Skip to comments.Excavations Reveal 7,000 Year-Old Harappan Sites
Posted on 01/20/2004 3:30:39 PM PST by blam
Excavations reveal 7,000 year-old Harappan sites
PESHAWAR: Gandi Umar Khan, around 55 kilometres west of Dera Ismail Khan, is the most important archaeological site of the Indus Valley civilization in the North Western Frontier Province.
Gandi Umar Khan is spread over an area of 220 by 200 meters and has a maximum height of 8.5 metres. The site was discovered in 1997 by the University of Peshawar. The Directorate of Archaeology and Museum NWFP conducted an extensive survey of the Gomal Plain in March 2003 and discovered 95 sites out of which exist 53 sites of different periods dating back to 7,000 years.
Gandi Umar Khan is the largest settlement of 11 Harappan Period sites that were discovered in the region. Another attraction for researchers was the Kot Dijian culture that was also found on the site. In view of the significance of the site, the directorate carried out excavations from September 2003 to January 2004.
During the excavations, two main periods were identified; the Harappan and Kot Dijian. The researchers were particularly excited about their discovery of the relationship between the two periods. The archaeologists believe that the Harappan Civilization derived from the Kot Dijian and prefer to call the latter the Early Harappan Culture. Some researchers have identified transitional phases between them at certain cites. But no transitional phase was witnessed there. Rather a complete break between them was observed. A fifty-five centimetre-thick ashy layer devoid of any cultural material separates them.
The Harappans and the Kot Dijians lived in mud-brick structures on the site of Gandi Umar Khan in the Gomal Plain while in Harappa and Moenjodaro, they lived in kiln-baked brick structures. The orientation of the rooms remained unchanged. The Kot Dijians at Gomal used the same style of architectural with only slight variations from the Harappans.
The Harappans of Gandi Umar Khan worshipped the mother-goddess and cult objects in the shape of T/C female figurines were collected from the site, reflecting a regional variation because they are slightly different from those found at Harappa and Moenjodaro. Other antiquities excavated from the site include stone blades, tools and beads, metal objects like antimony rods and nails, baked clay ceramics and T/C cakes. Pottery and T/C cakes were found in large numbers from the site. The Harappan pottery is mainly plain. However, painted ceramics were also collected. These were painted black on red in floral and geometrical pattern.
On the other hand, the Kot Dijian ceramics are thin and include short-necked grooved ware, flanged-rimmed and painted and plain ware, Quetta wet-ware and rimless bows.
Prof Dr Ihsan Ali, director of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museum NWFP, Zakirullah Jan, field director, Mir Muhammad, Sohail Khan, Asim Amin and Niaz Ali Shah, students of the University of Peshawar were part of the team that took part in the excavation of Gandi Umar Khan site.
Is that the same Gandi who works at the QuickeeMart in St. Louis?
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
I'm pretty sure I read that too. I did a quick search and couldn't find anything on it though.
BTW, excellent book.
May be related to the red-headed mummies in post #19...thousands of years apart though.
Just to make sure ... T/C stands for terracotta, I presume? I am going to pretend I have a clue about this stuff at the office party.
I am always interested when Muslim scholars find ancient cultures with their idol worship and old religions. Makes for some tense moments between handing out fatwas and posing on CNN as the Religion of Peace.
I tend to agree with this too.
I suspect Buddahism travelled out of northern Indian-Pakistan down the proto-Silk Road into China in about 100-200BC by the Tocharians into the Han occupied regions.
This picture is contained in Victor Mair's book, The Tarim Mummies
Above: This 900 AD painting from the caves at the Buddhist monastery at Bezeklik, Turfnan, Central Asia, depicts Tocharian worthies donating trays of moneybags to a Buddhist saint. Note the light hair and blue eyes of the Tocharian on the right, the last remnants of the Indo-European invaders of China.
That's what I've been wondering for some time now.
Any input here, Allan?
I think you are referring to the Saka people.
The human skeletal records indicate that the original people in the whole region were the Indo-European 'Celt' like people. Elizabeth Barber in her book, The Mummies Of Urumchi, was startled at the 1,800-2,000BC fabrics she found on theses mummies. The fabric (material, mfg techniques and styles) were exactly like those of the Celts of Halstadt, Austria, 4,000 miles and 1,000 years apart.
Mair (working with the skeletal record and linguistics) indicates that the region was populated by a number of 'Caucasian' tribes with names of ,Saka, Yuezhi, Xiongnu and others. I believe the Xiongnu became/were the later Schytians. Mair (linguistics) said that many waves of Iranian speakers flooded into the area early and often.
The first Mongol (Asian) mummies begin to turn up in the Tarim Basin around 100-200BC and then from then on, mixed race mummies become more frequent. The Han Dynasty 'magic' men were noted for their red hair and there are many poems lamenting the green eyes of the Han Emperors. There are isolated skeletal examples of these 'Celt like' people all the way into 1,300AD in the region and then they disappear into mixed race skeletons...probably becoming the present day Ughyars.
One skeleton named 'The Beauty Of Loulan' (reconstructed face) has been adopted by the Ughyars as 'the mother of their country.'
A solution to the puzzle of Indo-European origins?
BY DAVID W. ANTHONY
Archaeological and linguistic evidence places the Indo-European homeland in the North Pontic region. Members of one Indo-European group (the Yamnaya culture) that migrated to the western Altai Mountains, where they are identifiable as the Afanasievo culture, may have later moved into the Tarim Basin of what is now western China.
