On Indus Civ., Aryans, Ancient Indian History/Archeology (Linda Hess, 12/2/96)
Compiled from fall 1996 discussion on RISA-L, electronic discussion list
for the American Academy of Religion’s Religion in South Asia Section. Some
comments from the List discussion are included. This biblio isn’t perfect,
in either form or content. It is occasionally updated, with new
information or corrections. (Last update: 12-2-96)
Allchin, Bridget and Raymond Allchin. The rise of civilization in India
and Pakistan. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Allchin, B., F.R. Allchin, B.K. Thapar, editors. Conservation of the Indian
heritage. New Delhi, India : Cosmo Publications, 1989.
Allchin, F. Raymond. The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia: the
emergence of cities and states, with contributions from George Erdosy …
[et al.]. Cambridge : New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press,
Allchin, F.R. See also Possehl 1995.
Balmuth, Miriam “Searching for the Origins of Indo-European Languages” in
Journal of Interdisciplinary History 20 (1989) pp, 257-62.
Converse, H. S. “The Agnicayana Rite: Indigenous Origin?” in History of
Religions IV.2 (Nov. 1974), pp.81-95.
Good for introducing the kind of thinking that has to be done with the
archeological data at hand [Dennis Hudson].
Crossland, Ronald, “When specialists collide: archaeology and
Indo-European linguistics” in Antiquity 66 (1992) pp. 251-54.
Deo, S, B & Kamath Surynath eds, ‘The Aryan Problem’ Pune: Bharatiya
Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, 1993.
If nothing else, this publication gives an idea of how widespread the
reconsideration of the external origin of the Aryans has become in India.
Deshpande, Madhav M. and Peter Edwin Hook, eds. Aryan and non-Aryan in
India. Ann Arbor: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, The
University of Michigan, 1979. Michigan papers on South and SE Asia; no.
Dyson, Robert. See Possehl 1995.
Elizarenkova, Tatyana J, ed. Language and style of the Vedic Rsis, with an
introduction by Wendy Doniger. Albany : State University of New York, 1995.
I have my doubts about the usefulness of the archaeological record in
general when it comes to things Vedic (cf. refs to Rau and Elizarenkova).
Erdosy, George ed., The Indo-Aryans of Ancient south Asia: Language,
Material Culture and Ethnicity (Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 1995).
articles by Erdosy, K.A. R. Kennedy, M. Deshpande, M. Witzel, J. Shaffer.
Erdosy, George. Urbanisation in early historic India (Oxford, B.A.R.,
Feuerstein, Georg, Subhash Kak, and David Frawley. In Search of the
Cradle of Civilization. Wheaton, Illinois: Quest Books, 1995. Also in
short form, “In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient
India,” article in recent Yoga Journal.
Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press,
1996. [P. Olivelle says best intro currently available, and pays sensitive
attention to the Aryan/IVC question as well as modern issues.]
Frawley, David. Gods, Sages and Kings. Salt Lake City: Passage Press,
1991; New Delhi: Voice of India, 1993.
Frawley, David. “On the Banks of the Saraswati: The ancient history of
India revised.” The Quest, Autumn 1992, 22-30.
Uses evidence of the Saraswati river and astronomical data from the
Vedas to prove that Aryans have been in India forever, well at least 7500
BCE. [V. Narayanan]
Frawley, David. The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India. New Delhi: Voice
of India, 1994. More Frawley: Hinduism Today, Dec. 1994 vol. 16/no. 12.
Summarizes Kak, Frawley and others; gives timeline paying special attention
to astronomical details. Hinduism Today, Nov. 1991 “Invasion or
Indigenous?” [V. Narayanan] [ Some of this material also available
through http://zeta.cs.adfa.oz.au/Spirit/Veda/myth-of-invasion.html ]
Frawley, David with N.S.Rajaram. Vedic Aryans and the Origins of
Civilization. New Delhi: Voice of India, 1996.
