Unexpected Expertise: Archaeological Science and the Creative Skills of Indus Craftspeople

Author(s): Heather Miller; Gregory L. Braun

Year: 2018


Wright’s doctoral and subsequent work brilliantly employed archaeological science to show how relatively simple technological tools (single-chamber kilns) were used by skilled craftspeople in clever ways to create surprisingly technologically complex objects (black-on-grey pottery, resulting from several different cycles of atmospheric conditions during firing), objects which also provided information about patterns of social boundaries and technological style. In homage to this work, we will present recent petrographic work by Dr. Greg Braun on Mature Harappan technological debris from Harappa, wasters from the firing of faience and/or steatite objects. As in Wright’s research, archaeological science methods show that simple refractory materials thought to be insulating, non-stick firing structures or containers for relatively simple objects, in fact seem to be remains of containers designed to transfer heat, used as ‘crucible’ containers for frits for the production of more complex fritted faiences, with bone fragments deliberately added as fluxes or perhaps even opacifiers. Fritted faience has been identified in the Indus by Vandiver and McCarthy, but this debris implies this complex production method was more common than previously expected, and may be representative of an Indus style of faience production.

Cite this Record

Unexpected Expertise: Archaeological Science and the Creative Skills of Indus Craftspeople. Heather Miller, Gregory L. Braun. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443909)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: 60.601; min lat: 5.529 ; max long: 97.383; max lat: 37.09 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21717