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Cornaline de l’Inde

Valentine Roux

I. Caractérisation et identification des techniques de fabrication des perles en roches dures

2. The knapping methods and techniques practiced at Cambay

Jacques Pelegrin

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1Abstract. In this chapter, we first present the “Cambay” technique. As with other knapping techniques, the Cambay technique respects the principles and constraints of hard stone conchoidal fracture, but also employs an original principle, indirect percussion by counter-blows (with a horn hammer and iron spike used as an anvil), and some specific tools (fig. 1). The moment of the development of this technique remains unknown: all of the classic techniques (direct percussion with a stone hammer, indirect percussion and pressure flaking with antler and copper) were known by the Harappans and would have been sufficient for their various lithic productions.

2Next, this chapter presents the different knapping methods associated with Cambay beads and other objects. With the exception of disco beads, fabricated all in one stage, the knapping of a bead – or a series of beads – is done in two stages. First, in an initial reduction phase, a roughout blank is produced. The finishing of this roughout results in a preform ready to be abraded, perforated and polished in two phases.

3The knapping carried out at Cambay essentially corresponds to a shaping operation (façonnage): each cobble produces only one bead. Meanwhile, we see that the production of certain small or medium beads begins with a debitage operation: a cobble is first knapped into a few thick flakes from which as many beads are fabricated.

4As we saw in chapter 1, numerous bead types are produced at Cambay. Diversity in form, dimension, and quality sometimes correspond to sensibly different knapping methods. Meanwhile, the morphology of the roughout permits us to group the majority of these types into three families, along with several other varied products:

5Elongated beads constructed according to a quadrangular section, with four crests: modan, chasāī, ath pahel (fig. 2 to 5), to which are added loi and gol modan (fig. 6), from which the crests are removed during the last sequences to give them a circular section (plus variants: fig. 7 and 8).

6Elongated beads constructed according to a triangular section, with three crests: pasīyā (with three crests conserved), gilodā and bān (ellipsoids), and andā (with an egg-like form, 5 to 7 cm long), from which three crests are removed in order to give them a circular section (fig. 9 to 13).

7Spherical beads constructed from a cuboid roughout (manī, dabkā) (fig. 14 to 18).

8Other products:

9Cordiform pendants, medallions and ear motifs (fig. 19), cabochons (nagīnā) (fig. 20); very large spherical or ovoidpieces (fig. 21); small bowls; ancient beads of fine cylinder shape; diverse objects (fig. 22).

10For a certain number of these beads, generally of small dimensions, we describe the simplified variants produced in the inferior knapping-quality workshops.

© Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2000

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