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MINING AND METALLURGY

 

Metallurgy in India started during the 3rd - 2nd millennium BC probably with copper mining at Khetri in Rajasthan. Metals were extracted and utilized in the past in stages progressing usually from theuse of native metal, to those metals which could be smelted easily from ores, to those which were more difficult to smelt. Commonly used metals in antiquity include gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, zinc and mercury. Ancient mining sites and metallurgical activities at Dariba, Zawar, Agucha and Singbhum provide telltale evidence of metallurgical skills of ancient Indians. People of Indus valley civilization made use of gold jewelry. A number of copper mining and smelting sites have been found in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Right from the Harappan period (2500 BCE) down to the early historic time, copper-bronze technology flourished in Indian subcontinent. Bronze Age swords of copper were found to be created from 2300 BC.These swords consist of bronze but more commonly copper. Many of these were discovered in Fatehgarh. These swords date back to the period 1700 BCE to 1400 BCE but they were more commonly used in during the opening centuries of 1st millennium BCE.

     
     

Figure 11 : Various copper objects of Indus Valley civilization found from the Dholavira in Kachch district during the excavations.

Figure 12 : Ancient underground lead-zinc mine of Zawar area, Udaipur district, Rajasthan

 

GLASS WORKS

 

There is evidence to suggest that Painted Grey Ware (PGW) Culture of the Ganga valley (c. 1000 BCE) did have elegant glass beads. There is also archaeological evidence in the form of a number of glass objects found at Maski that date back to 1000-900 BCE, which suggest existence of glass technology in India in the Chalcolithic site in the southern Deccan, which is older than the beginning of the first millennium BCE. Kaca is a Sanskrit term used for glass in the Vedic text, SatapathaBrahmana. About 30 excavated sites in different regions of India have produced several glass objects in different colors such as green, blue, red, white, orange and some other shades. Archaeological excavations have revealed the presence of a traditional glass factory at Kopia in Basti District of Uttar Pradesh.

     
   

Figure 13 : 2,000 glass beads collected during excavation in the Porunthal village on the left bank of the Porunthal River, near Palani, under a project funded by the Central Institute of Classical Tamil and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The beads are of various colours. A mound in this region called pasimedu’ (mound of beads) was found to be covering an Iron Age’ grave dating back to 500 B.C., which is 2,500 years ago.