Hieroglyphs on Warka vase read rebus as epigraphs
Wark vase which is a carved alabaster stone vessel (height: ca. 105 cm.; upper diam.: 36 cm.),
found in the Sumerian Inanna temple complex. The vase uses hieroglyphs and is, in effect, a
‘Rosetta stone’ to help decode early writing systems and to identify language(s) of the creators of
this artifact. It can be called the ‘Meluhha rosetta stone’. The identification of clear,
unambiguous, pictorial motifs carved on the Warka vase, as hieroglyphs is confirmed by
parallels on Indus script corpora and select bronze-age artifacts (e.g. Uluburn shipwreck).
Warka vase. Stone alabaster. Museum number: IM19606. Original Source:
"The Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago".
Clear, unambiguous, pictorial motifs carved on the Warka vase, are:
Fig.1 Fig.2 Fig.3 Fig.4
1. An antelope and a tiger are shown above two bun ingots atop a fire-altar. (Fig.1) The
antelope and tiger hieroglyphs atop two ingots are: (i) ranku ‘antelope’. Read rebus:
ranku ‘tin’. (ii) kola ‘tiger’. Read rebus: kol ‘alloy of five metals, pañcaloha’.
2. Between two storage jars containing ingots is shown a bull’s head with a ‘pellet’ between
the horns. (Fig.2) m h ‘face’. Read rebus: m h ‘(metal) ingot.’ ḍhangar ‘bull’. Read
rebus: ḍhangar ‘blacksmith (metalsmith)’. The ‘pellet’ hieroglyph is explained in Annex
A. Notes on ‘pellet’ hieroglyph linked with bull/antelope.
3. A ram is shown ahead of the two storage jars. (Fig.3) The ram hieroglyph leading the two
storage jars with ingots is tagaru ‘ram’ (Tulu). Read rebus: tamkāru, dagar, dakar, dam-
gar, ‘(mint) merchant’. (Sumerian substrate).
4. A procession of bovidae and a set of sprouts are shown on the bottom registers. (Fig.4) (i)
khar-warg ‘herd of sheep, goats’. Read rebus: khār ‘blacksmith’. Sheep and goats above
3 years of age are termed ورګ خرḵẖar-warg and ورګ ه خرḵẖar-wargaʿh. (Pushto). (ii)
warak ʻwoolʼ(Wg.) Read rebus: war k ʻhouseʼ (Pr.), vāra -- ʻdoor, gate-way' (Sanskrit)
(iii) tagaraka ‘tabernae montana coranaria’(Sanskrit). Read rebus: tagara ‘tin’
(Kannada). The hieroglyph tree: kuṭi ‘tree’; kuṭhi ‘smelter/furnace’ (Santali).
5. Two reed bundles adorned with scarves. (i) The reed hieroglyph: khāg, khāgṛā ʻreed for
pensʼ(Bengali), khagaṛā ʻthe reed Saccharum spontaneum’(Oriya). Read rebus: k gar
‘portable brazier’ (Kashmiri)] (ii) Scarf is ligatured to the reed post. dhaṭu ‘scarf’
(WPah.). Read rebus: dhatu ‘mineral’ (Santali) The reed bundles adorn the temple-
gateway: war k ʻhouseʼ (Pr.), vāra -- ʻdoor, gate-way' (Sanskrit).
The pictorial motifs narrated on the vase in four registers are not mere decorations. It is not mere
coincidence that many pictorial motifs on the Warka vase recur on Indus script corpora.
Fig.5 Fig.6 Fig.7
The hieroglyphs on the Warka vase conveyed an economic message in the context of deposits of
treasure into the (Inanna temple) treasury (as evidenced by the narrative of the second register
which shows large storage jars, liquid containing jar, and baskets being carried in).
I suggest that the pictorial motifs are hieroglyphs which can be read rebus. I also suggest that the
creators of the pictorial motifs on the Warka vase were speakers of a language which underlies
the 6000+ inscriptions of Indus script corpora.
What was the underlying language of the message? One language source is the Indian
sprachbund (language union), which can also be called ‘Meluhha’.
What was the message (that is, what treasures were carried for depositing in the temple
treasury)? Treasure carried into the temple treasury included: tin ingots, ingots of
minerals/metals and alloyed metal ingots.
On the hieroglyphs of the top register, a goat or ram walks towards a pair of reeds ligatured with
scarfs. Two large storage jars contain ingots. (That these relate to metal is indicated by the
phonetic determinant of a bull’s head dangar ‘bull’; danger ‘blacksmith’). The Uruk (Warka)
vase with its hieroglyphs comparable to Indian hieroglyphs and the identification of a few
substratum Meluhha words in Sumerian – is a pointer to this possibility of Meluhhan presence
and influence. Source of image: “The Warka Vase or the Uruk Vase is a carved alabaster stone
vessel found in the temple complex of the Sumerian goddess Inanna in the ruins of the ancient
city of Uruk, located in the modern Al Muthanna Governorate, in southern Iraq. Like the Narmer
Palette from Egypt, it is one of the earliest surviving works of narrative relief sculpture, dated to
c. 3,200–3000 BC. The vase was discovered as a collection of fragments by German
Assyriologists in their sixth excavation season at Uruk in 1933/1934. It is named after the
modern village of Warka - known as Uruk to the ancient Sumerians.”
Indian sprachbund (linguistic area or language union)
Indian linguistic area, that is an area of ancient times when various language-speakers interacted
and absorbed language features from one another and made them their own. (Emeneau, 1956;
Kuiper, 1948; Masica, 1971; Przyludski, 1929; Southworth, 2005).
A term cognate with meluhha is mleccha which is identified in an ancient text as a speech form.
[ārya vācas ml ccha vācas t sarv dasyuvah smṛtāh; trans. “both ārya speakers and mleccha
speakers (that is, both speakers of literary dialect and colloquial or vernacular dialect) are all
remembered as dasyu”, Manu Smriti 10.45]. Dasyu is a general reference to people. Dasyu is
cognate with dasa, which in Khotanese language means ‘man’. It is also cognate with daha, word
which occurs in Persepolis inscription of Xerxes, a possible reference to people of Dahistan, a
region east of Caspian sea. Strabo wrote :"Most of the scythians, beginning from the Caspian
sea, are called Dahae Scythae, and those situated more towards the east Massagetae and Sacae."
(Strabo, 11.8.1). Close to Caspian Sea is the site of Altyn-tepe which was an interaction area
with Meluhha and where three Indus seals with inscriptions were found, including a silver seal
showing a composite animal which can be called a signature glyph of Indus writing.
Melukkha may be comparable to Pali milakkha or Sanskrit mleccha. In Pali, Milakkha also
Dialects of the Mleccha
Copper-smelting had to occur on the outskirts of a village. Hence, the semantic equivalence of
milakkha as copper.
Abhidhāna cintāmaṇi of Hemachandra states that mleccha and mleccha-mukha are two of the
twelve names for copper.
Theragāthā in Pali refers to a banner which was dyed the colour of copper: milakkhurajanam
(The Thera and Therigāthā, PTS, verse 965: milakkhurajanam rattam garahantā sakam dhajam;
tithiyānam dhajam keci dhāressanty avadātakam; K.R.Norman, tr., Theragāthā: Finding fault
with their own banner which is dyed the colour of copper, some will wear the white banner of
[cf. Asko and Simo Parpola, On the relationship of the Sumerian Toponym Meluhha and
Sanskrit Mleccha,STUDIA ORIENTALIA, vol. 46, 1975, pp.205-38).
Mleccha in Pali is milakkha or milakkhu to describe those who dwell on the outskirts of a village.
(Shendge, Malati, 1977, The civilized demons: the Harappans in Rigveda, Abhinav
A milakkhu is disconnected from vāc and does not speak Vedic; he spoke Prakrt. na āryā
mlecchanti bhāṣābhir māyayā na caranty uta: “aryas do not speak with crude dialects like
mlecchas, nor do they behave with duplicity (MBh. 2.53.8). a dear friend of Vidura who was a
professional excavator is sent by Vidura to help the Pāṇḍavas in confinement; this friend of
Vidura has a conversation with Yudhiṣṭhira, the eldest Pāṇḍava:
kṛṣṇapaṣe caturdasyàm ràtràv asya purocanah, bhavanasya tava dvàri pradàsyati hutàsanam,
màtrà saha pradagdhavyàh Pāṇḍavāh puruṣarṣabhàh, iti vyavasitam pàrtha dhārtarās.t.rāsya
m šrutam, kiñcic ca vidur nkoto ml ccha-vàcàsi Pāṇḍava, tyayà ca tat tathety uktam etad
visvàsa kāraṇam: on the fourteenth evening of the dark fortnight, Purocana will put fire in the
door of your house.
‘The Pandavas are leaders of the people, and they are to be burned to death with their mother.’
This, Pārtha (Yudhiṣṭira), is the determined plan of Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s son, as I have heard it. When
you were leaving the city, Vidura spoke a few words to you in the dialect of the mlecchas, and
you replied to him, ‘So be it’. I say this to gain your trust.(MBh. 1.135.4-6). This passage shows
that there were two Aryans distinguished by language and ethnicity, Yudhiṣṭira and Vidura. Both
are aryas, who could speak mlecchas’ language; Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his people are NOT aryas only
because of their behaviour.
According to the great epic, Mlecchas lived on islands: sa sarvān mleccha nṛpatin sāgara dv ī pa
vāsinah, aram āhāryàm àsa ratnāni vividhāni ca, andana aguru vastrāṇi maṇi muktam
anuttamam, kāñcanam rajatam vajram vidrumam ca mahā dhanam: “(Bhima) arranged for all
the mleccha kings, who dwell on the ocean islands, to bring varieties of gems, sandalwood, aloe,
garments, and incomparable jewels and pearls, gold, silver, diamonds, and extremely valuable
coral… great wealth." (MBh. 2.27.25-26).
A series of articles and counters had appeared in the JOURNAL OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
HISTORY OF THE ORIENT, Vol.XXI, Pt.II, Elizabeth C.L. During Caspers and A. Govindankutty
countering R.Thapar's dravidian hypothesis for the locations of Meluhha, Dilmun and Makan;
Thapar's A Possible identification of Meluhha, Dilmun, and Makan appeared in the journal Vol.
XVIII, Part I locating these on India's west coast. Bh. Krishnamurthy defended Thapar on
linguistic grounds in Vol. XXVI, Pt. II: *mel-u-kku =3D highland, west; *teLmaN (=3D pure
earth) ~ dilmun; *makant =3D male child (Skt. vīra =3D male offspring. [cf. K. Karttunen
(1989). India in Early Greek Literature. Helsinki, Finnish Oriental Society.STUDIA ORIENTALIa.
Vol.65. 293 pages. ISBN 951-9380-10-8, pp.11 ff et passim. Asko Parpola (1975a). Isolation and
tentative interpretation of a toponym in the Harappan inscriptions. Le dechiffrement des ecritures
et des langues. Colloque du xxxixe congres des orientalistes, Paris Juillet 1973. Paris, Le
dechiffrement des ecritures et des langues. Colloque du xxxixe congres des orientalistes, Paris
Juillet 1973. 121-143 and Asko Parpola (1975b). "India's Name in Early Foreign Sources." Sri
venkateswara university oriental journal, Tirupati, 18: 9-19.]
