Today glass beads are a major product of India from at least three different locations, using altogether different techniques. Each production process leaves behind debitage unique to its individual manufacturing process.

Archaeologically, it is imperative to identify and record the production techniques of glass bead manufacture and to identify the various specific waste products rather than merely speaking of beads and production centers on the basis of statistics.

There have been a number of studies on Indo-Pacific bead production, but few on other methods. An ancient and important technique of bead manufacture, used even today, is the "furnace-winding" technique. Beads produced by this technique have been found in large numbers at various archaeological sites. This paper discusses the details of beads and bead waste produced by the furnace-winding technique and the specific criteria of production. It also uses the results of a detailed ethnographic analysis at a manufacturing village, Purdalpur, to understand the production and dispersal mechanisms. An understanding of these mechanisms allows us to formulate certain criteria that can be used to draw better inferences about archaeological sites in which bead debitage has been found.


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pp. 123-150
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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