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“PRIEST-KING” OF THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION, also known as the Harappan Civilization. Located in the northwest of the Indian Subcontinent, this is one of the most obscure civilizations of the BRONZE AGE. Their language is unknown, their distinct script has not been deciphered yet, there is no evidence of a ruling class, nor an army, and we know almost nothing about their religion. There’s also very limited evidence for their physical appearance. What we know is that they built huge cities made of stone and bricks, and their sewage system was ahead of their time. We also know that the Harappan Civilization existed before the people known in ancient Hindu texts as the “Aryans” migrated into India. The “Aryans” are identified with the Bronze Age steppe nomads that brought into India the Indo-European language from which Sanskrit evolved, and they also contributed to the formation of Hinduism and the Varna system (usually translated in the West as “castes”). 

All modern Indians descend from a mix of three ancestral populations. The earliest Homo Sapiens hunter-gatherers that reached India are known as Ancient Ancestral South Indians (AASI), and they shared a common ancestor with the isolated Andamanese islanders, East Asians, Melanesians, and Aboriginal Australians. The AASI may have looked like the Andamanese: black-skinned and with African-like features. The second population that migrated into India were related to the Neolithic farmers of Iran, of Middle Eastern appearance and swarthy complexion. These migrants may have spoken a precursor to the Dravidian languages spoken today in South India, possibly related with Elamite. The people of the Harappan civilization were a mix of the AASI and the Proto-Dravidians from Iran. My reconstruction shows higher levels of AASI ancestry, although at least some individuals had considerably higher levels of Iranian Neolithic ancestry. Unlike their modern descendants, Harappans didn’t have any ancestry from the Eurasian steppes. The expansion of Indo-Aryan-speakers brought an influx of European-like physical features, which became especially prevalent in Northwest India and among higher castes. The Vedic period had begun.

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