Mleccha trade was first mentioned by Sargon of Akkad (Mesopotamia 2370 B.C.) who stated
that boats from Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha came to the quay of Akkad (Hirsch, H., 1963, Die
Inschriften der Konige Von Agade, Afo, 20, pp.37-38; Leemans, W.F., 1960, FOREIGN TRADE IN
THE OLD BABYLONIAN PERIOD, p.164; Oppenheim, A.L., 1954, The seafaring merchants of
Ur, JAOS, 74, pp.6-17). The Mesopotamian imports from Meluhha were: woods, copper (ayas),
gold, silver, carnelina, cotton. Gudea sent expeditions in 2200 B.C. to Makkan and Meluhha in
search of hard wood. Seal impression with the cotton cloth from Umma (Scheil, V., 1925, Un
Nouvea Sceau Hindou Pseudo-Sumerian, RA, 22/3, pp.55-56) and cotton cloth piece stuck to the
base of a silver vase from Mohenjodaro (Wheeler, R.E.M., 1965, INDUS CIVILIZATION) are
indicative evidence. Babylonian and Greek names for cotton were: sind, sindon. This is an
apparent reference to the cotton produced in the black cotton soils of Sind and Gujarat.
Tin from Meluhha
Import of “tin from Meluhha” is known from a Sumerian text from the reign of Gudea of Lagash
(c. 2150-2111 B.C.E.) A cylinder seal of Gudea of Lagash (2143-2124 BCE) -- Cylinder B: XIV
-- read: "copper, tin, blocks of lapiz lazuli and ku ne (meaning unknown), bright carnelian from
the land of Meluhha." (Muhly, JD, 1976, Copper and Tin, Hamden, Archon Books, pp. 306-7).
"...tin may well often have travelled by sea up the Gulf from distribution centres in the Indus
Valley. In the Old Babylonian period tin was shipped through Dilmun… It is now known that
Afghanistan has two zones of tin mineralization. One embraces much of eastern Afghanistan
from south of Kandahar to Badakshan in the north-east corner of the country… the other lies to
the west and extends from Seistan north towards Herat , the valley of the Sarkar river, where the
hills are granitic. Here tin appears commonly as cassiterite, frequently associated with copper,
gold, and lead, and in quantities sufficient to attract attention in antiquity… A number of
scholars have pointed out the possibility that tin arrived with gold and lapis lazuli in Sumer
through the same trade network, linking Afghanistan with the head of the Gulf, both by land and
sea." (Moorey, 1994, opcit, p. 298-299). Meluhhan speakers had hieroglyphs for tin as
demonstrated in Indian Hieroglyphs (S. Kalyanaraman, 2012).
Cuneiform texts from Mari on the Euphrates record the storage of 500 kilograms of tin, and
shipment to cities such as Ugarit on the Syrian coast, to Dan and Hazor in Palestine, and even to
Captara, i.e. Crete. (Edwin Yamauchi, 1993, Metal sources and metallurgy in the biblical world,
Oxford, OH 45056, Dept. of History, Miami University From: PSCF 45 (December 1993): 252-
259. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1993/PSCF12-93Yamauchi.html ) [See: G. Dossin, "La
route de l'étain en Mesopotamie au temps de Zimri-Lim," Revue d'Assyriologie 64 (1970), 97-
106. M. Heltzer, "The Metal Trade of Ugarit and the Problem of Transportation of Commercial
Goods," Iraq 39 (1977), 203-11. A. Malamat, "Syro-Palestinian Destinations in a Mari Tin
Inventory," Israel Exploration Journal 21 (1971), 31-38.]
"The Bronze Age exploitation of the Omani copper deposits seems to have coincided with what
are most likely two related phenomena: (1) references in Mesopotamian texts to copper from
Magan and to obtaining that copper either directly from Magan or through the intermediate
agency of Dilmun (the island of Bahrain)-- the copper did not come FROM Dilmun but
THROUGH Dilmun; and (2) the period of the Mature Harappan phase of the Indus Valley
"This second correlation suggests that contact and trade with Mesopotamia were factors
contributing to the development of the Indus Valley civilization, established in an area known to
the Sumerians as the land of Melukkha. So close was the relationship that the traders of Dilmun
used the same system of weights and measures as that found in the Indus Valley. From the
figures given in Sumerian texts it would appear that the Dilmun shekel was about three times
heavier than the standard Sumerian one. It has been thought by some scholars that transactions at
Ebla (modern Tell Mardikh) were also conducted on the basis of the Dilmun shekel, but this
reading of the sign in question in the Ebla texts cannot be substantiated, and all theories
regarding references to Dilmun at Ebla remain conjectural...
Tin and the Development of Bronze Metallurgy. Early Use of Bronze.
The most important metallurgical development during the Early Bronze Age was the discovery
that adding tin to copper produced a far superior metal, eventually known as bronze. In its classic
form, bronze has 10 percent tin and 90 percent copper. The addition of even 2 percent tin has
noticeable effects upon the hardness and working properties of copper, but anything over 16
percent tin is undesirable, for a very high tin content makes copper brittle and difficult to work.
Objects such as the ax head from the A cemetery at Kish (modern Tell al-Uhaimir; Early
Dynastic, or ED, IIIB), with 15.5 percent tin, are probably to be assessed as being of early,
"The historical development of bronze metallurgy has been difficult to document, and locating
ancient sources of tin has proved to be an even more intractable problem...the cache of human
figurines from Tell Judeidah (northern Syria), the excavators' date of about 3000 (transition
Amuq G-H) still seems the most probable...A pin from Tepe Gawra VIII (early third millennium)
siad to have 5.6 percent tin unfortunately can no longer be located, but four artifacts from the Y
cemetary at Kish, of ED I date, proved to have more than 2 percent tin. These are the earliest
examples of bronze from Mesopotamia. One of these objects, a spouted jar, has 6.24 percent
tin..."Sources of Tin and the Tin Trade...The tin was brought to Asshur from some point further
east, most likely Afghanistan. The Assyrian merchants purchased the tin for reshipment, by
donkey caravan, and sale (at a 100 percent markup) in Anatloia...The Old Assyrian tin trade was
on a large scale and enriched three generations of Old Assyrian merchant families...
"Tin exists in nature in the form of cassiterite, an oxide of tin. The cassiterite most likely utilized
by Bronze Age metal workers was alluvial or placer cassiterite, popularly known as tin-stone and
present as nuggets or pebbles in the beds of streams...Alluvial cassiterite was collected by
panning the bed of a stream, much like the recovery of alluvial gold...Gold and tin often occur
within the same general area as, for example, in the Eastern (Arabian) Desert of Egypt. Ancient
Sardis, the region of the Tmolus (modern Boz Dag) mountain range and the Pactolus River, was
famous as an ancient source of alluvial gold, the source of wealth for Croesus, king of Lydia, but
no placer cassiterite has been documented from Anatolia...
"Mari and the Tin Trade...the texts from Mari (Tell Hariri), dating mainly to the first half ot the
eighteenth century BCE...(tin) came to Mari through Elam, from Susa and Anshan (now
identified with the Central Iranian site of Tepe Malyan), and Elamites played a major role in the
trade, especially a man named Kuyaya. Certain merchants from Mari were also heavily involved
in the tin trade with Elam, among them a merchant named Ishkhi-Dagan (the two appear together
in ARM 23 555). The tin came to Mari in the form of ingots (Akkadian lē'u) that weighed about
ten pounds each. It is possible to obtain some idea of the relative value of this tin, for a number
of the Mari texts provide a tin:silver ratio of 10:1 (the most common ratio; a few texts give ratios
from 8:1 to 15:1). This is to be compared with isolated referenced to a tin:gold ratio (48:1), a
confusing silver:gold ratio of 4:1 as well as 2:1, and a lead:silver ratio (1200:1). The usual
copper:silver ratio at Mari was 180:1 for unrefined 'mountain' copper, with refined (litarally
'washed') copper being valued at 150:1. This means that tin was usually from fifteen to eighteen
times more valuable than copper...In later texts from Nuzi (fifteenth century BCE) goods were
priced in amounts of tin. An ox cost thirty-six minas of tin; an ass, twenty-four minas. During the
Middle Assyrian period tin seems to have functioned as the monetary standard (temporarily
replacing the customary silver). Plots of land were purchased with tin...
"The cuneiform archives contain a number of 'recipe' texts, giving the amounts of coper and tin
used to make specified amounts of bronze. One of the earlist such texts, from Palace G at Ebla,
records that 3 minas, 20 shekels of tin were alloyed with 30 minas of copper to produce 200
objects of bronze, each weighing 10 shekels. In other words, 200 shekels of tin were mixed with
1,800 shekels of copper to produce 2,000 shekels of a 10 percent tin-bronze. In one Mari text 20
shekels of tin were added to 170 shekels of refined copper from Teima at the rate of 1:8, to
produce 190 shekels of bronze for a key (to the lock of a city gate)...This means that smiths at
Mari were working with the metals themselves--with copper and tin--not with ores or minerals.
That is no smelting was being carried out in the vicinity of the Mari palace...
"At the other end of the Mari trade network, the texts record that tin stored at Mari was
transhipped to various cities in the Levant, from Karkamish in the north to Hazor in the south.
This we learn from a remarkable tin itinerary that concludes with the recording of '1 (+) minas of
tin to the Cretan; 1/3 mina of tin to the translator, chief (merch)ant among the Cretans;
(dispensed) at Ugarit...' (ARM 23 556). This striking passage indicates that there were Minoan
merchants (the text uses the name Kaptaru, generally taken to designate the island of Crete)
doing business (perhaps also residing) at Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra) toward the beginning of
the Old Palace period in Crete. Furthermore, the Minoan merchants seem to have had a translator
(Akkadian, targamannum; the origin of the common European 'dragoman') who was also the
leader of the Minoans doing business at Ugarit. Such translators are known from other periods of
Mesopotamian history. We have the cylinder seal of a Sargonic official who served as translator
for the Melukkha merchants who came to Agade from the Indus Valley, perhaps bringing with
them the tin of Melukkha, a commodity mentioned in one of the statue inscriptions of Gudea,
ruler of Lagash. A Mari text, dated to the ninth year of the reign of Zimri-Lim, refers to the
construction of a 'small Kaptaru boat', perhaps to be taken as a model ship for ritual purposes or
as the designation of a ship built for sailing to Crete. A possible parallel for this would be the
Egyptian references to Byblos ships (for sailing to the ancien Syrian port of Byblos (modern
Jubayl) and Keftiu ships (built for sailing to Crete)... (James D. Muhly, 1995, Mining and
Metalwork in Ancient Western Asia, in: Jack M. Sasson, ed. 1995, Civilizations of the Ancient
Near East, Vol. III, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 1501-1521).
