Continuity of s’ankha culture in Bharatam

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While the finds of perforated shell beads in Skhul rock shelter in Israel point to the possible use of shell artifacts as jewellery, there is a remarkable continuity of shell industry of the Sarasvati riverine, maritime civilization. The evidence is presented based on archaeological reports and in particular reference to the following monographs: 1. evidence of advanced fishing technology in ancient India; 2. identification of ancient shorelines of Gujarat (of periods earlier than 3rd millennium BCE); 3. ancient shell industry at Bet Dwarka island; 4. use of shell artifacts as inlays in Mesopotamian civilization area; 5. Gola Dhoro in Gujarat as an ancient shell workshop; and 5. evidence of perforated marine gastropod shells at the western Asian site of Skhul and the North African site of Oued Djebbana. The use of turbinella pyrum (s’ankha) as libation vessels, as conch-trumpets and source material for making wide bangles point to an astonishingly continuous tradition, from 7th millennium BCE into the historical periods. Hindu civilization presents a cultural area where s’ankha is considered sacred and adorns the murti of Bhairava and Vishnu. S’ankha kr.s’a_nah (s’ankha bowman or cutter) is a skill attested in the Rigveda. The cumulative evidence points to meluhha, mleccha as maritime, riverine people of Bha_rata.

Middle paleolithic shell beads in Israel and Algeria, by Paolo Montagna et al., www. vol. 312, June 2006, pp. 1786 to 1788