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Aryan Invasion Theory - Archaelogical Perspective

Iron and Horse - The material evidence of Aryans are debated around this two lethal components  of war. The bronze age civilisations of Harappa and Mohenjadaro did not possess this two components as a political state. The advent of Aryans brought in this two major components which became the Ayasa (Red metal) and Ashva (Domesticated horse) of the Vedic age to come. But the problem for this theory is that there is no Iron or Horse found in any of the Archaeological excavations of Indus valley civilisation so far. If the Aryans came as invaders and settled in this land, what happened to the Iron weapons and Horses. Just Disappeared! may be the only answer (or question) which may be given by the Aryan Invasion theory.

Migrations to Indian subcontinent is as old as the very existence of the features which marked the area as a resource rich, peaceful environment. People have entered the area with the specific needs as nomadic tribes, traders and invaders. They all finally settled in the land and became part of it. However there are no racial features which could be distinguished from the material remains of the population who entered which may be considered as an ‘over throw’ of  one culture by the other. Here comes the importance of distinguishing two words ‘People’ and ‘Race’. There is gradual diffusion of the people into the local community of the place. The earliest evidence may be quoted from the Mehargarh the predecessor of Harappan culture. It is reflected in the change in the subsistence pattern of the people from hunter-gatherers to agriculturist (see article on advent of agriculture). Later it flourished on the banks of the Indus River. Here we could see the obvious example of the change in the of subsistence of the people from the Hunter Gatherers to agriculturist and finally making of the finest urbanisation of that time. This made both the Indian and western historians to find big research gaps in the euro centric Historiography and prompted to re write the history of India many times.

The excavations at Mohenjadaro and Harappa in the Sindh and Punjab province respectively of present day Pakistan was one of the important discovery of the 20th century in Archaeology. Sir Mortimer Wheeler who excavated Harappa once again reported that it is the Aryans led by their supreme God Indra who destroyed the fortified city of Harappa. Further Stuart Piggot declared that the invaders who hated the non Aryans massacred the population and even the children were not spared. It is true that the site of Mohenjadaro yielded the remains of few human skeletons on the street. This skeletons were considered as the remains of a massacre of the Dravidian people by the Aryan Invaders. This explanation of Mortimer wheeler is been clearly refuted by many  Anthropologists. Fresh excavations in Mohenjadaro by G.F Dales (1965) and the study of the artefacts confirmed that such a massacre is a myth. The cut marks on the bone were actual part of the post erosional process and some of the wound which were on the bones were healed before the death of the individual. Few skeletons which had the cut marks belong to the earlier phase prior to the supposed time of Aryan invasion. There were no remains of large number of weapons to massacre a population who were well organised in the social, political, economic system. The Archaeological stratigraphy ( sequence of layers of sediments containing material remains of past culture ) also do not support such a massacre. Prof. Kennedy who is an expert in the south Asian Anthropology also confirms that the human skeletons cannot be identified as Aryan and Dravidian. Moreover the population of the states like Gujarat, Rajastan, Punjab etc. is ethnically stable since three millennium. The skeleton remains of the sites like Ropar, Harappa, and Mohenjadaro shows ethnic similarity with the present day population of Gujarat, Punjab and Sindh.

The absence of the horse bones (Many of the skeleton remain of the animal belonging to Equus is been found to be that of the wild ass than of domesticated horse.) which is the vehicle of the Aryans and the metal iron in any form is a clear indication of the absence of Aryans who are known for this. Moreover many of the excavations revealed that the elements of vedic rites and rituals were found in the archaeology of Harappan sites. The terracotta cake of Kalibangan depicts sacrificial animal led by a person while on the other side a horned deity to whom a sacrifice is offered is shown. Moreover the Harappan cities in India like Lothal, Kalibangan, Surkotada, yielded remains of Fire altar excavated by S. R Rao (Fig),

Vedic Fire Altar found at Kalibangan in Rajasthan, India
Fire Altar excavated at Kalibangan in Rajasthan, India. Kalibangan was the major provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilisation. It is situated on the Ghaggar- Hakra river known in the Vedas as the River Saraswati.  


Swastika Seal from the India Vedic Religion of the Indus Valley found in Harappa
Swastika Seal found in the Harappa excavations

Peepal Tree
The Peepal Tree Seal found in the exacavations at Mohenjo Daro. The peepal tree known as the Ficus Religiosa is the most sacred tree in the Hindu Culture and its worship still continues in India   

Pashupati Seal
Pashupati Seal 

The Swastika seal , The Peepal tree, the Yogic posture on the so called Pasupati seal are the symbols of indigenous Indic religions which have a continuity for more than 5000 years before the time period supposed for Aryan invasion who came with Iron and Horse.

Adding to the material ‘evidence' of the Iron and Horse, the former have an antiquity in Indian subcontinent from 1200 to 800 B.C. The earliest evidence of Iron in India is discovered from the southern Indian state of Karnataka (Hallur) which gives a date of 1200 B.C. and not on the Northern part of India. These are iron smelted through local indigenous techniques. Moreover the horse burial from the Megalithic sites of Vidharbha region of Maharashtra state gives further clarification to the horse and its relationship with indigenous Indian cultures (though horses are not indigenous to India) in the later period around 600 BC.


Horse Ornaments Indus Valley Vidharba Aryan Invasion Myth
Horse Ornaments found in the excavation in Vidharba, Maharashtra

It is clearly evident that the megalithic culture is different from the Vedic culture which mainly spread on the banks of the mighty river Ganges. But here too the cultural similarity is mostly with the Indus region. The cultural adaptation to the new region may be justified and Iron may be the later discovery in the mineral rich plateau of Chota Nagpur towards the north eastern parts of India.