13th July 2013
Conclusive evidence of beef and horsemeat eating in Kurukshetra during the Vedic period
I've been browsing through a number of Archaeological Survey reports – it being quite a treasure trove. My interest is in validating Sankalia's statements about beef eating in India. Turns out that he is OVERWHELMINGLY corect. Not just cows, horses too were eaten. BY THE HINDUS (those who lived by the Vedic lifestyle).
Now for proof that the Mahabharata was fought on soil where beef eating was a part of normal life. Note that the Painted Grey Ware culture period is the iron age period between 1200 BC to 600 BC. Therefore the period referred to below is WELL WITHIN THE VEDIC PERIOD. [Source: Indian Archaeology 1975-76 A Review]
26. EXCAVATION AT BHAGWANPURA, DISTRICT KURUKSHETRA.—The Explorations Branch of the Survey, under Shri Jagat Pati Joshi, assisted by Kumari Madhu Bala and Sarvashri A. K. Sharma, J. R. Batra and G. Laxminarayana, conducted horizontal excavation at Bhagwanpura with a view to ascertaining the inter se relation of the Late Harappan and the Painted Grey Ware cultures.
The excavation revealed a 2-70-m occupational deposit with a two-fold cultural sequence, establishing for the first time the overlap between the Lata Harappan (Sub-period I A) and the Painted Grey Ware (Sub-period I B) cultures.
The Late Harappans, the earliest settlers on the rich alluvium of the river Sarasvati, had built their houses over solid mud-platforms, as a protection against the ravages of the Sarasvati. Two structural phases were recognized in this Sub-period. One of the excavated platforms (100x4-25 m) was found to have had a landing step, suggesting that the access to the mud-platforms was by means of steps. After a lapse of time, indicated by an accumulation of a 80-cm habitational deposit, the floods in the river caused considerable damage to the occupation. The Late Harappan people, however, continued to occupy the site even after this devastation.
The major ceramic industry of the Sub-period I A is represented by a sturdy red ware, comparable to that available at Bahadarabad, Bara, Daulatpur, Mitathal II B, Raja Karnaka-Qila and Siswal II B.
Besides, a few sherds of thick grey ware, commonly associated with the Harappan and Late Harappan fabrics, were also noticed. An incised ware simulating the pre-Harappan tradition, continued throughout the succeeding Late Harappan levels. Common shapes met with include dish-on-stand, bowl, cup-on-stand, lid-cum-bowl, ring-stand, dishes with drooping rims, cup, high-necked jar, basin and button-based goblet. The painted design repertoire consisted of thick and thin horizontal bands, criss-cross patterns, filled-in-triangles, fish-like pattern, rows of opposite triangles, hatched triangles, arches with obliquely-filled lines, leaves and pipal leaf. Other finds of this Sub-period I A include: terracotta bull with long horns and pinched hump, leg portion of a human figure, probably a deity, two anthropomorphic figures; potsherds with graffiti marks of Harappan affinity; copper rods; hubbed terracotta toy cart-wheels; beads of terracotta, faience and semi-precious stones; and bangles of faience and terracotta.
Sub-period I B is marked by the appearance of the Painted Grey Ware occurring along with the preceding Late Harappan assemblage, indicating the arrival of new people. Soon after the arrival of the new people, a heavy flood washed away a considerable portion of the habitation, which did not deter the Late Harappans and the Painted Grey Ware people from continuing the occupation of the site.
The structural activity of the Sub-period is represented by three phases, the earliest of which evidenced by twenty-three post-holes, forming a circle or semi-circle, perhaps represented a thatched hut. From one of the huts, exposed in the south-eastern part of the mound, four saddle querns and pestles of different kinds were recovered. The residence probably belonged to a corn grinder. Two oval-shaped structures, measuring respectively 1-80×0-85 and 1-65×0-92 m, one in the south-eastern periphery (pl.XVIII A) and the other in the centre of the mound, were exposed. Two structural phases were identified. One of these yielded fragment of a dish-on-stand in red ware arid a horn, presumably of a terracotta animal figurine and a fragment of a legged terracotta figurine. Perhaps, these oval structures may have had some religious functions.
The second structural phase is marked by the houses of mud-walls. A large house-complex (pl. XIX) with thirteen rooms, a corridor and a courtyard on the eastern side was completely exposed. The thickness of the walls ranged between 0.70 to 1.00 m. The size of the rooms ranged from 1.60 x 1.60 to 3.35 x 4.20 m. The rooms yielded Painted Grey Ware bowls and dishes, associated grey ware sherds, ghata-shaped terracotta beads, bone styli and copper objects, besides 2 to 5 per cent of Late Harappan pottery. Other important finds recovered from the excavation are: bangles in sea-blue and black glass; copper bangles, rods and some indeterminate pieces; a large number of terracotta ghata-shaped and incised biconical beads; decorated beads of semi-precious stones and faience; and terraoctta lamps, probably used for lighting the houses.
Two skeletons belonging to Sub-period I B, were found from the habitation area. Both the skeletons were oriented north-south with head towards the north and face turned towards west. Preliminary investigation of the skeletons indicated that one of them belonged to an adult of advanced age (pl. XVIIIB) while the other was that of a child of eight to ten years of age. Surprisingly, the graves were devoid of any grave-goods.
The ceramic industry of this phase is represented by the continuance of the Late Harappan wares, in association with the Painted Grey Ware (pl. XX) and grey, red and a limited quantity of black-slipped wares. In the lower levels, however, the Painted Grey Ware showed thick painted lines. Among the designs, the more noteworthy were a Maltese Cross and intersecting circles which appeared for the first time in the Painted Grey Ware repertoire. Shapes met with in this Ware consisted of bowls, basins and dishes. Besides, a few jars and dish-on-stands, apparently copies of the Late Harappan prototypes, were also noticed.
Other finds of this Sub-period include terracotta animal figurines (pl. XXI) and anthropomorphic figures, recalling similar objects in the Gandhara Grave Culture. A large quantity of bones of cattle, sheep, goat, ram, dog and horse were recovered from different levels. It was observed that the bones of cattle from the lower levels are mostly massive, while those from the upper belong to weaker and small-sized animals, some of them exhibiting incomplete ossification. Charred bones of cattle and tortoise indicate the dietary habits of the people. The most significant find, however, is the presence of the bones of Equus Cabalus Linn, from Sub-period I B.
Consumption of horse meat in Vedic India
By the way Equus Cabalus Linn is nothing but horse. Eating horse meat is ENTIRELY CONSISTENT with the stories in Hindu scriptures regarding Ashvamedha or horse sacrifice. The horse was eaten after being sacrified (a goat was usually sacrificed at the same time).