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Cornaline de l’Inde

Valentine Roux

IV. Applications archéologiques

8. Stone beads from the Nausharo site (Pakistani Baluchistan), 2800-2000 BC

Blanche Barthélemy de Saizieu

Texte intégral

1Abstract. The techno-economic analysis of hard-stone beads presented in the preceding chapter, at the scale of the Indus world, permitted: 1) the questioning of a certain number of factors taken a priori as concerning the economic role played by this craft industry in the development of the urban phenomenon of this region starting at 2500 bc, and 2) to propose hypotheses concerning the value and destination of these beads. In this framework, the present chapter deals with the production of hard-stone beads found at a recently excavated site. The aim of the study was to evaluate the propositions advanced on a global Indus scale if the scale of observation is changed. In other words, if we shift from a global to a local scale, represented here by the site of Nausharo.

2The hard-stone objects from Nausharo are present in a relatively limited quantity within the ensemble of beads and pendants discovered. They total 133 objects out of more than 4,000 inventoried for all of the occupation periods distinguished (Pre-Indus, period I of Nausharo, and Indus, periods II, III and IV of Nausharo). The presence of these beads raises several questions: were they fabricated locally or were they imported? In either case, was the phenomenon total or partial? Who fabricated them? And for whom were they destined? With what goal? Who wore them or possessed them?

3In an attempt to respond, at least partially, to some of these questions, and to address the objective described above, a techno-economic analysis was conducted. This analysis was based on the interpretive referentials developed at Cambay. It permitted a classification of the production concerned based on the implied fabrication techniques and skills. These data were then crossed with those furnished by the materials utilized, the forms and dimensions knapped, and the number of products, and were then interpreted in relation to the archaeological context.

4Three principal groups of beads of distinct quality were thus revealed. Considering the techno-morphological characteristics of each one, these groups represent at least three different levels of expertise. Level 1 concerns beads of mediocre quality, level 2 beads of fairly good quality, and level 3, beads of good, or even exceptional, quality.

5Based on these data stemming from the Nausharo context (rare indications of the local working of chalcedonies, limited number of finished pieces, therefore, limited production) and the results obtained, the following hypotheses are formulated: the production being limited and of variable quality, the distinct levels of expertise identified correspond to different production locations. While part of the production could have been local (the less high-quality objects), another part was imported (the high-quality objects, and definitely the “exceptional” ones). These suggestions are consistent with the general image proposed for the Indus world (see Chapter 7), whereby the beads are fabricated in limited number, and for certain among them (the “classical Harappans”, and perhaps the good-quality beads, for example) in a single center. Moreover, the differences in quality observed not only suggest distinct production locations, but also almost certainly reflect diverse demands, and by extension, diverse functions and destinations.

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

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