Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Mon Mar 2 16:00:12 UTC 1998

At 07:30 02.03.98 -0500, you wrote:
>Quotation from Cavalli-Sforza
>> [...] Linking the two series
>> of events in Turkmenia and the Indus Valley, it seems very likely that both
>> were due to the takover of power by Aryan pastoral nomads who came from the
>> steppes of Cental Asia, spoke an Indo-European language and used iron and
>> Horses. More about their origin was given in section 4.3. [.....]"
*Vidyanath Rao wrote:

>``take-over of power'' implies continuity in the pattern of political
>organization and a political organization to take over.

This is not the only possible interpretation of "take-over power". It may
simply mean that the Indo-Europeans became dominant in the area either in
terms of military power or population (or both).

>will very much dispute that for 2nd millennium BCE India. And do
>philologists really claim that RV shows familiarity with iron?

Apparently opinions are divided. Cavalli-Sforza (and others, let us not
forget the al.) are geneticists, not archaeologists. They receive wisdom
from some arcaheologists etc. and see how their information squares with the
genetic data.

All the geneticists can fairly form an opinion about, is genetic character
of various populations and the direction of the the population movements.
They can for obvious reasons not form opinions about the particulars of the
cultures that the peoples in question actually had. As we all know, there is
no "proto-chariot-gene" or "iron-gene"! :-)

>At first I was miffed at the all the put-downs of scientists in
>Indology. But perhaps it is deserved, to judge by the above quote:-)

The put-down of scientists has nothing to do with the fact that they are
scientists, but with the fact that some of them seem to think that expertise
in nuclear physics or mathematics automatically make them qualified to have
strong opinions on Indological or linguistic matters. The point is that in
order to have an opinion on such things, you have to do some basic studies
of the relevant literature. It works the other way around too. If I were a
member of an astronomy list, I would not harangue astronomists in Cyberspace
about my home-cooked opinions about the origin of the universe (if I had
any) - at least not before I had done a few years of relevant study.

>The question is, why are such elementary mistakes tolerated when the
>scientist says what Indologists want to hear?

Who says they are tolerated? If they are wrong, they will not be tolerated. :-)

>Andronov culture, which seem to the currently popular candidate for
>original Indo-Iranians, is familiar with irrigation agriculture.
>Pastoral nomads and irrigation agriculture make for an odd combination,
>don't they?. And is that culture really unfamiliar with wheel-thrown
>pottery, as has been suggested for proto-Indo-iranians?

Pastoral nomads and irrigation culture ... Hmm. I am not an expert on the
Andronovo culture (or Central Asiatic archaeology for that matter), but is
this strictly logical? Assuming that the nomads and the agriculturalists
share the same language and the same basic culture, they would simply have a
mixed economy!

But anyway: thank you for a couple of interesting references!

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
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