Sarasvati (texts & arch.II)

S. Kalyanaraman kalyan97 at YAHOO.COM
Thu May 28 14:14:21 UTC 1998

---Michael Witzel <witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU> wrote:
> Nothing to do with the above question. Copper  was there in India
before > the IA and (meteoric) iron, too. And, by this time we have
had a long
> time of acculturation of local & IA speakers, called, after all, by>
post-RV texts: the Shudra-Arya ...  Smiths were low caste people.

> "A look at the material culture of the texts is facilitated by W.
Rau's > investigations:  They provide evidence for: ayas
("Nutzmetall", copper
> (bronze which is unusual in India; not, as usually
translated:"iron"), but> also iron ( zyaama- ayas-), wattle (and daub)
huts, which were easily
> removable;  cultivation of rice, barley, etc., cattle (horse, etc.),
in > short, a generally still very >simple material culture.[snip]

Were smiths low-caste people at the time of the PGW? Is
this attested in the Yajurveda samhita_? As the rituals grew
secretive, it was perhaps necessary to exclude even the skilled
artisans from the process of making the pravargya etc. pots and pans.

> From an IVC perspective, the smiths were not perhaps differentiated
professionally from other artisan groups. This can be substantiated by
the nature of the settlements and the extensive finds of seals/tablets
in many households.

I will post more evidence separately at the forthcoming website. To
summarize, it may be noted that the IVC was a transition from
chalcolithic (lithic+copper) into the bronze age.  Agarwal et al
(1978) note the use of alloyed coper hoard artefacts in 33 samples
from Hami, Bahadurabad, Narsiur, Sababad, Shahabad and nine other
sites which show arsenic alloying. Of the 200 artefacts examined, tin
was the major alloy in 30 percent of the sample (14 percent assayed 8
to 12 percent in and 6 percent assayed 12 percent tin). Chalcolithic
samples are generally unalloyed and if alloyed were more with Pb and
Sn than Arsenic.

In the context of the earlier datings normally assigned to Iranian
artefacts for ushering in the bronze age, it is noted that arsenic
alloying preceded tin alloying (which started in Iran only during the
third millennium B.C.) This makes Agarwal wonder if the copper hoard
culture started even earlier than the IVC. This is, however, only a
surmise (undated).


34315 Eucalyptus Terrace, Fremont, CA 94555, USA. Dancer Shiva-Nataraja)
kalyan97 at

Get your free address at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list