Project News and Media
Cameron Petrie interviewed by Radio Ecoshock
Click below to listen to Cameron Petrie discussing "How and Why Collapse Happens" with Radio Ecoshock:
Indus Valley 'urban' tag "contested" (though not by us!)
Click below to see an article in The Telegraph, Calcutta, India on March 5th 2017
Exploring the domestication of rice in India
"Farming rice in India much older than thought, used as a ‘summer crop’ by the Indus Civilisation"
Cambridge Global Food Security Initiative member Cameron Petrie and his colleague Jennifer Bates have discovered that rice was cultivated in India at the same time farming techniques were developed in China, around 2800BC, and 400 years earlier than previously thought. This suggests systems of seasonal crop variation that would have provided a rich and diverse diet for the Bronze Age residents of the Indus valley.
The Land, Water, Settlement project excavations in northwest India. Credit: C. Petrie
Evidence for very early rice use has been known from the site of Lahuradewa in the central Ganges basin, but it has long been thought that domesticated rice agriculture didn't reach South Asia until towards the end of the Indus era, when the wetland rice arrived from China around 2000 BC. Cambridge researchers working in collaboration with Banaras Hindu University have found evidence of domesticated rice was an important component of a diverse farming system in South Asia as much as 430 years earlier.
Dr Bates said: “It is certainly possible that a sustainable food economy across the Indus zone was achieved through growing a diverse range of crops, with choice being influenced by local conditions. It is also possible that there was trade and exchange in staple crops between populations living in different regions, though this is an idea that remains to be tested.”
Dr Petrie added: “Such a diverse system was probably well suited to mitigating risk from shifts in climate. It may be that some of today’s farming monocultures could learn from the local crop diversity of the Indus people 4,000 years ago.”
Their research has been covered widely by international press:
The Times of India: