Once again, the archaeological world is abuzz about beads! This time, the news is regarding a possible Iron Age bead-making factory unearthed in India's Tamil Nadu region.
The excavation team, commissioned by Pondicherry University, has been working at a site near the city of Palani for the last two months. They began by digging three trenches, which revealed 2,000 ancient glass beads in a rainbow of colors. Then they excavated an area called "pasimedu," meaning "mound of beads," which contained a 2,500-year-old grave. The skeletal remains inside the grave were laid on a bed of 3,000 beads made of steatite, carnelian, quartz, and agate.
But their most important find were two glass-making furnaces containing bowls and terracotta triangles used for polishing beads. This is the first such find in the Tamil Nadu region and may indicate that the site was once a glass-bead-manufacturing factory.
What does this mean for modern-day beaders and bead makers? It means we are participating in an ancient and global tradition. If you love learning about the history of bead making as much as I do, check out these other blog posts:
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