Carnelian Mines in Gujarat

By Insoll, Timothy; Bhan, Kuldeep | Antiquity, September 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Carnelian Mines in Gujarat


Insoll, Timothy, Bhan, Kuldeep, Antiquity


In June-July 2000 a sample collection programme was completed in the extant carnelian mines of Jhagadia Taluka, Broach District, Gujarat, Western India (FIGURE 1). The predominant rationale behind the fieldwork is an Africanist one. Namely, to obtain modern comparative material which could be elementally analysed and compared with samples of carnelian beads from archaeological contexts in West and West-Central Africa. For besides local production of carnelian beads in West Africa, it seems that certain examples were also imported via trans-Saharan trade routes, probably from India (Insoll 2000). However, at present such an attribution remains purely hypothetical, based as it is upon the colour, workmanship, and shapes, resembling the carnelian bead production of Western India. Beads known to have been extensively exported in the medieval period, the focus here, and of course before (Theunissen et al. 2000). Thus it is hoped that the geochemical analysis of the carnelian samples from Gujarat will either prove or disprove a trade to West Africa. Following a successful pilot study at the NERC LA-ICP-MS facility at Kingston University, the full programme of analysis will now be completed in co-operation with Dr Dave Polya in the new LAICP-MS facility at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Manchester.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The history of carnelian bead making in Western India probably predates the Harappan period (Allchin 1979: 91). Within the Ratanpor or Ratnapura area the precise date of the origins of carnelian working is unclear, but it is perfectly reasonable that the region supplied Harappan bead-makers. Extraction of carnelian, and in all probability manufacturing of beads, continued in the Ratanpor area during the medieval period (at least until the 15th century for the latter activity), when its control appears to have shifted from Hindu to Muslim hands (Francis 1986). This was accompanied by a shift in manufacturing (but not extraction) to Khambhat (Cambay), a town better suited for transport purposes being located at the mouth of the River Mahi where it flows into the Gulf of Khambhat (Karanth 1992: 61), and thus closer to the international sea-borne trade which the bead makers supplied (FIGURE 2).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Carnelian samples were collected from 10 different locations in the Ratanpor area where it occurs as rolled pebbles or nodules in the conglomerates and gravels of the area. These are laid down in thick beds in the region and can be accessed relatively easily by digging narrow shaft mines into the agate beds (FIGURE 3). This work is completed by the Bhils, a tribal group in the region, and the epicentre of this carnelian mining area is the Baba or Bawa Ghori hill.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Carnelian Mines in Gujarat
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?