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Category Archives: Indus Valley Civilization

Fundaments of curry found in Indus Valley Civilization

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
(CC by J.M. Garg)
[Updated on Feb 8th, based on details arisen in the discussion, see comments]

While modern curry is an amalgamation of many influences some of its foundations may have been used already in the South Asian Chalcolithic and Bronze Age civilization (contemporary of ancient Egypt for example), known variedly as Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) or Harappan culture. 

Key curry ingredients, namely turmeric and ginger, have now been found in pot and cow teeth remains from the impressive South Asian first civilization, suggesting that the fundamentals of modern Indian cuisine were already there some 5000 years ago.

A carbonized garlic clover was also found. Garlic is another key component of curry.

An interesting revelation is that rice grains were among the findings, indicating that the farming of this oriental cereal had already reached India by c. 2500 BCE and was popular enough to make it not just to the modern rice-farming regions of East and South India but also as far as Pakistan.

Source: Slate (via Pileta).
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Climate change dried up the Sarasvati sending Harappans eastward to the Ganges

Before and after
That’s what new research seems to claim: before c. 1900 BCE there was a stable moonson on the Thar Desert feeding what is now known as Ghaggar-Hakra River (seasonal) but mythologically referred to as Sarasvati River (a major hub of the Indus Valley Civilization or Harappa culture).
This, according to the researchers of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) caused that people already living in the banks of that river had to emigrate eastwards towards the Ganges, where monsoons were still stable but where the fertility was not good enough to support large cities as in the West.
Source and more details at the press release and at WHOI.

See also: Dispatches from Turtle Island (Andrew has a nice review of some of the wider implications).