Sarasvati (texts & arch.III)

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Mon May 25 13:42:34 UTC 1998

On Mon, 25 May 1998, Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote:

> >This is useful, as it pushes back the date of the preceding *Indo-Iranian*
> >cultural and linguistic period a bit (to what? 2000 BC, 2500 BC. Nobody
> >knows.)

> Am I to interpret that as that you agree with me that the IE element
> in Mitanni Hurrian is *Indo-Iranian* not necessarily Indo-Aryan
> (after all, Proto-Indo-Iranian "1" may have been *aika, right?)?

We do not now, it is likely Pre_Indo_Aryan, precisely because of
aika(-vartana)  = Pre-Vedic aika > Ved. eka. In Pre-Old-Iranian it would
have been *aiva as in the old Iran. languages. Seems to be an old dialect
difference. But a slim one.

The usual other arguments (Varuna, Nasatya) don't work that well (due to
the reform of Zoroaster: Ahura Mazda, *one* Nanghaithya in Videvdad).

At any rate, the form of the IIr language in Mitanni is pre-Vedic : IIr
sounds are preserved, *zdh, in Priyamazda ::  Ved. priyamedha :: Avest.
-mazda... But I suppose you are well aware of all of this...

>> the breakdown of the Bactrian civ. etc.

> What does "Bactrian civilization" refer to exactly?  I suspect the
> area of urban settlememts along the Amu Darya (Shortugai, Namazga)
> all the way to Shah Tepe etc. on the Caspian, but I'm not familiar
> with the term.

Sorry, just short for the *pre* - Bactria-Margiana archaeological complex
(minus Shortugai!  which has Harappan connections:trading post?), with a
destruction horizon before the BMAC:

The BMAC is dated by Hiebert, (Erdosy, The Indo-Aryans, p.192 sqq.)  at
1900-1700 BC.: "the *intrusive* (his italics) BMAC burials has suggested a
movements of population from Central Asia into ...  Iranian plateau..."

Michael Witzel                       witzel at

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