Frawley, David. See also co-authored work under Feuerstein.
Garrett, Andrew. “Indo-European reconstruction and historical
methodologies” in Language 67 (1991) pp. 790-804.
Gila-Kochanowski, Vania de. Aryan and Indo-Aryan migrations/ tr. by L.
Regnier in Diogenes v. 149 (Spring, 1990) pp. 122-45
Gupta, S. P. Archaeology of Soviet Central Asia and the Indian
borderlands. foreword, V. A. Ranov. Delhi : B.R. Pub. Corp.; New Delhi :
D.K. Publishers’ Distributors,1979.2 v.
Gupta, S. P. The Indus-Saraswati Civilization. Delhi: Pratibha Prakashan,
Kak, S.C. A frequency analysis of the Indus script. Cryptologia, vol.
12, 1988, 129-43.
Kak, S.C. The Astronomical Code of the Rigveda. Puratattva: Bulletin of
the Indian Archaeological Society, Number 25, 1994/5, 1-20.
Kak, S.C. On the classification of Indic languages. Annals of the
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, vol. 75, 1994, pp. 185-195.
Kak, S.C. The astronomy of the age of geometric altars. Quarterly Journal
of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 36, 1995, pp. 385-396.
Kak, S.C. An Indus-Sarasvati signboard. Cryptologia, vol. 20, 1996, pp.
Kak, S.C. See also co-authored work under Feuerstein.
Lal, B.B. & Gupta S.P, eds. Frontiers of the Indus Civilization. New
Delhi: Books and Books, 1984. Includes Lal’s “Some Reflections on the
Structural Remains at Kalibangan.”
Lal, B.B. See also Possehl 1995.
Lochtefeld, Jim. A very interesting article on Hindutva in the Spring
(96?) issue of the journal RELIGION.
Lukacs, John ed. The People of South Asia. N.Y & London: Plenum Press,
1984. Includes article by J. Shaffer.
Menon, Shanti. “Archeology Watch: Chariot Racers of the Steppes.”
Discover, April 1995, short and magazine-style readable. (No page numbers
in my copy.) Features the research of David Anthony, archeologist from
Hartwick College, NY. [V. Narayanan]
Misra, S.S. The Aryan problem, a linguistic approach. N. Delhi: Munshiram
Misra, S.S. The Avestan : a historical and comparative grammar.1st ed.
Varanasi : Chaukhambha Orientalia, 1979. Chaukhambha oriental research
studies; no. 13.
Misra, S.S. A comparative grammar of Sanskrit, Greek and Hittite. With a
foreword by Suniti Kumar Chatterji. Calcutta, World Press, 1968.
Misra, S.S. The laryngeal theory : a critical evaluation / Satya Swarup
Misra. 1st ed. Varanasi : Chaukhambha Orientalia, 1977.
Misra, S.S. New lights on Indo-European comparative Varanasi: Manisha
Prakashan, 1975. Manisha oriental research series ; no. 1.
Misra, S.S. The Old-Indo-Aryan, a historical & comparative. Varanasi :
Ashutosh Prakashan Sansthan, 1991-1993.
Misra, S.S. Fresh light on Indo-European classification and chronology.
Varanasi : Ashutosh Prakashan Sansthan, 1980.
Mitchiner, John E. Studies in the Indus Valley Inscription. New Delhi:
Nayak, B.U. and N.C. Ghosh, eds. New Trends in Indian Art and Archaeology.
New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan 1992.
Pal, Yash, et al. “Remote Sensing of the ‘Lost’ Sarasvati,” in B.B. Lal &
S.P. Gupta, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization (see above).
Parpola, Asko. Prof. Parpola sent a list of his important works for this
bibliography, with comments:
Parpola, Asko, 1988. The coming of the Aryans to Iran and India and the
cultural and ethnic identity of the Dasas. Studia Orientalia 64: 195-302.
