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Beef was eaten in the Pune area at least till 1400 BC

This is from Indian Archaeology 1979-80: A Review. It deals with an area well outside the Indus Valley civilisation but roughly coterminous with it. It confirms that beef was a regular part of Indian diet in the Pune area during the period up to 1400 BC.


68. EXCAVATION AT INAMGAON, DISTRICT PUNE.—In continuation of last year's {1978-79, pp. 52-53) work, Drs M. K. Dhavalikar and Z. D. Ansari of the Deccan College Post-graduate and Research Institute, Pune, assisted by Drs M. D. Kajale, P. K. Thomas, Miss Shubha Khandekar, Sarvashri V. S. Shinde and Y. S. Rasar, resumed excavation, limiting the work to the early levels of the Malwa period (Period I : dated to circa sixteen hundred to fourteen hundred B.C.) with a view to studying the material culture of the first settlers of Inamgaon.

Excavation revealed that the earliest settlers are people belonging to the Malwa culture with very developed traits, and they, while occupying the site for the first time, levelled the uneven top surface of the black cotton soil by spreading a thick deposit, as thick as 15 cm at places, of yellow silt quarried from the river bank. The earliest houses exposed are large rectangular structures generally with a single room but one house-complex (no. 94-99) had six rooms. The structures were thatched one with wattle-and-daub walls. The floors were made of rammed yellow silt and black clay. They were periodically repaired and relaid. House no. 101 had at least a dozen floor levels. The edges of the floors were raised along the dwarf wall with a view to preventing rain water entering into the house. The houses were generally provided with well-laid courtyards. Almost all the houses, except no. 87, were oriented southeast-northwest. This orientation continued till the end of the Period II, belonging to Early Jorwe, dated to circa fourteen hundred to one thousand B.C.

A distinguishing feature of the earliest houses is their fire-pits which are of two types. One of these is a large oval pit having a flat stone in the centre plastered with mud obviously for supporting the cooking vessel. It may have been used for roasting hunted animals as it is usually to be found outside the house in the courtyard. The other type, which is more interesting, was usually found inside the house but very rarely outside as well. It had an oblong shallow pit with a clay disc not in the centre but nearer the curved end whereas the opposite end was meant for inserting the fire-wood. The most curious feature of this type of fire-pit was that it had mud wall around the clay disc. The wall was probably 12 to 15 cm in height and was obviously provided for preventing the fire being extinguished by wind.

Almost every house had a large deep pit silo which is betoken of the prosperity of the occupants. Generally the silos were located in the courtyard but they were also found inside the house as in no. 96. They were found plastered with lime which might have served as insecticide. The grain was also stored in huge flat-bottomed storage jars which were supported by a set of four flat stones as in House no. 93. Two silos, associated with House no, 87, looked rather unfinished because even the pick-marks could be seen and were not plastered with lime or mud. Therefore it is possible that they were used for keeping poultry or birds as is done today in the villages of Maharashtra.

Another characteristic feature of the Malwa culture, as was noticed earlier and confirmed this year, was the burials. Only child burials have been discovered whereas adult burials are conspicuously absent. The children were buried in two globular jars placed mouth-to-mouth horizontally inside a pit dug in the floor of the house. Of the two jars, sometimes one was of the Malwa variety; the grey ware urns with globular body and flared rim were also common. The burial goods kept inside the pit consisted of vessels of grey ware and painted Malwa ware.

The early settlers cultivated barley (Hordeum vulgare), millets, ragi, lentil and peas. The people also subsisted on hunting and fishing. Among the animal bones recovered, a good number are those of deer as well as domesticated sheep/goat, cattle, buffalo, etc. They were slaughtered sometimes for food.

The pottery is represented by distinct wares such as the Malwa, coarse red and grey and handmade storage jars. In the Malwa ware the spouted jar is as common as in the Jorwe ware. Its occurrence is significant because it is absent at Malwa sites in central India. Other important antiquities of the Period include: specialized blade/flake industry of chalcedony; tools and beads of copper points made of deer bone; terracotta objects such as Mother goddess figurines with or without head, usually unbaked, a male figurine probably representing a divinity; and a good number of beads of semiprecious stones.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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8 thoughts on “Beef was eaten in the Pune area at least till 1400 BC
  1. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Yes, from about the 5th century AD, through Buddhist and Jain influence, Indian diets had largely changed. Taboo on cow slaughter etc. also became more prevalent.

  2. Murthy

    Mahabharat happened during 3000 BC. Pandavas went to exile after they were defeated in the game by dhuryodhana. In thirteenth year the pandavas were required to stay in disguise as per their agreement. If some one find’s out them when they are in disguise, they are required to again spend 12 years in exile & 13th year in disguise.Dhuyodhana comes to know that they are in the kingdom of Virata, so he hatches a plan to get them out of disguise. If cows were stolen from virata kingdom, PAndavas would come out of their disguise to protect the cows because cows are considered sacred. They are considered so sacred that pandayas would not hesitate to go again for 13 years of exile. dhurodhana plans attack on virata kingdom form two sides north & south to take away all the cows of the Virata kingdom and it is called Uttaragograhana & Dakshingograhana. virata king leaves with all his army to one side( either north or south) Then there is no one left to cater the other side. Arjuna leaves to the other side to get back all the cows. because of this action arjuna would be foundout. dhurodhana calculates the days wrongly but Fortunately that was the last day of their exile so his plan did not work. one can understand how sacred the cows are considered even during 3000 BC

  3. Murthy

    As far as I know India has only Chicken farms unlike the west they have farms for meat, pork production. The animals in those farms are fed with pulses, wheat etc i.e good nutricious food. For example for a pig to grow to the weight of 50kgs, it would eat 500 kgs of pulses/ wheat or what ever it is.
    A Pig of 50 kg would feed how many people whereas the same food consumed by the pig would feed more people. meat / pork transportation is done in airconditioned chambers which would add to global warming. it is tough for people to know whether the meat/pork they are eating is from a diseased animal like MAd cow disease. It is easy to know if the vegetables/ food is spoiled. When you talk about the less cruelty towards animals while killing, I understand that when animals are killed it is expected the flesh of the animal should have less content of water so that the meat does not get spolied fast. so animals are not given water in the last 24/48/72 hours of their life.

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Murthy, assertions are no proof. I only seek DIRECT proof. Unfortunatley, there is absolutely no evidence underlying your story. The only evidence, from Kurukshetra, etc. is of significant meat eating including beef.

  5. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Sorry Mr Murthy I don’t have time to discuss these generalisations. Please continue your own studies diligently.


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