Image: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Lynn Fawcett

The numeral thirty is comprised of three units of ten.

Illustrative Text Reference:

Chanhujo-daro: Copper Rod: C-39 A (2) (Please note that the inscription in the photograph is upside down): Jagat Pati Joshi and Asko Parpola, 1987: Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions: Volume 1: Page 337: Collections in India: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.


This is Mahadevan's sign number 314, which I have redrawn to better reflect the original.


Paul Yale has identified C-39 as a snarling iron¹.


According to inscription C-39, thirty Indus units refers to the measurement of the middle section of the snarling iron. It is not within the scope of this dictionary to determine the value of an Indus unit. However, my rough calculations (based on the measurement of photographs) are as follows:


The middle section of the snarling iron measures approximately 187.2 mm.

M-2117 (see Parpola Volume 3,1) is marked with a scale wherein each segment measures roughly 6 mm.

Taking 6 mm to be one Indus unit:

187.2 mm divided by six gives us 31.2 units.


Obviously, these calculations ought to be checked by someone who has access to the artifacts C-39 and M-2117, but it is fascinating that the result should be so close to thirty.

A Modern Snarling Iron

Image: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Lynn Fawcett

It is interesting to note that snarling irons are still used by artisans in Tsubame, Japan.


This is a picture of a snarling iron used by a Japanese smith to make a copper kettle. The artisan will use several different sizes of snarling iron to produce one kettle. The body of the kettle including the spout is made from one sheet of copper. The smith uses a wooden mallet to prepare a flat sheet of copper. Metal hammers are then used with the snarling irons to shape the kettle from the sheet of metal.

Image Credits:

Numeral Thirty: Lynn Fawcett, 2018.


A Modern Snarling Iron: Exhibition at Japan House, London: Lynn Fawcett, October 2018.


1. A Harappan 'Snarling Iron' from Chanhu daro: Paul Yule, March 1988: Antiquity, Volume 62, Issue 234, March 1988, pp 116-118.