Indo-Aryan im/e-migration: Horse argument

Mary Storm umadevi at SFO.COM
Tue Mar 17 17:09:57 UTC 1998

Jan E.M. Houben wrote:
> A compact argumentation for the view that Aryans came to India, not necessarily
> in an invasion, is provided by Asko Parpola in his book: Deciphering the Indus
> Script, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994, pp. 155-159. The brevity of the argument
> (in four pages with maps and pictures) should make it a suitable topic of
> discussion.
> Parpola presents:
> "one important reason why the Harappans are unlikely to have been Indo-European
> or Aryan speakers. This is the complete absence of the horse (equus caballus)
> among the many wild and domesticated animals that have been identified at a
> large number of Early and Mature Harappan sites."

Sorry to jump in here, as an art historian, not a linguist, I am not
sure if my comments will be very welcome. I offer this archaeological
data with all humility:
The horse argument has been going on for a while. There is, in fact,
evidence of the horse at Indus sites.
The eminent archaeologist B. B. Lal  (hardly a saffron crackpot) in his
latest book The Earliest Civilization of South Asia, New Delhi, 1997,
pp. 285-86, sums up some of the horse evidence:
Mohenjo-daro: Terracotta horse figure found by Mackay ( although some
controversy about the interpretation).
Lothal: teracotta horse figure and second right upper molar of a horse.
Surkotada: horse bones, the bones are from a true horse, Equus Caballus,
as determined by the enamel pattern of the teeth, and by the size of the
incisors as well as the phalanges. "Since no wild horses lived in India
in post-pleistocene times the domestic nature of the Surkotada horse is
Kalibangan: horse bones.
Nausharo: terracotta horse figurines have just very  recently been
discovered on the Harrapan levels of the site.
Mary Storm


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