Bead Technologies at Harappa 3300-1900 BC: A Comparative Study

Above: Tiny steatite beads from an elaborate hair ornament found at the Harappan cemetery. A human hair is placed in the image for comparison.

The study of bead manufacture and changing styles of beaded ornaments is an important method for investigating the social and economic development of a society. Numerous studies, including our on going work at Harappa (Meadow & Kenoyer 2001) have demonstrated that the careful documentation of bead manufacturing techniques, raw material sourcing and stylistic analysis can reveal valuable information about prehistoric cultures. The analysis of beads from different periods and areas of Harappa have made it possible to define specific trade networks and the organization of production as well as changing patterns of interaction over the history of the site (Kenoyer 2000, 2001).