What did ancient Indus people eat? What kind of crops did they grow? What did they cook? How might these things differ by city, town and region? To even get close to answering these questions, one needs a "a systematic collation of all primary published macrobotanical data, regardless of their designation as ‘crop’, ‘fully domesticated’ or ‘wild/weedy’ species," writes author Jennifer Bates.
Articles on the dietary or culinary eating habits, potential restaurants, cooking, and food made and eaten by the ancient Indus Valley people.
An excellent recent (2019) summary of what we know about ancient Indus foods that were, likely and speculatively, derived from plant resources, and what implications these diverse discoveries over the years have for our understanding of ancient Indus society.
An exciting new study that looks at food residues ancient Indus pots found in sites around Rakigarhi to decode the foodstuffs that once were in those pots. By examining the lipids or fatty acids that can be extracted from pots and pottery fragments, investigators were able to determine some of the foodstuffs in the pots.
"A detailed analysis of the animal bone assemblage at Gola Dhoro here throws light on the expansion of the Indus civilisation into Gujarat. A square fort, imposed on a settlement of livestock herders in the later third millennium BC, was shown to have contained people who introduced a broader diet of meat and seafood, and new ways of preparing it. These social and dietary changes were coincident with a surge in craft and trade."
A solid foray into the question of what the ancient Indus people, at least in Gujarat, cooked and ate, and how that might have changed after the civilization seems to have declined.
Fishing is often neglected in studies of urban societies. This is unfortunate as the study of fish can reveal aspects of subsistence, regional trade, access to resources, and social organization. Coastal and inland relationships can be examined by considering marine and riverine species variation.
A broad range of the questions that can be asked of macrobotanical plant remains from an urban site are highlighted, using the site of Harappa as an example. The topics addressed include the uses of domesticated and wild plants, the nature of agricultural and cooking technologies, types of fodder and fuel, and the use of plant products in manufacturing processes.
Understanding the interplay between subsistence systems and settlement patterns is crucial for interpretation of past economies and culture change. The Late Harappan (1900-1700 BCE) in Gujarat, India, witnessed a significant increase in the number of settlements in the arid regions.