Fish Symbolism and Fish Remains in Ancient South Asia

Date
2018
Authors
Belcher, William R.
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Archaeopress Archaeology
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Starting Page
33
Ending Page
47
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Abstract
Food, like other aspects of ‘material culture’ contains embedded information in it related to cultural participants and their beliefs. Through the examination of the ethnographic and historic symbolism of specific foods, we can gain a greater understanding of the role of food in a larger cultural context, such as its relation to ritual, hierarchical structure as well as subsistence. Food and its preparation can contain symbolic information that reflects different aspects of a given society, including social and ethnic affiliations, religious beliefs, and social relationships between individuals and groups. Within a South Asian context, fish have been, and continue to be, an important symbol that permeates various aspects of a society. With some level of cultural continuity within the region, various contemporary attitudes and beliefs concerning fish are discussed as well as an examination of fish remains and symbolic representations of fish that are found within the Indus Valley Tradition of northwestern India and Pakistan, (c. 3000 to 1700 BC).
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Modified from original accepted manuscript version to conform to ADA standards.
Keywords
Fishes, Symbolism, Indus Valley Civilization, Technology, Subsistence hunting
Citation
Belcher, W. (2018). Fish Symbolism and Fish Remains in Ancient South Asia. In Walking with the Unicorn (pp. 33-47). Summertown, Oxford: Archaeopress Archaeology.
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16 pages
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Chapter is made available in accordance with the publisher's policy and may be subject to US copyright law. As per Archaeopress publication rules of a 2-year embargo, this chapter is restricted for internal use to the University of Hawaiʻi until August 2020.
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