Etched beads: An Indus invention

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 21 09:31:01 EST 2000

A scholar friend sent me this, some in the list
may find it interesting.

N. Ganesan


According to Lois Sherr Dubin, "The History of Beads from 3,000 B.C.
to the Present", Abrams, 1987, p. 182, etched carnelian beads  were
created through a treatment that painted the surface with natron
(calcium carbonate) and then baked. The technique was invented in the
Indus Valley ca. 2500 BCE and both the beads themselves and the
technology were exported to Mesopotamia. Carnelian beads from the
Royal Graves at Ur have similar patterns etched in their surfaces as
some of those excavated from Indus Valley sites.

You may find the following articles & books of additional interest
and help:

Arkell A. "Cambay and the Bead Trade". Antiquity 1936;10:292-305.

Kenoyer J. "The Indus bead industry:  Contributions in bead
technology". Ornament 1986;10:18-21.

Reade J. Early Etched Beads and the Indus-Mesopotamia Trade. London:
British Museum, 1979.

Roux V, Bril B, Dietrich G. "Skills and learning difficulties involved
in stone knapping:  The case of stone-bead knapping in Khambhat,
India". World Archaeology 1995;27(1):63-87.


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