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Department of Archaeology


Project News and Media


February 2021    Press release

"Computers are helping to uncover archaeological information from historical maps of South Asia and the Levant" Department of Archaeology facebook page (03/02/2021)

December 2020    Press release

"What’s cooking? Analysis of fatty residues on ancient pottery sheds light on food habits of Indus Civilisation" Department of Archaeology website (09/12/2020), 

September 2020    Press release

"Can cities emerge without a 'ruling class'? New research by Dr. Adam S. Green (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research) suggests 'yes'." Department of Archaeology facebook page (18/09/2020), 

July 2020    Press release

"Cloud Computing and Machine Learning are Identifying Archaeological Sites from Space" Department of Archaeology website (22/07/2020),

July 2019        Special Report 

"Finding archaeology with historical maps", Current World Archaeology 96: 54.

June 2019        Press release 

"'We are inheritors of a rural civilisation': rural complexity and the ceramic economy in the Indus Civilisation in northwest India", Department of Archaeology facebook page (21/06/2019),

Jan 2019         Press release 

"Differentiating summer and winter rainfall in northwest South Asia around the 4.2 ka climatic "event"", Department of Archaeology website (15/01/2019),

Jan 2019         Press release 

"Mapping archaeology while mapping an empire: Using historical maps to reconstruct hydrology and ancient settlements", Department of Archaeology website (07/01/2019),

July 2018        Press release

"Barley heads east: Living plant varieties reveal ancient migration routes across Eurasia", Department of Archaeology website (19/07/2018),

July 2018 -       Blog post 

"Link to British School at Athens blog post" TwoRains blog(26/07/2018)

May 2018        Episode of documentary series

"Trade", First Civilisations PBS (USA)/SBS (Australia)

April 2018       Blog post 

"Update and links to two team blog posts" TwoRains blog(16/04/2018)

March 2018     Blog post

"What makes and breaks civilisations?" British Academy Blog (02/03/2018)

March 2018     Poster for Cambridge Science Festival

Nov 2017        Press release

"Ancient barley took high road to China, changed to summer crop in Tibet", Department of Archaeology website (20/11/2017),

Oct 2017         Press release

"Lessons from the past for the future of food", Department of Archaeology website (04/10/2017),

Aug 2017        Press release

"Dr Cameron Petrie awarded British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship", Trinity College website (31/08/2017),

Aug 2017        Press release

"Archaeologist among four Cambridge academics awarded British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships", Department of Archaeology website (16/08/2017),

Aug 2017        Press release 

"Finding the Lost Rivers of the Indus Civilisation from Space", Department of Archaeology website (02/08/2017),

Jul 2017          Press release 

"Cambridge-led collaborations aim to tackle global food security and public health challenges", Department of Archaeology website (21/07/2017),

May 2017        School presentation 

"Archaeology and the Archaeology of Climate Change", Chesterton Community College, Cambridge

Mar 2017        Press release

"ERC : Celebration of ten years of Anthropology, Archaeology and Classics Projects", Department of Archaeology website (15/03/2017),

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 


"Enticing rice"

Exploring the domestication of rice in India

Article...   By Luiseach Nic Eoin on Nov 25, 2016 


"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: Rice farming in India began much before Chinese rice arrived

Daily Mail: World's first curry was made 5,000 years ago: Indians have been eating their national dish since the Bronze Age

The Mirror: People have been getting takeaway curries for 5,000 years as dish first appeared in Bronze Age


Department of Archaeology and Anthropology press release (w/video) ...


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