Replicas of pendant beads from Mohenjo-daro produced by Inayat Husain of Khambat, India
Until recently, beads were considered relatively unimportant for understanding the development of human cultures. They were baubles, classified as minor antiquities and given little consideration by archaeologists or art historians. Archaeologists themselves are known to have collected beads from their excavations and made ornaments for their wives or friends. However, with changes in archaeological research techniques and changes in the questions that people ask about the past, it turns out that beads are in fact one of the most important forms of information on ancient trade and exchange networks, ancient technological developments, and even provide insight into ancient beliefs and rituals.