Context: The year 2020 marks 100 years of discovery of Indus Valley Civilisation, and the latest study has shown that dairy products were being produced by the Harappans as far back as 2500 BCE.

Key findings of  the latest study:

  • Light on the rural economy of the IVC
    • By analyzing residues on ancient pots, researchers show the earliest direct evidence of dairy product processing, thus throwing fresh light on the rural economy of the civilization. 
    • The studies were carried out on 59 shards of pottery from Kotada Bhadli, a small archeological site in present-day Gujarat.
  • Type of animals being used for dairy production
    • They 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. 
  • Surplus dairy production:
    • 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.
  • Carbon isotope studies
    • The team used molecular analysis techniques to study the residues from ancient pottery.
    • As pots are porous, as soon as we put any liquid form of food, it will absorb it. The pot preserves the molecules of food such as fats and proteins.

Indus Valley Civilisation

  • The History of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization, more precisely known as Harappan Civilization. 
  • It flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, what today is Pakistan and Western India. 
  • The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. 
  • The ruins of buildings and other things like household articles, weapons of war, gold and silver ornaments, seals, toys, pottery wares, etc., show that some four to five thousand years ago a highly developed Civilization flourished in this region.
  • By 1500 BC, the Harappan culture came to an end. Among various causes ascribed to the decay of Indus Valley Civilization are the recurrent floods and other natural causes like earthquakes, etc.

Salient features:

  • Highly developed city life: many houses had wells and bathrooms as well as an elaborate underground drainage system. 
  • The Indus Civilization had a writing system, however it is not deciphered yet.
  • The social conditions of the citizens were comparable to those in Sumeria and superior to the contemporary Babylonians and Egyptians.
  • The most fascinating thing about the Indus Valley Civilisation is that it is faceless — there is no king, no bureaucratic organisations, but there are these very close regional interactions between settlements, a symbiotic relationship of give and take that helped the civilisation survive for so long 

Image Source: TH

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