Indus-Valley Civilization: Cattle and Buffalo Meat Residue found in the Vessels

Recently, a study was conducted by the Akshyeta Suryanarayan as a part of PhD thesis at Cambridge University. The study finds that, the diet of the people of Indus Valley civilisation was dominated by meat. The traces for the extensive eating of beef, was also found. This study was published in the journal called ‘Journal of Archaeological Science’.


  • The study is titled as: “Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India”
  • She analyzed the food habit of the people of the civilisation based on the lipid residue found in pottery.
  • The residue was found from Harappan sites in Haryana.
  • She found dominance of animal products including meat of pigs, cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat.
  • The food also included dairy products.
  • The people used in the ancient ceramic vessels from rural and urban settlements of Indus Valley civilisation in northwest India.

About the Study

The civilisation was spread across the larger parts of modern Pakistan, northwest &  western India and Afghanistan. But the study was concentrated on understated villages namely:

  1. Alamgirpur in Meerut, UP,
  2. Masudpur in Hisar, Haryana,
  3. Lohari Ragho in Hisar,
  4. Khanak in Bhiwani, Haryana
  5. Farmana town in Rohtak district and
  6. Rakhigarhi city, Hisar.

She conducted the Analysis on 172 pottery fragments that was recovered from the sites. The study was conducted through a Ceramic lipid residue analysis that provides a powerful means using which the food pattern of populations can be examined. In the study, she also talk about the diversity of the plant products and regional variation in cropping practices. She finds that, both summer and winter-based cropping was practiced in that era. She found the evidence growing and consuming of barley, rice, wheat, oilseeds, different varieties of millets, winter and summer pulses, fruit and vegetables like brinjal, grapes, cucumber, date palm.

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