Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 5th June 2023, 11:58:31am WEST

Session Overview
SYM-323: Glass Beads: Global Artefacts, Local Perspectives
Friday, 06/Jan/2023:
1:30pm - 4:45pm

Session Chair: Brad Loewen
Session Chair: Andreia Martins Torres
Discussant: Elliot H Blair
Location: B-210

Building B, Room 210

Session Abstract

The archaeological study of glass beads first developed around Lake Ontario, where researchers used these artefacts to explore the impact of early European trade on Indigenous societies living far inland in North America. The construction of chrono-typologies made glass trade beads a go-to artefact for dating contexts of the 16th-19th centuries. However, as more archaeologists around the world began to study this period, they brought new data and new approaches to the study of glass beads. This symposium will explore global trade circuits, geochemical provenancing, glass beads in contexts other than the colonial trade, non-European manufacturing centres, Indigenous agency, beads and gender, and other themes that reflect the conceptual tension of globalisation and decolonisation in glass bead studies. Our goal is to foster dialogue among archaeologists who think about glass beads in different ways, depending on where they are on the planet and how they approach the early modern period.

Show help for 'Increase or decrease the abstract text size'
1:30pm - 1:45pm

Glass Beads from the Gagliana Grossa : a Reference Collection for the Venitian Production at the End of the 16th Century

Adelphine Bonneau1, Katarina Batur2, Irena Radic Rossi2, Vincent Delmas3, Bernard Gratuze4

1Université de Sherbrooke, Canada; 2University of Zadar, Croatia; 3Université de Montréal, Canada; 4IRAMAT UMR 7065 Centre Ernest-Babelon

At the end of 1583, the Gagliana Grossa, a Venetian merchantman, sank near the small island of Gnalić at the south-western entrance of the Pašman Channel, Croatia. Heading to Constantinople from Venice, its cargo contains, amongst other goods, several barrels of glass beads manufactured in Venice. Recovered through several underwater excavations, 5kg of beads and fragments of beads were sorted according to the Kidd and Kidd’s typology (1970) and analyzed with LA-ICP-MS. More than 80 types of beads were identified, all made with the drawing technique, rediscovered by Venetian craftsmen in the 16th century. The elemental composition of the glass beads matches those of other objects from the shipwreck and from archaeological collections attributed to Venetian workshops. This collection sets for the first time a reference for the production of glass beads in Venice at the end of the 16th century.

1:45pm - 2:00pm

The provenance of Nueva Cadiz beads: a chemical approach

Brad Loewen1, Laure Dussubieux2

1Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada; 2Field Museum, Chicago, USA

We conducted a chemical analysis of Nueva Cadiz from two 16th-century collections, originating from the namesake Nueva Cádiz site in Venezuela (1498–1543) and a pillaged site in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia. The two collections yielded similar results and we may infer they came from the same production centre. Here we focus on their provenance analysis, using an approach adapted to 15th–17th century polychrome soda glass beads found in the Americas and Europe. Our analysis points to the beads’ manufacture in Venice, using materials and methods compatible with Venetian cristallo. Because Nueva Cadiz beads are common in assemblages from South and Central America before 1560, Venice possibly supplied many beads exported from Europe in the 16th century. However, beadmaking also thrived in other centres, especially after 1560. Our approach can ascertain the origin of soda glass beads made in France, Holland and elsewhere.

2:00pm - 2:15pm

Golden Glass Beads in New Spain and Local Productions

Andreia Martins Torres

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain

This paper focuses on the analysis of a thype of golden glass beads that has been recovered in different archaeological excavations carried out by INAH in Mexico City, to question two widely held ideas about these objects in New Spain. First, it focuses on the contexts in which they have appeared to challenge the idea that their use was reserved for the native or African origin population. Secondly, it combines archaeological data with historical sources to highlight that the viceroyalty developed a specialty of glassmaking dedicated to the manufacture of small objects, such as beads, which began in the 16th century and was consolidated in the 18th century with the development of a particular glass beads production.

2:15pm - 2:30pm

Preliminary Micro Computed Tomodensitometry Of 16th and 17th Century Frit-core Glass Beads In North America

Amy St. John1, Allison Bain1, Alicia Hawkins2, Pierre Francus3

1Laval University, Canada; 2University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada; 3Centre - Eau Terre Environnement, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Canada

This paper explores the potential of micro computed tomodensitometry (µCT) to contribute to the understanding of frit-core glass bead manufacture. µCT is a non-invasive technique that is used on a wide range of archaeological materials, including glass beads, to examine their manufacturing technology. In this preliminary study, we scanned a small sample of glass beads from two archaeological contexts which are related to the French trade network in North America: a 16th century context at the Cartier-Roberval site (CeEu-4) located on the St. Lawrence River in present day Québec, and a 17th century component of the Ellery site (BdGx-8), a Wendat site located in Simcoe County of present day Ontario. The resulting scans provide high-resolution (<7 µm voxel size) images, of the interior structures of glass beads. These interior structures offer clues about frit-core bead manufacture from the inside out, regardless of the exterior fragility of these archaeological glass beads.

2:30pm - 2:45pm

An Indigenous Glass Bead Industry In The Northern Plains Of North America

William T. Billeck

Smithsonian Institution, United States of America

During the first half of the 19th century and perhaps slightly earlier, Indigenous individuals in the Plains region of North America began making their own glass beads by recycling beads obtained through trade. They crushed glass beads and reformed the crushed glass into different beads that are visually distinctive, fusing the glass in a hot fire. In 1804, Lewis and Clark witnessed this beadmaking by an Arikara woman and their journal entries describe the process. Additional accounts describe the manufacture of the beads as a culturally restricted skill—only certain members of tribes could make them, and the accounts also provide indications of the symbolic meaning of these Native-made beads. These beads are identified in some Plains glass bead assemblages.

