Yellow Stone and Pierced Terracotta Balls and Stone Implement 10

Daya Ram Sahni's brief description of this photograph – "A ball of yellow stone (A 219) a pierced terracotta ball (A 174) and a stone implement for scraping wood or leather etc. (A 232)" – was supplemented by a comment under the Toys section:

"(22) Baked balls of clay, which must have been thrown from flings to scare away birds, were found in large numbers. One ball of polished stone was also found. Was it a child’s marble?"

- Daya Ram Sahni, Annual Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey [of India], Hindu and Buddhist Monuments, Northern Circle for the Year Ending 31st March 1921, p. x, p. 13.

Vats later reiterated this point about balls of various kinds being found:

"Balls in terracotta, stone, shell, and faience have been found universally at Harappa, those in terracotta being recovered in specially large numbers. The smaller ones of earthenware, with a diameter of .8 to .9 in., may well have served as sling balls which were required for the protection of crops, etc.; and the larger ones, ranging from 1 to 1-9 in. in diameter must have been used for other purposes than playing marbles, for which they would have been too heavy.

"Some of the balls are decorated, but the marbles are usually plain, though wonderfully smooth and wrought in a charming variety of stones. Several of the terracotta balls are decorated either with superficial perforations or with pellets of clay affixed to their surfaces ; those of shell are almost invariably decorated with a series of four double concentric circles round the circumference with a similar pair in each of the resultant spaces at the opposite ends ; while the faience ones are decorated either like those of shell or with incised hatching."

- Madho Sarup Vats, Excavations at Harappa, 1940, p. 455.

"The hollow perforated terracotta ball is unique and no other examples of this type have been found at the site. Its use is unknown as it would break if it was dropped. This might have been used for some unique task with sticks inserted through the holes. The central stone object is a prismatic chert blade core that may have been reused for smoothing wood or leather as suggested by the excavators. The smaller yellow stone ball is probably limestone and may have been used for a game."

- Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, 2021.

ASI Description: 

A. 174 (a) Pierced terracotta ball (diam. 2"). Object not known.

A. 232 Piece of flint (length 3 1/4") with roughly carved flutes. Many such speciments of different sizes were found. They were probably used for scraping wood leather.

A. 219 Round ball (diam. 1 1/4") of yellow stone.

[Appendix D] 2810 A ball of yellow stone (A 219) a pierced terracotta ball (A 174) and a stone implement for scraping wood or leather etc. (A 232).

[Original caption: A ball of yellow stone a pierced terracotta ball and a stone implement for scrapping wood.]

ASI Number: 
Silver Plate: 
(Item) Serial Number: 
A 174
A 232
A 219
Find spot: 
22 x 3
5 x 29
14 x 11
Depth (ft.): 
Depth (in.):