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Thread: Indo-Iranian Archaeology

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    Indo-Iranian Archaeology

    Opening this thread with a review written by Lamberg-Karlovsky from 2002:

    This review of recent archaeological work in Central Asia and Eurasia attempts to trace and date the movements of the Indo-Iranians - speakers of languages of the eastern branch of Proto-Indo-European that later split into the Iranian and Vedic families. Russian and Central Asian scholars working on the contemporary but very different Andronovo and Bactrian Margiana archaeological complexes of the 2nd millennium B.C. have identified both as Indo-Iranian, and particular sites so identified are being used for nationalist purposes. There is, however, no compelling archaeological evidence that they had a common ancestor or that either is Indo-Iranian. Ethnicity and language are not easily linked with archaeological signature, and the identity of the Indo-Iranians remains elusive.
    [PDF]

    Although over a decade old, the review gives us a very good run-through of the features in Andronovo and BMAC which have corresponded to various traits found among modern Indo-Iranians. In addition, it provides a balanced account of the culture observed in both complexes. Kuz'mina's The Origin of the Indo-Iranians is a far more comprehensive and current read and I'd refer anyone interested in the intricacies to read it.

    Goes without saying the authors' wariness towards genetics was appropriate for 2002, but the evidence-based boon experienced in population genetics since then would certainly warrant a re-assessment of that perspective now.

    One interesting theme I have observed in Indo-Iranian archaeology papers is the deduction that the Andronovo-BMAC interactions were, relatively speaking, peaceful. There are fortified settlements in the BMAC, but don't appear to be in response to northern nomads, rather a relic of architectural traditions deriving from their origin in West Asia that were continued for religious reasons (article above). Drawing on H Haarmann's paper regarding the process of Indo-Europeanisation (link), it is reasonable to presume this "peace" stemmed from a lack of agricultural competition between the two (agro-pastoralism vs. subsistence farming).

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    A lecture delivered by none other than David Anthony (Dec 2012). Although the first two thirds deals with the development of horse domestication and wheeled vehicles, Anthony discusses Sintashta and the BMAC in the final third.

    Note that Anthony explains the Andronovo/Sintashta-BMAC interactions were not one-way and evidence of material borrowing from the BMAC (pyramid engravings on pots) was found all the way back in the Sintashta and Potapovka cultures for an amount of time.

    Another point of interest is Anthony too subscribes to the idea of a "contact zone" between Andronovo and BMAC, although he specifies this is the case for Indo-Aryan, implying it is less so for Iranian. Is there any linguistic support for this distinction?


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    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    Another point of interest is Anthony too subscribes to the idea of a "contact zone" between Andronovo and BMAC, although he specifies this is the case for Indo-Aryan, implying it is less so for Iranian. Is there any linguistic support for this distinction?
    Yes. Indo-Aryan has many more words borrowed from the otherwise unknown language assumed to be that of the BMAC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Yes. Indo-Aryan has many more words borrowed from the otherwise unknown language assumed to be that of the BMAC.
    I am aware of certain words in both Avestan and Sanskrit with non-IE origins; are you aware of any texts in the literature which outline the nature of these words?

    One post-2000 paper (cannot recall title unfortunately) explains that these non-IE words were largely agricultural, religious or to do with everyday objects, but only one loanword was to do with weaponry (mace), prompting the authors to speculate the early Indo-Iranians had some sort of military advantage (contradicts the "peaceful" consensus view somewhat, doesn't it?).

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    The paper you are looking for is Alexander Lubotsky, The Indo-Iranian substratum, in Early Contacts between Uralic and Indo-European: Linguistic and Archaeological Considerations. Papers presented at an international symposium held at the Tvrminne Research Station of the University of Helsinki 8-10 January 1999. (Mmoires de la Socit Finno-ougrienne 242.) Chr. Carpelan, A. Parpola, P. Koskikallio (eds.). Helsinki 2001, 301-317. [free online in pdf. Just Google.]


    I have a couple of other papers by Witzel, to which you have access. The 2005 one may be most useful in this context.
    Last edited by Jean M; 08-14-2014 at 09:19 PM.

