A detailed review of the carnelian beads found in Dholavira, among the most striking of all ancient Indus manufactured goods.
Articles on beads and bead making, one of the most distinctive and well-developed crafts in ancient Indus culture.
The first in-depth look at stone beads from Indus sites besides Harappa, in this case two just south of Rakigarhi. Stone beads include those made of steatite (the vast majority, about 91%), carnelian (8%), as well as jasper, agate, lapis luzuli, limestone and more. Steatite and carnelian beads are found at levels corresponding to all time periods.
Jean-Francois Jarrige (1940-2014) and his wife Catherine (b. 1942) were two of the most important archaeologists in the South Asian region, whose excavations at Mehrgarh, the site in Balochistan which predates the ancient Indus civilization by thousands of years, helped determine how far back the development of various traditions found in that and other regional civilizations actually reached.
"Geologically speaking," write the authors, "agate is not a particularly uncommon rock . . .. However, good agate – i.e, that which ancient lapidaries would have found suitable for beadmaking – is not widely available. Nodules of the size and quality required to make Harappan-style long-barrel carnelian beads are, in fact, extremely rare" (p. 177).
"In this paper," write the authors, "we present the preliminary results of a long-term and multifaceted study of the role of craft specialists and traders who were present in ancient Magan during the 5th-1st millennia BCE (Table 1), with a specific focus on beads found at sites in modern Oman, and
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.
The authors look at the evidence of approximately 70 etched/bleached carnelian beads found from sites along the Arabian shores of the Persian Gulf (in Bahrain, Oman and the UAE) and hypothesize that these beads were imported from workshops on the Indian subcontinent, whether through direct or
The beauty of this paper is that it sets out very clearly the procedure needed to document bead types, the careful measurement and classification steps to start understanding a specific bead tradition.