Kinship and Cattle in Harappan Gujarat

Author(s): Brad Chase; David Meiggs; P. Ajithprasad

Year: 2018


Pastoralism, the production and management of livestock, was integral to the lifeways practiced by the peoples of the Indus Civilization (2600-1900 BC), South Asia’s first experiment with urban society. The integration of Gujarat (India) into the interregional flows of people, goods, and ideas that knit together the Indus Civilization, for example, is associated with the widespread adoption of pastoralism in a region that was formerly characterized by small-scale horticulturalist-hunting communities. Here, new data generated from recent faunal and isotopic studies are interpreted to infer the organization of pastoral production, circulation, and consumption. While economic and ecological models offer valuable insights into the adoption and practice of pastoralism in Gujarat, a comprehensive understanding of this process must incorporate consideration of the possible roles that livestock, especially cattle, played in the ritual life of local communities. Specifically, it is hypothesized on the basis of ethnographic analogies from South Asia and elsewhere that livestock may have circulated as ritual prestations between families associated with the creation, maintenance, and manipulation of kinship networks in this socially dynamic borderland region.

Cite this Record

Kinship and Cattle in Harappan Gujarat. Brad Chase, David Meiggs, P. Ajithprasad. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445172)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 60.601; min lat: 5.529 ; max long: 97.383; max lat: 37.09 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21608