Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) Research Methodology

Indus Script has not been cracked since it was discovered in 1920. I realize that what i am going to say will break new ground. For that i need a new methodology that will allow me to prove my point beyond reasonable doubt. So far in the history of script decipherment, the main technique used is what I call the Rosetta Stone principle – the brilliant Champollion deciphering Egyptian Hieroglyphics using the Rosetta Stone that had the same text written in Egyptian Hieroglyphic, Egyptian Demotic and Classical Greek. Many scripts have been deciphered using this principle including our own Kharosthi and Brahmi by the brilliant British scholar James Prinsep.

Since no Rosetta Stone like multi-lingual text has been found in the IVC, this technique cannot be applied. At the same time, whatever interpretation we come up with, we need a scientific proof to support our interpretation. So i decided to apply the analogy of Triangulation – if you know 2 angles of a triangle you can find the third. In our case, we will simply look for at least 2 concrete evidences from different but related reference cultures for every piece of new interpretation we are proposing. In fact GPS systems triangulate using signals from as many as 8 satellites.

The cultures I picked as reference points are those that have had a history of protecting their cultures and traditions fiercely, especially in the face of onslaughts from other cultures and traditions.

The reference cultures I picked are – Egypt with their written history from 3200 BC, Celts who resisted Christianization and were amongst the last to be Christianized, Tamils who continue to fiercely protect their culture and also per Parpola, Tamil is the closest to IVC’s language, Bengal which continues with its Durga worship tradition [Bengal suggested by Priya Raju], Sumeria because it seems like the center of everything, Minoan Crete because it is the most advanced Neolithic civilization in Europe and one that had writing as well which is yet to be deciphered.

Sometimes when in doubt, i tried to find more than 2 reference-culture evidences for my interpretation. I reasoned that if 2 or more reference cultures are talking about the same thing similarly, it is likely that the interpretation is correct.

Whenever I make an assertion that is a conjecture, I will use the Wikipedia method of saying [Citation Needed] right next to it so that we can find the evidences as we do further research. In the spirit of collaboration, all of you can help me find the evidences for those areas marked [Citation Needed]. Hope you will all help with this journey.

Note added July 2009: At this time, the triangulation principle only allows us to generate a hypothesis, not a scientific proof. Please read the IVC posts, Magan = Crete, Anthropological Plate Tectonics as hypotheses and not as valid scientific proof.


  1. Quote
    pk.karthik said February 13, 2008, 5:17 am:

    This methodolgy looks good Sukumar..It will be very effective for dating ….

    But will it work when study languages ?

  2. Quote

    Karthik – I think it will help in cracking the symbology, especially since similar cultures share religion, mythology & symbology.

  3. Quote

    Thanks for the insightful comment Karthik. I am impressed by the way you think things through. On the surface of it, it may not be clear why the approach i am taking is going to be useful for decipherment. To tell the truth, even i didn’t know that my approach is going to be helpful. I simply started with one premise – we need to look at the position the entire world was in before the IVC and after to get a sense for how it fits in with the rest. I find that most historians have treated IVC as an isolate and hence landed into this situation of not being able to decipher the script significantly.

    As Priya says, my attempt is to create a symbology which we will use as a framework to decipher the script.

    This may seem like a not-so-good explanation as of now. But you will hopefully agree with me when we reach the next 1 or 2 posts. I would love your 2nd critique of the methodology after 2 more posts in the series.

  4. Quote

    I really liked you blog post! I searched all over to finally find something that made sense! Would you mind terribly if I place a link back from my site at

  5. Quote
    pk.karthik said July 15, 2009, 11:15 pm:

    @ Sukumar,

    I came across a Kaman Vizha between the period of Chitra Pournami and Indira Vizha.I am not sure what it does …but i guess it has goto do honey moon period post Aadi masam……Trying to find more info on that

  6. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said July 22, 2009, 8:02 pm:

    That is cool Karthik. Would love to know what you find.

  7. Quote
    balajee said July 23, 2009, 5:23 pm:

    Wow. This is pretty exciting. There is something called ‘Beginner’s Luck’.. hope you happen to stumble upon the cipher!!

  8. Quote

    Thanks a lot Balajee. I sure hope your prophecy of the beginner’s luck proves right.

  9. Quote

    The more creative-thinking peolple like you make suggestions and put in efforts, the nearer we will get to deciphering the Indus script.

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