This is the distal end of a chert pressure blade from Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan. This famous ancient city was a major urban centre during the Harappan phase, a Bronze Age culture in the Indus Valley dating from ca. 3900-4600 BP.
The small blade in this model shows the regularity and precision typical of blades made using the pressure technique. The proximal (platform) end of the blade is missing, but the distal end is intact. It shows that the pressure blade propagated right to the bottom of the core face.
The artefact is curated in the UNE Museum of Antiquities.
Mohenjo-daro was a planned city with mud-brick houses and structures covering about 300 hectares. The population may have been as high as 40,000 with a complex social organisation. The site was excavated by the archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler in the 1940s. Mohenjo-daro was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
Archaeologists have characterised the Harappan lithic industry as ‘among the richest and most diverse known to archaeologists’. A variety of flintknapping techniques were used to produce blades, micro blades, spear points, arrowheads, stone drills, and beads from heat-treated cherts. Techniques practiced during the Harappan period included hard- and soft-hammer direct percussion, indirect percussion using a soft punch or metal punch, bifacial pressure flaking, and blade production using pressure. For pressure blades, the core was first shaped by direct percussion and perhaps indirect percussion, with up to three bifacially-flaked ‘crests’ to guide the first blade removals. Removing these crests, possibly by indirect percussion on the larger cores, established the long, straight ridges that guided the remainder of reduction. The core platform was reduced around its circumference, creating a bullet-shaped core. Many of the blades were trapezoidal in cross section. There is evidence that copper/bronze pressure flaking tools were sometimes used to remove the pressure blades.