"Science" in India

Arun Gupta suvidya at WORLDNET.ATT.NET
Wed Oct 25 00:38:04 UTC 2000

Re: the review of Hicks & Anderson, Journal of Indo-European Studies, Vol 18,
Numbers 3&4, Fall/Winter 1990 presented previously on Indology at


I am aware that it is a regarded poorly (euphemism :-)) in scholarly circles.
But the record should be straight regarding the hollow metal head. As per the
paper :

1. The head was found in Delhi in 1958 and was saved from being melted down.

2. The age was determined not only by carbon-dating a piece of slag from
inside the head but also by recrystalization studies. Recrystalization is
said to yield a minimum age of around 5200 years.  Some paint on the head is
said to have a minimum age of 4700 years estimated by the rate of red
hemitite turning gray.

3. The material of the head is said to be copper-based with a high silver
impurity.  The composition is given nowhere.  The authors speculate that the
copper was extracted from copper sulphide ore with lead,zinc,silver
impurities.  It is not called brass anywhere in the paper.

4. The hairstyle of the head with the tuft on the right is used to identify
the head as Vasistha.  No photograph of the inscription is given. It is dated
by the style of writing to be no later than 14 century AD. The inscription
reads something like "Rana Sigha Narana Purana".

5. [ I cannot comment on the sloppiness of references -- I do not know

6. No published laboratory reports are cited. The carbon dating is said to
have been carried out at the Lab. for Nuclear Science at the Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology.  Other tests are said to have been carried out at
the Cyclotron at Univ. Calif. Davis and at the Van De Graaf linear
accelerator at Stanford.

My personal take is that anyone making extraordinary claims should provide
sufficient documentation to allow examination of the claim.  Without
experimental access to the metal head, there is nothing further any
researcher can do to examine the claim.

-arun gupta

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