Indus Valley Civilization Unicorn Seal and Impression at Indian Museum. Source.
You will recall in Post 15 that we described the Land of the Horsemen 5,203 Years Ago. This is the people group defined as the original speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language. We learned that their language spread from their homeland in the Caucasus pretty much according to the map below. The spread of this language is an indicator of the spread of this people (there was no other way to acquire a language than to trade with, join, or be conquered by the speakers). You will note that two of the arrows flow through Persia (Iran), and one of those continues through Pakistan to India.
Map A. Migration of Indo-European Speaking People. Source.
The timing of the people movements in the above map were far from rapid or simultaneous, and there are important counterarguments (see The Anatolian Hypothesis about a Pre-Proto-Indo-European homeland). But the above map represents a mainstream view of the homeland as in the Ukraine bordered by the Caucasus mountains. The arrows above through Persia are proposed to be early migrations of the PIE speaking people group from their homeland through Iran into Mesopotamia and another crossing Afghanistan into India. Linguists are the people first estimating the time these migrations took place. But, archaeological excavations revealing evidence that people with wheeled chariots and wagons, herds, and other accouterments of the PIE speakers will enable us to use C14 dating to scientifically establish dates. We’ll talk more about that later.
The current Indo-Iranian languages in parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan are identified in map B below. These languages are identified as Indo-European and are hard evidence that the southeastern migrations in Map A got that far. The Indus Valley borders the colored area on the east (right) side.
Map B. Present Indo-European Languages in the Area West of Indus River Valley. Source.
Map C below shows that migration extending southeast from Afghanistan into India by 1750 BC, where the invaders defeated the northwestern inhabitants. The era following their arrival is called the Vedic period, and much of the fighting (and more) is recorded in the Rig Veda and other Vedas in the Vedic Sanskrit language, and later recorded in Sanskrit after hundreds of years of disciplined memorization and recitation, similar to the oral period of the Illiad and Odyssey.
Around 3300 BC, 5300 years ago (the era of my novels), the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) emerged. Map D below identifies (blue dots) the locations of excavations identifying the IVC sites.
Map D. Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) 3300-1500 BC. Source.
The written language (script) of the IVC has not yet been deciphered. That doesn’t mean it’s an unknown language group, but we simply have no clue (e.g. Rosetta Stone) to decipher the script. One can’t help but notice the “coincidence” of the arrival of the PIE speaking people a couple centuries before the end of the IVC (1500 BC). The beginning IVC period was called the Early Harappan Phase and is illustrated in Map E below.
Map E. Source: Jane McIntosh’s book “The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives.” See Bibliography and Archaeologists tabs.
As before, Map F below leaves no doubt that the Indo-European language got this far east, nor that its speakers prevailed. However, that doesn’t verify that Map E’s IVC people ever spoke PIE, but their end-date strongly suggests the IVC disappeared only a couple centuries after the PIE invasion. Nor do we have any evidence that the timing of the Early Harappan period overlapped the arrival of the first PIE speakers. We’ll address this “overlap” issue later.
Map F. Present Day Indo-European Languages in India. Credit.
That takes us to the establishment of the Indus Valley civilization, and informs us of its coming doom 1,800 years later. An 1,800 year civilization is comparable to those in Mesopotamia and Egypt, yet few around us have even heard of its accomplishments. The IVC inspired me to include it in my Raising Up Pharaoh series of novels. We will look at the major excavations in the Indus Valley in the next post.