which is assumed to be a spoked wheel) that forms the bedrock of AIT.

    James Clackson, a professor of Linguistic at University of Cambridge writes:
    https://www.academia.edu/9452122/_The_Origins_of_the_Indic_Languages_the_Indo-European_model_in_Angela_Marcantonio_and_Girish_Nath_Jha_eds._Perspectives_on_the_origin_of_Indian_civilization_New_Delhi_259-287

    Scroll down to the para beginning

    “What does it mean for the origin of the Indic languages–without evidence from archaeology and early text… tells us NOTHING certain about the origins of the Indic Civilization.”

    As seen in Figure 4.2 of Anthony’s book reproduced by Clackson, ratha in Indo-Aryan means a chariot not a wheel.

    Clackson is the author of
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521653673?pf_rd_p=c2945051-950f-485c-b4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=JHNMERKWKN6D4JZNKDMH

    Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics) 1st Edition

  15. JAYDEEPSINH_RATHOD,

    My reading of old narrative texts is that new peoples (Gotras, Jatis) kept coming into the Arya fold and getting incorporated. Plus in many lineage lines , one member will be a daughter . . . then male, male, male. Plus there is an awful lot of Niyoga (external genetic inputs). Infertility was a huge problem in the old days.

    There were other genetic breaks too. The Kuru line was replaced midstream by Baradwaja (son of Brihaspati, son of Angirasa, son of Brahma).

    This is why I don’t understand the fascination with genetics. The culture is what matters. Culture spreads through non genetic/Jati channels.

    The concept of Brahmin as I understand it comes from Brahma through his progeny (inter-diminsional beings and aliens). Some homo sapiens were inspired by them and tried to emulate them. And some of these homo sapiens became super-human a la Mohammed pbuh and Jesus. Expressed differently they achieved a high degree of observation, understanding, influence and control over their brains and nervous systems. Perhaps they achieved more than this too . . . but that is the realm of faith.

    The concepts of Kshatriya and Vaishya also comes from emulation of a set of inter-dimensional beings or aliens.

    Another way to understand “inter-dimensional beings” is what people experience in deep meditation. Perhaps connected to a global neural net were all the brains and nervous systems on the planet iteratively interact through a type of group telepathy.

  16. It seems that OIT is losing their credibility. I feel sorry because of this because that is not the point. A few people are claiming impartiality but all evidence they provide (genetics, language, archaeology) is a ‘contribution’ to OIT theory, not to the truth.

    Instead of explaining or hypothesising how and when European people and their languages originated in today’s India, they claim that any ‘shopping tour’ out of ‘India’ was OI migration. Luckily, there is Scorpio to hold them in check by following the old Aryan principle: ‘Okreni, obrni, dupe ti pozadi’ (roughly=’It doesn’t matter if you turn left or you turn right, your ass is always at the back’).

    Another remark – I’ve just said: Vinča is the answer, what is the question. But, if you see the map you cannot see neither Vinca nor Lepenski Vir. If you go to other maps on the Eupedia site, you cannot see the oldest and the most important archaeological site and civilisation.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=eupedia+map+of+early+bronze+age+europe&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=KHZzrFDkUONa3M%253A%252CrnpJjOYu3njeoM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kQaKmjjVTUDGUWV8aHP9QrvaGqFyw&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwii95jfm-blAhUkhuYKHTWBBIkQ9QEwAHoECAkQBg#imgrc=INFdehBE0zm_1M:&vet=1

    It seems that Eupedia and OIT are on a joint project to disguise the truth about the ancient past. EUpedia named this period as ‘Old Europe’ but also they have strange names such as – Mycenean Greece 4000bc??, Germanic people 3200BC, Lusatin culture??, Cucuteni trypilian (this should be only one of thousand od Vinca civilisation sites).
    Etc, etc, tbc…

  17. AK,

    I don’t have much of an objection to your model but this topic is a work in progress and we need to observe and discuss a lot more data before we can put out our models. The following is my tentative model which I expressed more than a year back.

    https://www.brownpundits.com/2018/10/17/a-tentative-out-of-india-model-to-explain-the-origin-spread-of-indo-european-languages/

    Perhaps you are aware that I have already pointed the widespread expansion of Iran N expansion on the steppe from the south around 3000 BC. This expansion is all across the steppe from Eastern Europe all the way to Mongolia.

    From there, we should expect that some Iran N admixed groups from Central steppe migrated to the western steppe and gave rise to groups like the Progress_EN & Vonyuchka_EN as well as the Steppe Maykop. Narasimhan et al also note some Central Steppe EMBA samples right next to Yamnaya sites. So Iran N ancestry reaching the Pontic Caspian steppe from its east via the Central Steppe is also very probable.

    Can you share with me the stats which show the Geoksiur Chl samples showing Indian IVC ancestry ? The cultural assemblage of Geoksiur and Sarazm has many parallels with the Quetta culture of northern Baluchistan so it is quite possible that there was already some Indian ancestry flowing northward during that phase.

  18. mzp1,

    I am writing this post and a few follow-up ones merely to corroborate and support the ancient DNA evidence we have adduced through Narasimhan et al which showed South Asian migration into Eastern Iran & Central Asia.

    Obviously this is late for the PIE – a subject I will touch upon sometime later, God willing. For example, we have evidence from Narasimhan et al that Iran N ancestry spread across the entire steppe from Mongolia to Eastern Europe during or just before the Early Bronze Age.

  19. SDutta,

    Thanks for the correction.

    The two relevant papers documenting the presence of wool at Shahr-i-Sokhta and Maykop are the following :-

    Shahr-i-Sokhta

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304018453_The_ecology_of_exchange_Textiles_from_Shahr_-i_Sokhta_eastern_Iran

    Maykop

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273079402_Bronze_Age_Textiles_from_the_North_Caucasus_New_Evidence_of_Fourth_Millennium_BC_Fibres_and_Fabrics

    I had read these papers a while back but my memory failed me unfortunately.

    The paper on Maykop has a very interesting passage which is very relevant to the discussion we are having here :-

    The use of wool in textile production started later than linen, only becoming common in the later fourth and third millennia (Sherratt 1981, 1997a, 539; Barber 1991, 137; McCorriston1997, 519; Good 1999). As for the Eurasian steppe region, our previous research led to the conclusion that the use of wool fibres can be first recorded in western areas of Eurasia only by 2500–2000 cal BC among Catacomb-Grave culture people, and in eastern areas between 1800–1500 cal BC among Timber-Grave and Andronovo culture peoples (Orfinskaya et al.1999; Shishlina et al. 2001).

    See how wool is attested much later on the steppe and it only makes it appearance with a culture that practiced catacomb burials, a practice which was also present at Shahr-i-Sokhta where ofcourse wool was also present.

    We also not lose sight of the fact that the Maykop culture of North Caucasus already shows contact with South Central Asia.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235686115_Kaukasus_und_Orient_Die_Entstehung_des_Maikop-Phanomens_im_4_Jt_v_Chr

    While the paper is in German you can read the abstract which is given in English. Let me quote it for you –

    Graves and settlements of the 5th millennium BC in North Caucasus attest to a material culture that was related to contemporaneous archaeological complexes in the northern and western Black Sea region. Yet it was re-placed, suddenly as it seems, around the middle of the 4th millennium BC by a “high culture” whose origin is still quite unclear. This archaeological culture named after the great Maikop kurgan showed innovations in all areas which have no local archetypes and which cannot be as-signed to the tradition of the Balkan-Anatolian Copper Age. The favoured theory of Russian researchers is a migration from the south originating in the Syro-Anatolian area, which is often mentioned in connection with the so-called “Uruk expansion”. However, serious doubts have arisen about a connection between Maikop and the Syro-Anatolian region. The foreign objects in the North Caucasus reveal no connection to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris or to the floodplains of Mesopotamia,but rather seem to have ties to the Iranian plateau and to South Central Asia. Recent excavations in the Southwest Caspian Sea region are enabling a new perspective about the interactions between the “Orient” and Continental Europe. On the one hand, it is becoming gradually apparent that a gigantic area of interaction evolved already in the early 4th millennium BC which extended far beyond Me-sopotamia; on the other hand, these findings relativise the traditional importance given to Mesopotamia, because innovations originating in Iran and Central Asia obviously spread throughout the Syro-Anatolian region independently thereof.

  20. River Sarasvati and order of the Vedic books goes from east to west. Skip to the section beginning “to sum up the chronological data.” and particularly the chart at the end:

    I don’t know what you mean by “order of vedic books”, but I did read Talageri’s post, and he meant it as the order of first appearance of river names in rigveda.

