Craft Production at Gola Dhoro
Shell Bangle Workshop
One of the most important craft activities pursued with great vigor at the site was the production of shell bangles from Turbinella pyrum. One of the fascinating discoveries associated with this craft was the recovery of a rectangular mud brick structure measuring approximately 5.60 x 3.20m with an adjoining chamber, situated on the northwestern periphery inside the fortification. Within this structure three large heaps of shell resting against the western wall, containing thousands of mostly unused shell of T. pyrum were uncovered.
In between the two shell heaps, thousands of unfinished and finished shell circlets and large quantities of micro shell wasters produced during cutting of the shell, and a grinding stone resting below the bangles, are really unique finds and undoubtedly indicate it being a shell workshop of Harappan times.
A preliminary study of the shell piles of the workshop indicated that one of the piles literally has hundreds of the shell that were either undersized or worm-eaten. The segregation of shell on the basis of quality indicate that the shell cutter of Bagasra separated the bad quality shell from the main piles since they could not have been effectively used in the manufacture of bangles.
This has also led us to infer that unlike another Harappan shell working site of Nageshwar on the Gulf Kutch, that the shell cutters of Gola Dhoro were not personally involved in the collection of shell. Otherwise they would have discarded bad quality shell that could have not been used later, near the source area, instead of transporting it for more than 100 kilometers to the settlement.
From the preliminary studies it appears that except for limited ladle manufacture from Chicoreus ramosus, the settlement basically remains one of the larger Harappan shell bangle-manufacturing centers in Gujarat. Not only the bangles but perhaps also some raw shell and especially Fasciolaria trapezium species were being traded from the site, previously believed to have been obtained from Oman for the manufacture inlay in core area.
Nevertheless, the excavations of the workshop is not complete as yet - we hope in this area, we may finally end up discovering the copper saw that used for cutting the shell.