Were There Commercial Communications between Prehistoric Harappans and African Populations?

Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:1391KB) PP. 169-180
DOI: 10.4236/aa.2012.24020    4,072 Downloads   9,860 Views   Citations


This paper is an historical and scientific evaluation of Western archaeologists’ theories concerning ancient population movements and commercial contacts between the prehistoric Harappans and African populations during the Indus Age (2500-1900 BC). In this context the human skeletal remains and artifacts from Harappa and Mohenjodaro are relevant. An urnburial from the Indus river site of Chanhudaro has an important bearing upon this subject. The scientific aspect of this study is the provision of hitherto unascertained data to palaeoanthropologists anaylsing the skeletal and dental biology of prehistoric populations of South Asia.

Cite this paper

Kennedy, K. & Possehl, G. (2012). Were There Commercial Communications between Prehistoric Harappans and African Populations?. Advances in Anthropology, 2, 169-180. doi: 10.4236/aa.2012.24020.


[1] Bergmann, C., (1847). Uber die verhaltnisse der warmeokonomieder tiere zu ihrer grosse. Gottinger Studien, 3, 595.
[2] Breasted, J. H., (1944). Ancient times: An introduction to the study or ancient history and the career of early man. Boston: Ginn and Company.
[3] Byers, S. N., (2002). Introduction to forensic anthropology: A textbook. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
[4] Carter, R. A., (2001). Saar and its external relations: New evidence for interaction between Bahrain and Gujarat in the early 2nd millennium. Arabian Archaeology and Epography, 12, 183-201. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0471.2001.d01-5.x
[5] Caspers, E. C. L., (1989). Was the dancing girl from Mohenjo-daro a Nubian? Rome: Note Discussionni.
[6] Cleuziou, S., & Costantini, L. (1980). Premiers elements sur l'agriculture protohistorique de l’Arabie orientale. Paleorient, 6, 245-251. doi:10.3406/paleo.1980.4278
[7] Cleuziou, S., & Tosi, M. (2000). Ra’s al-Jinz and the prehistoric coastal cultures of the Ja’alan. Journal of Oman Studies, 11, 19-73.
[8] Costantini, L., (1990). Ecology and farming of the protohistoric communities in the central Yemeni highlands. In A. deMaigre (Ed.), The Bronze Age culture of hawlan at-tiyal and al-hada (Republic of Yemen) (pp. 187-204). Rome: Instituto Italiano per il Medio de Estremo Oriente, Centro Studie Scavi Archeologici.
[9] Crawford, H. E. W., (1998). Dilmun and its gulf neighbors. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[10] Dutta, P. C., (1983). The Bronze Age harappans. Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India.
[11] Gill, G. W., & Rhine, S. (1990). Skeletal attribution of race: Methods for forensic anthropology. Anthropological Papers of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology 4.
[12] Gogte, V. D., (2000). Indo-Arabian maritime contacts during the Bronze Age: Scientific study of pottery from Ras al-Junayz (Oman). Admatu, 2, 7-14.
[13] Guha, B. S., (1928). Negrito strain in India. Nature, 121, 793. doi:10.1038/121793a0
[14] Guha, B. S., (1929). Negrito strain in India. Nature, 123, 342-343. doi:10.1038/123942b0
[15] Guha, B. S., (1935). The racial affinities of the peoples of India. Census of India 1931. Simla: Government of India Press.
[16] Harlen, J. R., deWet, J. M. J., & Stemler, A. (1976). Plant domestication and indigenous African agriculture. In J. R. Harlan (Ed.), Origin of African Plant Domestication (pp. 3-19). The Hague: Mouton. doi:10.1515/9783110806373.3
[17] Harlen, J. R., (1992). Indigenous African agriculture. In C. Cowan, C. Wesley, & P. J. Watson (Eds). The Origins of Agriculture: An international perspective (pp. 59-70). Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
[18] Hawkes, J., (1982). Adventurer in archaeology: The biography of sir mortimer wheeler. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
[19] Hawkey, D. E., (1998). Out of Asia: Dental evidence for affinity and microevolution of early and recent populations of India and Sri Lanka. Ph.D. Dissertation, Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University.
[20] Hawkey, D. E., (2004). The peopling of South Asia: Evidence of affinities and microevolution of prehistoric populations of India and Sri Lanka. Spolia Zeylanica 39. Sri. Lanka: Colombia National Museums of Colombo.
[21] Hemphill, B. C, Lukacs, J. R., & Kennedy, K. A. R., (1991). Biological adaptations and affinities of Bronze Age Harappans. In R. H. Meadow (Ed.), Harappan excavations 1986-1990: A multidisciplinary approach to third millennium urbanization (pp. 137-192). Madison, WI: Prehistory Press.
[22] Keita, S. O. Y., (1988). An analysis of crania from Tell-Duweir using multiple discrimiant functions. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 75, 375-389. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330750309
[23] Kennedy, K. A. R., (1976). Human variation in space and time. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown.
[24] Kennedy, K. A. R., (1995). But professor, why teach race identification if races don’t exist? American Journal of Forensic Sciences, 40, 796-800.
