A New Look at Stone Drills of the Indus Valley Tradition

Tubular drill hole in an unfinished bead found from the bead pot at Harappa.

Drilling technologies in general and, more specifically, the perforation of hard stones have been a major topic of research in South and West Asia since the discovery of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization in the 1920s and 30s. The urban phase of this culture dates from between 2600 B. C. to. 1900 B.C., and has technological roots that can be traced back to 6500 B. C. in the early Neolithic period. Because of the fact that most of the tools, raw materials and manufacturing residues of ancient bead makers are preserved archaeologically, this craft may be efficiently used by archaeologists for reconstructing important aspects of the ancient organization of production.