Early Ravi/Harappa phase: new discoveries

Yaroslav V. Vassilkov yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU
Fri Mar 12 10:12:00 UTC 1999

>From yavass Fri Mar 12 13:04:19 MSK 1999
Dear Mr Kalyanaraman,
        in your posting you refer to some very interesting archeological
findings which prove that at some sites in the Sarasvati/Indus region
the Early/Mature/Late Harappan cultural continuity lasted for almost two
millenia. If we take into account the data from such sites as Merhgarh, the
period of uninterrupted cultural continuity in the region may be supposed to be
even much longer. But I could not see in what way this fact of the Indus
Civilization's longevity prompts you to suggest that the same culture
continued to exist even much longer. You say

>Would it be reasonable to hypothesise (1)the continuity of the =
>Harappan culture after ca. 1300, into the historical periods =
>and (2)hence, a linguistic area ca. 3000 BCE using early forms of Pali
>(Sindhi-Gujarati-Punjabi-Bhojpuri) as substratum language?

        I am afraid, it would not. What are the reasons for it to be
reasonable?  A hypothesis is not a wild guess, it has to be based on some
evidence at least. Is there any archaeological evidence for it? On the
contrary, as far as I know, about this very time (c. 1300 BC) or slightly later
the Late Harappan culture is being replaced or overlaid everywhere
by OCP or PGW.
        Or do you know any linguistic evidence which gives you grounds to
suggest that the Indus people since ca. 3000 BC (or even earlier - "the
substratum language") spoke Middle Indo-Aryan and even New Indo-Aryan
languages? But even if you choose to speak about Vedic Sanskrit as the
language of the Sarasvati/Indus civilisation, it would look to me doubtful.
All serious studies of the Indus script (by *serious* I mean those which
used modern scientific methodics - the works of Yuri Knorozov' group in
Russia, Asko Parpola's group in Finland and
such scholars as I.Mahadevan in India) - all such studies point rather in
the direction of the Proto-Dravidian as the language of the IVC.
        Best regards

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