COPPER ALLOYING PRACTICES AT THE INDUS TRADITION SITE OF HARAPPA

  • Brett C. Hoffman

Abstract

In this study the copper and copper alloy assemblage from the Harappa Archaeological Research Project (HARP) excavations at the Indus Tradition site of Harappa, Pakistan was analyzed to identify patterns of alloy usage. The HARP assemblage represents the changing patterns of copper & bronze use and discard from the entire chronological sequence, beginning at more than 3300 BCE to around 1700 BCE, spanning the prehistoric occupation of the site. The largest component of the sample dates to the height of Indus urbanism, Period 3 at Harappa, dating from 2600-1900 BCE. At almost every excavated site of the Indus Tradition, copper and bronze artifacts have comprised a significant portion of the recovered material assemblage. Throughout the Indus area, copper and copper alloys were used by metalworkers to fashion a variety of objects ranging from prestige goods to basic utilitarian items. Earlier research on copper-bronze metallurgy in the Indus focused on the identification of general patterns and broad characterizations of the metallurgical tradition across the entire Indus area. The current research project applied leading analytical techniques to a comprehensive assemblage of copper and bronze materials from the HARP excavations at the site of Harappa, Pakistan in order to re-evaluate and modify these traditional interpretations to incorporate updated perspectives on the study of ancient metallurgy.

Published
2019-01-01