Sarasvati,boats myths etc...

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Sun May 24 14:33:10 UTC 1998

Thank you fo your informative data! I just have a few minor points this

On Sat, 23 May 1998, S. Kalyanaraman wrote:

> Can we date the sequential dates of RV hymns with precision? George
> Thompson is right; we have to be
> careful in relying on RV to establish the sequence
> of desiccation of the Sarasvati river.

Certainly, but some data are better than others: RV 3.33 with the
confluence of the Beas and Sutlej, for example.

> Geological evidence is perhaps
> more reliable,

yes, especially if wee add LOCAL investigation, for example of
archaeological sequences (as you mention below, too),  as to date certain
palaeo-channels "in use", filled with water, and running rivers. As I
said, you do not build straight on the flood plain unless the river is
small and there is only a small chance to get flooded.

> 1. Circa 2500 B.C. the river was navigable from Ropar
> thru S.atra_n.a thru Bhawalpur thru Kotda thru Lothal. The river had
> carried the glacial waters of both S.atadru ... and
> Yamuna ...

Fine, for the "great Sarasvati" (*perhaps* remembered later on).

> 2. S.atadru took a 90 degree turn at Ropar and turned
> westward, and ceased to be a tributary of S.

The question still pending is : when. *Local* geological, archaeological
etc. investigation at the Satlej bend is necessary.

> the two great rivers , the Sindhu and the Sarasvati. The migrations of
> people away from Sindh towards the Ganga-Yamuna doab is also
> noticeable, based on this cumulative archaeological record.

from Sindh? Shaffer speaks of late/post Indus people movement from the
*Panjab* into the Kuruksetra/Haryana, and upper doab area.

If you mean: during the main periods of the Indus/Harappan civ. is there
any evidence for movement away from Sindh? Recent excavations at Harappa
(Kenoyer, Meadow, Wright etc,) indicate that there was a continuity of
development from the pre-Indus ("Ravi phase") civ. to the Indus civ.

Michael Witzel                       witzel at
my direct line (also for messages) :  617- 496 2990

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