Speakers

Biography:

Brian Hemphill graduated from the University of Oregon with a doctorate in anthropology in 1991. Over the course of the last quarter century he has held positions at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Vanderbilt University, and California State University, Bakersfield. He currently serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and as Director of the Centre of South Asian Dental Research housed at that institution. Dr. Hemphill has been engaged in biodistanceanalyses of ancient and modern populations of Central and South Asia since 1987.

His most recent research involves biodistance investigations based upon morphometric variations of the permanent tooth crown of members of the living ethnic groups of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, in collaboration with researchers from Hazara University, Abdul Wali Khan University and Islamia College, as well as ethnic groups of northeastern India in collaboration with researchers from Northeastern Hills University, Shillong, Manipur University, and Sikkim University. To date, Dr. Hemphill, in collaboration with colleagues from both India and Pakistan, has amassed the largest anthropologically-based collection of dental casts in the world, encompassing some 12,000 individuals of more than 50 ethnic groups.

Abstract

The human remains recovered from the ancient city of Mohenjodaro are very few in number relative to their counterparts recovered from the Cemeteries R37 and H at Harappa. Further, their depositional context, found sprawled in non-traditional funerary contexts led Wheeler to hypothesize that they were the massacre victims of this ancient city that fell at the hands of Central Asian invaders, yet the possibility exists that these were the remains of the invaders, rather than the invaded. However, Dales noted that these remains post-date the demise of this city by a half-millennium. This raises another possibility that these remains are those of itinerant squatters who may have occupied or otherwise utilized the abandoned parts of the city. A multi-methodological multivariate statistical analysis of eight craniometricmeasurements was employed to determine the biological affinities of the 16 individuals recovered from Mohenjodaro against 29 other cranial series encompassing a total dataset of 1521 individuals ranging in antiquity from the Neolithic to modern and including nine samples from the Russo-Kazakh steppe, eight eastern Central Asian (Xinjiang, China) and East Asian samples, seven samples from western Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), three samples from the Iranian Plateau (Iran), and three additional samples from the Indus Valley of Pakistan.The results indicate that the human remains from Mohenjodaroshow no affinities to samples from Xinjiang or the Indus Valley. Instead, their affinities, albeit distant, are to be found among the prehistoric inhabitants of southern Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) and the eastern margin of the Iranian Plateau (Shahr-iSokhta).Such affinities suggest the individuals recovered from Mohenjodaro were not indigenous inhabitants of the Indus Valley, but were recent immigrants, perhaps semi-nomadic herders from across the Toba Kakar Mountains, who occupied Mohenjodaro long after it had been abandoned by the urban Harappan era population.