Edwin Bryant ebryant at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Tue May 19 02:56:50 UTC 1998

On Sun, 17 May 1998, Michael Witzel wrote:

> What has NOT been mentioned in the debate is that "all major domestic and
> wild animals are represented by terracotta figurines" ( Kenoyer, p.  118),
> But there are  NO HORSES (neither on on seals, inor n painting, nor as
> figurines).

Actually, horse figurines have been reported in the Indus valley and not
just by Indian archaeologists (Mackay 1938, Piggot, 1952, Sir Mortimer
Wheeler, 68). I mention these Western archaeologists because it is often
implied or stated that Indian arcaeologists who make such claims or
question establish paradigms must have some kind of a political agenda.
But let us steer clear of the politics and stick to the data
for now.

Unfortunately, it is not clear from the published photos of these
figurines whether these are representations of horses or dogs.
Accordingly, Professor Witzel's comments hold good. I agree that
the absence of *undisputed* horse representations is a significant
obstacle to the Indigenous Aryan position that cannot just be brushed
aside cursorily.

> Since horses appear only by 1700 BC (bones AND representations) in the
> Kachi plain/ Mehrgarh (on the border of the Iranian plateau, thus) the
> argumentum ex nihilo carries SOME, if not  a lot of  weight.

Well, if we are to be fully rigorous and scholarly as George has required
we be, I think a full analysis of the horse issue requires the following

1) A complete compilation of the exact extent of the horse bone/figurine
evidence during the time when the Indo-Aryans *were* indisputably in the
subcontinent, say from 1700 -- 700 BCE. According to the formula that
the presence of Indo-Aryans = horses (and abiding by the same logic that
denies the I-A's a place in the IVC), we should be able to trace a
quantitative increase in horse bone evidence over space and time during
this period when the Aryans were settling into the subcontinent.  This may
well prove to be the case.

2) I have personally read at least 15 first hand reports from both Western
and Indian archaeologists claiming findings of horse evidence in the IVC.
Let us be clear: these reports have not been *disproved*, they merely have
not been proved: "many claims have been made...but few have been
documented with
sufficient measurements, drawings, and photographs to permit other
analyists to judge for themselves" (Meadows, 1987).  This is fine, but if
we are to avoid being skewed, we will have to ensure that the findings
reported from our control period of 1700 -- 700 BCE have been subject to
*the same intense scrutiny* and independent analysis as the findings
reported from the IVC. Were it not for this whole debate (and more
specifically its political ramifications), I suspect that the reports of
horse evidence in the IVC would not have raised any eyebrows.

3) THe evidence and implications of the evidence of the  horse in the
South has to be taken into account.

Personally, I am withholding my judgement on the value of the horse
evidence until I have completed undertaking the above steps (which I will
be doing under the guidance of Meadows).

I will be out of town and off e-mail for the next two weeks and so will
not be able to contribute anything further on this issue till then.
Regards,  Edwin Bryant

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