Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



Belcher, William R. 2023. Ethnoarchaeological studies of riverine fisheries and butchery in Pakistani Punjab. In Animals and Archaeology: Integrating Landscapes, Environment, and Humans in South Asia (A Festschrift for Prof. P.P. Joglekar), edited by Pankaj Goyal, Abhayan G.S., Sharada Channarayapatna, pp. 173-195. Thiruvananthapuram, Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala.


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This is a print and Open Access e-publication by Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0),


In order to have an understanding of ancient third millennium BCE fisheries, as part of the Indus Valley Tradition (ca. 3300 to 1700 BCE), appropriate ethnoarchaeological models should be developed. The research reported herein was conducted between the years 1991 and 1999, with most of the data collection completed in 13 months between the years 1993 and 1994. The primary fishing methods are related to seine and cast nets, with some specific traps as well as hookand- line. Fishing follows a particular seasonal focus on oxbow lakes that form after the recession of the monsoon floods. Additionally, the fish include various forms of silurid and bagrid catfish, carps, snakeheads, and spiny eels. Butchery is done by a variety of means or sold directly from the fisherfolk to the consumer through itinerant fisherfolk. Each butchery pattern and location may yield a specific type of skeletal element and cut mark signature that can be modelled for interpretation of the archaeological record.