Researching the World’s Beads Bibliography

Researching the World’s Beads: An Annotated Bibliography

Researching the World’s Beads: An Annotated Bibliography
by Karlis Karklins

Revised and Updated 7 July 2023

To better understand, classify, date, and interpret the beads they are researching, archaeologists, ethnologists, museologists, collectors, and others need to have a good grasp of the relevant literature. Unfortunately, while several bibliographies have been prepared in the past that relate to North America (Karklins and Sprague 1980, 1987), nothing has been prepared to supplement them and nothing comprehensive has been prepared for the rest of the world. This bibliography, the first version of which was uploaded on 25 August 2013, is a step toward that end.

The core of the bibliography is comprised of annotated references that were extracted from the Recently Published Work on Beads sections of the 50 Bead Study Trust newsletters which were published from 1983 until 2008, with the addition of those listed in the Society of Bead Researcher’s publications, The Bead Forum and Beads. Other publications were widely sought by the compiler with the help of many individuals who were kind enough to provide further citations. Publications that deal with North America and appear in A Bibliography of Glass Trade Beads in North America and The First Supplement to the Bibliography are not duplicated here, and the inclusions in general are restricted to items published after 1985. Annotations accompany most of the references, though in some cases the title says it all. In the case of foreign-language titles, an English translation is generally provided or the information is inserted in the annotation to help in searches.

This bibliography stresses archaeological material but reports on modern beadmaking technology and the use of ancient heirloom beads by indigenous peoples have also been included. Beadwork references have generally been excluded as this subject deserves its own bibliography. The exception is where beadwork has been found in an archaeological context.

Due to its size, the bibliography has been divided into nine major political-geographical groups, two specialized theme groups, and a general/miscellaneous group:

A bibliography such as this can never be complete and the compiler would appreciate receiving references to publications that do not appear herein. It is inevitable that errors have crept in during the input process and he requests that you bring these to his attention at The bibliography will be updated periodically.

I would like to thank the Bead Study Trust for permitting the use of the material presented in their newsletters, with special thanks to former trustees Helen Hughes-Brock and Margret Carey who did much of the work of gathering and annotating the bibliographic material for that publication. My thanks also to all those who sent me references for inclusion.

This bibliography is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Roderick Sprague (1933-2012), archaeologist, educator, bead researcher, friend, and fellow bibliographer. I wish we could have undertaken this project together.

These bibliographies are in the form of PDFs. If you do not have the Adobe Reader on your computer, you may download the Adobe PDF reader.