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    Anthony's book has Soma and Indra as non-IE among some 383 words in Indo-Aryan!
    http://books.google.com/books?id=0FDqf415wqgC&pg=PA454

    If we look at Mandala 6 of the Rg Veda considered to be the one of most archaic we see the following:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala_6
    The dedication as given by Griffith is in square brackets

    6.1 (442) [Agni.] tuvṃ h agne pratham manta
    6.2 (443) [Agni.] tuvṃ h kṣatavad yśo
    6.3 (444) [Agni.] gne s kṣeṣad ṛtap ṛtej
    6.4 (445) [Agni.] ythā hotar mnuṣo devtātā
    6.5 (446) [Agni.] huv vaḥ sūnṃ shaso yvānam
    6.6 (447) [Agni.] pr nvyasā shasaḥ sūnm chā
    6.7 (448) [Agni.] mūrdhnaṃ div aratm pṛthivy
    6.8 (449) [Agni.] pṛkṣsya vŕṣṇo aruṣsya n shaḥ
    6.9 (450) [Agni.] haś ca kṛṣṇm har rjunaṃ ca
    6.10 (451) [Agni.] pur vo mandrṃ diviyṃ suvṛktm
    6.11 (452) [Agni.] yjasva hotar iṣit yjīyān
    6.12 (453) [Agni.] mdhye htā duroṇ barhṣo rḷ
    6.13 (454) [Agni.] tuvd vśvā subhaga sabhagāni
    6.14 (455) [Agni.] agn y mrtiyo dvo
    6.15 (456) [Agni.] imm ū ṣ vo tithim uṣarbdhaṃ
    6.16 (457) [Agni.] tuvm agne yajn~āṃ
    6.17 (458) [Indra.] pbā smam abh ym ugra trda
    6.18 (459) [Indra.] tm u ṣṭuhi y abhbhūtiojā
    6.19 (460) [Indra.] mahṁ ndro nṛvd carṣaṇipr
    6.20 (461) [Indra.] dyar n y indra abh bhma arys
    6.21 (462) [Indra. Visvedevas.] im u tvā purutmasya kārr
    6.22 (463) [Indra.] y ka d dhviyaś carṣaṇīnm
    6.23 (464) [Indra.] sut t tvṃ nmiśla indra sme
    6.24 (465) [Indra.] vŕṣā mda ndare ślka ukth
    6.25 (466) [Indra.] y ta ūtr avam y param
    6.26 (467) [Indra.] śrudh na indra hvyāmasi tvā
    6.27 (468) [Indra.] km asya mde km u asya pītv
    6.28 (469) [Cows.] gvo agmann ut bhadrm akran
    6.29 (470) [Indra.] ndraṃ vo nraḥ sakhiyya sepur
    6.30 (471) [Indra.] bhya d ? vāvṛdhe vīryāyaṁ
    6.31 (472) [Indra.] bhūr ko rayipate rayīṇm
    6.32 (473) [Indra.] pūrviyā purutmāni asmai
    6.33 (474) [Indra.] y jiṣṭha indara tṃ s no dā
    6.34 (475) [Indra.] sṃ ca tv jagmr gra indra pūrvr
    6.35 (476) [Indra.] kad bhuvan rthakṣayāṇi brhma
    6.36 (477) [Indra.] satr mdāsas tva viśvjanyāḥ
    6.37 (478) [Indra.] arvg rthaṃ viśvvāraṃ ta ugra
    6.38 (479) [Indra.] pād it d u naś citrtamo
    6.39 (480) [Indra.] mandrsya kavr diviysya vhner
    6.40 (481) [Indra.] ndra pba tbhya * sut mdāya
    6.41 (482) [Indra.] heḷamāna pa yāhi yajṃ
    6.42 (483) [Indra.] prti asmai ppīṣate
    6.43 (484) [Indra.] ysya tyc chmbaram mde
    6.44 (485) [Indra.] y rayivo rayṃtamo
    6.45 (486) [Indra.] y nayat parāvtaḥ
    6.46 (487) [Indra.] tuvm d dh hvāmahe
    6.47 (488) [Indra, Etc.] svādṣ klāym mdhumāṁ utyṃ
    6.48 (489) [Agni and Others.] yaj-yajā vo agnye
    6.49 (490) [Visvedevas.] stuṣ jnaṃ suvratṃ nvyasībhir
    6.50 (491) [Visvedevas.] huv vo devm ditiṃ nmobhir
    6.51 (492) [Visvedevas.] d u tyc ckṣur mhi mitryor ṁ
    6.52 (493) [Visvedevas.] n td div n pṛthivynu manye
    6.53 (494) [Pusan.] vaym u tvā pathas pate
    6.54 (495) [Pusan.] sm pūṣan vidṣā naya
    6.55 (496) [Pusan.] hi vṃ vimuco napād
    6.56 (497) [Pusan.] y enam āddeśati
    6.57 (498) [Indra and Pusan.] ndrā n pūṣṇā vayṃ
    6.58 (499) [Pusan.] śukrṃ te anyd yajatṃ te anyd
    6.59 (500) [Indra-Agni.] pr n vocā sutṣu vāṃ
    6.60 (501) [Indra-Agni.] śnthad vṛtrm ut sanoti vjam
    6.61 (502) [Sarasvati.] iym adadād rabhasm ṛṇacytaṃ
    6.62 (503) [Asvins.] stuṣ nrā div asy prasntā
    6.63 (504) [Asvins.] kva ty valg puruhūt ady
    6.64 (505) [Dawn.] d u śriy uṣso rcamānā
    6.65 (506) [Dawn.] eṣ siy no duhit divojḥ
    6.66 (507) [Maruts.] vpur n tc cikitṣe cid astu
    6.67 (508) [Mitra-Varuna.] vśveṣāṃ vaḥ sat~ṃ jyṣṭhatamā
    6.68 (509) [Indra-Varuna.] śruṣṭ vāṃ yaj dyataḥ sajṣā
    6.69 (510) [Indra-Visnu.] sṃ vāṃ krmaṇā sm iṣ hinomi
    6.70 (511) [Heaven and Earth.] ghṛtvatī bhvanānām abhiśryā
    6.71 (512) [Savitar.] d u ṣy devḥ savit hiraṇyyā
    6.72 (513) [Indra-Soma.] ndrāsomā mhi td vām mahitvṃ
    6.73 (514) [Brhaspati.] y adribht prathamaj ṛtvā
    6.74 (515) [Soma-Rudra.] smārudrā dhāryethām asurym
    6.75 (516) [Weapons of War.] jīmtasyeva bhavati prtīkaṃ
    So, if incorporated from outside, not only did Indra show up in the earliest book of the Rg Vedic people, but became one with the most invoked!

