Alok Kanungo

Mapping Glass Production at Papanaidupet, Andhra Pradesh, India

In the study of glass trade beads, Indo-Pacific glass beads have become synonymous with the village of Papanaidupet, Chittor District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Production of tiny glass beads may have first started in India, possibly at the site of Arikamedu, but eventually, the technology and finished beads spread to the rest of the Pacific world during the pre and early Christian era. These glass beads were traded to the East and the West, following the same routes as the agate and carnelian beads. Indo-Pacific
glass beads appear in East Africa between 200 to 1600 AD, in Malaysia and Vietnam by about 1000 AD, and in Sumatra at the beginning of the 1st century AD. The only surviving Indo-Pacific bead production site for the last two hundred years is at Papanaidupet, India. Unfortunately, this industry is on the verge of disintegration, and many of the socio-economic features of guild organization, trading and labor hierarchy have changed but technology has remained fairly constant. This presentation will look at the issues of technology and trade as well as the relationships between the modern industry and those practiced in the historic past. Mapping of the village provides a record that will be useful in future archaeological studies that examine prehistoric and historic glass production and glass bead production centers.

Dr. Alok Kanungo (Ph.D., Deccan College, Pune India) was born in Orissa and grew up in close contact with many of the tribal communities of this part of Eastern India. For more than a decade he has been traveling and documenting the rich heritage of the Nagas of northeast India, and the Bondos and Juangs of Orissa. He has worked in many areas where it is difficult to say where anthropology or history stops and archaeology begins. He has published extensively on the subject of glass and glass bead
production and written or edited four books and more than two dozens of research articles in various journals. He is also the editor of the South Asian Archaeology Series published through British Archaeological Reports. He is currently an Honorary Fellow with the Department of Anthropology at UW Madison and a visiting Fulbright Scholar.