The Indo-European problem is one of archaeology's oldest, most contentious questions. More than 200 years ago, in 1786, English jurist and scholar Sir William Jones realized that Latin and Greek shared a common origin with Sanskrit, the ancient language of Hindu law and religion. These three languages, he proposed, had developed from a single ultimate parent language, now called Proto-Indo-European. Linguists soon added most of the languages of Europe (including English), Iran, and northern India-Pakistan to the family, and eventually discovered several extinct cousins, including Hittite, spoken in Anatolia about 2000-1000 B.C., and Tocharian, a group of two (or possibly three) languages spoken about A.D. 500-800 in the Buddhist monasteries and caravan cities of the Tarim Basin in what is now western China. All of these languages still display telltale traces of the same Proto-Indo-European grammar and vocabulary. But where and when was the elusive mother tongue spoken? And by what historical circumstances did it generate daughter tongues that became scattered from Scotland to China?
In 1995, media reports brought to the public's attention astonishingly well-preserved remains of European-looking people, dressed in European-looking clothes, buried in the Tarim Basin between about 1800 B.C. and A.D. 500. This came about through the persistent efforts of Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese and Indo-Iranian literature and religion at the University of Pennsylvania. Long known to specialists but poorly understood and little studied, the Tarim mummies (not really mummies, but bodies preserved by dry conditions) quickly became the focus of intense interest and debate. Riveting photographs appeared in ARCHAEOLOGY (March/April 1995, pp. 28-35) and Discover. Academic papers on the mummies were edited by Mair for the 1995 Journal of Indo-European Studies. Film crews working for Nova and the Discovery channel soon followed Mair to the deserts of northwestern China; the Discovery show ("The Riddle of the Desert Mummies") was nominated for an Emmy. In 1996, Mair hosted a conference of 50 international experts on the archaeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology of the Central Eurasian societies related to the mummies; the proceedings were published in two dense and informative volumes in 1998, and textile specialist Elizabeth Barber issued a book on the Tarim textiles.( Barber's book is titled: "The Mummies Of Urumchi")
Now Mair has teamed with James Mallory, a distinguished Indo-European linguist and archaeologist at Queen's University in Belfast, to write The Tarim Mummies, which explores the difficult and controversial questions about the languages, identities, technologies, migrations, and physical traits of the mummies. It is a fascinating and readable account and presents a valuable compendium of recent research on a little-known region that has long been the focus of romantic speculation by travelers and explorers from Marco Polo to Aurel Stein. To determine the ethnic and linguistic identity of the Tarim mummies requires, as they say, "a feat of archaeological and linguistic legerdemain," but it is an intriguing game to follow, for it sheds light on the documentary, linguistic, archaeological, and skeletal evidence that must be used to attempt a linguistic and ethnic prehistory of eastern Central Asia.
In the end, their "working hypothesis" is that the earliest Bronze Age colonists of the Tarim Basin were people of Caucasoid physical type who entered probably from the north and west, and probably spoke languages that could be classified as Pre- or Proto-Tocharian, ancestral to the Indo-European Tocharian languages documented later in the Tarim Basin. These early settlers occupied the northern and eastern parts of the Tarim Basin, where their graves have yielded mummies dated about 1800 B.C. They did not arrive from Europe, but probably had lived earlier near the Altai Mountains, where their ancestors had participated in a cultural world centered on the eastern steppes of central Eurasia, including modern northeastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tadjikistan. At the eastern end of the Tarim Basin, people of Mongoloid physical type began to be buried in cemeteries such as Yanbulaq some centuries later, during the later second or early first millennium B.C. About the same time, Iranian-speaking people moved into the Tarim Basin from the steppes to the west. Their linguistic heritage and perhaps their physical remains are found in the southern and western portions of the Tarim. These three populations interacted, as the linguistic and archaeological evidence reviewed by Mallory and Mair makes clear, and then Turkic peoples arrived and were added to the mix. The Tarim Mummies J.P. Mallory and Victor Mair New York: Thames and Hudson, 2000 $50.00 (cloth); 352 pages
Well, that's not too surprising.
Many common English words are practically Sanskrit.
(agni = fire <-> ignite)
the question of the origin of the Indo-European languages has been politicized.
It is doubtful the answer ever will be known.
Personally, I believe the 'Aryan invasion' theory is nonsense.
the Harappan language
apparently has not been deciphered.
but it likely was not Indo-European
(as were not the original languages of South India).
The Indo-European languages probably spread out very slowly
over the course of thousands of years
as farmers migrated.
If I had to bet
I would say that the Indo-European languages had their origin
in the city of Çatalhöyük in the Anatolian plains of Turkey.
I once was astounded to see
in the Ankara museum of ancient history
a metallic heraldic ornament from this site
dating from 3000 BC
that was adorned with 19 Swastikas.
is the symbol of the Indian religion
but also is found in other civilizations.
In a bas-relief on a mountain
at Ivriz, Turkey
(not far from Çatalhöyük)
there is a Hittite king
whose robe also is adorned with swastikas.
Most linguists that I've read agree that the Indo-European languages have their origin in ancient Anatolia.
Okay, now my take on it:
I believe the refugees from the Black Sea flood (Noah's Flood?) in 5,600BC spread the language and (in many cases) farming all across Europe and eventually some of these refugees made their way all the way to India-Pak and on into China (see red-headed mummies). Their mixed blood relatives, The Hakka, migrated all the way across China into Guangdong province of modern China. Some even believe these refugees are the Ainu of Japan but, I don't.
Excellent pictures and maps.