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Cultures and Societies of the Indus Tradition

For most of human history, the only record of cultural development is derived from the archaeological record. This record is incomplete and fragmentary. It is not a clear document that can be interpreted without careful analysis and qualification. While the popular literature is filled with statements about ancient discoveries and the meaning of these finds, serious archaeologists are often much more cautious when making interpretations about the meaning of specific finds. Even when archaeologists do make qualified interpretive statements, they are often modified in later publications as more data is recovered from excavations. Unfortunately, the general public rarely follows the rapidly changing field of archaeological studies, and the earlier interpretations often find their way into the popular press to become what can be called “factoids.” “A factoid is a speculation or guess that has been repeated so often that it is eventually taken for hard fact” (Yoffee 2005).

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