Note on tin used to alloy with copper to create bronze. "One ingot fragment, probably of the mid-
third millennium BCE, possibly found at Tell al-Ubaid, has been identified as alloyed copper. It
is 88.2 per cent copper, 8.91 per cent tin with impurities...Muhly (Muhly, JD, 1973, Copper and
Tin: The distribution of mineral resources and the nature of the metals trade in the bronze age,
Hamden: Archon Books,220 ff.; Muhly, JD, 1976, Copper and Tin, Hamden, Archon Books,
104 ff.) has thoroughly reviewed the ancient textual sources for the use of copper and its trade in
Mesopotmia, with extensive commentary on their relation to known deposits in the area. Archaic
texts from Uruk (III) indicate that already by the later fourth millennium BCE Dilmun was
engaged in the metals trade ." (Moorey, P.R.S., 1994, Ancient Mesopotamian materials and
industries, the archaeological evidence, Oxford University Press, p. 245). Muhly notes:
"...copper is likely to be a local product; the tin was almost always an import...There is certainly
no tin on Cyprus, so at best the ingots could have been transhipped from that island. How did
they find their way to Haifa? "(Muhly, JD, 1979, The evidence for sources of and trade in
Bronze Age tin, in Franklin AD, Olin JS, Wertime, TA, The search for Ancient Tin, Washington
DC: A seminar organized by Theodore A. Wertime and held at the Smithsonian Institution and
the national Bureau of Standards, Washington DC, March 14-15, 1977, pp. 43-48).
For the trade with Mesopotamia there is both literary and archaeological evidence. The Harappan
seals were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or
sack marks on the reverse side testify. The presence of a number of Indus seals at Ur and other
Mesopotamian cities and the discovery of a "Persian Gulf" type of seal at Lothal--otherwise
known from the Persian Gulf ports of Bahrain (ancient Dilmun, or Telmun) and Faylahkah, as
well as from Mesopotamia-- provide convincing corroboration of the sea trade suggested by the
Lothal dock. Timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold, and luxury goods such as
carnelian beads, pearls, and shell and bone inlays, including the distinctly Indian kidney shape,
were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woolen textiles, and
grains and other foods. Copper ingots appear to have been imported to Lothal from Magan
(possibly Oman, the Mahran region, or southeastern Iran). Other possible trade items include
products originating exclusively in each respective region, such as bitumen, occurring naturally
in Mesopotamia; and cotton textiles and chickens, major products of the Indus region not native
Table. Mesopotamian trade with Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha
Products imported into Ur Products imported into Ur Products imported into Ur
from Dilmun from Magan from Meluhha
Late third and early second Mid-third to mid-second
Late third millennium BC
millennium BC millennium BC
lapis lazuli Timber and wooden
timber and wooden objects
semi-precious stones Copper
a type of onion (?)
ivory and ivory objects Gold dust
copper Lapis lazuli
‘fish-eyes’ Birds (including peacock)
red gold Multi-coloured ivory birds
white corals Cornelian monkey
various woods Red dog
[Except for the dates and (Ratnagar, 1981: 66ff.)
[Cornelian and ivory were
‘fish-eyes’, all the Texts refer to it as the land
being shipped from further
commodities came to of seafarers.
east; copper and diorite
Dilmun from elsewhere for
onward shipment; cf.
Akkadian kings claimed to
Tilmun: Edzard et al., 1977,
have campaigned in Magan
p. 157-8; Groneberg, 1980:
and taken boody. (Potts, D.,
(P.R.S. Moorey, 1994, Ancient Mesopotamian Materials and Industries, Oxford, Clarendon
Fig. 8. A good example of contact between Kish
and Meluhha (Indus script corpora area) is
provided by two seals with identical texts from
(a) Kish (IM 1822); cf. Mackay 1925 and (b)
Mohenjodaro (M-228); cf. Parpola, 1994, p. 132.
“A copper blade (Marshall 1931: pl. 136, f.3) found in one of the upper levels, though termed a
spear-blade, may conceivably have been a knife (Plate IX, no.1).
An exactly similar blade, but with a slightly longer tang, was found in the A mound at Kish
(Mackay 1929a: pl. 39, gp. 3, f.4)... attention should be called to a steatite seal from Kish, now in
Baghdad Museum, which bears the svastika symbol.
This seal, both in shape and design upon it, exactly resembles the little square seals of steatite
and glazed paste that are so frequently found at Mohenjodaro (Marshall 1931: pl. 144, f. 507-15).
I do not think that I err in regarding the Kish example, which was found by Watelin, as either of
Indian workmanship or made locally for an Indian resident in Sumer... The curious perforated
vessels shown (Marshall 1931: pl. 84, f. 3-18) are very closely allied to perforated vessels found
at Kish (Mackay 1929a: pl. 54, f. 36), especially in the fact that besides the numerous holes in
the sides there is also a large hole in the base, which suggests that by this means they were
supported on a rod or something similar... I have suggested, from evidence obtained by Sir Aurel
Stein in southern Baluchistan, that these perforated vessels were used as heaters...(E.J.H.Mackay,
Further links between ancient Sind, Sumer and elsewhere, Antiquity, Vol. 5, 1931, pp. 459-473).
"The land of Melukkha shall bring carnelian, desirable and precious, sissoo-wood from Magan,
excellent mangroves, on big-ships!" said a statement in the Sumerian myth, Enki and Ninkhursag
(cf. lines 1-9, trans. B. Alster).
"In the late Early Dynastic period (about 2500), Ur-Nanshe, king of the Sumerian city-state
Lagash, "had ships of Dilmun transport timber from foreign lands" to his capital (modern Tell al-
Hiba), just as a later governor of Lagash, named Gudea, did in the mid-twenty-first century. In
the early twenty-fourth century, Lugalbanda and Urukagina, two kings of Lagash, imported
copper from Dilmun and paid for it with wool, silver, fat, and various milk and cereal products...
That these (round stamp) seals were used in economic transactions is proven by the discovery of
two important tablets bearing their impressions. One of these tablets was found at Susa, and
dates to the first half of the second millennium. It is a receipt for goods, including ten minas of
copper (about eleven pounds or five kilograms).
The second tablet, in the Yale Babylonian Collection, is dated to the tenth year of Gungunum of
Larsa (modern Tell Senkereh), that is, around 1925, and records a consignment of goods (wool,
wheat, and sesame) prior to a trading voyage that almost certainly had Dilmun as its goal.
Dilmun seals characteristically depict two men drinking what could be beer through straws, or
two or three prancing gazelles...a merchant named Ea-nasir, who is identified as one of the a_lik
Tilmun, or "Dilmun traders"...
Ea-nasir paid for Dilmun copper with the textiles and silver that he received from the great
Nanna-Ningal temple complex at Ur...The Mari texts contain several references to Dilmunite
caravans...Melukkha was a source of wood (including a black wood thought to have been
ebony), gold, ivory, and carnelian...Melukkha was accessible by sea...Sargon of Akkad...boasts
that ships from Dilmun, Magan and Melukkha docked at the quay of his capital Akkad...While
points of contact with other regions are attested, they can hardly have accounted for the strength
and individuality of civilization in the subcontinent..
.Unmistakably Harappan cubical weights of banded chert (based on a unit of 13.63 grams) are
known from a number of sites located around the perimeter of the Arabian GUlf, including Susa,
Qalat al-Bahrain, Shimal (Ras al-Khaimah), and Tell Abraq (Umm al-Qaiwain)...an inscribed
Harappan shard has been found at Ras al Junayz... Harappan pottery has been found at several
sites throughout Oman and the United Arab Emirates...
A "Melukkhan village" in the territory of the ancient city-state of Lagash, attested in the thirty-
fourth year of the reign of Shulgi (2060), may have been a settlement of Harappans, if the
identification with the civilization of the Indus Valley is correct...But...there is little evidence of a
Sumerian, Akkadian, or Babylonian presence in the Indus Valley... That the language of
Melukkha was unintelligble to an Akkadian or Sumerian speaker is clearly shown by the fact
that, on his cylinder seal, the Akkadian functionary Shu-ilishu is identified as a "Melukkhan
translator"...the word "Melukkha" appears occasionally as a personal name in cuneiform texts of
the Old Akkadian and Ur III periods. "(Potts, D., 1995, Distant Shores: Ancient Near Eastern
Trade, in: Jack M. Sasson (ed.), Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Vol. I, pp. 1451-1463).
Harappan control over the Oman Sea
"Oman peninsula/Makkan lies half way between the two main civilization centres of the third
millennium Middle East: Mesopotamia and the Indus valley... an increasing influence of
Harappan civilization on Eastern Arabia during the last two centuries of the third millennium.
This influence seems to strengthen during the early second millennium where proper Harappan
objects are found all over the Oman peninsula: a cubic stone weight at Shimal, sherds of
Harappan storage jars on several sites including Hili 8 (period III). Maysar and Ra's Al-Junayz
bears a Harappan inscription and Tosi (forth.) has emphasized the importance of this discovery
for knowledge of Harappan control over the Oman Sea." [Serge Cleuziou, Dilmun and Makkan
during the third and early second millennia BC, 143-155 in: Shaikha Haya Ali Al Khalifa and
Michael Rice (eds.) Bahrain through the ages: the archaeology, London, KPI, 1986.]
A reference to itinerant metal-smiths who make arrows of metal, in the Rigveda (9.112.2) will
have to be re-evaluated in the context of this evidence.
jaratībhih oṣadhībhih parṇebhih śakunānām
kārmāro aśmabhih dyubhih hiraṇyavantam icchatī (RV. 9.112.2)
This is a description of a smithy, perhaps an allusion to the making of copper reducing the ores.
The metalsmiths sold the products (a copper implement or copper-tipped arrow or golden
ornament) to moneyed-people.
kharoṣṭī 'blacksmith lip, carving' and harosheth 'smithy'
kharoṣṭī the name of a script in ancient India from ca. 5th century BCE is a term cognate with
harosheth hagoyim of the Old Bible. The following notes on these terms, on ranku ‘tin’, khar
‘blacksmith’, and other glosses are presented, in the particular context of the hieroglyphs of
Warka vase to validate the presence of artisans from many places Ii the interaction area between
Meluhha and Mesopotamia.
Suniti Kumar Chatterjee suggested that kharōṣṭī may be cognate with harosheth in: harosheth
hagoyim 'smithy of nations'. Etymology of harosheth is variously elucidated, while it is linked to
'chariot-making in a smithy of nations'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harosheth_Haggoyim
ranku 'antelope' (Santali); rebus: ranga, ran, 'pewter is an alloy of tin lead and antimony (añjana)'
(Santali). ranku 'tin' (Santali) ranga ‘tin’ (Skt.)(CDIAL 10562).
Fig.9 Two tin ingots found in Haifa.
The Indus script inscriptions using hieroglyphs on two pure tin-ingots found in Haifa were
reviewed. (Kalyanaraman, S., 2010, The Bronze Age Writing System of Sarasvati Hieroglyphics
as Evidenced by Two “Rosetta Stones” - Decoding Indus script as repertoire of the
mints/smithy/mine-workers of Meluhha. Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies. Number 11. pp. 47–74).
The picture of these two ingots (Fig.9) was published by J.D. Muhly [New evidence for sources
of and trade in bronze age tin, in: Alan D. Franklin, Jacqueline S. Olin, and Theodore A.
Wertime, The Search for Ancient Tin, 1977, Seminar organized by Theodore A. Wertime and
held at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C.,
March 14-15, 1977].
