Sarasvati (texts & arch 3)

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Mon May 25 13:40:06 UTC 1998

> It should also be remembered that the Xinjiang mummies, who
> are supposed to have taken a wrong turn in the Ukraine and
> ended up in the wrong place, also have the uniquely Indian
> 'tilak' on their forehead in addition to their celtic clothes
> and kentum language.
> So do we have to have  believe that these people rode
> in with the 'tilak' on their foreheads from the Ukraine ?
Whatever they have or not, and from wherever they came, we have not yet
recorded or listened to their language, and as for the uniquely Indian
tilak, see above.  (NB.: in Hsingkiang, in post-Kushana times...).

> As for the migration trail - only the future will tell:
> Depending on the dating of the future archeological finds
> in the Tarim Basin and other central asian regions,
> it will be conclusively proven whethar it was a migration
> INTO India or OUT of an Indian cultural influence area(
> i.e from the Tarim Basin down to Baluchistan).

>From wherever in Central Asia the (series of) movement(s) started, it
certainly does not look like the Tarim basin. Anyhow, the "Indian cultural
influence area" is only from Kushana and later, medieval times. Before
that, one can speak of an Iranian one, from Rumania to Mongolia and from
the Urals to the Persian Gulf : of the N.Iranians (Scythians, Saka),
W.Iranians (Persians), E. Iranians (Avesta texts) etc.etc.

And as for THE EXPORT MODEL, I still need to see any sort of evidence that
indicates that (apart from the Gypsies, and such incidental affairs as
Buddhist missionaries) tribal or other groups from South Asia have left
the sub-continent in a western direction. They should have left SOME
undeniable trace, in language, culture...

> Until that conclusive evidence is found, it is  the
> responsibility of scholars to make it
> clear that the Aryan Invasion/Migration into India
> theory is *NOT* a proven historical fact and only one of
> the hypotheses.

This completely neglects the linguistic data, those of material culture
(e.g., racing/war chariots, domesticated horses & furnishings), spiritual
culture: Vedic myth, poetry, religion, ritual, potics & poetic texts,
family and social set-up, etc.  etc. -- As even some archaeologists
sometimes say(d): pots don't speak...

(We can make them, to an extent).

However, archaeology *alone* makes for a poor fit. It has been shown, for
example, that the remains of a 5 language/people area in Papua would
produce just the same archaeological remains and we would never know that
5 distinct peoples lived there.

Or, take a look at modern dump site, and see how far one may find in them
distinctions between Canadian, US, Bahaman, Bermudan, -- even Quebequois,
Michelon-St Pierre, -- or Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican etc.  cultures...
(suppose, you don't find texts or cannot read the Latin script plus
English, French, Spanish)...  A few thousand years from now, results may
be that English writing and printing was invented in New Zealand, cars &
computers in Japan, while Asians, Africans, and "Caucasians" emigrated
from the densely populated US (where the same archaeological records show
a very popular cult of various types of mother goddesses!) to distant

ity alam!

MichaelWitzel                                   witzel at

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