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Indian migrations

18 November 2013

At www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/09/2013/genetic-link-shown-bet… … a paper published in PLoS ONE, using DNA methodology, has shown a fairly stable population in Syria and the middle Euphrates valley right up to the Mongolian invasion in the 13th century. At this time so many people died the genetic makeup was altered. On the face of it, this ignores the role of the Black Death in the 14th century – so perhaps both events should be flagged up. In the 17th century large numbers of bedouin from N Arabia settled in the region, making a significant addition to the DNA. This is interesting as the 17th century was cool over Europe and the northern hemisphere, the height of the so called Little Ice Age. Cool and wet weather in NW Europe appears to have coincided throughout history with drought and low precipitation in the Euphrates valley. Assyrian annals of Tiglath Pileser I record similar inroads by Arameans in early Iron Age, and the Bible has a similar migration in the late 9th century/ early 8th century BC. Even in the Roman period there were inroads in the 3rd century AD during a cool period in Europe/dry episode in Syria and Mesopotamia in general, and the Romans went on to use these people as a buffer state between themselves and the Persians. In the 6th century there were further inroads by tribes people from northern Arabia and these became caught up in the Arab invasion of Syria that went on to conquer Egypt and Persia. So, we appear to have a continuing historical process, and the last time it manifested itself was just 300 years ago.

The authors used genetics to find a connection between people living in the Early Bronze Age (3000-2200BC) and the Late Roman period. There is no surprise to find such a link because of the known historicity of the Arabian eruptions. However, they then went on to find a link with people living in India and Pakistan, and in the Himalayas, which appears to reflect an ancient migration out of India/the Himalayas which swept through Mesopotamia and eastern Turkey. It did not appear to have affected Syria.

At www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/11/2013/light-skin-gene-mirror… … which again is all about genetics, and in this instance a so called light skin gene (lighter in comparison to indigenous Indians). It is associated with Indo European speakers and is found mostly in the NW – but there is also a substantial population in southern India. This appears to reflect a migration south from Gujarat – where the early farming communities thrived until climate change affected the region, one branch of the Indus river drying up and leading to a collapse of the Indus civilisation. According to Colin Renfrew Indo European speech was the language of the early farmers of the Fertile Crescent. They subsequently spread into Europe (after 6000BC) and across the Russian steppes (but adopted a pastoral way of life following a dry cool period where farming became impractical). Hence, the people of Baluchistan and the Gujurat were in all likelihood Indo European speakers and farmers and the same people that were the backbone of the Indus civilisation. In Renfrew's theory it was not the people of the steppes that spread Indo European tongues but the first farmers – who had bigger families as a result of growing their own food. Unfortunately, as farmers they were easily exploited by more warlike people – especially when they turned up with big swords and riding horses. The beauty of this theory is that Indo European speakers, by migrating around the Black Sea shore, as farmers, became caught up in the various steppe cultures – to an extent that farming literally disappeared. So, we had a peasant population in Mesopotamia, Iran and NW India that spoke Indo European, and invading hordes that periodically invaded from the steppes that also spoke Indo European related languages. Hence, the migration from Gujarat into southern India, where darker skinned people lived, can be seen as all part of this process. In India and Pakistan archaeology is somewhat political and some archaeologists and historians see India as the original home of Indo Europeans that went out to invade and colonise other areas of the world, including Europe. Genetics will eventually iron out the ruffles. The situation is actually made clear from the Assyrian trading colony established at MB Kultepe in Anatolia where Indo European speakers appear to be the lower class – the peasant farmer population. This does not detract from the Indo European aristocracy denoted as one element of the Hittites as these would have been migrants from elsewhere that established hemselves as a ruling elite.

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