Skip to comments.A Civilisation Parallel To Harappa? Experts Wonder
Posted on 12/13/2004 12:05:39 PM PST by blam
A civilisation parallel to Harappa? Experts wonder
Vadodara, December 11: Was Gujarat the cradle of an independent civilisation, contemporary of the classical Harappan civilisation around the Indus Valley? This view is gaining academic credence in the community of archaeologists specialising on the subject across the country. The Sorath (present Saurashtra) region civilisation, dating back to 3700 BC at some places, was distinct from the classical Harappan as it developed in the Indus Valley, say researchers in the field.
It maintained its separate identity in many ways even as a cultural, economic and technological exchange took place between the two, said Professor Vasant Shinde of the Pune-based Deccan College Research Institute, while addressing a seminar on Harappan Civilisation and Gujarat: Problems and Perspectives.
Vast differences have been found in the two after excavations of 1more than 450 such sites in the State. The Sorath civilisation was mainly rural as against mainly urban Harappan, people here ate millet and sorghum against wheat and barley of Harappa, the pottery is vastly different with 90 per cent made of bowls against dish on stand of Harappa.
Not more than 30 per cent of the 500-odd sites of that period excavated in Gujarat, show some similarity with the classical Harappa. This makes us believe that its more likely that this part had its own culture and identity. Studies conducted by our Institute on Gujarat shows that there is almost complete absence of weights and seals typical of classical Harappan sites, Shinde informed.
The view is given credence by scholars of M S University of Baroda, too. Says Professor K K Bhan, head of the Archaeology and Ancient History department: If we have to conclude, we would say that more and more research is showing that a culture existed in Gujarat prior to coming of Harappans, that drew heavily from them, and, at the same time gave them things like semi-precious stones industry and pasture lands.
There were some dissenting voices, too. Professor P Ajithprasad of MSU was of the opinion that instead of giving it a status of a parallel civilisation, it was perhaps safer to call Sorath, a manifestation of Harappan technology in early Chalcolithic cultures of Gujarat.
Even as it imbibed some developmental aspects of classical Harappa, the Gujarat culture also maintained its independent identity and contributed immensely to the evolution of urban Harappa in terms of green pastures, crafts and gem technology.
And now the archaeologists are reaching a conclusion that the Gujarat culture predated Harappa by at least 1,000 years. According to Ajithprasad, the antecedents of Sorath go back to the early Chalcolithic settlements of 3700 BC, though it manifested properly in Rojdi around 2600 BC. The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) existed between 2500 BC to 1900 BC.
A typical Sorath site lacks the town plan of Harappa. There are no citadels. There are no s-shaped jars, toll perforated jars or goblets typical of Harappa. What we have instead are bowls of different shapes, explains Ajithprasad.
According to Bhan, the existence of this culture also nullifies the theory of mass migration of Harappans to Gujarat. In its spread the culture was coterminus with the present Saurashtra. Having both coastal and inland sites, more than 250 places in Saurashtra have been identified with the Sorath civilisation.
The two-day seminar would also discuss other problems associated with IVC that have been disturbing scholars the world over. Namely the absence of any clear view on who were the authors of the culture and the reasons behind its extinction.
Bhan is of the view that nomenclatures on IVC are very limiting when it comes to regions outside classical IVC area of Indus Valley, much of which now lies in Pakistan.
"And now the archaeologists are reaching a conclusion that the Gujarat culture predated Harappa by at least 1,000 years. "
That's my opinion.
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Thanks! Looks like a promising area of research.
Parpula's two volumes of photographs covering the collections of India and Pakistan, which appeared in 1987 and 1991... and his 1994 sign list, containing 386 signs (as against Mahadevan's 419 signs), are generally recognized as fine achievements, not least by Mahadevan... This is a significant figure. It is too high for a syllabary like Linear B... and too low for a highly logographic script like Chinese. the nearest comparison... are probably the Hittite hieroglyphs with about 500 signs and Sumerian cuneiform with perhaps 600+ signs... Most scholars therefore agree that the Indus script is likely to be a logosyllabic script like its west Asian contemporaries. [pp 281-284]
These Dravidian speakers are presumably remnants of a once-widespread Dravidian culture submerged by encroaching Indo-Aryans in the 2nd millennium BC... The Indo-Aryan hymns, the Vedas... recount tales of conquest of the forts of the dark-skinned Dasa or Dasyu... the Vedas repeatedly mention the horse in their descriptions of warfare and sacrifice, and this animal was clearly a vital part of Indo-Aryan society... But there is not horse imagery at all in the Indus Valley civilization and virtually no horse remains have been found by archaeologists. Hence the Indus civilizations is unlikely to have been Indo-Aryan. [pp 290-291]
Robinson mentions "a substantial inscription found at Dholavira near the coast of Kutch in 1990, which appears to have been a kind of sign board for the city." [p 295]
The Enigma Of The World's Undeciphered Scripts
by Andrew Robinson
Uncracked Ancient CodesSanskrit and early Dravidian, the ancient languages of India, seem to be the keys to deciphering the highly challenging script of the Indus Valley civilization of the third millennium b.c. in what is now Pakistan and northwest India. As with other languages, a photographic corpus of drawings, a sign list and a concordance must be compiled before decipherment will be possible. Work has proceeded along these lines for inscriptions on some 3,700 objects from the Indus Valley, most of them seal stones with very brief inscriptions (the longest has only 26 characters)... Robinson's descriptions of such analysis, and his accounts of both successful and unsuccessful decoding attempts, are clear, provocative and stimulating.
by William C. West
(Lost Languages reviewed)
Updated on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:44:27 PM
Archaeology chief blamed for Harappa mess:-
Islamabad | May 16, 2005 1:41:46 PM IST
Islamabad, May 16 : The head of Pakistan's archaeology department has been blamed for a controversial amusement park being established adjacent to the ruins of the 5,000-year-old Harappa civilisation, work on which has been halted after a public outcry.
Holding Director General Archaeology Fazal Dad Kakar responsible for issuing a no objection certificate for the park, Culture Minister Ajmal Khan has warned that anyone "misguiding" the ministry on the issue would be punished, The News reported Monday.
Work on the park was halted after diggings in the area threw up new discoveries of priceless 5,000-year-old objects.
The discoveries at one of the world's most ancient cities, about 180 km from Lahore, include statues of gods and goddesses, toys, wheels, pottery and bangles.
The park was being set up at the instance of National Assembly member Azizullah Khan, who is the chairman of the parliament's standing committee on culture and tourism. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had granted Rs. 10 million for the project.
Prominent Pakistani historian and archaeologist Ahmed Hasan Dani had first rung the alarm bells against the project.
"Please spare the 5,000-year-old ruins of one of the first cities of the world, " he pleaded in a letter to Khan earlier this month. Khan also holds the sports and tourism portfolios.
The project would only bring Pakistan a bad name at the international level, Dani contended.
The culture minister then ordered a resurvey of the project and Kakar visited the site.
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