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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 9 (1) 2011

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M. Wood

A Glass Bead Sequence for Southern Africa from the 8th to the 16th Century AD

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 9 (1), 2011, pages 67-84, DOI 10.3213/1612-1651-10184

Abstract
Many tens of thousands of glass beads have been recovered from well-dated 8th to 16th century archaeological sites in southern Africa, making it possible to develop a temporally sensitive bead sequence which is made up of seven series. The series were developed based on morphological characteristics and recent chemical analysis has confirmed those results. The bead series are described in detail along with possible origins for the glass used to create them. Chemical composition of the glasses used to make the beads demonstrates that three major changes in glass chemistry occurred between the 8th and 15th centuries, suggesting the different glasses originated in geographically disparate regions and indicating that trade patterns connecting southern Africa to other Indian Ocean entities were far from static.

Résumé
Plusieurs dizaines de milliers de perles de verre ont été récupérées dans des sites archéologiques bien datés du VIIIe au XVIe siècle en Afrique australe, permettant ainsi de développer une séquence temporelle de perles sensible et constituée de sept séries. Les séries ont été élaborées en fonction de caractéristiques morphologiques et une analyse chimique récente a confirmé ces résultats. Les séries de perles sont décrites en détail avec les origines possibles du verre utilisé pour les créer. La composition chimique des verres utilisés pour fabriquer les perles montre que trois changements majeurs dans la chimie de verre se sont produits entre les VIIIe et XVe siècles, ce qui suggère que les différents verres étaient originaires de régions géographiquement disparates et ce qui indique que les voies de commerce reliant l'Afrique australe à d'autres entités de l'océan indien étaient loin d'être statiques.




Keywords: glass beads, glass chemistry, Indian Ocean trade, Iron Age, southern Africa


© Copyright: Africa Magna Verlag 2011
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Sonja Magnavita, Peter Breunig

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Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
Timothy Insoll, UK
Tom Huffman, South Africa
Eric Huysecom, Switzerland
David Killick, USA
Savino di Lernia, Italy
Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Belgium
Scott MacEachern, USA
David Mattingly, UK
Susan Keech McIntosh, USA
David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
Peter Robertshaw, USA
Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

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Gaby Franke, Germany
Annabelle Gallin, France
Richard Byer, Germany

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