Beads 6 (1994)
Beads from the African Burial Ground, New York City: A Preliminary Assessment, by Cheryl J. LaRoche
Excavation of the African Burial Ground in New York City yielded the skeletal remains of more than 400 individuals. This paper is a preliminary discussion of beads associated with seven of the burials. The in situ bead configurations of three of the interments are distinctive and appear to be indicative of cultural practices of Africans in 18th-century New York. The configurations include necklaces and possibly wristlets, as well as waistbands. The latter represent the first recorded instance of such use by Africans or African descendants in North America. These objects provide insight into the religious or ritual behavior of the people who utilized the burial ground.
European Beads from Spanish-Colonial Lamanai and Tipu, Belize, by Marvin T. Smith, Elizabeth Graham, and David M. Pendergast
Excavation of the contact-period components of the Maya sites of Lamanai and Tipu, in northern and west-central Belize, respectively, have yielded moderate collections of European glass and other beads. The archaeological data are augmented by ethnohistorical documentation regarding the length of Maya/Spanish interaction. Contexts do not provide unequivocal stratigraphic evidence of sequential bead importation, but known dates of bead varieties assist in refining both site chronology and the understanding of bead use. As the first Central American collections to be analyzed, the two assemblages offer an initial glimpse of one aspect of European impact on native material and non-material culture.
A Possible Beadmaker’s Kit from North America’s Lake Superior Copper District, by Susan R. Martin
Beads of copper are amongst the oldest and most widespread ornament forms known in North America. Native copper was an important material used by prehistoric Americans, and certainly the most important metal. It was collected, transported and traded over wide areas from as early as seven thousand years before present, and its for ornaments persisted until it was gradually replaced by European metals over the many years of the contact period. A recently discovered cache of copper beads, bead preforms, awls, a crescent knife and scraps of raw copper at site 20KE20 in northern Michigan offers insight into the process of copper-bead production in fifth century North America.