Sarasvati (texts & arch.II)

Paul K. Manansala kabalen at MAIL.JPS.NET
Thu May 28 17:52:20 UTC 1998

      Michael Witzel <witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU>

> On Wed, 27 May 1998, Paul K. Manansala wrote:
> > > > We certainly cannot label PGW culture as Vedic anymore than IVC.
> > > That last sentence alone shows that the data are not taken into account.
> > > The data of the Indus civ. just do not fit the RV (we need a special
> > > e-sattra on that), but the PGW has many correspondences, in spread,
> > > material culture, etc., with the *POST*-RV texts.
> > I find the above statements biased.. While one could argue
> > that IVC is not particularly Vedic, neither is PGW. The latter was
> > primarily a pig and rice culture. The people were sendentary and
> > lived in mud huts. They made very little use of the horse, and I'm
> > not aware of any chariots associated with them.  They used wheel-made
> > pottery, associated with Asuras,  instead of the "Aryan" handmade
> > variety.
> Just pig & rice? This is not S. China. -- Too simple

Pigs and rice rather than barley and cows. Not Vedic.

. Sedentary style
> changes 3 times in the area (Allchin 1995).  This is a 2-level society:
> PGW is just the fine, 'expensive' table ware (made by local wheel-using
> specialists; again: handmade pottery made by Brahmins is just for Vedic
> ritual: that has hardly been detected so far.
Read Staal 1983 and see what
> you get even of an Agnicayana after a few years... Horses get buried
> outside the "village" (if at all) -- THAT is why they are hardly ever
> found ---, chariots are re-used. No more horse/chariot burials at this
> period of Vedic civ. -- We need to get lucky, as we do in Swat.

But all this seems to confirm the non-Vedic nature of PGW. You seem
to simply give explanations why there is no evidence.  We could apply
also give such explanations for IVC.  The saffron argument is that
there have been wheels discovered in the IVC, so there could have
been chariots.

> "differently from the half-nomadic Aryans with their graamas relocating
> periodically, permanent settlements were (mostly?) inhabited by the
> aboriginal population or Nisadas," and : "permament Indo-Aryan villages
> (graama)  are late...  The alleged Vedic towns are phantoms, such as
> Paricakra SB (just a place name or temporary settlement) or
> Kampiila(-vaasin)."

Well this is a hard view, which certainly is not universal.  Sounds
more like the semi-nomadism found among some modern "tribal"
populations. How do they figure people with brick or timber houses
are nomadic?  Shouldn't they be living in tents or temporary
shelters.  Also, most of the information I've read ascribes mud huts
as the primary shelter in PGW.  Generally rice and pig farmers are
not nomadic, unless you're talking about very common shifting around
in a small area.

> > The work of Dilip Chakrabarti suggests that the iron used by the PGW
> >  culture was not of foreign origin as previously thought.
> 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.

I thought the IE peoples of this time were iron age.  We should see iron coming in
from the West, and iron artifacts similar to those found outside India.

> From this point, you give mostly explanations as to why we don't find
what we would expect to find.  Quite a bit different from the Hun
comparison, where we can find nearly exact matches between the texts
and the archaeological evidence.

Another important question is whether the IE migration/invasion is
linked with a biological intrusion. Were the IE peoples physically
similar to ancient Persians.  A pertinent question considering
Kennedy's statement in _Eastern Anthropologist_ that no biological
"Aryan" series has been discovered at the ancient sites.

While I have no problem with a gradual diffusion of IE influence into
India, the chronology and the supposed Vedic=PGW that are so
popular now are full of problems.

Paul Kekai Manansala

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list