|| Conclusion ||
On the basis of this brief review it is possible to conclude that some craft technologies came to be associated with status, symbol and power in the Indus valley while others remained basically utilitarian. During the Early Food Producing Era, most of the ornaments and symbolic objects appear to have been brought to the site of Mehrgarh as finished objects. In the following Regionalization Era, the trade in raw materials and the emergence of local production centers is seen at sites along the foothills as well as in the middle of the plain. At both Mehrgarh/Nausharo and Harappa the processes by which certain crafts came to be manipulated and controlled by elites appears to have been a relatively gradual process, and not the result of rapid political or ideological changes.
The earliest glazed steatite and faience beads of the Ravi Phase and Early Chalcolithic at Mehrgarh did not suddenly become adopted as a popular form of ornament. The technology for producing high quality compact faience may have been established by 2800 BC at Harappa, but still this did not become a common technology until some 200 years later, during the Integration phase of the Indus cities. Once could even argue that the ultimate development of the faience technology was to be seen during the Localization Era around 1900 BC, when it may have intersected with the emergence of glass technology (Kenoyer 1997b). Similarly, the development of gold and copper working, shell bangle making, agate bead making or even seal carving techniques were already well established during the Kot Diji period, but the elaboration of these technologies did not begin until after 2600 BC, during the Harappan Phase.
The gradual development and spread of important technologies is undoubtedly linked to more fundamental social processes that were going on during the initial phase of urban development (Helms 1993). The ability to create powerful symbols was something that could only be done through special technologies or by using specific raw materials that were not easily accessible to the common people (Kenoyer 2000). Therefore, the crafts that became most important for reinforcing social and ritual status were ones that could be efficiently controlled by new elites and powerful merchants of the Indus cities. While the knowledge of specific craft technologies were probably passed on from one generation to the next through kin networks and various forms of ritual practice (Kenoyer 1989), the access to specific materials could have been carefully regulated by controlling trade. At both Harappa and Nausharo, the building of massive mud brick walls around the settlements would have been the most effective way to control the access to raw materials. The walls and gateways would also have allowed for control of the export trade in finished commodities.
While some scholars have argued for a sudden emergence of a vast array of technologies associated with the urban integration of the Indus Valley civilization around 2600 BC (Possehl 1997), the current evidence suggests that this was not the case. The contrast between the Early Harappan and Harappan phase is not so much the presence or absence of specific technologies, but rather the ways in which specific technologies were used. During the Kot Diji Phase, around 2800 BC, we see the first elaboration of technologies such as faience working and seal carving. These crafts were undoubtedly associated with the emergence and consolidation of new social groups that used specific types of artifacts to distinguish themselves and their ideologies. The presence of similar crafts in the two adjacent walled areas at Harappa suggest that crafts played a very important role in legitimation of competing merchants and other elites.
This paper is a brief summary of a longer lecture ³ Art, Symbol and Technology of the Indus Valley Civilization² presented at the Ancient Orient Museum, Tokyo on September 29, 2000. I would like to thank Professor H. Kondo, Professor M. Konishi, Dr. M. Koiso, Dr. H. Shudai and all of the other colleagues who made it possible for me to visit Japan on the occasion of the Indus Valley Exhibition and present a talk on my work. Much of the data presented in this paper derives from the recent excavations at Harappa and I would especially like to thank the Government of Pakistan, Department of Archaeology for facilitating our continued work at Harappa. Special thanks to all the other colleagues who have participated in the research at Harappa and have been closely involved in the collection and analysis of the data. I also want to expecially thank Dr. Richard Meadow, Dr. Rita Wright, Dr. Rafique Mughal, Dr. Massimo Vidale, Dr. Manabu Koiso, Mrs. Barbara Dales, Dr. William Belcher, Dr. Heather M.-L. Miller, Mr. Asim Dogar and many others for their support and stimulating discussions on Indus crafts and technology. I would also like to express my special thanks to the French Archaeological Mission at Mehrgarh/Nausharo, Dr. J. F. Jarrige, Catherine Jarrige, Gonzque Quivron and other team members for their generous sharing of information and helpful discussions. My ongoing research at Harappa and the Indus Civilization has been supported by numerous organizations in the USA and I would like to specially thank the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, the American School of Prehistoric Research (Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University), the University of Wisconsin, and private donors.
Barthélémy de Saizieu, B.
1990 Le Cimetiere Neolithique de Mehrgarh (Balouchistan Pakistanais) Apport de L'analyse Factorielle. Paléorient 16(1): 23-43.
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