Functionality of the design.
Murex dye was extracted from marine mollusc species. Large quantities had to be collected, 10000-12000 to produce a minute amount. The shells either has been smashed or agitated to secrete a clear sap. The dye develops its colour left on the sun, with adding of potash and salts. The slime is then collected, fibres are dipped in on site or collected in vats and boiled down.
First I saw the ones uncovered in Harappa, and I thought that they can be a mill with a missing top piece. Then I looked at other ones, and was thinking that they might be for processing coconuts. Smash them in the top and collect the coconut milk at the beak. But coconuts are not as valuable as murex dye and also I looked at the symbology surrounding it clearly points at shells. So the design of the altar is a headstone, sitting in a drip tray, guiding the fluids toward a beak where it can be drained and collected. The shiva lingams come with shiva linga stones, perfect for smashing the conch on the altar top piece. So by function, they are perfect to produce murex dye and the value of the product would point toward the effort to create them reasonable.
Shiva lingams mean mark, sign, symbol (strangely in Abrahamic tradition similar as mark of Cain) and I would argue that it can be translated as dye or colour. It is accompanied by a cow usually. It represent Shiva, depicted on its bull with blue skin, riding the sacred cow, a spear and a conch often in his hands. If you are a murex dyer, your skin is discoloured as well in the process. The cow is useful source of cows urine, a source of potash in the process, also can transport the shells to production site and from there the discarded ones, transport the firewood necessary for the heating of the liquids. Their horn and tail is often stained maneuvering them around the site. It is depicted and mentioned in Babylon. There is the festival of Holi and Dhurga Puja, it is around the gathering of other rabi crops, involving a lot of colour, I think its self explanatory. There is the festival of Maha Shivarati, about the same time murex harvesting is suggested by Pliny the elder. There is an account of Shiva and Vishnu, and the pillar of light which would not say anything to me but it is very similar of Jacobs dream and the account of Jacobs altar suits well describing shiva lingams. There is a debate that it is a phallic symbol. I would be not surprised that it become one, considering that it is a sticking out hard knob oozing with purple colour. There are works which states that it symbolise the destroyer, preserver and creator, well you destroy the shells and keep it in the holding tray on the sun to create the dye, maybe it is a bit more practical explanation, less mystical.
So there is a lot of reference in Hindu culture and in Abrahamic tradition as well. There is where I am getting troubled. There is plenty of work that points out the similarities in Brahman and Abraham, their companions Sara and Hagar, supposedly the rivers Saraswati and its tributary. Its completely dried out, became barren around 1900 BC, conveniently we have first mentions in the middle east of the Hebrews, bands of economic refugees by the look of it, Apiru or Sag.Az. which literally means smashers of brains and sinews. It makes perfect sense to call murex dyers just that.
(If Sarah and Hakar are rivers, can Mecca be Rebecca and Mary who was making blue can be Meru? Can much of hebrew tradition accounts a cast of murex dyers, pickers and traders journey towards new settlements?)
So there is a good argument of the account of Aristotle, that the hebrews are from India, the tradition describing their occupation as murex dyers,( please read up on the thekelet) looking for new murex sites, their struggle as being subject of different ruling dynasties, considering the wealth and status it brought.
There is thousands of lingams in South East Asia, would like to mention Angkor Wat in Cambodia, 25 km of the city there are thousands of them. Can that be that the murex trade was so lucrative, that it drove civilisation, exploration and exploitation, places where Murex can be found become extremely rich, it was a starting point of conversation with natives, they become included in the trade routes, consequently "civilised"? I mean I do not want to upset people or spoil peoples work, but history would make much more sense to me if we include shiva lingams as tools to make the murex dye. It involved a lot of people, whole generations for millenias, this activity has to have remnants outside of jewish tradition, in current archeology and culture even if it stopped abruptly hundreds of years ago and shiva lingams are just fit the bill.
Gotta go to work now, I try to compile a list of references on Monday for you to read on, there is plenty, as I mentioned I like to read and have to backtrack my reading for years. I am interested in the history of timekeeping now, the shiva lingams and murex is a side project just piercing my eyes for a while now and got one day frustrated and inebriated and started to bother the respected people of the internet, as there is nobody in my surroundings who likes history.
Thank you very much for reading again, please let me know what do you think!