Helsinki. (This paper was reprinted, without my permission and in fact
against my express wish to the contrary, in the International Journal of
Dravidian Linguistics, without mentioning the original place of publication
and with unindicated deletions.) This paper is now partially antiquated, as
my views have been evolving with new evidence and continued deliberation.
Successive revisions which however do not repeat much material of the above
article that I still subscribe to are:
Parpola, Asko, 1993. Margiana and the Aryan problem. Information Bulletin
of the International Association for the Study of the Cultures of Central
Asia 19: 41-62. Moscow.
Parpola, Asko, 1994. Deciphering the Indus Script. Cambridge and New York:
Cambridge University Press. Pp. 142-159 =3D chapters 8.4 The coming of the
Aryans, and 8.5 The horse argument.
Parpola, Asko, 1995. The problem of the Aryans and the Soma: The
archaeological evidence. Pp. 353-381 in: George Erdosy (ed.), The
Indo-Aryans of ancient South Asia: Language, material culture and ethnicity
Parpola, Asko, in press. Formation of the Aryan branch of Indo-European.
In: Roger Blench and Matthew Spriggs (eds.), Language and Archaeology, vol.
3: Combining archaeological and linguistic aspects of the past. London:
Routledge. (Paper read at World Archaeological Congress 3, New Delhi, 4-11
Parpola, Asko, in press. The Aryan languages and archaeology, with an
excursus on Botaj. In: Bridget and Raymond Allchin (eds.), South Asian
Archaeology 1995. New Delhi: Oxford and IBH Publishing Company. (Paper read
at the conference on South Asian Archaeology held at the University of
Cambridge, England, in July 1995.)
Parpola, Asko, in press. (I do not have the exact title at hand.) To
appear in: The Journal of Indo-European studies. (Paper read at the
symposium on Bronze and Iron Age peoples of eastern Central Asia organized
by Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania, 19-21 April 1996.)
(Following are other works of Prof. Parpola from RISA-L discussion or from
library catalogs. He has been publishing on Indus civ. and script as well
as Aryans and other aspects of ancient Indian history/archeology for about
30 years. Pre-1985 publications are not included here.)
Parpola, Asko, ed. Association of South Asian Archaeologists in Western
Europe. International Conference (12th : 1993 : Helsinski, Finland) South
Asian Archaeology, 1993 : proceedings. Helsinki: Suomalainen
Parpola, Asko & Jagat Pati Joshi, eds., with the assistance of Erja
Lahdenpera and Virpi Hameen-Anttila. Corpus of Indus seals and
inscriptions. Helsinki : Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1987-<1991> Memoirs
of the Archaeological Survey of India ; no. 86. Suomalaisen Tiedeakatemian
toimituksia. Sarja B ; nide 239,
Parpola, Asko. Deciphering the Indus script. New York, NY : Cambridge
Univ. Press, 1994.
Parpola, Asko. The sky-garment : a study of the Harappan religion and its
relation to the Mesopotamian and later Indian religions / by Asko Parpola.
Helsinki : Societas Orientalis Fennica, 1985.Series title: Studia
Parpola, Asko & Bent Smidt Hansen, eds. South Asian religion and society.
London : Curzon Press ; Riverdale, MD : Riverdale Co., 1986.
Possehl, Gregory, ed. “Harappan Civilization: A Recent Perspective” 2nd
rev. ed. (New Delhi : American Institute of Indian Studies and Oxford & IBH
Pub. Co. c1993)
Includes: Allchin,”The Legacy of the Indus Civilization”; B.B. Lal, “West
was West and East was East, but When and How did the Twain Meet?”; Robert
Dyson, “Paradigm Changes in the Study of the Indus Civilization”; Jim
Shaffer, “Harappan Culture: A Reconsideration”
Possehl, Gregory. 1996 book on Indus script, exact title not at hand.
Univ. of Penn. Press.
S.R. Rao. Dawn and Devolution of the Indus Civilization. N. Delhi:
Aditya Prakashan, 1991.
