SRINAGAR: Lo and behold. Archeologists who discovered a 4000 year old pot from a Kashmir terrace (karewa) early 2017 have named it Kim, after Kim Kardashian, an American reality tv personality, socialite, actress, businesswoman and model.
“In 2017, the KPP was rewarded by the discovery of a magnificent 4000-year old pot, close to a bountiful orchard full of rosy apples,” writer editor Catriona Child wrote in a piece Building A Future In the Past In Kashmir, that appeared on website Our Stories. “As a tribute to its voluptuous shape, the team nicknamed it Kim, after Kim Kardashian, a detail that will probably not appear in any of the papers in learned journals.”
The rare find is outcome of the of an archeological project Kashmiri Prehistory Project (KPP), which aims to uncover the origins of a distinctive Neolithic culture (Northern Neolithic), found only in Kashmir and other isolated pockets, such as the Swat Valley in Pakistan, the website said. Managed by 20 postgraduate students including 11 women, the KPP is a just effort of the Centre for Asian Studies in the University of Kashmir and the Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies, University of Sydney. It is in operation since 2015. Kushan period expert Dr Ajmal Shah and Kashmir’s Neolithic era expert Dr Mumtaz Yatoo are leading the project. The project is basically an M Phil programme.
“Alison Betts, Professor of Silk Road Studies at Sydney and now an Adjunct Professor at Kashmir University, who leads the Australian team, is interested in the origins of agriculture in Asia,” the paper informs quoting Betts saying that Kashmir was the place “where farming technologies, particularly millet and rice cultivation from China and wheat and barley cultivation from West Asia, met and crossed over.” This, she says, “is one of the earliest expressions of what later became the Silk Road, the path of trade between east and west.”
Catriona Child has written that Kashmir’s Neolithic era, around 6,000 years ago, was extraordinarily peaceful and, in prehistoric terms, comfortable. “While their Harappan contemporaries in the Indus Valley became urbanised and developed a sophisticated civilization, the farmers of Kashmir were happy to continue a bucolic existence in villages perched on terraces (karewas) above the soggy valley bottom,” she has written, quoting the project leaders. “They tilled the rich lake deposits below their houses, kept sheep and goats, which grazed the high pastures in summer, and lived a life that changed little for 2000 years.”
Interestingly, she has quoted Prof Betts saying, Neolithic Kashmiris were not completely isolated. “Folk from the Indus Valley came to extract galena (lead ore) for cosmetics (kohl), steatite for the famous Harappan seals, and copper; and their mines can still be seen in the hillsides,” the paper said. “They possibly traded carnelian beads with the locals and a few of their distinctive Harappan pots have been found at Kashmir Valley sites.” While Kashmiris made pots, “there is no sign that these were influenced by the designs of the city-smart Harappans”.
Terming the Kashmiris “conservative to the last”, they avoided “adopting these new-fangled ideas” of Harappans’ and “carried on doing just the same things in just the same way, generation after generation until about 1300 BC.” Even when Bronze era had taken over, Kashmir continued with stone hunting tools, the writer has quoted archeologists saying. And why did not Kashmirchange, when their surroundings had changed: “Professor Betts explains that they had no real reason to change. Their environment was quite comfortable and they had plenty to eat. The only new habits they did adopt, the cultivation of millet and rice, which came to the valley after wheat and barley, diversified their crops and gave them even greater food security, she said.”