Nehring and anthropologist Carleton S. Geneticists are now generally decidedly agreed that the time frame of the Andronovo culture cannot be equated with the Indo-Iranians since the Central Asian influence on South Asian populations long predated any development of Iranian or Indo-Aryan languages. The earliest of the Andronovo cultures is closely related to, if not identical with, the Sintashta-Arkhaim culture, dated to the first centuries of the second millennium BC. The field of Indo-European Studies has been heavily influenced by pseudoscientific theories often referred to as Eurocentrism or Indo-Europeanism. Such theories contend that Indo-European history stretches back to early Neolithic times, and that every major civilization in history is of Indo-European origin.

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No one who is serious about deciding the Indo-European Homeland question can afford to leave this book unread. It gives a very detailed history of the Andronovo culture and its surroundings in time and space. While it has become a very authoritative work on Andronovo, there remains a big question-mark over its presumptuous title: was this culture indeed the cradle of the Indo-Iranians?

It promises to give the prehistory of the Aryan invasion, the preceding movements of the tribes concerned, perhaps even the events that triggered their migration into India. No one serious about arguing the case for an Indian Homeland can afford to leave it unanswered. I have had it on my shelves for a few years, hoping to find time to thoroughly review it. But a review simply cannot wait anymore.

The book ends with a discussion of the procedure for establishing the chronology of Andronovo, and starts with a detailed explanation about the archaeological method and the rules for ethnographic reconstruction. Then follows an analysis of the typical Andronovo features that allow her to define the spatial and temporal boundaries of the culture she studies.

And at once, we notice something that will characterize many passages: though convinced of the Aryan invasion, she furnishes data that are compatible with, or even point to, an opposite Bactria-to-Urals migration. In this case, the Indo-Europeans, historically known to practise both types of disposal of the dead, but mainly cremation though inhumation will be magnified in the eyes of the archaeologists as it leaves so many more traces , brought cremation with them along the Amu Darya to the Aral Lake area and on to the Urals.

While the observation has no evidential value in itself, it deserves noting that the cultural identity of the Andronovo culture has now virtually become a matter of consensus: the Andronovo culture was Indo-Iranian. This book itself has greatly contributed to that consensus, for before its publication, there was still some hesitation.

It leads to the undisputable statement that the Andronovans were Indo-Europeans. However, the common Indo-European character of the whole burial complex does not, strictly speaking, permit one to declare the Andronovans as Indo-Aryans. What decides the question for her, is the wealth of correspondences between her material findings and references in Indian or Iranian texts.

Thus, she describes the typical fireplace and then the corresponding reference in Vedic literature. Thus, in Rome, round hearths were sacred to the goddess Vesta, rectangular including square ones to male deities. This could be coincidence, for there are only that many ways of making a fireplace, and it may have been by coincidence that Indo-Iranians and Andronovans hit upon the same design.

But let us assume a genealogical relationship: either the Andronovan hearth became the Vedic one, as Kuzmina assumes, or vice-versa. Then everything depends on the chronology. South-Asians may have left their homes and taken the fireplace design with them to Central Asia, where from BCE they participated in the Andronovo culture. Though Indo-Aryan and Iranian, together with Dardic, are usually reckoned as branches of a single linguistic group, there is evidence for a conflict between an Indo-Aryan and an Iranian population connected with the Vedic c.

Oldenberg showed that in spite of the genetic closeness of religious beliefs, the Vedas and Avesta differ considerably, and that in the Avesta many of the heroes play opposite roles to their counterparts in the Veda. This starts at the level of the gods, where Indra is glorified in the Vedas and demonized in the Avesta. Rjashva, the Vedic king in the Varshagira battle, is glorified in the Rg-Veda, but demonized in the Avesta. They fought even though they were linguistically and religiously very close.

Even in the Aryan Invasion paradigm, where Indo-Aryans and Iranians are like colonizers of adjoining territories after penetrating south of Bactria, this should have been thought of.

Just compare with the colonial wars: the English against the Spanish on the high seas pirates , the French against the English in Canada, the Dutch against the Portuguese in Sri Lanka, the English against the Dutch Boers in South Africa: after the initial conquest, subsequent conflicts were between different groups of conquerors.

She is definitely mistaken in linking cousin marriage with the caste system. Iranian cousin marriage probably predated the caste system. Even in the Aryan Invasion Theory AIT , the invasion predated and occasioned the genesis of the caste system, which took place in India, where the Iranians never set foot. This prohibition happens to make biological sense too, for a population with frequent cousin marriages produces more handicapped or malformed children as can be seen by a comparison between native Britons and the worse-afflicted British-Pakistani community, where cousin marriages often form the majority.

So, Iranian cousin-marriage can safely be disconnected from Indian caste endogamy. That was just to illustrate how her knowledge of the Indo-Iranian cultures she is dealing with, is not as good as her undoubtedly first-class knowledge of Andronovo archaeology.