    24. May he with might unclose for us the cow's stall, whosesoe'er it be,
    To which the Dasyu-slayer goes.
    25. O Indra Satakratu, these our songs have called aloud to thee,
    Like mother cows to meet their calves.
    26. Hard is thy love to win: thou art a Steer to him who longs for steers:
    Be to one craving steeds a Steed.
    27. Delight thee with the juice we pour for thine own great munificence:
    Yield not thy singer to reproach.
    28. These songs with every draught we pour come, Lover of the Song, to thee,
    As milch-kine hasten to their young
    29. To thee most oft invoked, amid the many singers' rivalry
    Who beg with all their might for wealth.
    30. Nearest and most attractive may our laud, O Indra come to thee.
    Urge thou us on to ample wealth.
    31. Brbu hath set himself above the Panis, o'er their highest head,
    Like the wide bush on Ganga's bank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parasar View Post
    Anthony's book has Soma and Indra as non-IE among some 383 words in Indo-Aryan!
    http://books.google.com/books?id=0FDqf415wqgC&pg=PA454
    Very interesting. The word "xar" is still used in modern Iranic languages and also in some Arabic dialects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    Very interesting. The word "xar" is still used in modern Iranic languages and also in some Arabic dialects.
    What is its meaning?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humanist View Post
    What is its meaning?
    xar (alternate spelling khar I suppose) means "donkey". Another Persian word for it is olagh, but I suspect it's Turkic in origin (given otagh, or "room", definitely is).

    During my time in the Gulf Arab states, I frequently heard khara and hamaar used for "donkey", but my Arab friends told me only the latter is official.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    xar (alternate spelling khar I suppose) means "donkey". Another Persian word for it is olagh, but I suspect it's Turkic in origin (given otagh, or "room", definitely is).

    During my time in the Gulf Arab states, I frequently heard khara and hamaar used for "donkey", but my Arab friends told me only the latter is official.
    I am not familiar with "khar" = "donkey" but I am familiar with all of the other words. Forms of the word "hamaar" are attested in many Semitic languages. It is attested as long ago as Akkadian, in the form "himaru." In Sureth it is "hmara." The words "olagh" and "otagh" are both loans in my Sureth dialect, and are used quite frequently.
    Last edited by Humanist; 08-14-2014 at 11:28 PM.

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