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Monday, November 16, 2015

The Aryan Trail (3500 - 1500 BC)

Cool little website here titled The Aryan Trail (3500 - 1500 BC). A lot of the stuff will look very familiar to those who've been following this blog and the latest ancient DNA results, which, among other things, include the discovery of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a-Z94 in a sample from a Kurgan burial at Potapovka, near the Volga River, Russia, dated to 2925-2536 cal BCE (see Poltavka_outlier, ID I0432, Mathieson et al. 2015). Of course, R1a-Z94 is one of the most common Y-chromosome haplogroups amongst present-day Indo-Aryans.

Excavations conducted from 1985-1988 in Potapovka exposed four burial mounds, or kurgans, dated between 2200-2000 BC. Beneath kurgan 3 the central grave pit had remains of a man buried with at least two horse heads and the head of a sheep, in addition to pottery vessels and weapons. After the grave pit was filled, a human male was decapitated, his head was replaced with the head of a horse, and he was laid down over the filled grave shaft. This unique ritual provides a convincing antecedent for the Rig Vedic myth of Dadhyac Atharvan who knows the secret of making Soma juice, the nectar of immortality. The Asvins insists that Dadhyac tell them the secret. He refuses. They cut off his head and replaces it with the head of a horse, through which he becomes an oracle and tells them the secret.

Source: The Aryan Trail (3500 - 1500 BC)


Krefter said...

Very interesting. Genetically proto-Indo Iranians were distinct from Yamnaya and Catacomb. The article treats them as ancestors of proto-Indo Iranians but they were more 1st cousins. There was divergence in IE was before Yamnaya.

Davidski said...

We don't yet have any samples from western Catacomb, nor western Yamnaya, for that matter.

Coldmountains said...

Looks mostly realistic just some details are maybe a bit off . Proto-Indo-Aryans moved east of the Ural and from here to BMAC. They left some linguistic traces in some Uralic languages which were during this period geographically more eastern located. So they entered BMAC directly from the north in my opinion and not from the west.

andrew said...

Wow! What a gory vignette. Makes the Godfather look like a patsy.

Bill Lipton said...

Sonds like an ongoing update to the stuff I published in "Grandpa Was A Deity: How a Tribal Assertion Created Modern Culture"

Anonymous said...

Derek said...

David Anthony on the supposed Potapovka horse head burial:

"A horse sacrifice above the Potapovka grave is dated by sample AA 47802 to about 1900-1800 BCE. Although they were almost a thousand years apart, they looked, on excavation, like they were deposited together, with the Potapovka horse skull lying about the shoulders of the decapitated Poltavka human. Before dates were obtained on both the horse and skeleton this deposit was interpreted as a "centaur"-a decapitated human with his head replaced by the head of a horse, an important combination in Indo-Iranian mythology. But Nerissa Russell and Eileen Murphy found that both the horse and the human were female, and the dates show they were buried a thousand years apart."

Corrected an instance of "Potavoka" in Derek's transcription above to Potapovka.

I could only track Derek's excerpt from Anthony to a footnote in a later edition of David Anthony's "The Horse, The Wheel and Language". Anthony essentially ends by saying that he and his colleagues must now abandon the connection they had initially sought to make. So they no longer connect some myth in the Rig Veda with what they had originally construed as a centaur steppe burial, but which eventually turned out to be a mere mix up of human and animal remains from very different times.