Nandita Krishna in her article “In Search of a River”:http://www.newindpress.com/sunday/colItems.asp?ID=SEC20031219073814 writes about the River Saraswati and the research about it
bq. The Ghaggar Valley is eight to twelve kilometres wide in many places, confirming that it was once a mighty river. The Ghaggar changed course several times due to earthquakes and floods. Satellite imagery revealed that this river once originated in the Siwalik Himalayas and ended in the Arabian Sea. The lost river could only have been the Sarasvati, for this is the only river known to Indian literature and tradition in that region that �disappeared�. All scientific studies conclude that this river had dried up by 2000 BC.
Now this date is significant for many reasons. Rig Veda mentions the river Saraswati more than any other river. If the river dried up by 2000 BC, this means that Rig Veda was composed before that.
Saraswati was known during the Bharata war.
bq. The Mahabharata mentions the Sarasvati, with the Kurukshetra battlefield located to its south. But desertification had begun by the epic period, for the Mahabharata says the river was �disappearing into the desert� and was later �lost�. From the descriptions in the Mahabharata, it appears that the river was still known and was in the process of disappearing.
3000 – 1700 BC, is the time of the Harappan Civilization, and if this is the time the Vedas were composed, it can mean only one thing — The Harappans were the Vedic people.
bq. It is ridiculous not to correlate the two. Archaeology and science are juxtaposing one over the other. What are they telling us? That the Rig Veda was composed by the Aryans long before 2000 BC. That it was composed on the banks of the Sindhu and Sarasvati at the same time that the Harappans were living there. That the Vedic Aryans lived in the cities of the Indus-Sarasvati Valley. That the Vedic Aryans had to be the Harappans. The date of 1500 BC for the Rig Veda never had a scientific basis, particularly in the absence of material culture to confirm it. It was decided by Max Muller on the basis of the biblical belief that the world was created in the fifth millennium BC!
While most history books give the timeline of 1700 – 900 BC for the Vedic period and think that it is different from the Harappan culture, this is the first time, I have seen an assertion that, both are the same.