    This argument will situate PIE homeland firmly to the east of all punajb rivers. but if IE speakers were already present on the banks of helmand and oxus in bronze age, as jaideep’s post seem to be indicating, then we will have push the date of composition of rigveda ever further into antiquity, many be older than 5000 years BP.

    so i immediately notice two problems with this model.

    1. iron is mentioned in rigveda, making it an iron age text.
    2. rigvedic sanskrit will have to be proven as ancestor of most, if not all IE languages. this i am sure will cause many incongruities in linguistic analysis.

  21. Sorry to burst your bubble but this is irrelevant in light of SIS 1 sample, which is almost identical to Iran_Neolithic or Ganj_Dareh neolithic. .

    Proto-IVC will be most similar to Ganj_Dareh neolithic migrants, which also makes sense archaeologically with it’s shared pre-pottery culture and brick buildings. Middle and Late IVC will be more similar to SIS2 and SIS3 types shifted towards modern South Asians.

    Notable aspects in terms of pottery :

    1. Meoslithic hunter-gatherer pottery in South Asia was very distinct, it was hand-made and with cord-marks. This is not found in any IVC sites.

    2. Proto-IVC Mehrgarh I – did not* have pottery, similar to Ganj_Dareh Iran but it arrives during Mehrgarh II.

    3. Pottery in IVC is beings from Mehrgarh II. These pottery reflect close connection to painted pottery of Western Asia, especially Sang-i Chakmak pottery from Iran.

    Any OIT should have happened during Paleolithic era. It’s most likely that ANE that Iran_Neo split from AHG during that period and mixed with Basal-related groups further west. This makes senses in light of recent Y-DNA P found in Andaman sample and also further east in Oceania, which is ancestral to P1, R and Q.

    1. @Singh
      I am not an OIT advocate, so don’t take my comment the wrong way.

      >Proto-IVC will be most similar to Ganj_Dareh neolithic migrants

      The Rakhigarhi paper established that the Iranian population that migrated to south Asia split from other Iranians a very long time ago (long before 12,000 BP). So it couldn’t have been the GD migrants. I was expecting GD as the ancestral population as well, but apparently that isn’t the case. This means that the spread of farming into south Asia was probably a cultural change from the outside instead of a neolithic demographic turnover. The pottery could also be a part of the same cultural shift.

      That being said, I am not advocating for a 5,000 year old Rig Veda or claiming that Sanskrit is ancestral to most other IE languages.

  22. RE: Older than VINCA, I wander how this fits In Yamnaya and OIT theories? Which language was spoken there?

    BLAGOTIN is the new archaeological place in central Serbia (180 km from Belgrade) which is older than Vinca (14km from Belgrade). So far, only 2% (300 sq m out of 60000 sq m) were researched. Excavations showed that this place was inhabited as early as the Neolithic (7th millennium BC), and that the continuity of settlement was maintained during the Neolithic, Early Bronze and Iron Age.

    Residents of Blagotin from the Early Neolithic period built the settlement as planned, as evidenced by the research done. The seven settlements discovered were clustered around the central square. In the middle of the square was an object designated as a sanctuary because a large number of cult objects were found there. Among other things, there are two large figures that are supposed to represent the fertility goddess and the earth goddess.

    The figures are large (about 30 cm) in size and are a remarkable find, since it is rare to find as many as two smallpox of such large dimensions in one place. The Neolithic inhabitants of Blagotin were engaged in farming and livestock farming, as evidenced by the found bones of domestic animals, bins for storage of cereals and ceramic models, wheat grains also found in the facility designated as a sanctuary. Among the grain models of wheat, the grain on which the symbolic representation is carved stands out especially.

    http://oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.com/2015/03/blagotin.html

    https://www.google.com/search?q=blagotin&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=xI-3dgUL3AOr8M%253A%252CW1gwVF6q7vfaUM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRyu5doGuiGvz9b8tazPSmSoDrQNw&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi6tq2QkevlAhVSxjgGHZrlCwwQ9QEwAnoECAUQBg#imgrc=cEnRRPwa8yOvNM:&vet=1

    1. Looks like an early synthesis of Balkan Mesolithic and PPNB. Probably an early stage of what would later result in cultures like Cucteni-Trypillia. There is some ENF input in PIE (it isn’t just EHG + CHG), and this probably comes from C-T. The EHG and CHG interactions (further east from C-T, Ukraine and the Balkans) were probably limited to a bidirectional flow of maternal lineages. IDK about the nature of C-T and pre-PIE interactions however, might be more complex.

