Evidence of dairy production in the Indus Valley Civilization

Why Evidence of dairy production in the Indus Valley Civilization is in the news?

Recently, the year 2020 marks 100 years of discovery of Indus Valley Civilization, and a new study has shown that dairy products were being produced by the Harappans as far back as 2500 BCE.

Key Highlights

  • The researchers show the earliest direct evidence of dairy product processing by analysing residues on ancient pots.
  • The studies were carried out on 59 shards of pottery from Kotada Bhadli, a small archeological site in present-day Gujarat.
  • The team used molecular analysis techniques to study the residues from ancient pottery.
  • The researchers studied the tooth enamel from fossils of cattle, water buffalo, goat and sheep found in the area. 
    • Cows and water buffalo were found to consume millets, while sheep and goats ate nearby grass and leaves. 
  • A preliminary study suggested that most of the cattle and water-buffalo died at an older age, suggesting they could have been raised for milk, whereas the majority of goat/sheep died when they were young, indicating they could have been used for meat.
  • The Harappans did not just use dairy for their household as the large herd indicates that milk was produced in surplus so that it could be exchanged and there could have been some kind of trade between settlements.

Source: The Hindu

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