Beads 22 (2010)
Bauxite Mining and Bead Production in Ghana, by John Haigh
Abompe is the current bauxite beadmaking site in Ghana and the hills of the Kwahu Plateau above the village are pocked with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pits dug in search of the raw material. To determine the age of the beadmaking industry in the region, people in Abompe and other villages were interviewed and related stories that suggest the first beadmakers were following the example of people in or around Bepong, a village on the plateau above Abompe. Three areas of bauxite pits on the Kwahu Plateau were investigated to see if there was physical evidence of ancient mining. Caves where miners occasionally stay overnight were explored and evidence of bead production in the form of chipping waste was found. Pit counts by transect at Odumparara Bepo, the Abompe mining area, suggest the presence of possibly as many as 4,700 pits. These appear to have been created in the past 100 years.
Sixteenth-Century Glass Beads from Chotuna, North Coast of Peru, by Christopher B. Donnan and Jill Silton
Burials excavated on the north coast of Peru were associated with 16th-century European glass beads as well as shell and stone specimens of local manufacture. The beads were strung as necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, often combining several varieties of European beads with local products. The glass beads as well as the other grave goods suggest that the burials date to the first part of the 16th century, probably between 1530 and 1560.
Lucayan Beads from San Salvador, Bahamas (ca. A.D. 900-1500), by Jeffrey P. Blick, Richard Kim, and Tyler G. Hill
A variety of Lucayan shell, stone, and coral beads as well as beadmaking waste was recovered from several sites on San Salvador, Bahamas. Following detailed analysis, comparisons to other beadmaking sites in the Greater Caribbean region indicate that fabrication, material, color preference, and even general forms are similar across great distances from the Maya region to the Greater and Lesser Antilles and the Bahamian Archipelago. In some cases, beads appear to have been made at the household level (Middle Pre-Classic Maya, Post Saladoid Lucayans), although certain stratified societies (later Maya, Classic Taíno) seem to have exerted more control or monopoly over bead manufacturing at various times. The beads were predominately white and red in color. The symbolism of these colors is discussed.