Sacrificial victims from the Indus Valley?

When news came out that  United States would ask for help from India for the war in Iraq, there was massive opposition in the country. The politicians did not want our soldiers to be sacrificial victims in a war we opposed. A new story suggests that there could have been sacrificial victims from India in Iraq, but about 4600 years back.

Excavations done at Ur in Iraq in the 1920s and 1930s retrieved some skulls which were 4600 years old. These skulls were found in what is called ‘Great Death Pit’ which had the bodies of 74 sacrificial victims and royal retainers.

According to one story, these women adorned with ornaments walked to the tomb, drank poison and lay down to die to join a king in his afterlife. The debate now is not on whether they were sacrificial victims, but on how they were killed. CAT scans are being done now to see if the women were killed above the ground and then mummified.

Another theory that is getting tested alongside is if the victims were bought from the Indus Valley Civilization. For this the enamel from the teeth of the sacrificial victims would be compared to the remains found in Indus Valley.

Ancient Sumerians and Akkadians relied heavily on imports since the land was not rich in natural resources. Indian merchants of that era, finding a niche market, exported goods to Mesopotamia and Harappan seals have been found various Mesopotamian sites dating to 2400 BCE.

Still it is not clear why Indian women would be sacrificed for a Sumerian King.

2 thoughts on “Sacrificial victims from the Indus Valley?

  1. JK
    It is unclear why the sacrificial victims would necessarily be from the Indus Valley when such evidence is lacking in contemporary India. This is an untested hypothesis and is presumptive.
    The Huns and Zulus used to have a similar custom. Of course, these instances took place much later. The Indus link is therefore conjectural despite the practice of suttee at a later era.
    Best regards

  2. Jaffna,
    Even I am hearing this for the first time and I am puzzled why this hypothesis is even there. Egyptians used to bury mummified slaves alongside the king, but then those are people from that region.
    Sumerians buring Indus people still puzzles me.

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