A tool can be defined as something people used to help them accomplish their work in less time. For example, a basket was a tool for gathering plants, a handy rock can be a hammer while a bow and an arrow were tools used by a hunter or a warrior. Someone making a bow would use a stone scraper to shave and shape the wood.
A woman preparing an animal skin might use the same scraper to remove the fat and flesh from the inside part of the skin and a sharp flake of flint to cut it with. A pottery maker used polished pebbles to shape and smooth their pots. A woman making clothing would use a stone knife to cut leather with. The Indians had as many kinds of tools as they had jobs to do that needed tools.
The history of technology implies nothing. However, the history of the invention of tools and techniques was similar in many ways to the history of humanity.
Background knowledge has enabled people to create new things. And conversely, many scientific endeavors have become possible through technologies. These technologies assist humans to travel to places we could not otherwise go, and probe the nature of the universe in more detail than our natural senses allow.
Technological artifacts were basically products of an economy. They also constituted a force for economic growth and a large part of everyday life as well. Technological innovations affect, and are affected by, a society's cultural traditions. They also are a means to develop and project military power.
When we think of Indian tools it is stone tools that first come to mind. There is a simple reason for this. It is the stone tools that have survived buried in the dirt. The wood, bone, leather and fiber tools disappeared, dissolved back into the soil over the years.
In collections it is also the stone parts of tools that survived the years. In old private collections the leather, wood and fibers often dried out and cracked till the tool was falling apart and unattractive. So people kept the stone parts and threw the rest away over the years.
Indians made many kinds of tools out of many kinds of materials. They made digging sticks that were simply a long strong stick with a point. They had hoes made from animal bones and from shells attached to wood handles. Axes were made often made from ground and polished stone. This is quite contrary to the popular belief that they were made of chipped stone.
Hooks for fishing were often made from slivers of shells. Many tools were made up of several materials combined. An arrow had a stone or bone point, a wood or cane shaft and feathers. These all were held together with some kind of cord and often with some kind of glue.
Indian tools were usually made from the materials that were available where the Indians lived. Indians who lived in woods where trees and wood was available made more tools from wood.
Indians who lived in the desert made more stone tools and made do without wooden handles. Where workable stone was scarce Indians used bone instead. The best example of this being the Eskimos who lived where there was neither stone nor wood. They used animal bones to make almost all their tools.
Often it took one tool or set of tools to make other tools. So we find a wide variety of Indian tools once we think about what tools Indians would need.
Each culture and each kind of work within a culture uses its own unique tool kit. This is how archeologist can tell long lost cultures apart. Different Indian cultures at different times each made its own kind of dart points.
Archeologists can also use tool kits to tell about the activities in an archeological site. A hunting camp will have tools to butcher animals and process the animal's parts. A farming village will have pottery and hoes.
The Indus Valley Civilization, situated in a resource-rich area, was noteworthy for its early application of city planning and sanitation technologies. Ancient India was also at the forefront of seafaring technology-a panel found at Mohenjodaro, depicted a sailing craft. Indian construction and architecture, called 'Vaastu Shastra', suggested a thorough understanding of materials engineering, hydrology, and sanitation.
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