Mythos 23 – Indus Valley Civilization

 

meltwaterIn the last few thousand years of the Pleistocene and throughout the Holocene the world was generally warming causing glaciers to melt. As the glaciers melted, they flooded the seas and oceans of the world, causing the ocean levels to rise, and flooding the coastal areas. The bulk of this flooding is believed to have been between 15,000 and 6,000 years ago, with a spike called Meltwater pulse 1A between 14,600 and 13,000 years ago.(1)Vivien Gornitz (2009) Encyclopedia of paleoclimatology and ancient environments. Page 890, Table S1 During this pulse it is believed that the ocean levels rose by over 20 meters (60 feet) in just 200 years.(2)Jennifer D. Stanford et al. (2006) “Timing of meltwater pulse 1a and climate responses to meltwater injections” Paleoceanography, Volume 21, Number 4, Page 4103

If the flood that engulfed Curuppag, Atra-Hasis’ homeland, happened 22,300 years ago as recorded by the king-list of Kish, Curuppag would likely have been built near the shore of the last glacial maximum, 120 meters (390 feet) below the current sea level. Assuming it was somewhere in the Indian Ocean, the possibilities include the:

  • Persian Gulf

  • Gulf of Khambat off the coast of India

  • Bay of Bengal off the coast of Bangladesh and India

  • Sundaland Plateau, a submerged region between the Indonesian Islands

  • Exmouth Plateau off the coast of Australia

  • Great Chagos Bank in the British Indian Ocean Territory

  • Saya de Malha Bank northeast of Madagascar

  • Seychelles Bank

Give the sea depth and the length of time since the last glacial maximum, unless the civilization built megalithic structures it is unlikely anything from the time will be found. Conversely, Dilmun was a trading partner of the Sumerians and later Mesopotamian civilizations until around 2,800 years ago. At the height of its power Dilmun controlled the Persian Gulf trade routes.(3)Jesper Eidema and Flemming Højlundb (1993) “Trade or diplomacy? Assyria and Dilmun in the eighteenth century BC,” Volume 24, Number 3, Pages 441–448 The Sumerians regarded Dilmun as holy land,(4)Michael Rice (1991) “Egypt’s Making: The Origins of Ancient Egypt 5000-2000 BC,” Page 230 and in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh traveled to Dilmun to find Atra-Hasis (Utnapishtim) who had been granted immortality after the Glacial Maximum flood of 22,300 years ago. In the epic Gilgamesh traveled to Dilmun by traveling over the Zagros Mountains, to the Cedar Forest, in the direction of the rising of the Sun.(5)Jeffrey H. Tigay (2002) The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Myth Trade with Dilmun is not recorded as being done overland, but rather via the sea, and again Dilmun was described as being in the “place where the sun rises”. One of the earliest inscriptions mentioning Dilmun is that of King Ur-Nanshe of Lagash from around 4,300 years ago found in a door-socket:

The ships of Dilmun brought him wood as tribute from foreign lands.- King Ur-Nanshe (6)Samuel Noah Kramer (1963) The Sumerians. Page 308

A Map of the Indus Valley Civilization

A Map of the Indus Valley Civilization

If Samuel Noah Kramer’s theory was correct, and the Indus civilization was Dilmun,(7)Samuel N. Kramer (1963) The Sumerians, Chapter 8 then there should be similar myths in the Indus civilization of Atra-Hasis and his flood, the earlier civilizations, and the Abgal merman educators. Unfortunately the early Indus pictographic script has not been translated,(8)Gregory L. Possehl (1996) Indus Age: The Writing System however the later epics of India, several similar stories do appear. The question is though, were the people that wrote the later epics in Sanskrit copying stories that were also known in the older script? Sindhologists generally classify the early Indus civilization as being a Dravidian civilization,(9)Shereen Ratnagar and V. Srinivasa Sarma (2006) Trading Encounters: From the Euphrates to the Indus in the Bronze Age and the later Sanskrit texts as being Aryan literary works.(10)Maurice Winternitz (1996) A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1 There is a great deal of evidence supporting this thesis, however there are those that debate it.

The Ruins of Harappa in Punjab, Pakistan.

The Ruins of Harappa in Punjab, Pakistan.

The oldest surviving Indian texts are the Vedas, known as the Books of Knowledge; and the Epics, which are mytho-historical narratives. The oldest of these is the Ṛigveda, which was written in its current form between 3,700 and 3,100 years ago.(11)Lucas F. Johnston and Whitney Bauman (2014) Science and Religion: One Planet, Many Possibilities. Page 179 The great Indian epics such as the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata date from a later period circa 2,400 years ago.(12)J. Brockington (1998) The Sanskrit Epics The Ṛigveda is a collection of hymns, and therefore does not contain a narrative, however it does include a great deal of incidental information, such as the fact that the civilization that created the hymns had horses.(13)Karel Werner (1994) A Popular Dictionary of Hinduism The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom is Indra, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra. The hymns also mention fragmentary references to possible historical events, notably the struggle between the early Vedic people called Arya and their enemies the Dasa or Dasyu, as well as other groups such as the Paṇi. In the Ṛigveda Dasa, Dasyu, and Paṇi are sometimes mentioned as being krsna (black) or asikni (dark). This has been interpreted as implying that the light skinned Aryans were invading the dark skinned Dravidians land, which implies that the Vedas were carried with the Aryans as they invaded.

References   [ + ]

1. Vivien Gornitz (2009) Encyclopedia of paleoclimatology and ancient environments. Page 890, Table S1
2. Jennifer D. Stanford et al. (2006) “Timing of meltwater pulse 1a and climate responses to meltwater injections” Paleoceanography, Volume 21, Number 4, Page 4103
3. Jesper Eidema and Flemming Højlundb (1993) “Trade or diplomacy? Assyria and Dilmun in the eighteenth century BC,” Volume 24, Number 3, Pages 441–448
4. Michael Rice (1991) “Egypt’s Making: The Origins of Ancient Egypt 5000-2000 BC,” Page 230
5. Jeffrey H. Tigay (2002) The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Myth
6. Samuel Noah Kramer (1963) The Sumerians. Page 308
7. Samuel N. Kramer (1963) The Sumerians, Chapter 8
8. Gregory L. Possehl (1996) Indus Age: The Writing System
9. Shereen Ratnagar and V. Srinivasa Sarma (2006) Trading Encounters: From the Euphrates to the Indus in the Bronze Age
10. Maurice Winternitz (1996) A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1
11. Lucas F. Johnston and Whitney Bauman (2014) Science and Religion: One Planet, Many Possibilities. Page 179
12. J. Brockington (1998) The Sanskrit Epics
13. Karel Werner (1994) A Popular Dictionary of Hinduism