The trading route through Mari on the Euphrates to Ugarit (Mediterranean Sea) and on to
Minoan Crete. This may explain the presence of Harappan script inscription on tin ingots found
at Haifa, Israel! [After Markus Wafler, 'Zu Status und Lage von Taba_l', ORIENTALIA]
Muhly notes:"A long-distance tin trade is not only feasible and possible, it was an absolute
necessity. Sources of tin stone or cassiterite were few and far between, and a common source
must have served many widely scattered matallurgical centers. This means that the tin would
have been brought to a metallurgical center utilizing a nearby source of copper. That is, copper is
likely to be a local product; the tin was almost always an import…The ingots are made of a very
pure tin, but what could they have to do with Cyprus? There is certainly no tin on Cyprus, so at
best the ingots could have been transhipped from that island… What the ingots do demonstrate is
that metallic tin was in use during the Late Bronze Age…rather extensive use of metallic tin in
the ancient eastern Mediterranean, which will probably come as a surprise to many people."
khār 1 । m. (sg. abl. khāra 1 ; the pl. dat. of this word is khāran 1 , which is
to be distinguished from khāran 2, q.v., s.v.), a blacksmith, an iron worker (cf. bandūka-khār, p.
111b, l. 46; K.Pr. 46; H. xi, 17); a farrier (El.). This word is often a part of a name, and in such
case comes at the end (W. 118) as in Wahab khār, Wahab the smith (H. ii, 12; vi, 17)
khāra-basta - । f. the skin bellows of a blacksmith. f. the wall
of a blacksmith's furnace or hearth. -bāy - । f. a blacksmith's wife (Gr.Gr. 34).
m. a blacksmith's hammer, a sledge-hammer. f. a blacksmith's
furnace or hearth. -hāl - । f. (sg. dat. -höjü - &above; &below;), a blacksmith's
smelting furnace; cf. hāl 5. -kūrü - &below; । f. a blacksmith's daughter.
m. the son of a blacksmith, esp. a skilful son, who can work at the same
profession. f. a blacksmith's daughter, esp. one who has the virtues and qualities
properly belonging to her father's profession or caste. f. (for 2, see [khāra 3] ),
'blacksmith's earth,' i.e. iron-ore. m. a blacksmith's son. -nay - ।
f. (for khāranay 2, see [khārun] ), the trough into which the blacksmith allows
melted iron to flow after smelting. -ʦañĕ f.pl. charcoal used by blacksmiths
in their furnaces. -wān । kōda khārüñü, to raise a kiln; met. to raise or make a really good
kiln in which only perfect bricks are baked (Śiv. 133; cf. kōda khasüñü, p. 384b, l. 28). Such
compounds will be found under the various substantives which form the first member. In vill.
use this verb often takes the form khālun (e.g. H. vii, 19). El. gives a variant khāsun. (Kashmiri)
Harosheth Hebrew: חרושת ; וis pronounced khar-o-sheth? Most likely, (haroshet) a noun
meaning a carving. Hence, kharoṣṭī came to represent a 'carving, engraving' art, i.e. a writing
system. Harosheth-hagoyim See: Haroshet [Carving]; a forest; agriculture; workmanship;Harsha
[Artifice: deviser: secret work]; workmanship; a wood http://tinyurl.com/d7be2qh
Cognate with haroshet: karṣá m. ʻ dragging ʼ Pāṇ., ʻ agriculture ʼ Āp.(CDIAL 2905). karṣaṇa n. ʻ
tugging, ploughing, hurting ʼ Mn., ʻ cultivated land ʼ MBh. [kárṣati, krṣ] Pk. karisaṇa -- n. ʻ
pulling, ploughing ʼ; G. karsaṇ n. ʻ cultivation, ploughing ʼ; OG. karasaṇī m. ʻ cultivator ʼ, G.
karasṇī m. -- See krṣaṇa -- .(CDIAL 2907).
Harosheth-hagoyim is the home of general Sisera, who was killed by Jael during the war of
Naphtali and Zebulun against Jabin, king of Hazor in Canaan (Judges 4:2). The lead players of
this war are the general Barak and the judge Deborah. The name Harosheth-hagoyim obviously
consists of two parts. The first part is derived from the root , which HAW Theological Wordbook
of the Old Testament treats as four separate roots (harash I, II, III, & IV). The verb (harash I)
means to engrave or plough. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament reads, "The
basic idea is cutting into some material, e.g. engraving metal or plowing soil." Derivatives of this
verb are: (harash), meaning engraver; (haroshet) a noun meaning a carving. This word is equal to
the first part of the name Harosheth-hagoyim; (harish), meaning plowing or plowing time;
(maharesha) meaning ploughshare; (harishi), a word which is only used in Jona 4:8 to indicate a
certain characteristic of the sun - vehement (King James) or scorching (NIV). The verb (harash
II) most commonly denotes refraining from speech or response, either because one is deaf or
mute, or because one doesn't want to respond. None of the sources indicates a relation with the
previous root, and perhaps there is none, but on the other hand, perhaps deafness was regarded in
Biblical as either being marked or else cut or cut off. The noun (horesh) from root (hrsh III)
occurs only in Isaiah 17:9 and has to do with a wood or forest. The noun (heresh) from root (hrsh
IV) occurs only in Isaiah 3:3 and probably means magical art or expert enchanter, or something
along those lines. The second part of the name, hagoyim, comes from the definite article (ha plus
the common word (goy) meaning nation, people, gentile. This word comes from the assumed
root (gwh), which is not translated but which seems to denote things that are surpassed or left
behind. Other derivatives are: (gaw a and gew), meaning back, as in "cast behind the back," i.e.
put out of mind (1 Kings 14:9, Nehemiah 9:26, Isaiah 38:17); (gewiya), meaning body, either
dead or alive (Genesis 47:18, Judges 14:8, Daniel 10:6). The meaning of the name Harosheth-
hagoyim can be found as any combination of the above. NOBS Study Bible Name List reads
Carving Of The Nations, but equally valid would be Silence Of The Gentiles or Engraving Of
What's Abandoned. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Manufactory for
Harosheth and "of the Gentiles" for Hagoyim.
kharōṣṭī , 'A kind of alphabet; Lv.1.29'. Often, there is an alternative (perhaps, erroneous)
transliteration as kharōṣṭī. The compound is composed of: khar + ōṣṭī (or, 'mfn. burnt'
(CDIAL 2386); uṣṭa -- ʻ settled ʼ (CDIAL 2385) ṓṣṭha m. ʻ lip ʼ RV. Pa. oṭṭha -- m., Pk. oṭṭha -- ,
uṭ°, hoṭṭha -- , huṭ° m., Gy. pal. ōšt, eur. vušt m.; Ash. ṣṭ, Wg. ṣṭ, wūṣṭ, Kt. yūṣṭ (prob. ← Ind.
NTS xiii 232); Paš. lauṛ. ūṭh f. ← Ind. (?), gul. ūṣṭ ʻ lip ʼ, dar. weg. uṣṭ ʻ bank of a river ʼ (IIFL iii
3, 22); Kal. rumb. ūṣṭ, uṣṭ ʻ lip ʼ; Sh. ōṭṷ m. ʻ upper lip ʼ, ōṭi f. ʻ lower lip ʼ (→ Ḍ ōṭe pl.); K.
wuṭh, dat. °ṭhas m. ʻ lip ʼ; L. hoṭh m., P. hoṭh, hõṭh m., WPah. bhal. oṭh m., jaun. hōṭh, Ku. ūṭh,
gng. ōṭh, N. oṭh, A. ōṭh, MB. Or. oṭha, Mth. Bhoj. oṭh, Aw. lakh. ōṭh, hōṭh, H. oṭh, õṭh, hoṭh,
hõṭhm., G. oṭh, hoṭh m., M. oṭh, õṭh, hoṭ m., Si. oṭa.WPah.poet. oṭhḷu m. ʻ lip ʼ, hoṭṛu, kṭg. hóṭṭh,
kc. ōṭh, Garh. hoṭh, hōṭ. (CDIAL 2563). In the context of use of the term kharōṣṭī for a writing
system, it is apposite to interpret the compound as composed of khar + ōṣṭī 'blacksmith + lip'.
"The Kharoṣṭī scrolls, the oldest collection of Buddhist manuscripts in the world, are
radiocarbon-dated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
The group confirms the initial dating of the Senior manuscripts to 130-250 CE and the Schøyen
manuscripts to between the 1st and 5th centuries CE."
"The Kharoṣṭī script is an ancient Indic script used by the Gandhara culture of ancient Northwest
South Asia(primarily modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan) to write the Gāndhārī language (a
dialect of Prakrit) and the Sanskrit language. An abugida (or "alphasyllabary"), it was in use
from the middle of the 3rd century BCE until it died out in its homeland around the 3rd century
CE. It was also in use in Kushan, Sogdiana (see Issyk kurgan) and along the Silk Road where
there is some evidence it may have survived until the 7th century in the remote way stations of
Khotan and Niya...As preserved in Sanskrit documents the alphabet runs: a ra pa ca na la da ba
ḍa ṣa va ta ya ṣṭa ka sa ma ga stha ja śva dha śa kha kṣa sta jñā rtha (or ha) bha cha sma hva tsa
gha ṭha ṇa pha ska ysa śca ṭa ḍha ...
Fig. 10 Paper strip with writing in Kharoṣṭhī.
Fig. 10 Paper strip with writing in Kharoṣṭhī. 2-5th century CE, Yingpan, Eastern Tarim Basin,
XinjiangMuseum...The Kharoṣṭī script was deciphered by James Prinsep (1799–1840), using the
bilingual coins of the Indo-Greeks (Obverse in Greek, reverse in Pāli, using the Kharoṣṭī script).
This in turn led to the reading of the Edicts of Ashoka, some of which, from the northwest of the
Indian subcontinent, were written in theKharoṣṭī script...The study of the Kharoṣṭī script was
recently invigorated by the discovery of the Gandharan Buddhist Texts, a set of birch-bark
manuscripts written in Kharoṣṭhī, discovered near the Afghan city of Hadda just west of the
Khyber Pass in modern Pakistan. The manuscripts were donated to the British Library in 1994.
The entire set of manuscripts are dated to the 1st century CE, making them the oldest
Buddhistmanuscripts yet discovered."
takaram tin, white lead, metal sheet, coated with tin (Ta.); tin, tinned iron plate (Ma.); tagarm tin
(Ko.); tagara, tamara, tavara id. (Ka.) tamaru, tamara, tavara id. (Ta.): tagaramu, tamaramu,
tavaramu id. (Te.); ṭagromi tin metal, alloy (Kuwi); tamara id. (Skt.)(DEDR 3001). trapu tin
(AV.); tipu (Pali); tau, taua lead (Pkt.); tu~_ tin (P.); ṭau zinc, pewter (Or.); tarūaum lead (OG.);
tarvu~ (G.); tumba lead (Si.)(CDIAL 5992).
takar sheep, ram, goat (Ta.); tagar ram (Ka.); tagaru (Tu.); tagaramu, tagaru (Te.); tagar
ṭagara = tabernae montana (Skt.)
Heb. tamar "palm tree, date palm. "
tam(b)ra = copper (Pkt.) tibira = merchant (Akkadian)
tabar = a broad axe (P.lex.)
Many conflict motifs depicted on early Sumerian cylinder seals and artifacts may relate to the
gloss: tamhāru damhara [BATTLE] wr. dam-ha-ra "battle" Akk. tamhāru because the word is
phonetically close to tamkāru ‘merchant’. The Sumerian gloss is: damgar [MERCHANT]
wr. dam-gar3 "merchant, trader". As a substrate word, the likely cognate glosses occur in Indian
sprachbund with the semantics not of a ‘merchant’ but of a blacksmith as evidenced by the
following etyma from Indian sprachbund.
