A group of Asur men outside a traditional hut in Polpol Path.

Descendants of Indus Valley Builder Tribe May Soon Disappear, Taking Secret Knowledge with Them

(Read the article on one page)

More than four millennia ago, the Indus Valley civilization was a vast and sophisticated culture spanning what is now Pakistan and western India. Their urban planning was admirable and they had impressive water storage and maintenance. This civilization also domesticated animals, harvested crops, and created a unique writing system. The Asurs of central India are the descendants of the famous builder tribe of the Indus Valley civilization, but these people and their secret knowledge are now under severe threat .

The Asurs are one of the oldest groups of indigenous people in India and one of the most ancient metallurgist groups in the world. Their ancestors date back to the Mahabharat Age and passed down special knowledge for iron smelting. The metallurgy of the Asurs is exceptionally advanced and deeply connected to their culture and customs. For example, while smelting iron an Asur woman can sometimes be heard singing to the furnace as if it were a mother expecting the birth of a healthy baby.

A modern Asur man using a traditional furnace to make iron in Ranchi city.

A modern Asur man using a traditional furnace to make iron in Ranchi city. ( Nitish Priyadarshi )

Most modern Asur people live in poor conditions in Jharkhand and West Bengal. They lack healthcare, clean water, and educational facilities. Furthermore, bauxite mining in the region has created pollution, illness, and livelihood problems. Nowadays, their numbers only total about 8000 people, but there are some Asurs who are still battling to hold on to their distinct culture and traditions.

One of their distinct cultural features is an advanced knowledge of how to extract iron from laterite rocks. This sets the Asurs apart as everyone else extracts iron from hematite and magnetite.

Laldeo Asur is one of the last custodians of the traditional technique of iron smelting by Asurs.

Laldeo Asur is one of the last custodians of the traditional technique of iron smelting by Asurs. ( Abhishek Saha )

Ashis Sinha, a research scholar and local journalist, points out that the origins of the Asur people can be found in key ancient Indian texts such as the Rigveda and Upanishads. As a report by the researcher states, “The Asurs of 12 BC were the greatest. They established the Mohenjodaro and Harappan Civilizations. They were tall and Herculean in their builds.”

One of the best-known examples accredited to the Asurs for their advanced knowledge of ironworking is the famous Ashoka Iron pillar at Delhi. That pillar shows almost no signs of corrosion despite its age and almost pure iron content. It also surpasses modern smelting techniques.

The iron Ashoka pillar.

The iron Ashoka pillar. ( akubhatta)

The advanced metalworking knowledge of the Asurs can also be seen in the iron pillar at Dhar, Iron beam at Konark, and Damascus steel, according to Sinha.

The decreasing population and dismal treatment of the Asur people is worrying. They were once a great builder tribe, but if things do not change soon their special skills, customs, indigenous knowledge, and lives could all be lost.

Top Image: A group of Asur men outside a traditional hut in Polpol Path. Source: Abhishek Saha

By April Holloway

Comments

Do not publish such unhistorical accounts put forward by the leftist and maoist of India. If you do, your credibility will be at stake.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article