The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Immigrants and liberals killed the Harappa

Jongko's item #6 raises the notion that Climate Change killed the Indus Valley Civilisation (Mohenjo-Dara, Harappa, etc.) circa 2000 BC. This notion is very 2000 AD. ("It's 2016.") And it might not be the main cause.

Recently two other factors have been raised: disease (consumption and leprosy mainly), and immigration. Immigration hasn't been raised as a factor in the Indus Valley downfall, as far as I know. I think it should be.

First, population movement is associated with disease: new peoples bring new bugs directly, and indirectly they strain infrastructure and supply so as to induce overcrowding, malnutrition, poor sanitation, ethnic strife, and on and on. The Indus cities were all BIG on sanitation. Wasn't too shabby at food-supply either. The cities weren't walled, so didn't argue amongst one another. Their "founding fathers" had finetuned all this over many centuries. How long was that golden-age, 2600-2000 BC?

Also I must point out that incoming foreigners will not understand how to maintain the local infrastructure - see listicle #3 for how that worked out for the Nazca. Additionally the first generation might not even care: they either hope to return whence they came, or they figure they can keep movin' on. So you won't often find them investing locally, except as a means to either end.

Third-generation "foreigners" might figure it out, because they've forgotten how to move, and have put down some roots. But it might already be too late by then. The Indus Valley culture never recovered in that form. By the time the Vedic Aryans came - centuries into the collapse - they came upon deserts; that wave weren't even "immigrants", but mere nomads.

The "Climate Change" might have spurred all those moving peoples (who lived in more marginal areas) to migrate in the first place. And the climate, during the first wave, assuredly didn't help the Indus cities absorb the shock. But if people can't do much about the weather, they can raise defence against invaders. The Indus Valley indigenes, it seems, didn't try.

UPDATE 1/19/2018: Razib constrains parameters - the Dravidians came first. 3/23: Moar.

posted by Zimri on 18:58 | link | 0 comments

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