2:45pm - 3:15pm
15min presentation + 15min break

Compositional Analysis of Prosser Molded Beads Found in Southeast Idaho

Michele E. Hoferitza

Utah State University, United States of America

Identifying the origin for Prosser beads may lead to a greater understanding of their distribution. In this study, x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis of a collection of 102 Prosser beads of various colors found in southeastern Idaho indicate dramatic variation between elemental composition of the beads. The variations are examined to determine if coloring elements of copper and cobalt can be diagnostic of which factory manufactured the beads. Improved accuracy in determining the source of Prosser Molded beads using XRF analysis provides critical insights into the development of late 19th and early 20th century trade networks across two continents.

3:15pm - 3:30pm

Mixed Cargos of Glass and Stone Beads of the Indian Ocean World Early Modern Period

Jennifer Craig

Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, Canada

Most literature on beads in the IOW is from very early archaeological sites in South Asia dated to the BCE era. The Indian Ocean World (IOW) encompasses the overarching geographical boundaries of East Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. What does the literature indicate for the distribution of beads in the early modern period (EMP) from 1450 to 1800 CE? I analyzed morphological and technological data of beads from two shipwrecks off the Philippines coast dated to 1460-1487 CE (Pandanan) and 1488-1505 CE (Santa Cruz). I contextualize bead cargo in maritime cultural landscape, which is the connectivities across open oceans, along inland waterways to hinterlands. In comparison to glass bead data from these EMP shipwrecks, what is the geographical distribution of stone beads in the IOW? Do stone or glass beads indicate different distinct patter

3:30pm - 3:45pm

From Soto to Luna: Following a Mid-16th Century Trail of Glass Trade Beads in the Southeastern United States

Christina G Brown

University of West Florida, United States of America

The University of West Florida has recovered at least 36 glass trade beads since the discovery of the Tristán de Luna y Arellano settlement in 2015. This paper compares the bead assemblage recovered from the Luna settlement site in Pensacola, Florida, with Soto's winter encampment, the Governor Martin site, in Tallahassee, Florida. It also examines other traditionally perceived Soto bead assemblages found at sites in the Coosa Valley in Northeastern Alabama and Northwestern Georgia. Nueva cádiz and 7-layer chevron beads make up the majority of the Luna bead assemblage. Their presence suggests that nueva cádiz and 7-layer chevrons found at inland Native sites in the southeastern interior are just as likely to have originated from the Luna expedition as from the Soto expedition.

3:45pm - 4:00pm

Reporting New Collections of Glass Beads from France (16th - 19th Century): Typology and Chemical Composition

Adelphine Bonneau1, Bernard Gratuze2, Alain Champagne3

1Université de Sherbrooke, Canada; 2IRAMAT UMR 7065 Centre Ernest-Babelon; 3Université de Pau

European glass beads were intensively used for trading in the colonies of Africa, Asia and the Americas from the 16th to the early 20th century. Although found in large amounts in colonial sites, our knowledge of their production and their use in Europe is very limited. In this presentation, we discuss seven new collections from cemeteries, houses, and castles in Rouen, Bordeaux, Brouage, La Rochelle, Moutier-Rozeilles, Montmorin and Courcoury, France. Dating from the 16th to the 19th century, these sites reflect the use of glass beads by French people in their daily life. The beads were studied with LA-ICP-MS and were compared with those found in production sites across Europe: Amsterdam, London, Fichtelgebirge, and Venise (Gnalic Shipwreck).

4:00pm - 4:15pm

Investigating 17th Century Wendat Patterns of Interactions in Global Contexts – Contributions from Glass Bead Studies

Alicia Hawkins1, Heather Walder2

1Anthropology Department, UTM, Canada; 2University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse

Tracing Wendat patterns of interaction in the 17th century AD is a long-standing research topic in Ontario and the broader Great Lakes region. To address this, new research employing both historical documentation and composition of the glass trade beads is beginning to untangle the networks of cross-Atlantic exchange that moved European-made materials into Indigenous contexts. Glass bead studies in Ontario have long included non-destructive chemical analysis by INAA. Through use of the minimally destructive LA-ICP-MS, we analysed 350 polychrome and monochrome beads from legacy collections from 13 Wendat sites attributed to the four Nations of the Wendat confederacy. We also provide additional new data from a Dutch workshop context. Our focus is on variation in base glass composition and trace elements in silica sources to examine whether there are noticeable differences between sites of different Nations, ages, and settlement sizes.

4:15pm - 4:45pm
15min presentation + 15min discussion

Crossing the Line: Disciplinary Boundaries, Decolonization and Museum Collections

Laurie E. Burgess

Smithsonian Institution, United States of America

In the museum world, an invisible but firm boundary exists between ethnographic and archaeological collections. Ethnographic objects in general, and particularly those from other regions of the globe, are an underused resource in archaeological glass bead research, particularly within the U.S. In this study, beads that adorn ethnographic objects, including those acquired during the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842), one of the Smithsonian’s foundational collections, will be viewed as examples of potential comparative collections for archaeological studies. Incorporating objects like these into future research will also help position local or regional assemblages within a broader context of global trade. It also raises questions about colonialism and where to draw the line when working with materials gathered during an era of power imbalance.

Contact and Legal Notice · Contact Address:
Privacy Statement · Conference: SHA 2023
Conference Software - ConfTool Pro 2.6.146+TC+CC
© 2001–2023 by Dr. H. Weinreich, Hamburg, Germany