Mahabharata Date based on Archaeology
The dating of Mahabharata is a contentious topic. There are some who believe such exercises in general are waste of time and one should focus on the message of the epic. There are others who believe it to be a fictional narrative and hence not worth dating. Among those interested in finding a date, there are many camps; some depend on puranic genealogies, others look at astronomical data, others use Aryan Invasion/Migration etc. as their base and finally some who look at archaeological data. Sometimes each of these groups are fixated by their technique and ignore the others. But whatever be the technique — textual analysis or astronomical analysis — it has to reconcile with what archaeology has been found on the ground.
Among the dates proposed for Mahabharata, there are a few major ones. To keep this in context, remember that the Mature Harappan Period was from 2500 – 1900 BCE.
1000 BCE – This is the date that fits into the Aryan Invasion/Migration narrative. But that date has support from other sources as well.
1924 BCE – Based on Puranic genealogy
2449 BCE – Based on a statement by Varahamihira in 505 CE
3067 BCE – Based on astronomical data
3137 BCE – Mentioned by Aryabhata and the Aihole inscription.
Read more at Jayakrishnan's blog - Varnam:
Ganesa writing the Mahabharat, dictated by Vyasa
Mewar, Rajasthan, India
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Page from an illustrated manuscript of the Mahabharata
© 2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston