Trade, Crafts and Technology
Shortughai (Afghanistan) was near the best source of Lapis Lazuli (a highly valued blue-stone). Lothal was nearby the sources of Carnelian (from Bharuch in Gujarat), steatite was obtained from south Rajasthan and North Gujarat, Jade from central Asia, Amethyst from Maharashtra and Metal was from Rajasthan. They also used to send expeditions to areas, such as the Khetri region of Rajasthan (for copper) and to South India (Karnataka for gold), which used to establish communication with the local communities.
Copper was also brought from Oman. Both the Omani copper and Harappa artifacts have traces of Nickel suggesting a common origin. Evidence of Ganeshwar-Jodhpur culture, with its distinctive non-Harappa pottery and some copper objects, has been found in the Khetri area, which attests to the existence of trade. The Harappa also had trade contacts with Mesopotamia and used to send them Carnelian, Lapis lazuli, copper etc.
Tin may have been brought from present day Afghanistan and Iran. Harappa had intense trade relations with Mesopotamia, well attested by Mesopotamia literature, speaking of the Merchants of UR (in Mesopotamia) carrying on trade with foreign countries namely Tilmun (identifying with the island of Bahrian in the Persian Gulf) Magan(Oman or other South Arbian Port and Meluhha (now understood to mean India, especially the Indus region) and Saurashtra referred to as a land of sea-farers. Harappa seals and other objects have also been found at Mesopotamia attesting to the existence of Trade relation between them.
Carnelian Jasper, crystal, quartz and steatite were used to make beads. Metals such as copper, bronze and gold and shell, faience, terracotta and burnt clay were also used for bead making. Beads were made of numerous shapes such as disc-shaped, cylindrical, spherical, barrel shaped, segmented etc. Techniques of their making differed according to the material. Steatite was utilized for this and was a very soft stone. The red colour of carnelian was obtained by firing the yellowish raw material and beads at various stages of production.
Nodules were chipped into shapes and then flaked to give a finish. Grinding, polishing and drilling was undertaken afterwards. Specialised drills have been found at Chanhundaro, Lothal and at Dholavira. Nageshwar and Balakot were specialized centers for making shell objects including bangles, ladles and inlay.
Finished products from Chanhudaro and Lothal were taken to the large urban centers such as Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Apart from bead-making, seal-making, terracotta manufacture, pottery and bricklaying were the other undertaken crafts. Their metalworking was also skilled. The Harappa made fine jewellery out of gold, implements of bronze, copper-beakers etc.
The cire Perdue method was utilized by them for casting bronze, which they used to make the numerous bronze images and statues that they did.
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