[25] Kennedy, K. A. R., (2000). God-apes and fossil men: Palaeoanthropology of South Asia. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
[26] Knussman, H. R. von R., (1988). Biologie des menschen, ban 1, wissenschaftstheorie, geschichte, morphologishe methoden. Stuttgart: Gustav Fisher Verlag.
[27] Krogman, W. M., & Sassaman, W. H., (1943). Skull found at Chanhudaro excavations. In E. J. H. Mackay (Ed.), Chanhu-daro excavations 1935-1936 (pp. 252-263). New Haven, CT: American Oriental Scoitey.
[28] Lapique, L., (1905). Note sommaire sur une mission ethnologique dans le Sud de l'Inde: La race noire predravidienne. Bulletin de Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, 11, 283-285.
[29] Lee, A., & Pearson, K., (1901). A first study of the correlations of the human skull. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 196, 225-264. doi:10.1098/rsta.1901.0005
[30] Linnaeus, C. von., (1785). Systema Naturae (10th ed.) London: Lackington and Allen.
[31] Mackay, E. J. H., (1930-1934). Annual report of the archaeological survey of India 1930-1934.
[32] Mackay, E. J. H., (1936). Excavations at Chanhu-daro by the American school of Indic and Iranian studies and museum of fine arts, Boston. Season 1935-1936. Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 34, 83-92.
[33] Mackay, E. J. H., (1931). DK area. In J. Marshall (Ed.), Mohenjo-daro and the Indus civilization (pp. 233-261). London: Arthur Probsthain.
[34] Mackay, E. J. H., (1943). Chanhu-daro excavations, 1935-1936. New Haven: American Oriental Society.
[35] Majumdar, N. G., (1934). Explorations in sind: Being a report of the exploratory survey carried out during the years 1927-1928, 1929-1930, 1930-1931. Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, 48.
[36] Marshall, J., (1931). Mohenjo-daro and the Indus civilization, being an official account of archaeological excavations at Mohenjo-daro carried out by the government of India between the years 1922 and 1927. London: Arthur Probsthain.
[37] Martin, R., (1928). Lehrbuch der anthropologie (2nd ed.) Jena: Fischer.
[38] Mehra, K. L., (1963). Considerations of the African origin of Eleusine coracana (L.). Current Science, 32, 300-301.
[39] Mery, W., (2000). Les ceramiques d'oman et l'asie moyenne: Une archeologii des exchanges a l'age du bronze. CRA Monographies 23. Paris: CNRS Editions.
[40] Morant, G. M., (1922-1923). A first study of the Tibetan skull. Biometrika, 14, 193-260.
[41] Oppenheim, A. L., (1954). Seafaring merchants of Ur. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 74, 6-17. doi:10.2307/595475
[42] Piggott, S., (1846). The chronology of prehistoric north-west India. Ancient India, 1, 8-26.
[43] Piggott, S., (1950). Prehistoric India. London: Penguin.
[44] Possehl, G. L., (1986). African millets in South Asian prehistory. In J. Jacobson (Ed.) Studies in the archaeology of India and Pakistan (pp. 237-256). Delhi: Oxford and IBH and the American Institute of India Studies.
[45] Possehl, G. L., (1996). Meluhha. In J. E. Reade (Ed.), The Indian Ocean in Antiquity (pp. 132-208). London: Kegan Paul International in Association with the British Museum.
[46] Possehl, G. L., (1997). Seafaring merchants of Meluhha. In B. Allchin (Ed.), South Asian archaeology (pp. 87-100). Delhi: Oxford and IBH.
[47] Possehl, G. L., (1999). Indus age: The beginnings. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
[48] Possehl, G. L., (2002). The Indus civilization: A contemporary perspective. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.
[49] Risley, H., (1908). The people of India. Calcutta: Thyaacker, Spink and Company.
[50] Risley, H., & Gait, E. A., (1903). Census of India 1901. Ethnographic Appendices 1. Calcutta and Simla: Government of India.
[51] Ruff, C., (2002). Variations in human body size and shape. Annual Review of Anthropology, 31, 211-232. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.31.040402.085407
[52] Sahni, D. R., (1926-1927). Mohenjo-daro. Annual Report of the Archaeological Survey of India 1926-1927:60-88.
[53] Sauer, C., (1952). Agricultural origins and dispersals. New York: American Geographical Society.
[54] Sauer, C. O., (1969). Seeds, spades, hearths and herds: The domestication of animals and foodstuffs. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
[55] Shar, G. M., & Vidale, M., (1985). Surface evidence of craft activity at Chanhu-daro. Annali dell'Instituto Universitario Orientale, 45, 585598.
[56] Singh, P., (1970). Burial practices in ancient India: A study of eschatological beliefs of early man as revealed by archaeological sources. Veranasi: Prithivi Prakasha.
[57] Thurston, E., (1909). Castes and tribes of central India. Madras: Government Press.
[58] Todd, T. W., (1932). Preface. Punjab Gazetteer (Attock District) XXIX-A, 1930. Lahore: Government of India.
[59] Vishnu-Mittre, (1974). The beginnings of agriculture: Palaeobotanical evidence in India. In J. Hutchinson (Ed.), Evolutionary studies in world crops: Diversity and change in the Indian subcontinent (pp. 3-30). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[60] Wheeler, M., (1947). Harappa 1946: The defences and cemetery R37. Ancient India, 3, 58-130.
[61] Wright, R. P., (2011). The ancient Indus: Urbanism, economy and society. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.