Beads 29 (2017)
Patterns of Scandinavian Bead Use between the Iron Age and Viking Age, ca. 600-1000 C.E., by Matthew Delvaux
This paper places Johan Callmer’s seminal chronology of Viking-Age beads in the broader contexts of subsequent research. It begins with an examination of how Callmer’s chronology of grave goods can be linked into preceding chronologies from the cemeteries of late Iron-Age Bornholm and mainland Sweden (ca. 540-860). It then considers how these chronologies compare with those available from the early Scandinavian emporium at Ribe, a site of bead production and trade (ca. 700-850). Finally, it provides a detailed analysis of Callmer’s classification system and the implications of his chronological framework (ca. 800-1000 A.D.). Comparing these diverse chronologies reveals divergent patterns of bead use, enriching our understanding of how individuals, communities, and networks connected with each other through beads in the late Iron Age and the early Viking Age.
An XRF Compositional Analysis of Opaque White Glass Beads from 17th-Century Mission Santa Catalina de Guale, Georgia, by Elliot H. Blair
Previous analyses of the elemental composition of white glass beads have shown that the opacifier used during glass manufacture is temporally diagnostic, with a transition from tin to antimony to arsenic to fluorine. To date, most researchers using this fact for chronological purposes have focused on British, Dutch, and French contact sites in the northeastern United States and Canada. Many of these studies have relied on expensive, and sometimes minimally destructive, techniques. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry is a widely available, non-destructive technique that can be used to identify glass opacifiers extremely rapidly and inexpensively. This technique was used to analyze 783 specimens of four varieties of drawn white glass beads from burial contexts at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale, Georgia, demonstrating that the “opacifer-dating” method is also applicable to Spanish colonial sites in the southeastern United States.
Antique Cloisonné Japanese Beads, by Chris Prussing
Intricate cloisonné beads in Japan track the 19th-century upheavals in technological development and society. While late Edo Japan had developed its own aesthetic based upon Chinese sources, the Meiji quest for Western technology produced a uniquely Japanese cloisonné industry unmatched elsewhere in the world. Cloisonné beads mirror this change, beginning in the 1830s with decorative motifs derived from Ming cloisonné and Edo glass beads, and morphing throughout the Meiji era into tiny masterpieces demonstrating a uniquely Japanese art form captured in advanced enamel technology.