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Ancient Earth

Indus Valley

Cradle of Civilization in the Sub-Continent

Map of Indus Valley, South-central Asia

Though one of the five "cradles" of civilization, this region of archaeological wonder is not nearly as accessible to Western culture as that of the Fertile Crescent (Egypt and Mesopotamia). Its history is not as early or as complex as that of the Middle East, either. But the Indus River Valley civilization remains as a substantial beginning for humanity in this region of the world. Most of this civilization occupied what is modern-day Pakistan, but also part of Western India.

Settlements in this valley start about 7000 BC, with mature cities showing up about 2600 to 1900 BC. Major cities include Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Rakhigarhi.

Ancient Earth: photograph of the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro with the "Great Bath" in the foreground. Photograph: Photo: Grjatoi, courtesy

The Indus Valley civilization included the first known urban sanitation systems in the world. Their society included dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms and protective walls. The culture seemed largely egalitarian. All houses had similar access to water and drainage. No homes were significantly larger than others and there do not appear to have been palaces, so wealth was not concentrated in an elite few.

The Indus Civilization included a detailed system of weights and measures, perhaps the first such culture to develop a uniform system. They even seemed to have a rudimentary form of dentistry.

Trade seemed to be an important aspect of the Indus civilization with evidence of trade with Western India, Afghanistan, Iran, Crete and possibly Egypt.


Possible Links to Atlantis

If Plato's lost island empire, Atlantis, ever existed, its refugees had plenty of time to influence cultures across all of Eurasia.

The ubiguitous signs of goddess worship and signs of bull-leaping suggest a tie with the culture of Minoan Crete, about which we still know very little.

The language of this culture or batch of cultures is unknown, but one of the more popular theories points to the Dravidian language family which is concentrated largely in Southern India today, but exists in pockets all across India and Pakistan, suggesting a much broader presence in prehistoric times. Could the children of Atlantis have migrated into the area, influenced and merged with its inhabitants and disseminated the legends of a prior civilization, thus inspiring the creation of a new one?

Linguistic Clues?

If the culture of the Indus Valley civilization was Dravidian, some linguistic clues prove interesting, here. Perhaps the two most sentimentally favorite words in any language are "mother" and "father." Dravidian for mother=amma, father=appa(n) and these remain strikingly similar to the Sumerian (mother=ama, father=ada). But also compare this to Hungarian—mother=anya, father=apa or atya.

While such a linguistic clue is pretty thin as evidence goes, it remains nonetheless a possible clue. Though it is unworthy of being called proof of anything, it can act as a direction for further investigation.

Each of these seems to create a piece of a larger puzzle which includes Etruscan and Basque. In Etruscan, mother=ati, father=apa. In Basque, mother=ama, father=aita. Notice the apparent gender swap between the two languages—Basque for "mother" seems similar to Etruscan (Rasenna) for "father," while Basque for "father" remains similar to Etruscan for "mother."

One curious fact makes the link between Basque and Etruscan even more enticing comes to us from the Etruscan pantheon. One of the Etruscan gods has a name which matches exactly by gender and spelling the Basque for "father"—Aita (god of "endings" or "death"). And similarly, one of the Etruscan goddesses has a name which nearly matches the Basque for "mother"—Ana (one of two gods of "beginnings"; comparable to Roman god Janus).

One possible implication is that the children of Atlantis started out as matriarchal and later switched to patriarchal, but in some instances kept the term with the role rather than the gender. And notice that Dravidian for "mother" is phonetically the same as Basque for "mother," while Dravidian for "father" is phonetically the same as Etruscan for "father."

One other piece in the linguistic jigsaw puzzle comes from the Eastern Black Sea nation of Georgia (ancient Colchis of Jason and the Argonauts fame). Modern Georgian for mother is "deda," while father is "mama." This appears to be gender-swapped with Sumerian as well as the bulk of Indo-European languages. The chart below summarizes these relationships.

Source Mother Father Notes
Dravidian amma appa(n)  
Sumerian ama ada  
Hungarian anya apa, atya  
Etruscan ati apa gender swap from Basque
Etruscan gods Ana Aita near match with Basque
Basque ama aita  
Georgian deda mama gender swap from English

More on the Atlantis Story

For more information on this intriguing subject, see Mission: Atlantis.

A d v e r t i s e m e n t s

The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives
by Jane R. McIntosh

One of the most sophisticated civilizations of the Bronze Age, a remarkably peaceful society that developed everything from a complex political organization to sanitary plumbing to a rich mythology. Then it vanished.
This book takes readers back to a civilization as complex as its contemporaries in Mesopotamia and Egypt, one that covered a far larger region, yet lasted a much briefer time and left few visible traces. Readers will get a glimpse of both a remarkable piece of the past and the extraordinary methods that have brought it back to life.

Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization
by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer

This handsomely illustrated book gives a fascinating account of the Indus Valley civilization including their writing system, their long-distance trade and the importance of merchants in Indus society.

The Indus Valley
(Age level: 7 and up)
by Jane Shuter

What is a seal? How was the Indus Valley ruled? Why did the Indus Valley civilization disappear? This book answers these questions and more. Learn what the people wore, what they ate, how they traveled from place to place, and find out how we know about them today.

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