The measurements of hardness and elastic modulus have been conducted on the (0001) and (101¯1) faces of B4.3C single crystals using nanoindentation. The results are in good agreement with the corresponding values obtained using a conventional microhardness technique on polycrystalline ceramics. Raman microspectroscopy analysis of the nanoindentations shows the appearance of several bands which suggest dramatic structural changes in the indented material. Localized contact loading may lead to damage in boron carbide resulting in disorder or a pressure-induced solid state phase transformation in the region under the indenter, although the exact mechanism responsible for the observed Raman spectra could not be identified at this time. This may explain why little variation in mechanical properties was observed with respect to the crystallographic orientation. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.