Archaeologists interested in ancient craft production, both those aided by ancient historical sources and those bound to the interpretation of material residues, are currently involved in major critical efforts to improve the quality of their interpretation of the archaeological record.
Archaeologically preserved symbols in the form of artifacts and architecture are the primary category of data available to scholars studying the development of early state level society in South Asia.
Recent studies have shown that the systematic analysis of the Indus craft traditions can provide a unique insight into the social and economic organization of this society.
The buried, ruined debris of a once-roud civilization rises for the first time in nearly four millennia -- this time on a computer screen.
One of the great civilizations of the ancient world -- that of the enigmatic people and cities of the Indus Valley -- grew from roots that reach deep into the past of Pakistan and India.
The author writes: "As an archaeologist who has focused primarily on the first urbanism of the Indus valley, my interest in the Mauryan and Kushana periods arises from a need to understand what happened in the greater Indus valley after the decline and transformation of the Indus cities."
Recently, a program of systematic surface surveys and small-scale excavations has been implemented at sites in the hinterland around Harappa. Initial results of these complementary research strategies are changing our understanding of the nature of Indus urbanism in the Punjab and have implications for the overall structure of the Indus Civilization.
The long-term objectives of this research focus on developing a better understanding of the cultural, economic and social history of Harappa as a discrete urban phenomenon and also its role in the development and life of the Indus Civilization as a whole.
New studies have made it possible to outline the basic structure of socio-economic and political order in the Indus Valley cities and identify distinctive regional patterns of wealth accumulation within the Indus Valley.
Study of the excavated material combined with radiocarbon dates has made it possible to present a detailed chronology for the Harappa site and a more precise breakdown of the types of artifacts and architectural traditions associated with each major occupational period.
Selected results of current research on specialized crafts at the early urban center of Harappa, Pakistan. Many crafts such as shell working, ceramics, and agate and glazed steatite bead making are represented form the earliest levels of the site and continue up to the final phase of prehistoric occupation.
Harappa Site Plan
Until quite recently, the common view of the Indus Civilization has been as a phenomenon largely undifferentiated in space and time over more than 500,000 sq km and the 500 to 700 years of its existence (2600/2500-2000/1900 B.C.). With continuing archaeological work throughout
AIthough the presence of a specialized shell industry and the widespread use of shell are well documented at sites of the Indus Civilization (2500-1750 B.C.), the early stages of this industry were not known until recent excavations at the site of Mehrgarh, Pakistan.
A wide variety of faience ornaments including beads, bangles and jewelry have been retrieved from the major ancient cities of Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Chanhudaro, located in Pakistan.
The assemblage recovered during excavation of the Acheulian Ziarat Pir Shaban site comprises 29,047 artifacts, instruments, cores and hammerstones included. These data confirm the presence of a Late Palaeolithic workshop on site.
The author focuses primarily on economic interaction networks and specialised crafts to show how they can provide a window on the other changes that may have been occurring.
In addition to the overall objective of obtaining new information on the cultural and structural development of Harappa, other specific questions investigated include the development of civic organization and control, occupational specialization, and social stratification.
This paper discusses some theoretical questions and present some observations on the role of ethnoarchaeological studies of craft production in contemporary stratified social contexts, in the study of protohistoric societies.
The origins and character of the Indus urban phenomenon, presenting current interpretations but not burdening the nonspecialist with ceramic sequences and other details.
The author's research on the understanding of specialized crafts and the trade/exchange between rural and urban sites combined with his recent ethnoarchaeological studies has led him to question some of the generalizations that are prevalent about craft specialization and socio-economic organization of the Indus Civilization.
Defining specialized crafts in Indus cities and the methodologies needed for studying crafts in an archaeological context.
Findings from the third season of research by the University of California, Berkeley, project at Harappa, conducted from January 1 to mid-April 1988.
New studies are revealing the complexity and unique character of this protohistoric urban society that were not appreciated by earlier scholars.
Recent studies of the Indus Civilization and the developments that preceded it during the Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic in the Indus Valley and Baluchistan are revealing many new aspects of human culture in South Asia.
Curry is the anglicization of the common Hindustani word tarkiiri,, meaning "green vegetable." Cooked vegetables (and some times even meat) are occasionally called tarkari, but this word never appears on an Indian menu.
Although shell objects may seem relatively insignificant compared to other categories of objects, such as seals or sculpture, a detailed study of shell objects and shell working has revealed important aspects of trade and craft specialization in the Indus Civilization.
Major species of marine mollusca used in the shell industry are discussed in detail and possible ancient shell source areas are identified. Variations in shell artifacts within and between various urban, rural and coastal sites are presented as evidence for specialized production, hierarchical internal trade networks and regional interaction spheres.
Recent explorations in the peripheral regions east of the Indus valley have established the spread of Harappan culture to settlements in Kutch, Saurashtra, Rajasthan and Harayana, but there has been much speculation on the reasons behind this cultural expansion.