Salonen associates the term tamkāru with the earliest stratum of professional designations
characterized by two syllables and ending in –ar, as in nagar (nangar), bahar, engar, kapar, arar
and usbar (esbar). (Salonen, Armas, 1969, ‘Die altesten Berufe und Erzeugnisse des Vorderen
Orients,’ in Die Fussbekleidung der alten Mesopotamia (=AASF 157), pp. 97-119, esp. p. 109).
Substrate nouns in –ar (including dam-gar) date from what Salonen calls the late Neolithic or
early Chalcolithic period (ca. 5500 to 5000 BCE).(Salonen 1969, esp. p. 118). A substrate origin
for both Sumerian dam-gar and Akkadian tamkāru is also suggested by FR Kraus. (Kraus 1973,
Vom mesopotamischen Menschen… (=MKNAWL n.r. 36/6): 111). תגרn.m. merchant (<
Akk tamkaru Kaufman, Influences 107; CPA ܬܓܪLSp 218, SA תגארHam 536:60+) sg. אזל גבי
תגרא באתינסhe went to a merchant in Athens EchR 48:18; pl. תג[ר]יןFPT Gen 37:28[04;
H ;]סחריםTN ib.; FTV ib. 25:3 [H ;]אשוריםTN ib.; BR 663:6 [w. ref. to Gen ib.] (Sokoloff's A
Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic). http://cal.huc.edu/djpa.php?lemma=tgr+N In K.
Veenhof’s view, the basic meaning of tamkaru is ‘traders, travelling or working abroad.’ (Klaas
R. Veenhof, Jesper Eidem, 2008, Mesopotamia, the old Assyrian period, Academic Press
Fribourg Vandenhoeck & Ruprech Gottingen).
Insight of the late Benno Landsberger (Undena Publications, Sources and Monographs, vol. 1,
fascicle 2 (1974), pp. 8-12) resulted in a recognition that many cultural words were neither
Sumerian nor Semitic but were substrate. Such words included engar (farmer), apin (plow), apsin
(furrow), nimbar (palm), tibir (metal worker), simug (smith), damkar (merchant). (cf. Samuel
Noah Kramer, 1979, From the poetry of Sumer: creation, glorification, adoration, Univ. of
California Press, Berkeley, p. 51).
Sargon’s trade was managed by private merchants called damgar in Sumer and Akkad and
tamkārum (pl. tamkāru) in Babylonia and Assyria. This related to the early Bronze Age ca. 2250
BCE. During the 3rd millennium BCE, damgar were professional merchants as agents of temples
and palaces. Tamkār sarri was a royal merchant responsible for the sale of commodities of the
palace and for acquisition of goods for the royal household. (cf. L. Shiff, The Nur-Sin Archive:
Private entrepreneurship in Babylon, 603-507 BCE, Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania,
1987, p. 53-54.) Chief of merchants (LU rab Tamkārū of Nebuchadnezzar II was Hanunu
(Hanno), of Phoenician origin. (E. Unger, Babylon: Die heilige Stadt nach der Beschreibung der
Babylonier, 2nd ed., Berlin, 1970, 285, line 19; cf. AL Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia,
Chicago, 1964, p. 94.) (M.A. Dandamayev, The neo-Babylonian Tamkāru, in:Ziony Zevit,
Seymour Gitin, and Michael Sokoloff, eds., 1995, Solving Riddles and Untying Knots: Biblical,
Epigraphic, and Semitic Studies in Honor of Jonas C. Greenfield, Eisenbrauns, pp.523-530.)
Inscribed seals of Tamkārū from Thebes in Boeotia provide evidence of international trade by
Tamkārū. (E. Porada, The cylinder seals found at Thebes in Boeotia, in AfO 38 1981-82, pp. 1-70
(with contributions of HG Guterbock, pp. 71-72, and JA Brinkman, pp. 73-78). Tamkārū from
Ugarit had also visited Crete. (HG Guterbock, Hittites and Akhaeans: A new look, in PAPhS,
128 (1984), pp. 114-122). A text RS 17.130, a rescript of Hattusilis III sent to Niqmepa notes:
when the Tamkārū of Ura, a seaport of the Hittite kingdom, trade in Ugarit and Ugaritians are
their debtors,the latter forfeit their immovables, houses and landed property to the king of Ugarit.
(PRU IV, pp. 103-105. Cf. M. Heltzer, The Rural community in Ancient Ugarit, Wiesbaden
1976, (n.5), pp. 57-58; Id., Goods, prices and the organization of trade in Ugarit, Wiesbaden
1978, pp. 127-128; R. Yaron, Foreign Merchants in Ugarit, in ILR 4 (1969), pp. 71-74).
ḍ gar ‘horned cattle’ (K.); rebus: ḍāṅgar ‘blacksmith’ (H.) 1. K. ḍangur m. ʻbullockʼ,
L. ḍaṅgur, (Ju.) ḍ gar m. ʻhorned cattleʼ; P. ḍaṅgar m. ʻcattleʼ, Or. ḍaṅgara; Bi. ḍ gar ʻold
worn-out beast, dead cattleʼ, dhūr ḍ gar ʻcattle in generalʼ; Bhoj. ḍāṅgar ʻcattleʼ;
H. ḍ gar, ḍ grā m. ʻhorned cattleʼ. 2. H. d gar m. = prec.(CDIAL 5526).
Rebus: Mth. ṭhākur ʻblacksmithʼ; G. ṭhākor, °kar m. ʻmember of a clan of Rajputsʼ, ṭhakrāṇī f. ʻ
his wifeʼ, ṭhākor ʻ god, idol ʼ; M. ṭhākur m. ʻjungle tribe in North Konkan, family priest, god,
idolʼ; Garh. ṭhākur ʻmasterʼ; A. ṭhākur also ʻidolʼ (CDIAL 5488). ḍāṅgar ‘blacksmith’ (H.);
ḍhā~gar., dhā~gar blacksmith; digger of wells (H.) Nepali. डाङ्रे ḍāṅre , or ḍ gre, adj. Large; lazy;
working with- out thoroughness or seriousness; -- a contemptuous term for a blacksmith डाङ्रो
ḍāṅro, or ḍ gro, s. A term of contempt used for a blacksmith (kāmi). [v.s.v. ḍāṅre.] ḍān:ro = a
term of contempt for a blacksmith (N.)ʼ; N. ḍiṅgar ʻcontemptuous term for an inhabitant of the
Taraiʼ(CDIAL 5524). ṭhakkaru, ṭhakkaruḍu = a deity; an idol; an honorific title same as ṭhākūru
= a father; a religious preceptor (Te.lex.)
tamkāru, dam-gar (Sumerian, Aramaic) is a substrate word from Meluhha, that is Indian
sprachbund = ṭhākur ʻmasterʼ, perhaps ‘mint-master’. ḍ gro ‘smith’. Hieroglyphs deployed was:
ṭagara, tagar ‘ram’ (Indian sprachbund) cf. DEDR 3000. ḍ gar ‘horned cattle’(H.) (CDIAL
5526). Allographs: tagara ‘tabernae montana coronaria’, fragrant shrub (Pali) cf. CDIAL 5622.
ḍāṅgā ‘hill’ (B.)CDIAL 5423). The hieroglyphs deployed on Sumer (Uruk, Failaka etc.) are thus
decoded and read rebus in the context of the work of the artisan/trader of a mint. In the context of
a lingua fraca, also explained as a commonly understood meluhha (mleccha) speech in Near East
and Indus-script-corpora area, that is, in harosheth hagoyim ‘smithy of nations’ cognate: kharoṣṭī
gōya (lit. smiths’ lip writing clan. For gōya (Pkt.) cf. CDIAL 4279 gōtra ‘family, clan’.]
Ewe and Ram Flanking Plant with a Gatepost. Cylinder seal and impression. Mesopotamia, Late
Uruk period (ca.3500–3100 B.C.E.). Serpentine. 16 x 13 mm. Seal no. 5
http://www.themorgan.org/collections/collections.asp?id=612 Sheep and goats above three-years
of age are termed ورګ خرḵẖar-warg and ورګ ه خرḵẖar-wargaʿh (Pushto). The reed as
representing a gateway: vāra -- m. ʻ door, gate-wayʼ; war k ʻhouseʼ. [Pr. Prasun (Kafiri)]
(CDIAL 11550). Read rebus: ḵẖar-warek ‘blacksmith-house’.[The tree hieroglyph between the
goat/ram is: kuṭi ‘tree’ rebus: kuṭhi ‘smelter, furnace’ (Santali). The reed hieroglyph: B. khāg,
khāgṛā ʻ reed for pens ʼ, Or. khagaṛā ʻthe reed Saccharum spontaneumʼ; rebus: k gar ‘portable
brazier’ (Kashmiri)] Scarf is ligatured to the reed post. dhaṭu ‘scarf’ (WPah.); rebus: dhatu
‘mineral’ (Santali) The hieroglyph tree: kuṭi ‘tree’; kuṭhi ‘smelter/furnace’ (Santali).
Allograph: Ta. takar sheep, ram, goat, male of certain other animals (yāḷi, elephant, shark).
( , 486).Ma. takaran huge, powerful as
a man, bear, etc. Ka. tagar, ṭagaru, ṭagara, ṭegaru ram. Tu. tagaru, ṭagarů id. Te. tagaramu,
tagaru id. / Cf. Marathi. tagar id. (DEDR 3000). ṭegaru ‘ram’ (Ka.) The hieroglyph and cognate
lexeme of Indian sprachbund is a substrate Sumerian gloss meaning ‘merchant’. [Synonyms
existed in Indian sprachbund to describe/depict various forms of ‘antelope or ram’ which will be
elaborated in the next section.]
I suggest that Sumerian tamkāru ‘merchant’ is a rebus reading of the hieroglyph ‘antelope’
ṭagarů (Tulu). A cognate lexeme is [ṭaṅkārī] ‘maker of (stone) handmills or joiner’(Indian
Allograph: ṭagara1 ʻ squinting ʼ lex. [Cf. ṭēraka -- ] H. ṭagrā ʻ cross -- eyed ʼ (CDIAL 5425).
Cognate with tamkāru (Sumerian) is [ṭaṅkārī] ‘maker of (stone) handmills or joiner’.
Rebus 1: worker in stone: or [ ṭakārī or ṭaṅkārī ] m ( ) A caste or an individual of
it. They are workers in stone, makers of handmills &c. [ ṭaṅkaśālā ] f (S) pop.
or f A mint. ṭaṅka1 m.n. ʻweight of 4 māṣasʼ ŚārṅgS., ʻa stamped coinʼ Hit., °aka -- m.
ʻa silver coinʼ lex. 2. ṭaṅga -- 1 m.n. ʻweight of 4 māṣasʼ lex. 3. ṭakka -- 1.
[Bloch IA 59 ← Tatar tanka (Khot. tanka = kārṣāpaṇa S. Konow Saka Studies 184)]1. Pk. ṭaṁka
-- m. ʻa stamped coin’; H. ṭ k m. ʻa partic. weightʼ; G. ṭ k f. ʻa partic. weight equivalent to 1/72
serʼ; M. ṭ k m. ʻa partic. weightʼ.2. H. ṭaṅgā m. ʻa coin worth 2 paisāʼ. P. ṭakā m. ʻa copper coinʼ;
Ku. ṭākā ʻ two paisā ʼ; N. ṭako ʻ money ʼ; A. ṭakā ʻ rupee ʼ, B. ṭākā; Mth. ṭakā, ṭakkā, ṭakwā
ʻmoneyʼ, Bhoj. ṭākā; H. ṭakā m. ʻtwo paisā coinʼ, G. ṭakɔ m., M. ṭakā (CDIAL 5426).
