Archæological Research and the Prehistory of India


    AN instructive general view of the results of his journeys of archæological reconnaissance in Southern Persia as a whole was given by Sir Aurel Stein before the East India Association on November 16, when the Marquess of Zetland, Secretary of State for India, was in the chair. As might have been anticipated, Sir Aurel stressed the need for further and intensive archæological investigation, the aim of which should be to throw light on the dark period covering the Aryan invasion and the beginning of the historic era, when Cyrus, in the middle of the sixth century B.c., extended his dominions to Gandhara, including the whole Kabul valley. It is evident, he pointed out, that the Aryan invader, as may be gathered from the Big-Veda, had been familiar with a considerable portion of the Indo-Iranian borderland long before they settled in the Punjab. Sir Aurel stressed the gratitude due for the archæological discoveries of recent years in the Indus Valley, when so much relating to the period of the Aryan invasion must remain conjectural ; but, he went on to say, his own explorations of the past few years in the great provinces of Kerman, Fars, Khuzistan and Kermanshah, right up to Kurdistan, had left no doubt about an essentially uniform chalkolithic civilization having prevailed here wherever physical conditions permitted of settled life. Yet nowhere on the ground visited had there been found remains filling the wide chronological gap between the chalkolithic mounds traced in such abundance and the numerous burial sites of Baluchistan and Makran, dating at the earliest from the last centuries before our era. Not until sites abandoned much later than Mohenjodaro had been explored could we hope to learn of the actual state of civilization prevailing in the Indus Valley and beyond at the time of the Aryan invasion.

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    Archæological Research and the Prehistory of India. Nature 140, 925 (1937).

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