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The first cotton in Arabia came from India: Study | India News


NEW DELHI: For some 600 years, Mleiha was the political center of southeastern Arabia before it was abandoned in the 3rd century AD. For decades, the emergence of the tropical cotton plant on the arid Arabian peninsula has been a question archaeologists have tried to answer. Oman, they had concluded, was the source of the ancient Arab cotton trade. But now scientists at the Museum of Natural History in Paris have discovered that the oldest cotton in the Arab region came from northwestern India.
“This, together with archaeological and textual evidence from developed cotton production centers in Indo-Pakistani regions, shows that long-distance maritime trade between the Omani peninsula and western India was well established in the early first millennium. our era, “said lead scientist Dr. Saskia Ryan. TOI.
While their findings do not delay the dates of the oldest known Indo-Arab trade, which dates back to the third millennium BC. C., shows that the exchange was much broader than previously thought and how a plant of tropical origin appeared in the arid Arabian peninsula. . The latter was the question they had started with.
The document, published in the journal Nature ‘Scientific Reports’, said that a Greek manual for merchants compiled by an Alexandrian sailor in the 1st century AD identified Ozênê (Madhya Pradesh), Masalia (Andhra Pradesh) and Abêria (between Barygaza and Ozênê ) as places. where cotton was produced.
At that time, there was a proliferation of cotton in Western Asia. But while archaeological evidence such as Kerala peppercorns and West Indian Asian rice in the burned-out building indicated trade with India, the fort also had Egyptian amphorae, glass vessels and Nubian lamps. So the cotton remains could have been from other places like Mesopotamia or Egypt.
The irony, however, is that a fire that devastated one of Mleiha’s most important buildings is also what preserved it for posterity. It is a mud brick building with 15 rooms around a central courtyard with signs of a hastily abandoned life in forgotten objects and prized possessions carelessly thrown away, and, the evidence of the ancient Indian trade route, cotton, specifically, 31 whole seeds , 79 fragments. and 7 bunches of crude fiber.
When scientists analyzed cotton in Mleiha, they found that it matched the range on mainland Gujarat and Kachchh. And so the article’s authors concluded that, unlike wheat, barley, and other modern plants, cotton did not come from anywhere nearby, but “most likely came from vast distances, probably from western provinces of India ”.

Times of India