ṭaṅka2 m.n. ʻspade, hoe, chiselʼ R. 2. ṭaṅga -- 2 m.n. ʻsword, spadeʼ lex. 1. Pa. ṭaṅka -- m. ʻstone
mason's chiselʼ; Pk. ṭaṁka -- m. ʻstone -- chisel, swordʼ; Woṭ. ṭhõ ʻ axe ʼ; Bshk. ṭhoṅ ʻbattleaxeʼ,
ṭheṅ ʻ small axe ʼ (< ṭaṅkī); Tor. (Biddulph) "tunger" m. ʻ axe ʼ (ṭ? AO viii 310), Phal. ṭhō˘ṅgi
f.; K. ṭ nguru m. ʻa kind of hoeʼ; N. (Tarai) ṭ gi ʻadzeʼ; H. ṭ kī f. ʻchiselʼ; G. ṭ k f. ʻpen nibʼ; M.
ṭ k m. ʻ pen nib ʼ, ṭ kī f. ʻchiselʼ.2. A. ṭāṅgi ʻstone chiselʼ; B. ṭāṅg, °gi ʻspade, axeʼ; Or. ṭāṅgi
ʻbattle-axeʼ; Bi. ṭ gā, °gī ʻadzeʼ; Bhoj. ṭāṅī ʻaxeʼ; H. ṭ gī f. ʻhatchetʼ.(CDIAL 5427).
*ṭaṅkati2 ʻchiselsʼ. [ṭaṅka -- 2] Pa. ṭaṅkita -- mañca -- ʻa stone (i.e. chiselled) platform ʼ; G.
ṭ kv ʻto chiselʼ, M. ṭ kṇẽ. (CDIAL 5433).ṭaṅkaśālā -- , ṭaṅkakaś° f. ʻmintʼ lex. [ṭaṅka -- 1, śāˊlā
-- ] N. ṭaksāl, °ār, B. ṭāksāl, ṭ k°, ṭek°, Bhoj. ṭaksār, H. ṭaksāl, °ār f., G. ṭ ksāḷ f., M. ṭ ksāl, ṭāk°,
ṭ k°, ṭak°. -- Deriv. G. ṭaksāḷī m. ʻmint-masterʼ, M. ṭāksāḷyā m. ṭaṅkaśālā -- : Brj. ṭaksāḷī, °sārī m.
Rebus 2: soldering (work of a joiner): ṭáṅkati1, ṭaṅkáyati ʻtiesʼ Dhātup. 2. ṭañcati.1. S. ṭākaṇu
ʻto stitchʼ, ṭ ko m. ʻa stitchʼ; Ku. ṭ ko ʻsewing, joining, patchʼ; N. ṭ knu ʻto join, tack, button
upʼ, ṭ ko ʻstitch, seamʼ; A. ṭākiba ʻto tie looselyʼ; B. ṭ kā ’to stitchʼ, Or. ṭāṅkibā, ṭāk ʻhand --
stitchingʼ; Bhoj. ṭ kal ʻto sewʼ; H. ṭ knā ʻto stitch, join, rivet, solderʼ, ṭ kā m. ʻstitch, joinʼ; G.
ṭ kv ʻto stitchʼ, ṭ kɔ m., M. ṭ kā, ṭākā m.2. G. ṭ cv ʻto stitchʼ, ṭ cṇī f. ʻsmall pinʼ; M. ṭ ṇẽ,
ṭā ° ʻto sew lightlyʼ, ṭ ṇī, ṭā ° f. ʻpinʼ.
A homonym: Brahui. mēḻẖ, Telugu. mrēka ‘goat’ (cf. DEDR 5087) is a hieroglyph/phonetic
determinant for meluhha (Sumerian), mleccha-mukha (Skt.), milakkha/milakkhu (Pali) ‘copper
(trader/worker)’. Hence, Akkadian Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal described himself (in cuneiform
inscription) as a Meluhha interpreter, for a Meluhhan, who carried a goat as a phonetic
determinant of his profession -- an artisan/trader of a mint. The hieroglyph of a goat carried by
him was the merchant/artisan’s calling card. His associate carrying a kamaṇḍalu ‘vessel holding
liquid’ was a determinant of the Meluhhan’s professional association with rasa ‘metallurgy or
early chemistry’ for transmuting metals in an incipient alchemical tradition. Antelope hieroglyph
gloss ranku rebus for ranku ‘tin’ became the written representation (mlecchita vikalpa, lit.
meluhhan’s alternative representation) for a mineral which was essential as an alloying
component with copper to create the alloy, bronze, which heralded the Bronze Age ca. 3500
BCE. A writing system complemented the activities of the innovation, a veritable industrial
revolution of the times: bronze-workers and bronze-traders.
The smith is shown by the horned antelope, red rebus: ḍ gar ‘horned cattle’ (K.); rebus: ḍāṅgar
‘blacksmith’ (H.) > damgar ‘merchant, trader’(Sumerian). The metal worker is shown by the
tiger: kōlu ‘tiger’; rebus: kol, golla ‘working in iron (metal), furnace’; ‘custodian of treasure.’
Hieroglyph: kul ‘tiger’ (Santali); kōlu id. (Te.) kōlupuli = Bengal tiger (Te.)Pk. Kolhuya -- ,
kulha — m. ʻ jackal ʼ < kōḍhu -- ; H.kolhā, °lā m. ʻjackalʼ, adj. ʻ crafty ʼ; G. kohl , °l n.
ʻjackalʼ, M. kolhā, °lā m. krōṣṭ ʻcryingʼ BhP., m. ʻjackalʼ RV. = krṓṣṭu — m. Pāṇ. [ kruś] Pa.
koṭṭhu -- , °uka — and kotthu -- , °uka — m. ʻjackalʼ, Pk. koṭṭhu — m.; Si. koṭa ʻjackalʼ, koṭiya
ʻleopardʼ GS 42 (CDIAL 3615). [ kōlhā ] [ kōlhēṃ ] A jackal (Marathi)
Rebus: kol ‘furnace, forge’ (Kuwi) kol ‘alloy of five metals, pañcaloha’ (Ta.) Ta. kol working in
iron, blacksmith; kollaṉ blacksmith. Ma. kollan blacksmith, artificer. Ko. kole·l smithy, temple
in Kota village. To. kwala·l Kota smithy. Ka.kolime, kolume, kulame, kulime, kulume,
kulme fire-pit, furnace; (Bell.; U.P.U.) konimi blacksmith; (Gowda) kolla id. Koḍ.
kollë blacksmith. Te. kolimi furnace. Go.(SR.) kollusānā to mend implements; (Ph.) kolstānā,
kulsānā to forge; (Tr.) kōlstānā to repair (of ploughshares); (SR.) kolmi smithy
(Voc. 948). Kuwi (F.) kolhali to forge (DEDR 2133). kollar, n. Watchmen at the
entrance-gate of a palace; .
( . 1035).
kollaṉ, n. < ². [M. kollan.] Blacksmith; .
( . 207). kollaṉ-
kammālai = kollaṉ-paṭṭarai, n. < id. +. Blacksmith's workshop, smithy;
. kollā, n. < T. golla. A trust- worthy employee in
public treasuries; . Loc.
kol-l-ulai, n. < id. +. Black-smith's forge; .
( . . . 14).
Fig.12 Seal. Bhirrana4 Allograph: Kur. xolā tail. Malt. qoli id. (DEDR 2135).
[The ‘short-tail’ is a hieroglyph which is ligatured to an ‘antelope’ – as a
hieroglyph read rebus. Such a ligatured-tail evolved into a ‘sign’ of the Indus
script which appears on inscribed copper-tablets.] Rebus: kol ‘working in iron
(metal), blacksmith (in this case, tin-smith)’. baṭa ‘six’ (hence six short
strokes)(G.); rebus: bhaṭa ‘furnace, smelter’ (Santali).
The stalk in front of the antelope is explained rebus: kolmo ‘rice-plant’(Santali); rebus: kolami
‘smithy/forge’ (Te.) The antelope orthography shows a ‘ram’: tagara ‘ram’; if the plant is
tabernae montana, tagaraka ‘tab rna montana’; rebus: tagara ‘tin’. The seal shows an artisan-
merchant who has a smelter to produce tin ingots.
Meadow: “The earliest (Indus) inscriptions date back to
Fig.13 Harappa potsherd with writing.
h1522A sherd. Slide 124 (Fig.13). Inscribed Ravi sherd. The origins of Indus writing can now be
traced to the Ravi Phase (c. 3300-2800 BCE) at Harappa. Some inscriptions were made on the
bottom of the pottery before firing. Other inscriptions such as this one were made after firing.
This inscription (c. 3300 BCE) appears to be three plant symbols arranged to appear almost
anthropomorphic. The trident looking projections on these symbols seem to set the foundation
for later symbols such as those seen in 131 (shown below).
Fig. 14 Harappa potsherd with writing.
Slide 131 (Fig. 14). Inscribed sherd, Kot Dijian Phase. This sign was
carved onto the pottery vessel after it was fired and may indicate the
type of goods being stored in the vessel or the owner of the vessel
itself…This symbol becomes very common in the later Indus script.
The glyph is tabernae Montana coronaria, ‘mountain tulip’.
Glyph, tabernae Montana
Fig. 15Tabernae Montana glyphs on artifacts
Fig. 15. A soft-stone flask, 6 cm. tall, from Bactria (northern Afghanistan) showing a winged
female deity (?) flanked by two flowers similar to those shown on the comb from Tell
Abraq.(After Pottier, M.H., 1984, Materiel funeraire e la Bactriane meridionale de l'Age du
Bronze, Paris, Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations: plate 20.150)
tagar = a flowering shrub; a plant in bloom (G.lex.) tagara = the shrub tabernaemontana
coronaria, and a fragrant powder or perfume obtained from it, incense (Vin 1.203); tagara-
mallika_ two kinds of gandha_ (P.lex.) ṭagara (tagara) a spec. plant; fragrant wood (Pkt.Skt.)
tagara = a kind of flowering tree (Te.lex.) This is a flower, tagaraka, used as a hair-fragrance
(Skt.) and hence is also depicted on a bonecomb. Signs, 162, 163, 169 sign variants. Rebus:
takaram ‘tin’ (Ta.) Thus the set of glyphics carved on the Tell Abraq axe can be read rebus:
tagara eraka khaṇḍaran ‘(out of) tin copper furnace’, a description of the ingredients of the
bronze alloy used to produce the axe.
Glyphic element ‘thorny, thorn’: ran:ga ron:ga, ran:ga con:ga = thorny, spikey, armed with
thorns; edel dare ran:ga con:ga dareka = this cotton tree grows with spikes on it (Santali)
Rebus: tagromi 'tin, metal alloy' (Kuwi) takaram tin, white lead, metal sheet, coated with tin
(Ta.); tin, tinned iron plate (Ma.); tagarm tin (Ko.); tagara, tamara, tavara id. (Ka.) tamaru,
tamara, tavara id. (Ta.): tagaramu, tamaramu, tavaramu id. (Te.); ṭagromi tin metal, alloy (Kuwi);
tamara id. (Skt.)(DEDR 3001). trapu tin (AV.); tipu (Pali); tau, taua lead (Pkt.); t _ tin (P.); ṭau
zinc, pewter (Or.); tarūaum lead (OG.); tarvu~ (G.); tumba lead (Si.)(CDIAL 5992).
