Rajaram's PILTDOWN horse / horse bones

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Fri Aug 4 05:24:47 UTC 2000

Prof. Vassilkov certainly is right in pointing out that the 'feeding
trough' in front of
Rajaram's "Horse" is a figment of his imagination, or rather his photoshop
manipulation abilities.

> In the Figure 7.1a ("The Horse Seal")  ...  "feeding trough".
>... on the ground *before* an animal,  *at its feet*. ...      resembles
>in its siluette
>an old-fashioned telephone set with conical base and the reciever lying
>across its

OF COURSE,  nothing of this sort in the same seal =  Mackay 453 (1937)  and
= Parpola 772 (1991), see  S. Farmer:

and cf. my enlarged picture from Parpola (scroll down:)

The telephone-like trough is part of the clearly BROKEN OFF SECTION of the

>But this specific form appears in front of some animals exclusively,...
>almost exclusively *on the copper tablets*, not on the seals.

Same in the copper plates in Pakistani collections, see: SGM Shah and A.
Parpola,   Vol. 2,  Coll. from Pakistan: p. 204-216 and in a few more.
(Except, for the male hare on these copper plates that stands in front of a
bunch of grass....!)

>It is quite possible that this particular "telephone" shape of the
>trough was predetermined by the material (copper) and the technique of

Indeed, on seals we usually have  the larger "stand"in front of animals. Of
course, with some exceptions, for example, the regular bull in front of a
feeding trough in Vol.2, p. 110-114
(M 1080-1097) or in vol. 1, p. 58-70 on and off: bull and even a tiger (M

Therefore, we must agree with Prof. Vassilkov:

>  ..Rajaram did not stop at playing with shades and contrasts. He
>also put in the lower right corner of the picture the "telephone-shaped"
> an unknown creature, the Piltdown man is discovered! ...

Add to all of this his "ingenuity" in finding inscriptions that "mention"

No horses attested in the  Indus civ., see:


Patricia Meredith Greer <pmg6s at CMS.MAIL.VIRGINIA.EDU> asked:

>Can we as decisively discredit Rajaram's claim that horse
>bones are present at every strata of the IVC?

NONE at all see:

Meadow, R. H. and Patel, A.
A Comment on "Horse Remains from Surkodata" by Sòndor Bokonyi.
South Asian Studies 13, 1997,  308-315

(ref. to Bokonyi's paper in the same volume).

cf. also:
Meadow 1998, The Review of Archaeology, The Transition to Agriculture in
the Old World,  19, 1998, (Special Issue  ed. by Ofer Bar-Yosef), 12-21.

Bökönyi thought that he could find horse bones in at least that *one* Indus
site, but see above.

And note that "horse bones" identified so far belong either to the onager =
half-ass = khor = hemione or to horses from UNSTRATIFIED or badly reported
sites and levels.

The first well-attested horse bones are from the Kachi plains in E.
Baluchistan (already in the Indus plains) only at 1700 BCE...

which explains Rajaram's eagerness to find an Indus horse, hook by crook!

Cheers, MW

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

ph. 1- 617-496 2990 (also messages)
home page:  http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mwpage.htm

Elect. Journ. of Vedic Studies:  http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs

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