International Conference on The Sindhu-Sarasvati Valley Civilizations – A Reappraisal

International Conference on The Sindhu-Sarasvati Valley Civilizations – A Reappraisal

An international conference on the Indus/Sindhu River Valley and Sarasvati River Valley Civilizations was held in Los Angeles, at Loyola Marymount University, February 21 and 22, 2009. Major scholars in the field presented their findings regarding the people and culture of these ancient civilizations of the Indian subcontinent. The aim of the conference was to bring together archaeologists, linguists, anthropologists, historians, religious specialists and geneticists to help understand the nature of the interrelation between the Indus/Sindhu Civilization and the Sarasvati Civilization from about 3000 B.C to 1000 B.C. Although the material culture of the Indus civilization has been well documented, and the cultural and scientific concepts during the Vedic period analyzed, published and made available to the public, the interrelation between the two cultures was further explored in this gathering.

 Some fundamental questions that were discussed included: Who were the people of the two civilizations? Did they include the Vedic Aryans, also referred to as the Indo- Aryans, Indo-Iranians, or Indo-Europeans? Has archaeological evidence confirmed the existence of common features of the civilizations? What are the current major theories about the origin of the civilization? Did these people comprise an indigenous continuity or did they migrate from outside the subcontinent (Southern Russia, Afghanistan, or Iran)? Did a single civilization extend from Iran through Afghanistan to India? Are linguistic findings more convincing than archaeological remains? How does the scientific evidence of the drying-up of the river Sarasvati play a role in the interpretation of the history and chronology of the civilization? Furthermore, how does the genetic evidence corroborate with the archaeological evidence especially regarding the antiquity of the “Indian gene”?

 The scholars will touch upon areas of consensus and contentions with a temporarily conclusive interdisciplinary understanding upon the following topics:

  • Indus and Sarasvati: Ecology and Culture
  • Indus and Aryan: Race and Language
  • The Indus Script/Language
  • Indus Language and Vedic Sanskrit
  • Population: Migration and Settlement
  • Sociopolitical Organizations
  • DNA and Astronomical evidences
  • Chronology: Pre and Post Civilization.
  • Cultural Continuities in South Asia

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