Wild tulip motif
Fig.16. Fragment of Harappa tablet with writing. Seal impression from Harappa
(Kenoyer, 1998); a woman is carrying a three-petalled flower.
Fig. 17. Variants of a ‘tulip or graft’ glyph
Fig. 15. Wild tulip is a motif that occurs on southeast Iranian cylinder seals and on Persian Gulf
seals. 1st row: Bactrian artifacts; 2nd row: a comb from the Gulf area and late trans-Elamite seals
[After Marie-Helene Pottier, 1984, Materiel funeraire de la Bactriane meridionale de l’age du
bronze, Recherche sur les Civilizations, Memoire 36, Paris, fig. 21; Sarianidi, V.I., 1986, Le
complexe culturel de Togolok 21 en Margiane, Arts Asiatiques 41: fig. 6,21; Potts, 1994, fig.
53,8; Amiet, 1986, fig. 132].
Bone comb with Mountain Tulip motif and dotted circles. TA 1649 Tell Abraq, United Arab
Emirates. Ivory comb with Mountain Tulip motif and dotted circles. TA 1649 Tell Abraq. [D.T.
Potts, South and Central Asian elements at Tell Abraq (Emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain, United
Arab Emirates), c. 2200 BC—AD 400, in Asko Parpola and Petteri Koskikallio, South Asian
Archaeology 1993: , pp. 615-666]
The ivory comb found at Tell Abraq measures 11 X 8.2 X .4 cm. Both sides of the comb bear
identical, incised decoration in the form of two long-stemmed flowers with crenate or dentate
leaves, flanking three dotted circles arranged in a triangular pattern. Bone and ivory combs with
dotted-circle decoration are well-known in the Harappan area (e.g. at Chanhu-daro and Mohenjo-
daro), but none of the Harappan combs bear the distinctive floral motif of the Tell Abraq comb.
These flowers are identified as tulips, perhaps Mountain tulip or Boeotian tulip (both of which
grow in Afghanistan) which have an undulate leaf. There is a possibility that the comb is an
import from Bactria, perhaps transmitted through Meluhha to the Oman Peninsula site of Tell
Indus script sign variants show such a five-petalled tulip, a glyph on the Early Harappan Ravi
phase potsherd – h1522A (with five petals as in tabernae montana, tagaraka). The variants are
stylized as Sign 162 (with three prongs) and Sign 165 (with five petals). Sign 167 shows five
petals (and variants show many more branches or petals (and somet times less number of petals):
Variants of Sign 169 (One possibility is that the scribe chose to represent two distinct rebus
readings: Sign 162 with three petals to be read as kolmo ‘paddy plant’; and Sign 169 with five
petals to be read as tagaraka ‘tabernae montana wild tulip’. (Fig.17)
Fig. 17 Variants of ‘glyph: tulip or
graft’ on Indus script corpora.
If a thre-petalled glyph is a variant of the ‘tulip – five-petalled’ glyph, the following occurrences
including the seal of Altyn Tepe have to be viewed as a representation of ‘tin’ mineral – and not
tht of a kolmo ‘paddy-plant’, but tagaraka, ‘tabernae montana’. The sign also is ligatured to
form other signs: (Fig.18 Harappa leaf-shaped tablets with writing).
h337, h338 Texts 4417, 4426 (leaf-shaped
I suggest that the word associated with this glyph is tagaraka, tabernae montana. Rebus: tagara
‘tin’ (Ka.); tamara id. (Skt.) Allograph: ṭagara ‘ram’. Since tagaraka is used as an aromatic
unguent for the hair, fragrance, the glyph gets depicted on an ivory comb of Tell Abraq. The
semant. ‘tin’ may explain why a ram (or goat) is ligatured to a ‘fish’ glyph. Tin alloyed with
copper mineral yields bronze: aya ‘fish’. Rebus: aya ‘metal’.+ ṭagara ‘ram’. Rebus: tagara ‘tin’
yields bronze. Hence, the celebration and documenting the ligatured goat-fish on the Susa
Hieroglyphs on Susa limestone vat
Figs. 19-21 Susa vat with hieroglyphs.
Figs. 19-21. Susa, limestone vat, Middle Elamite period (c. 1500 BC – 1100 BCE). Louvre
Musuem. Susa ritual basin decorated with goatfish figures, molluscs, reeds – all these are
interpretable as hieroglyphs. A combination of a markhor’s
horns + fish occurs on a copper anthropomorph of
Sheorajpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. (Fig.22).
Fig. 22 Anthropomorth with fish glyph.
A copper anthropomorph had a ‘fish’ glyph incised. Anthropomorph with ‘fish’ sign incised on
the chest and with curved arms like the horns of a markhor. Sheorajpur (Kanpur Dist., UP,
India). State Museum, Lucknow (O.37) Typical find of Gangetic Copper Hoards. 47.7 X 39 X
2.1 cm. C. 4 kg. Early 2nd millennium BCE. Tagara ‘ram’ + ayo ‘fish’; rebus: tagara ‘tin’, ayo
‘metal’ (perhaps bronze formed by alloying copper mineral with tin mineral).
Susa and the interaction area of Near East and Indus script
Susa pot, from Meluhha, with metal artifacts. The pot has an inscription, painted with ‘fish’
hieroglyph. (Figs. 23-24. Susa pot with fish hieroglyph in Meluhha-Susa interaction zone.
Images courtesy: Maurizio Tosi in an international conference in New Delhi, November 2010
organised by Draupati Trust).
Source of image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruk
Following Benno Landsberger, it is agreed that there are words from the fields of agriculture,
artisanry, etc. which are from a language or
languages used in the upper Mesopotmian area
before the arrival of Sumerians. Examples often
cited are: engar > ikkaru ‘farmer’; apin
‘plough’; absin ‘furrow’; agab ‘leather worker’;
nangar > naggaru ‘carpenter’; damgar >
danger> taggaru ‘merchant-agent’; simug ‘smith
(metal-sculptor)’; ibira, tibira ‘coppersmith’;
Fig. 25. Ancient Sumer map.
Such words entered the regions surrounding Mesopotamia and later Aramaic. (Greenfield, Jonas
C., 2001, Al Kenganfei Yonah: collected studies of Jonas C. Greenfield on Semitic philology,
edited by Shalom Paul, Michael E. Stone, and Avital Pinnick, Jerusalem, The Hebrew University
Magness Press, p.156)
Sumerian lexicon, version 3.0 (by John A. Halloran) explains sanga as ‘a sprinkler, used for
ritual cleaning; economic director of a temple or occupation (such as all the smiths)(sag ‘head’ +
gar, ga ‘to store’). The semantics of ‘ritual cleaning’ may explain the presence of the allograph
‘aquatic mollusc’ on the Susa ritual basin: śāṅkhika ʻrelating to a shellʼ W. 2. śāṅkhinī --
(śaṅkhinī -- f. ʻ mother -- of -- pearl ʼ Bālar.). [śaṅkhá -- 1] 1. K. hāngi ʻsnailʼ;
B. s khī ʻpossessing or made of shellsʼ. 2. K. hogiñ f. ʻpearl oyster shell, shell of any
aquatic molluscʼ.(CDIAL 12380). Hieroglyph of ‘reed’ can also be explained: B. khāg, khāgṛā ʻ
reed for pens ʼ, Or. khagaṛā ʻthe reed Saccharum spontaneumʼ. Allograph: Pk. khaggi --
ʻrhinocerosʼ.(CDIAL 3786). Rebus: k gar ‘portable brazier’ (Kashmiri) The semantics of
Sumerian sanga (sag ‘head’ + ga ‘to store’) are echoed in the hieroglyph of sangaḍa
‘lathe/portable furnace’, a standard device often shown in front of the one-horned young bull
with rings on neck and a pannier on shoulder. The rebus reading for jangaḍa ‘products entrusted
for approval’; jangaḍ ‘courier’ (G.M.); jangaḍiyo ‘military guard accompanying treasure into the
treasury’ (G.) explain the Sumerian semantics of ‘head storage’ for the lexeme sanga.
This use of lexemes from Indian sprachbund, to explain the rebus readings of hieroglyphs,
clearly assumes the presence of artisans/traders who are speakers of Meluhha (cognate mleccha)
The acculturation of Meluhhans (probably, Indus people) residing in Mesopotamia in the late
third and early second millennium BC, is noted by their adoption of Sumerian names (Parpola,
Parpola and Brunswig 1977: 155-159). "The adaptation of Harappan motifs and script to the
Dilmun seal form may be a further indication of the acculturative phenomenon, one indicated in
Mesopotamia by the adaptation of Harappan traits to the cylinder seal." (Brunswig et al, 1983, p.
Glyph: ṭakkarā f. ʻ blow on the head ʼ Rājat. [Cf. ṭakk -- 2] Pk. ṭakkara -- m. ʻ collision ʼ, K.
ṭakara m.; S. ṭakaru m. ʻ knocking the head against anything, butting ʼ, ṭakiraṇu ʻ to knock
against, encounter, be compared with ʼ; L. ṭakkaraṇ ʻ to meet, agree ʼ; P. ṭakkar f. ʻ pushing,
knocking ʼ, ṭakkarṇā ʻ to collide, meet ʼ; Ku. ṭakkar ʻ shock, jerk, loss ʼ; N. ṭakar ʻ obstacle,
collision ʼ; B. ṭakkar ʻ blow ʼ, Or. ṭakkara, ṭākara, H. G. M. ṭakkar f. (CDIAL 6701)
takarār , n. < Arab. takrar. Colloq. 1. Altercation, objection. ṭakkarā -- : S.kcch. ṭakrāṇū ʻ to
collide ʼ, G. ṭakrāv AKŚ 37. dhakk ʻ push, strike ʼ. [dhakkayati ʻ annihilates ʼ Dhātup.]K. daka
m. ʻ a push, blow ʼ, S. dhaku m., L. P. dhakkā m.; Ku. dhakkā ʻ collision ʼ, dh kā ʻ forcibly
pushing ʼ; N. dhakkā ʻ collision, push ʼ; B. dhakkā ʻ push ʼ, Or. dhakā; H. dhak m. ʻ shock,
sudden terror ʼ, dhakkā m. ʻ push ʼ; OMarw. dhakā -- dhakī f. ʻ rush ʼ; G. dhakkɔ m. ʻ push ʼ, M.
dhakā, ḍhakā m.; -- P. dhakkṇā ʻ to push, oust ʼ; -- S. dhakiṛaṇu ʻ to half -- clean rice by beating
it in a mortar ʼ; -- Ku. dhakelṇo ʻ to push ʼ, N. dhakelnu, H. dhakelnā, ḍha°, G. dhakelv . *dhakk
-- : S.kcch. dhakko ḍeṇo ʻ to push ʼ; WPah.kṭg. dhàkkɔ m. ʻ push, dash ʼ, J. dhākā m.(CDIAL
5424). L. ḍakkaṇ, (Ju.) ḍa° ʻ to stop, obstruct ʼ; P. ḍakkṇā ʻ to block up, hinder ʼ, ḍakk m. ʻ
hindrance ʼ, ḍakkā m. ʻ plug ʼ. (CDIAL 5518). Ka. (Jenu Kuruba, LSB 4.12) dūku, (HavS.)
dūku, (Bark.) dūki, (Coorg) dūku to push (or with 3722 Ta. nūkku). Kur. tukknā to give a push
Malt. tuke to push, remove. (DEDR 3286) Ka. tagalu, tagilu, tagulu to come in contact with,
touch; taguḷisu to chase, drive away; Te. tagulucu to cause to touch; taguluḍu, taguludala
touching, contact, catching, addictedness; taguluvaḍu to be caught, seized, or entangled.
