The Harappan Diet

How do we find out what the Harappans cooked and ate? We know that they ate wheat, barley etc. but beyond that it was hard to know. But now using a new technique — analysis of microfossils such as starch grains — we have some answers.

Starch finds corroborate the conclusions drawn from the analysis of the macrobotanical remains of wheat, barley, millets (indigenous millets: Panicum and Setaria) and pulses (South west Asian and tropical pulse Macrotyloma). In addition, we have added tropical pulses (Vigna species), millets (of African origin, cf. Sorghum), vegetables such as cucurbits and eggplants — this being one of the earliest evidence of eggplants in South Asia, the earliest occurring in Bagor (Kashyap 2006) —, fruits like mango and date, and roots and tubers like Dioscorea, Zingiber and Curcuma species to the Harappan diet at Farmana (Table 1). Our study is thus making a new contribution to understanding human dietary behaviour in South Asia. [Harappan plant use revealed by starch grains from Farmana, India (H/T Carlos)]

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