S.R. Rao. Lothal and the Indus Civilization. Bombay: Asia Publishing,
Rau, Wilhelm. A whole bunch of stuff in German. I have my doubts
about the usefulness of the archaeological record in general when it comes
to things Vedic (cf. refs to Rau and Elizarenkova). [G. Thompson]
Renfrew, Colin. ” Origins of Indo-European Language.” Scientific American,
Oct. ’89, 106-14.
Renfrew, Colin. Approaches to social archaeology. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard
University Press, 1984.
Renfrew, Colin. Archaeology and language : the puzzle of Indo-European
origins London : J. Cape, 1987. New York : Cambridge University Press, 1988
Saussure, Ferdinand de.
PhD diss.: “Memoire sur le systeme primitif des voyelles dans les langues
indo-europeenes” [Paris: Vieweg, 1887; reprinted 1879]
It has been excerpted [very briefly] and translated into English by
WinfredP. Lehmann in his “A Reader in Nineteenth-Century Historical
Indo-European Linguistics” [Indiana Univ. Press, 1967].
A lucid and accessible discussion of it [with a refreshingly
biographical touch] can be found in Emile Benveniste: “Problems in General
Linguistics” [eng transl. publ. by Univ. of Miami Press, 1971]. Chapter
Three: “Saussure after Half a Century”.
It might also be interesting for Indologists in general to consult
Hans Heinrich Hock’s “Principles of Historical Linguistics” [Mouton de
Gruyter, 1986], where a fairly extensive and more technical discussion is
The migration model has been generated by principles that really work.
Admittedly, the model is hypothetical. It exists in that land alluded to
by Laurie, to the east of the asterisk. But think of in 1879 applying
these principles and concluding that there *had* to be a “coefficient
sonantique”, attested in no known language, but necessary nevertheless in
order to explain IE ablaut. Of course, a generation later Hittite was
discovered, and — guess what — laryngeals were *right there* where
Saussure thought that the coefficient sonantique should have been. In his
skillful hands the principles worked [G. Thompson]
Seidenberg, A. “The Ritual Origin of Geometry” in Archive for Exact
Science, vol. 1.1, 1960, pp. 488-527.
Seidenberg, A. “The Origin of Mathematics,” in Archive for Exact Science,
vol. 18, 1978, pp. 301-42.
Sethna, K.D. ‘The Problem of Aryan Origins (from an Indian Point of View)
Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1992.
This 1992 ed (as opposed to the 1980 one), has a 200 pg. supplement
which meticulously critiques Asko Parpola’s speculations on the coming of
the Aryans into India. Sethna’s book is generally well written and
provocative. It is also free from Nationalistic undertones. [E. Bryant]
Shaffer, James. See Erdosy 1995, Possehl 1995, Lukacs 1984.
Sharma, G.K. “the horse was buried under the dunes of…” in Puratattva no.
23, 1922-3 pp 30-34 “a poignant article with a few ref’s” [E. Bryant].
Singh, Bhagavan . The Vedic Harappans. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1995.
Is the Rig so nomadic? What do we do about ref’s to thousand pillared
houses, thousand doored houses, pillars of copper covered with gold, purs
made of stone (asanmaya), and of plaster? (dehya) which are prthvi, bahula
and urvi. What about ships with a hundred oars and the numerous references
to boats and maritime trade? What about the oceanic imagery in cosmology
and other cosmic references? Is this compatible with a nomadic tribesmen
who had never seen the ocean? I will defer to G. on this, for the time
being, but would be curious as to his (or anyone’s) opinion on a book
recently published called ‘The Vedic Harappans’ by Bhagavan Singh, New
Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1995. It seems that if we look for nomadic Aryans
in the Rig, we will come away with a nomadic reading of the text. Singh,
at least, has not shared those assumptions. Extracting all the words from
the Rig dealing with material culture (which result in sizeable lists) his
reading is of a culture fully aware of urbanity and pastoralism
simultaneously–just like India today. I haven’t had time to check all his
references yet, so I cannot give an informed opinion as to his accuracy.
Talageri, Shrikant. Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism. New
Delhi: Voice of India, 1993.
Talageri is explicitly of the Hindutva camp, and the first part of his
book can be critiqued accordingly. The rest of his work, though, reveals a
very keen mind examining the ‘evidence’ upon which the Aryan invasion
theory was put together and merits a response in kind (he is at his worst,
I should note, when he tries to propose Maharashtra as the IE homeland).
Talbot, Cynthia. “History, Ethnicity, and Identity: Who is Indian?” paper
presented at Univ of Texas South Asia Seminar, March 28, 1996. Abstract
(and maybe the rest by now?) is on the U of Texas Asian Studies website.
I would echo Talbot’s words: “Rather than summarily dismissing the
revisionist historiography [concerned with the medieval Hindu-Muslim
encounter and the question of India’s protohistory]…I urge professional
historians to seize this opportunity to ressess the premises of the
standard historiography.” [Leslie Orr]
Thapar, Romila. From Lineage To State. New Delhi, 1984.
I spent several weeks last spring reading through all the Arya
controversy literature that I could lay my hands on–including all the
titles specified thus far in your mailings. I think that Romila Thapar has
done the best job so far of sifting through the evidence. [Nancy Falk]
Thapar, Romila. Interpreting Early India (Delhi: Oxford University
Nancy adds an important point about Thapar, and she reminds me that I
have found Thapar’s work actually quite good for pedagogical purposes on
this issue. I have assigned Thapar’s essay, “Imagined Religious
Communities?” and “Ideology and the Interpretation of Early Indian History”
in a collection of her essays, **Interpreting Early India** (Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1993), at the END of classes on early Indian religious
history. These two essays in particular are quite helpful because they do
present some of the counter-evidence in some simple, straightforward ways.
They raise the issue of identifying race with language, BOTH in terms of
Orientalist and communalist historiographies of Aryan identities. For that
sort of even-handedness it is quite helpful in classes. And she agrees
with Dyson in questioning the usefulness of the invasion hypthesis, but for
political, not archaeological, reasons. She argues in **From Lineage to
State** (New Delhi, 1984) that there is a kind of symbiotic
relationship between Aryan and non-Aryan, with an adoption of vocabulary,
linguistic structures, technologies and religious practices in a bi-lingual
But I would argue for assigning these essays by Thapar at the end
of a class, or a section on this material, not at the beginning. The
essays expect a lot of historiographical sophistication–sometimes
problematic for the beginning student. Much of the intriguing points she
makes would NOT be lost on the student who is a little more familiar with
issues of representing India, etc. [Laurie Patton]
Thappar, B.K. “Kalibangan: A Harappan Metropolis beyond the Indus Valley”
in Expedition,17.2 (1975) 19-33.
I was unable to recognize the fire altars that he depicted. I tried
without success to obtain further photos from him, and to my knowledge he
has not published any more on the subject. What he did publish did not
resemble (at least not very easily) any Vedic fire altars that could be
recognized from the ‘Srautasuutras. Nevertheless, it is possible, if not
likely, that he is correct. [Fred Smith]
On horse controversy (from larger discussion), E. Bryant: I mentioned
previously that, due to the politicization of this whole issue. . . a
Hungarian horse bone specialist was called in to examine the specimens in
Surkotada. He confirmed that they were equus caballus Linn. I would have
to add, now, that a prominent archaeologist (who asked to remain unnamed on
the list) informed me yesterday that this identifi-cation has been rejected
by Meadows. I’ll have to hunt down the article. Of course, one would have
to allow the Hungarian specialist, Sandor Bokonyi, to defend his
identification, but I had not been aware of any controversy on these
particular findings, at least, which there now evidently is.