The oracle glyph of 千 adds an indicative symbol
一 on the man()'s shank. It means "continuously walking". The original idea of character construction: continuously walking, crossing mountains and rivers,
it's the original character of 迁 (move). (When 千's original meaning "continuous walking" extended to "ten times of one hundred", the oracle script wrote "二 千" as one overlapped character ; and wrote "五 千" as .) Bronze script and seal script inherited the oracle glyph. The clerical glyph changed a lot, lost the shape of a man (人). When the original meaning "continuously walking" of 千 disappeared, later 辵 was added to make it 迁 instead.
The conjecture "千 was the original character of 迁 (move)" on that website was made before the author knowing there were combined oracle glyphs like and . A visitor with the nickname "熊猫" left his brilliant comments below that entry as
熊猫 2012-12-22 5:43:30 说「千」为「迁」的初文，似不妥。甲骨文中还有「人」字腿上两横，「人」字腿上三横的字，就是两千和三千。所以「千」上的一横似没有更深的意思。况且小篆里面都没有「迁」这个字，只有「遷」。而且「遷」的异体字里，并无一个类似「迁」的字，可见「迁」本就是后人的俗字，无字理可言。以「迁」来附会「千」，实不妥。
2012-12-22 5:43:30 Saying 千 is the original form of 迁 appears to be improper. In oracle scripts, there are also characters like "two strokes on 人" and "three strokes on 人", which respectively mean "two thousands" and "three thousands". So the one stroke in 千 shouldn't have a deeper meaning. Furthermore, in seal scripts, there isn't a character like "迁" but only "遷"; besides, in all the variant forms of 遷, there's no one like 迁. Thus essentially 迁 should be the folk form in the later times, without the principle of character forming as what the author has stated. Drawing a far-fetched conclusion for the false evolution "千=>迁", is really not proper.
This comment has pointed out all the potential mistakes in Dictionary of Pictographs's theory, I fully agree with it. And the author replied:
2012-12-26 3:32:07 感谢熊猫的批评与分享！“千”的甲骨文、金文字形十分丰富，绝大部分字形是“人”字加一横；至于极少数加两横、三横的，说明在造字时代“千”已经引申出了数词（十个百）的含义。
2012-12-26 3:32:07 Thanks for the criticism from 熊猫. The glyphs for 千 in oracle scripts and bronze scripts are very abundant, but almost all of them are "one stroke adding to 人"; for those tiny minority with "two or three strokes on 人", it just suggests 千 had extended to a numeral in the character making age.
However it hadn't refuted 熊猫's criticism well. So I left a comment:
2013-10-7 14:42:43 赞同网友熊猫的意见。管理员所说“至于极少数加两横、三横的”，单论甲骨文，给人字加二加三的非常常见，甚至还有一些加四横和加“五”字的。在《甲骨文合集》里面如果我没数漏的话，有千字的甲骨一共101片，里面出现的合体千字一共51个（有些一片里面有多于一个），所以用【极少】来形容之，显然不妥。
2013-10-7 14:42:43 I agree with 熊猫's criticism. For "those tiny minority with "two or three strokes on 人", alone in oracle scripts, they are quite common, even you can find some of them with four strokes or oracle five on it. In Collections of Oracle Bones, if I don't miss any, there are 101 pieces of bones with the character 千, 51 pieces of which have the "combined character 千" (some pieces contain more than one). Thus, using "tiny minority" to describe it, obviously, is not proper.
And the author replied:
2013-10-8 2:29:24 感谢溯度的批评！是的，“极少”的说法不妥！在“千”（并非“人”）字上加“二”或加“三”或加“四”或加“五”，本站以为这是古人对“二千”、“三千”、“四千”、“五千”简便合写，而这并不排除“千”的本义为“迁”：正因为“千”有“千万步不断前行”的本义，才引申出数量巨大的“十个百”的含义；而所谓“人+二”或“人+三”或“人+五”的字形，则是以“千”的引申义（数量词）为前提创造的字形。……今人未发现“迁”的金文、篆文，并不说明古代一定没有“迁”的金文、篆文，因为唐代楷书“迁”的字形，或许是全新创造，也可能是有所依循。“迁”强调长距离位移；“遷”强调为移居而转移。
2013-10-8 2:29:24 Thanks for the criticism! Yes, I admit the "tiny minority" description is not proper. But I think adding "二", "三", "四", or "五" to the character 千 (not 人) was a convenient combining writing for ancient people. It doesn't exclude the original meaning of 千 is 迁. Just because 千 has an original meaning "continuously walking forwards with thousands of steps", it can extends the large numeral meaning "ten times of one hundred"; The glyphs "人+二", "人+三" or "人+五", are based on the extended meaning of 千 (numeral). ... Although we cannot find any bronze script or seal script for the character 迁, it doesn't mean there mustn't be any in the ancient times, because the regular script 迁 in Tang Dynasty might be a new invention, and might be following something. (I think) 迁 emphasizes a long-distance displacement; and 遷 emphasizes "migration".
Well, although this reply might be able to answer why
in seal scripts, there isn't a character like "迁" but only "遷" (without support of material evidence, though), it hadn't explained one crux: why
in all the variant forms of 遷, there's no one like 迁. Thus, personally I haven't been convinced yet.