  23. Milan Todorovic

    “RE: Older than VINCA, I wander how this fits In Yamnaya and OIT theories? Which language was spoken there?”

    Linguistically speaking, IIr BS isoglosses indicate an east to west movement. The location of Blagotin could support either of the two theories.

    From the OIT perspective it could explain the movement of just the BS from the steppe as per Igor TB’s Northern route during the rapid fifth wave or the equestrian phase. The word for horse in Russian and Serbian is kon/konj which is related to knight or a rider

    https://www.google.com/search?q=serbian+words+for+horse&oq=serbian+words+for+horse&aqs=chrome..69i57j33.3696j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/the/russian-word-for-091b5035885c00170fec9ecf24224933e3de3fcc.html

    “The horse is known to the PIEs, and cognate words are found for the horse in almost every single branch: PIE *ekhwos, Anatolian (Hieratic Luwian) á-sù-wa, Tocharian yuk/yakwe, Indo-Aryan (Vedic) áśva, Iranian (Avestan) aspa-, Armenian ēš “donkey”, Greek (Mycenaean) iqo, (Homeric) híppos, Germanic (Old English) eoh, (Gothic) aihwa, Celtic (Old Irish) ech, (Gaulish) epo-, Italic (Latin) equus and Baltic (Lithuanian) ešva. Ironically, it is missing only in the one branch actually spoken in the Steppes, Slavic, and the Albanian word has also not survived in the records (Talageri 2017).”

    Almost every IE branch has an *ekwos type of word for horse; EVEN the Baltics do. But it is missing in Slavic, the Yamnaya steppe homeland where Slavic languages are actually spoken today! Indra the great Sky Father has played a cruel joke on charioteer David Anthony.

    Archaeologically, these animal figurines

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Blagotin+culture&sxsrf=ACYBGNSyDW_Yt3KzqaIUdXLoXTbQ7Pgbzw:1573835383297&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=xI-3dgUL3AOr8M%253A%252CW1gwVF6q7vfaUM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRhqP5wH9Ad-kKDlRTi8SdhmCMl4w&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiH99LX0ezlAhXpRt8KHQBIB6QQ9QEwAHoECAcQAw#imgrc=xI-3dgUL3AOr8M:

    show similarities to SSC

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Indus+valley+animal+figurines&sxsrf=ACYBGNTk74isXkp7EwK5ntChOMX3WGK3rg:1573835442158&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwivsdvz0ezlAhUIT98KHblUAcUQ_AUIEigB&biw=1920&bih=937#imgrc=R3OYQh10XXOeNM:

    1. Just briefly. HORS is an ancient Serbian word!!! Now is used ‘konj’. I can’t beleive that you cannot stop talking about Albanians, who simply did not exist until 17 c.AC i.e the 20th c.AC. And I know why you are telling. Just send email to Talageri to warn him, otherwise all his theories would look idiotic.

      As usual, the time does not exist for OIT. Lepenski Vir, Blagotin and Vinca are 12k, 9k and 8k years old!!! And, they are only 2-5% researched. Yamnaya came to Europe in 2700BC. Which language was spoken in Lepenski Vir, Blagotin and Vinca 6000 years before Yamnaya and where it came from? What’s happening in SA, let’s say, in 7-8000BC?

      DaThang, C-Tripolye (it is a Serbian word = three fields) is a part of Vinca civilisation. Can you reframe what have you said in plain English? For you also – which language was spoken in LV&Vinca? What is your opinion, where so-called ‘Indo-Europeans’ originated?

  24. Milan Todorovic

    “Just briefly. HORS is an ancient Serbian word!!! Now is used ‘konj’.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashvins

    “The Ashvins are an instance of the Proto-Indo-European divine horse twins.[3][4][2] Their cognates in other Indo-European mythologies include the Baltic Ašvieniai, the Greek Castor and Polux; and possibly the ENGLISH Hengist and Horsa, and, (emphasis added)”

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