Pigs, buffalo and goat: New study reveals diet during Indus Valley civilisation

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Dec 10, 2020, 08:21 PM(IST)

Indus Valley Civilisation (Courtesy: Commons) Photograph:( Others )

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It revealed that people living in this civilisation used to consume meat of animals, including pigs, cattle or buffalo and sheep or goat and dairy products

Deemed as one of the most complexes amongst the ancient civilisations, the Indus Valley spread from large parts of what now is Pakistan to the northwest and western India and Afghanistan. 

And a new study led by Dr. Akshyeta Suryanarayan, a researcher at the Université Nice Côte d’Azur and the University of Cambridge, has revealed that people living in this civilisation used to consume meat of animals, including pigs, cattle or buffalo and sheep or goat and dairy products. 

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Suryanarayan explains that the findings were made after they analysed "lipid residues in pottery from multiple Indus sites which led "to comparisons to be made across settlements and across time".

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"The identification of specific compounds in the lipid extracts enables the detection of different plant or animal products, such as fatty acids, previously used in the vessels," said Suryanarayan, as quoted to saying by Sci-News.  

"Additionally, isotopic analysis of fatty acids enables the differentiation of different types of animal meat and milk."

He further said that this helped them understand what was cooked in the vessels during that time. 

The analysis of lipid residues in the pottery found a dominant use of animal products, including non-ruminant animals like pigs, ruminant animals like cattle or buffalo and sheep or goat, and dairy items. 

Interestingly, the study showed great use of non-ruminant animal fats, even though animals like pigs were not prevalent in the Indus civilisation. 

"It is possible that plant products or mixtures of plant and animal products were also used in vessels, creating ambiguous results," the lead researcher said. 

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