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Which crops were produced in Indus Valley?

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The signs of crops which have been found from the settlements, it is said on this base that the wheat, millet barley, pease, Powered by www.testvitals.com 2018/11/13 17:45 Indian millet, sesame-seed, rice, linseed and cotton were produced. The signs of grapes, melon and dates have been found among fruits.

INDUS VALLEY. The food on which the diverse peoples of ancient India lived is a subject that has received some attention since archaeologists can recover bones, teeth, and carbonized seeds from their excavations. The period covered in this entry has come to be called the Indus Age (Possehl, 1999), that period in Pakistan and northwestern India which stretches from the beginnings of farming and herding around 7000 b.c.e. through the Early Iron Age to about 500 b.c.e. This period encompasses the Indus Civilization (2500–1900 b.c.e.), the Indian subcontinent's first period of urbanization (Fig. 1).

It was centered on the Indus Valley and the Punjab, but there were important settlements in southern Baluchistan, Gujarat, northern Rajasthan, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh (Fig. 2).

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From the point of view of soil, water, and climate, these are regions suitable for the growing of wheat and barley and the raising of cattle, sheep, and goats on a significant scale. This is the constellation of plants and animals on which the earliest farmers and herders thrived, from the Mediterranean Sea to the lands of the Indus civilization.

A glimpse at an early period of farming and herding in this region is available from the site of Mehrgarh, on the Kachi plain of the Indus Valley. Around 7000 b.c.e., the inhabitants of this village lived mostly on domesticated, naked six-row barley, along with two other varieties of domesticated barley. Einkorn, emmer, and hard wheat were present in smaller amounts. The noncereals include the Indian jujube, a cherry-sized fruit; grapes; and dates. Sugar would have come from honey.

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The use of domesticated rice by the peoples of the Indus civilization is not fully documented. However, by the second millennium b.c.e., it was the staple food grain at the site of Pirak, near Mehrgarh on the Kachi plain.

The animal economy of early Mehrgarh was dominated by twelve species of what can be termed "wild big game": gazelle, swamp deer, nilgai, blackbuck, onager, spotted deer, water buffalo, sheep, goat, cattle, pig, and elephant. These are animals that would have lived on the Kachi plain itself and the hills that surround it. The virtual absence of fish and bird remains suggests that the swampy environments near Mehrgarh were little exploited, but no screening was undertaken at the Mehrgarh site, and the recovery of fish and bird bone was therefore somewhat compromised.

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Meadow has noted the following concerning the subsistence economy of early Mehrgarh:

Goats were kept from the time of the first occupation of the site.

Cattle and sheep are likely to have been domesticated from local wild stock during Periods I and II (c. 7000–5000 b.c.e.).

Size diminution in goats was largely complete by late Period I, in cattle by Period II, and in sheep perhaps not until Period III.

The development of animal keeping by the ancient inhabitants of Mehrgarh took place in the context of cereal crop cultivation, the building of substantial mud brick structures, and the existence of social differentiation and long distance trade networks as attested by the presence of marine shells, lapis lazuli, and turquoise in even the earliest graves (p. 311).

From this evidence one can see that the development of food production and the domestication of the plants and animals appears to have been a local phenomenon, not one that came to the subcontinent by diffusion from the west.
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