Aryan / Dravidian / Genetics / Media · October 24, 2021

Intro to Ancient South Asia: Books & Links

*There’s not a lot of material on the ancient Indus Valley or related civilizations unfortunately. What does exist often falls short due to limited research and/because of modern/nationalistic politics so I only halfheartedly mention them. It’s problematic (& annoying) that a lot of the material on these topics are by white men. But the alternative is typically even worse: Brahmins, other upper castes and blind apologists. Anyway,, a major website on ancient Indus since 1995, has a list of books worth perusing. Feel free to add further recommendations in the comments!


Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From by Tony Joseph (*predates reports that Harappans independently developed farming, ie. no migration of farmers)

The Archaeology of South Asia: From the Indus to Asoka, c.6500 BCE-200 CE by Robin Coningham, Ruth Young

Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C Scott


(at least) 81 groups had losses of genetic variation more extreme than those found in Ashkenazi Jews and Finns (sometimes 10x stronger founder effects), groups with high rates of recessive disease because of genetic isolation

“In South Asian Social Castes, a Living Lab for Genetic Disease” by Steph Yin based on the report in Nature

HarappaWorld Admixture by Zack Ajmal

Brown Pundits by Razib Khan

Who We Are And How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich

Admixture Dates by Narasimhan


“”The history of the Indo Aryan languages commernces with the hymns of the Rig veda .. they contain a good deal of description of battles between the Aryan gods and an enemy people, variously described as “godless,” “phallus-worshippers,” “black-skinned,” “flat-nosed,” and “of obscure speech”

(Southworth 1990 via Deshpande 1979)”

The Horse, The Wheel And Language by David W Anthony

The origins and spread of domestic horses from the Western Eurasian steppes

The Roots of Hinduism, The Early Aryans and the Indus Civilization by Asko Parpola

Which of Us are Aryans? by Romila Thapar, Michael Witzel, Jaya Menon, Kai Friese, Razib Khan

Brahmanism: Its place in ancient Indian society by Johannes Bronkhorst

“Rig Veda parallel editions search” by Kevin M Ryan

Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult

The Hindutva View of History: Rewriting Textbooks in India and the United States

500 BCE –

Politicial Violence in Ancient India by Upinder Singh

The Diversity of Narrative Tradition In South Asia

The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies by Thomas McEvilley

The Origins of Philosophy in Ancient Greece and Ancient India by Richard Seaford

Museum Exhibits

Rediscovering Harappa: Through the Five Elements (A Special Exhibit at the Lahore Museum)