That is not an argument in itself, but it is good to keep in mind before accepting her correlation between scripturally attested cultures and archaeology. These facts indicate that the rise of sheep-raising in Iranian society occurred after the collapse of Indo-Iranian unity. The first Indo-Aryans and Iranians were neighbours in Northwest India; they developed a conflict in which the Vedic people were victorious while the Iranian regrouped in a territory where some of them had already migrated: Afghanistan.

In this mountainous territory, sheep flourished much better than cattle, and therefore became the centre of the Iranian economy. Within the Andronovo horizon, one culture stands out as especially related to the Vedic culture of the Indo-Aryans: the Fedorovo culture. While she finds plenty of Iranian toponyms, many probably stemming from the later Scythian period 1st mill.

Let us assume, with the author, that the Fedorovo culture is Indo-Aryan; though mixed in its classical habitat on the eastern slopes of the Urals with Ugrian, the Uralic branch that was to spawn Hungarian. It flourished around BC, just in time to reach India for an invasion ca. That looks neat and surely AIT believers will seize upon it as supporting their invasion scenario. The sources for Fedorovo ceramic technology and triangular ornamentation are found in the Eneolithic of central and eastern Kazakhstan.

At best we could agree that at present, the distribution of Fedorovo findings across Central Asia can be interpreted in more ways than just the Urals-to-Bactria scenario. Moreover, any movement understood as going to Bactria, is never traced as going beyond it, entering India. Here too, we notice a disappointment for those who expected an underpinning for AIT-compliant migrations from the Andronovo data. It is mostly based on the usual reading of the Vedic references to the Battle of the Ten Kings, which is in fact not against any dark aboriginals but against the Iranians.

Stage 1 takes place in the 20thth century BCE. This means the BMAC was expanding northward, precisely what you would expect if you assume the Iranians first settled in Bactria and then expanded into Kazakhstan and onwards to the Urals.

We will meet a later movement from Bactria to the west, but this movement took place several times, including in ca. Then she jumps to India, without positing any causal link with any Andronovo development, and quotes G. Stage 2 is situated in the 16thth century BCE. All kinds of movements take place north of or at most, in the north of present-day Afghanistan, such as the Timber Grave culture mixing with the Andronovo culture around Samarkand, far away from India.

No sign, apparently, of an invasion of Andronovans into India, confirming the non-discovery of Andronovan elements by Indian archaeologists. Fine, but none of that amounts to an invasion of India. Stage 3 really comes too late for the Aryan invasion of India: 13th-9th century BC. Intermittently, groups of Iranians must have moved from Bactria to the Urals and even to Ukraine for more than a thousand years.

One of the later migrating tribes were apparently the Hrvat, now known as the Croats. Before migrating west and adopting the Slavic language of the Serbs, they belonged to the Harahvaita tribe in Afghanistan mentioned as tribute-payers to the Persian empire in an Achaemenid document. It is important here that we can recognize a historically known migration, viz. This means that archaeology, though uncertain and vague, is nonetheless relevant for history.

That makes the archaeological silence on another supposed historical development, viz. We have nothing to add to the wealth of archaeological data on the Andronovo culture that Elena Kuzmina provides. Her interpretative framework, however, is flawed and limited by the rather dated presuppositions about the Homeland and the invasion of India. Moreover, a culture beginning in BCE comes a bit late to stage an Aryan invasion, especially given the many indications that the concomitant chronology of ancient Indian literature is late.

Things would be more challenging, if we had been shown a rootedness of the Andronovo culture in preceding cultures, thousands of years older. In that case, it would be difficult to deduce those earlier cultures from an emigration from India, and the case for an intrusion from a non-Indian Homeland would be that much stronger. Perhaps this was not the object of her book, and another archaeologist might be able to trace Andronovo to earlier cultures, to the exclusion of Indian influences.

There are many might-have-beens in the Homeland debate, but this deeper non-Indian genealogy of cultures has at any rate not been offered in this book. Nor, to our knowledge, anywhere else. If it had been, it would be mustered by interested parties all the time. While this is undoubtedly an important book, and as far as I can judge, it is a classic of Andronovo archaeology, but it fails in its primary mission: to show that this culture was the staging-ground for an Aryan invasion of Iran and India.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article. The Andronovo cradle of the Indo-Iranians? Koenraad Elst Indology Koenraad Elst. Next article South Asians?


Category:Andronovo culture

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Andronovo culture

The Andronovo culture is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished c. Most researchers associate the Andronovo horizon with early Indo-Iranian languages , though it may have overlapped the early Uralic -speaking area at its northern fringe. According to genetic study conducted by Allentoft et al. Several graves were discovered, with skeletons in crouched positions, buried with richly decorated pottery.

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