Stone Beads in Ancient South Asia - 7000-600 BC: A comparative approach to technology, style, and ideology

Steatite disc bead necklace and three stone beads from adult male burial at Harappa

Stone bead manufacture and the study of beaded ornaments is a growing field of investigation in the archaeology and ancient South Asia (Deo 2000; Lankton 2003). Although some archaeologists still refer to beads and pendants as "miscellaneous small finds," most scholars agree that they provide a unique perspective on ancient trade networks, technological and economic organization, wealth and social hierarchy, ritual symbols, as well as chronological change. WIth the adoption of more rigorous excavation and recovery methods, a wide range of stone beads have been recovered from well dated contexts, along with evidence of manufacturing processes, such as microscopic remains of stone bead flaking, as well as tiny heat spalled drill tips.