Journals-Beads 19-2007

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Beads 19 (2007)

In Memoriam: Mary Elizabeth Good, 1930-2007, by Marvin T. Smith
Bead researcher Mary Elizabeth Good died December 18, 2007. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, she was 77 years old. Mary Elizabeth was well-known and respected as an early researcher of trade beads in North America. Her first publication, Guebert Site: An 18th century Historic Kaskaskia Indian Village in Randolph County, Illinois (1972), is considered a classic in bead studies. Mary Elizabeth was active in the Society of Bead Researchers, serving as Chair of the Publications Committee from 1989 to 1993, and as President of the Society from 1994 to 1996. The bead community has lost an important member.

World War I Turkish Prisoner-of-War Beadwork, by Jane A. Kimball
Drawing on the rich tradition of textile crafts in the Ottoman Empire, Turkish soldiers incarcerated in British prison camps in the Middle East during and immediately after World War I made a variety of beadwork items to relieve the boredom of their prolonged imprisonment and to barter or sell for food and other amenities. Best known are the bead crochet snakes and lizards, but the prisoners also used loomed and netting techniques to produce necklaces, belts, purses, and other small items.

Eighteenth-Century Glass Beads from the English Slaving Fort at Bunce Island, Sierra Leone, by Karlis Karklins
While countless tons of European glass beads flowed into West Africa over the centuries, there is still relatively little information concerning what specific nations were importing over time. It was therefore of great interest to learn about two collections of beads surface collected at the site of a British slaving fort that operated on Bunce Island in the Sierra Leone estuary of coastal Sierra Leone from the late 17th to the early 19th century. Although it is impossible to assign the beads to a specific period in the fort’s history, it is clear that they are of 18th-century origin and were part of the goods traded by the British. The present study describes the small but diverse collection of beads and places them in historical context.

An Archaeological Approach to Understanding the Meaning of Beads Using the Example of Korean National Treasure 634, a Bead from a 5th/6th-Century Royal Silla Tomb, by James W. Lankton and Marjorie Bernbaum
An ancient bead is a document from the past – a message in a bottle – written in some lost symbolic language. Archaeologists try to understand that language by integrating scientific and technological approaches with the social, economic, political, and symbolic/ religious context in which the bead was found. As an example, we use Korean National Treasure 634 (NT634), a dark blue glass bead adorned with mosaic decorations of a bird, a flowering tree, and a human face, found in a 5th-6th century Korean tomb. This bead suggests its meaning by how and where it was made, and what its images may represent.

Western Indian (Mewar) Chalcolithic Beads with Special Reference to Balathal, by Alok Kumar Kanungo, Virendra Nath Misra, and Vasant Shinde
During the last few years, Indian archaeologists have concentrated their efforts on the investigation of sites of the 3rd to 2nd millennia B.C. in the Mewar region of western India. Unfortunately, most of the excavations have been focused on understanding the cultural sequence, settlement patterns, architecture, and pottery at the sites and have neglected the study of such important artifact categories as beads. As no final reports have been published and the excavations have been carried out by different agencies, reconstructing the bead culture of this area is very difficult. We know quite a bit about the beads of the urban Harappans but know practically nothing about those used by the contemporary rural Chalcolithic people. This paper discusses the beads recovered from a number of Chalcolithic sites, with emphasis on the oldest village in India – Balathal.

Chemical Composition of Late 18th- and 19th-Century Glass Beads from Western North America: Clues to Sourcing Beads, by Laurie E. Burgess and Laure Dussubieux
The Sullivans Island glass bead collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History contains over 56,000 beads which date from the late 18th to the late 19th century. Excavated in the 1930s from a site on the Columbia River in the Plateau region of North America, this collection contains examples of most known bead varieties for this time period. Many of the beads conform to varieties that have been attributed to Bohemia, Venice, and China – three of the main bead-producing centers for this time period. Over 100 beads were subjected to Laser-Ablation Inductively-Coupled Mass-Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analysis to see if the chemical composition of the glass could be correlated with a place of origin. The results revealed several distinct compositional groups, some of which could be linked to geographical areas.

Book, Video and DVD Reviews in Volume 19
International Bead & Beadwork Conference, Jamey D. Allen and Valerie Hector, eds. (2007), reviewed by Karlis Karklins • Navajo Beadwork: Architectures of Light, by Ellen K. Moore (2003), reviewed by Kate C. Duncan • Made of Thunder, Made of Glass: American Indian Beadwork of the Northeast, by Gerry Biron (2006), reviewed by Dolores Elliott • Lubāna ezera mitrāja Neolīta dzintars (Neolithic Amber of Lake Lubāns Wetlands), by Ilze B. Loze (2008), reviewed by Aleksandar Palavestra • The Bead Goes On, by Koos van Brakel (2006), reviewed by Karlis Karklins.