A team of Canadian and Indian researchers have established that dairy production in India may date back to 3000BCE, to the period of the Indus Valley Civilisation, and it may have been one the factors that sustained the civilisation for long.
The study led by Kalyan Sekhar Chakraborty, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto Mississauga, published in the journal Nature that dairy production can be dated to 2500 BCE:
·This is the first time it’s been proved scientifically that dairy production was in place in the Indus Valley civilization in 2500 BCE, and the earliest known evidence of dairy production.
·The study was carried out in the archaeological site of Kotada Bhadli, a rural settlement located in Gujarat.
·The results were based on molecular chemical analysis of residue in shards of pottery found. Of the 59 samples studied, 22 showed the presence of dairy lipids.
·Through a process called stable isotope analysis, the researchers were able to identify the type of ruminant used for dairy, and concluded that these were cattle, like cows and buffalo, rather than goats and sheep.
·This would have allowed the accumulation of a surplus of animal protein, without affecting the number of animals in your herd.
·Chakraborty said that the level of production meant that it was definitely beyond household consumption.
·The project started in 2010.