Konḍa tagli (-t-) to touch, hit. (DEDR 3004)
Figs. 26-27. Chanhu-daro seal and text of inscription. Antelope: mēḻẖ ‘goat’ (Br.) Rebus: meṛha,
meḍhi ‘merchant’s clerk; (G.) meḍho ‘one who helps a merchant’ vi.138 ‘vaṇiksahāyah’ (deśi.
Hemachandra). cf. *meluhha-m h > mleccha-mukha ‘copper (ingot)’.
Chanhu-daro23 6402 (Figs. 26-27).
Goat-antelope with a short tail; double-axe shown in front of antelope. Chanhu-daro is called the
‘Sheffield’ of ancient India by the excavator, Ernest Mackay. This observation can be related to
harosheth hagoyim [cognate: kharoṣṭī goy (Meluhha/mleccha) ‘smithy of nations’.
[A clear semantic intimation that the lexemes with root: kol- relate to a guard accompanying
treasure into or guarding treasure a ‘state’ treasury is provided by the Telugu lexeme: golla, ‘a
trustworthy employee in public treasuries.’]
Antelopes, bulls, lions, eagles (wings) are examples of hieroglyphs deployed in the interaction
area of Ancient Near East and a region of language-speakers who created/used Indus script
corpora, now evidenced by about 6000 inscriptions, in the process of trade in Bronze Age
products of artisan guilds. Some of these hieroglyphs are read rebus. Ancient texts which include
the script corpora provide valuable clues to the languages of the region and advances in
metallurgy during the Bronze Age. Further researches on the 1) evolution of technologies and
identification of mines and sources of minerals and 2) formation and evolution of languages in
Indian sprachbund, will advance the studies related to a civilization with the largest expanse of
its times in Eurasia from Haifa (Israel) to Daimabad (India) described in biblical terms as
harosheth hagoyim, ‘smithy of nations’.
There is a language group which explains damgar as Sumerian substrate. That language group is
the Indian sprachbund which included glosses from ‘Language X + Munda = Meluhha
S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D.
Sarasvati Researh Center
May 12, 2012 firstname.lastname@example.org
Annex A. Notes on ‘pellet’ hieroglyph linked with bull/antelope
Parallels associating a ‘pellet’ hieroglyph or an ox-hide ingot to a bull or bull’s head or an
antelope can be seen in the following evidences.
Fig. 28 Taxila coin with Indian hieroglyphs.
Taxila coin. Anonymous. Period of Agathokles, ca. 185 to 170 BCE. AV quarter stater (2.34
gms). Humped bull standing left. Taxila symbol before fish-like symbol with pellet and
crescents. Bopeerachchi –SNG ANS – MIG 163 (Pushkalavati); BMC India pl. 11.
The photo of taanach 'cult' stand (Fig.29) shows two goats flanking a tree in the middle register.
Fig. 29 Photo of taanach ‘cult’ stand.
The 'standard' is from Tell ti'innik and dated to 10th cent BCE. It is called
taanach 'cult' stand. Tell t'innik is in West Bank, SE of Megiddo in Israel.
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Misc/cult.gif The dotted-circle shown
above the bull on the top register of the Tell ti’innik standard parallels the
‘pellet’ shown between the horns of a bull’s head on Warka vase.
Impression of an Indus-style cylinder seal (Fig.30) of unknown Near Eastern origin in the Musee
du Louvre, Paris. One of the two anthropomorphic figures carved on this seal wears the horns of
water buffalo while sitting on a throne with hoofed legs, surrounded by snakes, fishes and water
buffaloes. Copyrighted photo by M. Chuzeville for the Departement des antiquites orientales,
Musee du Louvre.
A pair of bisons flank a round spot in the bottom register of the cylinder seal impression.
(Fig.31) urseal15 Gadd, PBA 18 (1932), p. 13, Pl. III, no. 15; Legrain, MJ
(1929), p. 306, pl. XLI, no. 119; found at Ur in the cemetery area, in a ruined
grave. There is a round spot upon the bull’s back.
(Fig.32) Fig. 99; Failaka; no. 174 impression; two bull heads emanating from a
chequered square; two persons drinking; altar and sun; bull in the lower register.
Cylinder seal (Fig.33): man grasping an antelope, bull's head over ingot. Between the horns of
the bull, a pellet is shown.
Period: Late Cypriot Date: ca. 16th–12th century B.C.E.
Geography: Cyprus, Ayia Paraskevi; Cyprus
Culture: Cypriot Medium: Black-grey steatite
Dimensions: 0.63 in. (1.6 cm) Classification:
Stone-Cylinder Seal Credit Line: The Cesnola
Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874-76
Accession Number: 74.51.4325
This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 173 Said to be from Amathus, Cyprus. 1865–
1872, found in Cyprus by General Luigi Palma di Cesnola; acquired by the Museum in 1874,
purchased from General Luigi Palma di Cesnola.
Another cylinder seal (Fig.34) shows an ox-hide ingot
associated with an antelope:
Cylinder seal: palmette tree flanked by winged griffin
and caprid; figure between them with raised hands; an
ox-hide ingot combined with four raised dots is shown
above the winged griffin.
Period: Late Cypriot II Date: ca. 14th–13th century B.C.E. Geography: Cyprus Culture: Cypriot
Medium: Hematite Dimensions: H. 15/16 in. (2.4 cm); Diam. 3/8 in. (1 cm) Classification:
Stone-Cylinder Seal Credit Line: Gift of Nanette B. Kelekian, in memory of Charles Dikran and
Beatrice Kelekian, 1999 Accession Number: 1999.325.222 This artwork is currently on display
in Gallery 406
Hieroglyph: [ gōdā ] m A circular brand or mark made by actual cautery (Marathi) [
gōṭā ] m A roundish stone or pebble. 2 A marble (of stone, lac, wood &c.) 2 A marble. 3 A large
lifting stone. Used in trials of strength among the Athletæ. 4 A stone in temples described at
length under 5 fig. A term for a round, fleshy, well-filled body. or [ gōṭuḷā
or gōṭōḷā ] a ( ) Spherical or spheroidal, pebble-form. (Marathi)
Rebus: [ gōṭā ] A lump of silver: as obtained by melting down lace or fringe
Indus seal (Mohenjodaro, Fig. 35) showing fire-altar, with dotted circles
and pellets around the altar. Source: Indus script corpora
Hieroglyphs: Four ‘round spot’ glyphs around the ‘dotted circle’ in the
center of the composition: gōṭī ‘round pebble.
dolo ‘the eye’ (deśi. Hemachandra). Rebus: dul ‘to cast metal in a mould’ (Santali) It is possible
that ‘fish-eyes’ or ‘eye stones’ referred to in ancient Mesopotamian texts as imports from Dilmun
(Akkadian IGI-HA, IGI-KU6) mentioned in Mesopotamian texts., refer to the hieroglyph of
dotted circle (hieroglyph: fish-eye or antelope-eye)
Rebus: kōṭhī ] f ( S) A granary, garner, storehouse, warehouse, treasury, factory, bank.
krvṛi f. ‘granary (Wpah.); kuṛī, kuṛo house, building’(Ku.)(CDIAL 3232) [ kōṭhī ] f ( S)
A granary, garner, storehouse, warehouse, treasury, factory, bank. (Marathi) The grain and
provisions (as of an army); the commissariat supplies. Ex. - - -
. [ kōṭhyā ] [ kōṭhā ] m ( S) A large granary, store-room, warehouse, water-
reservoir &c. 2 The stomach. 3 The chamber of a gun, of water-pipes &c. 4 A bird’s nest. 5 A
cattle-shed. 6 The chamber or cell of a hunḍí in which is set down in figures the amount. [
kōṭhārēṃ ] n A storehouse gen (Marathi)
Fig. 36. Copper ingot types from the Uluburun shipwreck (Fig.36). These
include a unique clover-shaped or miniature oxhide ingot, KW 1983 (A), a
Type 1 ‘pillow’ ingot (KW 157), many four-handled copper oxhide ingots
such as KW 3771 (C), and, for the first time, two-handled oxhide ingots,
including KW 4501 (D). Ovoid ingots such as KW 2731 (E) and KW
1191, a plano-convex ingot, which was broken in antiquity (F), were also
found (After Pulak 1998, 195; 2000a, 141-2, 145; Figure 9a-f). (p.92)
Fig. 37. Tin ingot types from the Uluburun ship (Fig37):
oxhide, wedge-shaped, and plano-convex (After Pulak 2000a,
151; Figure 11).
Fig. 38. Weighing ring ingots, a
scene (Fig.38) from the Tomb of
Rekhmire, Mid-15th century BCE
343 Tylecote 1987a, 18-9; Harding
2000, 218-9; Derckson 1996, 58-9.
344 Huth 2000, 177, 188-190;
Maraszek 2000, 213; Pydyn 2000, 230. The use of axes as a form of ingot or perhaps even as a
primitive form of currency (whether or not of a standardized weight) has precedents in Neolithic
flint axe preforms which were produced and transported over long distances from flint sources in
southern England (Bradley and Edmonds 1993) and ground stone axes which were exchanged in
the Neolithic Mediterranean (Robb and Farr 2005, 29). Pick-shaped ingots were also traded
throughouth northern Italy and the Alps during the Italian Final Bronze Age (c. 1150-950 B.C.)
(Pearce 2000, 111-2). (After Davies 1973, Pl. LV; Figure 10; p. 94).
Fig.39. Copper and tin ingots of a shipwreck.
Photo (Fig.39) courtesy South West Maritime Archaeology Group. Bronze Age shipwreck’s
main cargo. Samples from 259 copper and 27 tin ingots. Part of a 900 BCE cargo discovered in
May 2009 near the town of Salcombe off Devon coast, UK.
Hieroglyph: P. ḍabb m. ʻ spot ʼ; P. dhabbā m. ʻ spot ʼ; N. dhabbo ʻ stain, spot ʼ, H. dhabbā m.,
G. dhāb n.(CDIAL 5529). Hieroglyph: ḍabe, ḍabea ‘large horns, with a sweeping upward
curve, applied to buffaloes’ (Santali) Rebus: ḍab, ḍhimba, ḍhompo ‘lump (ingot?)’, clot, make a
lump or clot, coagulate, fuse, melt together (Santali) Hieroglyph: ḍābā ʻlarge hollow vessel to
feed cattle fromʼ(B.) dhābā in Indian sprachbund can be semantically explained as a workshop
storehouse to hold ḍab ‘melted, fused (ingots)’.
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(Gherardo Gnoli) Originally Published: December 15, 199