Ornament Styles of the Indus Valley Tradition

Above: Ancient Indus faience ornaments from Harappa.

The role of ornaments in prehistoric society has not been given the attention it deserves and very little work has been done on the ornament styles worn by the peoples of the Indus Valley Tradition. Although numerous ornaments have been collected from excavations at major Indus sites, the publications do little more than list them along with miscellaneous small finds. This situation is surpris­ing when one considers that ornaments are tradition­ally used as an outward symbol of a person's age, social status, ethnic identity and even religious af­filiation. While the earlier excavators were definitely interested in understanding these aspects of ancient Indus society, their immediate goals and methodolo­gies overlooked the types of information that a contextual study of ornament could provide.