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DEFINITION: A plant cultivated for its hairy flowering heads, from which come fibers widely used in textiles. The earliest cotton yet found comes from the site of Mehrgarh in Pakistan, where it was probably being cultivated before 4000 BC. The earliest records of cotton in the New World come from the Tehuacan Valley of central Mexico, c 4300 BC, and pre-ceramic villages on the Peruvian coast from 3300 BC. It was grown in northeast Mexico by c 2000, and was introduced into the southwestern United States in the 1st millennium BC. In the Old World, the first known occurrence is in the Indus Valley civilization where cotton was used for both string and textiles at Mohenjo-Daro by 2750 BC. The first record in African archaeology goes back only to the culture of Meroë in the fifth century BC. Actual cotton fabrics appeared at Mohenjodaro around 2500 BC.

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