Evolution of chariots (was Re: Diffusion of Sanskrit)

Vidhyanath Rao vidynath at math.ohio-state.edu
Mon Nov 25 20:49:06 UTC 1996

> The RISA-L web site (and digests of discussion, as well as a small biblio)
> can be found at: http://www.acusd.edu/~lnelson/risa

I browsed through this and I came acrossa statement to the effect that
chariots in Central Asia have been dated to near 2000 BCE, with the
information attributed to some participants at the `Aryan and Non-aryan'
conference. Can anybody with first hand access to the dating tell me
about the tightness of dating, and the method of dating used?

It may be worthwhile to mention the reason for this query. While Indologists
seem to believe that Indo-Iranians invented the chariots and with this
`secret weapon' went tearing through the Near East and India,
this was disputed by Littauer and Crouwell ``Wheeled transport and
ridden animals in Ancient Near East''. Stuart Piggot argued that the
Central Asian chariotary is slightly older, but chariot technology
quickly spread through the near East by trade contacts (rather than by
Idno-Iranians conquering everything in their way with their new
super-duper chariots). If Central Asian chariot remains do date to
2000 BCE, the argument changes quite a bit.

Of course, dating the evolution of chariots is important for the Aryan
entry to India also. If chariots were not around before 1800 BCE
(the date that was accepted for Central Asian and Near Eastern evidence),
chariot riders, skillful enough to cross the mountains of Afghanistan
in vehicles usually assumed to effective only on dry level ground,
could not get into India in 2000 BCE.

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