Technology of Harappans


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  • The degree of uniformity of manufactures indicates a centralization of production. Four main varieties of metal: crude copper lumps with considerable sulphur, refined copper with traces of arsenic and antimony, copper arsenic alloy, Bronze (copper and tin). Copper and Bronze vessels were created by hammering over a form. Lapping or joining a jar technique appears in the late Harappan period. Statues of bronze and copper were made from casts. Gold was extracted by panning.
  • Technological skill is also visible in terms of ship-building, long distance trade, town-planning, high style of life for the urbanites, use of very rich ornaments, etc. gold brooches, needles etc.
  • Silver was more common than gold. Objects: vessels, beads, ornaments, leads and silver were possibly imported. Copper was expensive. Electrum, a gold-silver mixture was also used.
  • Pottery: It was wheel turned and kiln burnt. It is a pinkish ware with bright red slip, sometimes with a buff background. Decorations are black, consisting of either plain horizontal lines of varying thickness of pictorial motifs, intersection circles, scale patterns, chequers, pipal leaves, rosettes, occasional peacocks, fish and deer/gazelle.
  • Human figures are rare. Goblets are sometimes stamped with lettering. Red Ochre for slip came from Hormuz. No human figures depicted in Mohenjodaro pottery.
  • Ivory: Very few examples – combs similar to Ur type, carved, cylinders, small sticks and pins, damaged plaque with carved human figure.
  • Bronze: spears, knives, short swords, arrow heads, axes and fish hooks. Knives have a slightly sinuous recurred point unlike other civilizations. Ribbed knives appeared in late periods. The very thin blades needed special stiffening by being set between the split ends of the shaft. The most common domestic implement was the parallel sided chert blade, struck from a prepared core. Stone made heads are also found. Saws with undulating teeth were more advanced than Sumerian ones.
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