Pulses are a significant component of traditional subsistence in South Asia. Reliable identification criteria for identifying these from archaeological seed remains are reviewed. The botanical evidence relating to the wild progenitors and their distribution, especially of Indian natives (Macrotyloma uniflorum, Vigna radiata, Vigna mungo) is summarised, including new evidence from primary botanical research. The problem of seed size increase in pulses is reviewed through a focused study on Vigna spp., in which it is shown that seed enlargement is delayed by 1–2,000 years after initial cultivation. The taphonomy of archaeological pulses is considered in the context of crop-processing of pulses, in which an important distinction can be drawn between free-threshing and pod-threshing types. The total archaeobotanical record for pulses in South Asia (India and Pakistan) is summarised and key regional differences are highlighted.