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Pre-History & Archaeology

Weight(s) and Measurements

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Weight(s) and Measurements
C, 2500 B.C.

Place of Origin: Mohenjo-Daro
Materials: Weight: Chert
Balance: Copper
Dimensions: Balance Stick : 12 x 0.3 cm
Balance Plate: 15.7 x 5.7 cm
Weight: Biggest: 2.4 x 2.4 x 1.8 cm
Smallest: 0.7 x 0.7 x 0.6 cm
Acc. No. DK-80/2604 and DK I-355/2605 (Balance)

An index to an advanced stage of trade, and its essential element, the recovery of this balance and weights from Mohenjo-Daro suggests that Harappan settlers not only pursued systematic trade activities but also had in prevalence weights and measures ensuring accuracy, consistency, transparency and fairness of trade-system and commercial behaviour. Far ahead of the primitive measuring vessels of bartering goods Harappan settlers maintained consistent standards of weights and regularized weights' based pricing system. Though re-fabricated, this balance is estimated to be about four and a half millenniums old. These finds attest with great certainty the advanced stage of trade amongst Harappan settlers.

The recovered weights range from the heavier ones with lifting rings attached to those of micro-miniaturised sizes used probably by jewelers for weighing precious metals, jewellery items and perhaps some rare and scarce spices. Harappan settlers seem to have decimal system in use for defining higher weights as also for measuring lengths. It seems some central authority controlled and ensured adherence to strict standards and fairness in trade and commercial activities. A large number of small rectangular blocks - both cubical and cylindrical made of tawny chert and marked with light grey bands, have been excavated from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The archaeologists have identified these blocks as weights. Interestingly, all these finds are well finished and have polished faces. Occasionally they also have beveled edges, though none of them bears an inscription or mark indicating a weight and value. Along such weights Mohenjo-Daro excavations have also revealed a copper balance.

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