Elemental composition of Iron Age glass beads from Myanmar
Glass appears in Southeast Asia at the début of the Iron Age, around the middle of the 1st millennium BC. Variations in Southeast Asian glass type distributions were found to be excellent markers of changes in cultural and economic interactions but are based heavily on material from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Other regions, in particular Myanmar’s pivotal position with India, have remained largely unexplored, making it difficult to draw a global picture for Southeast Asia during this transitional period. The Mission Archéologique Française au Myanmar has conducted excavations of Iron Age cemeteries located in Upper Myanmar since 2001, throwing new light on social interaction networks around the Bay of Bengal. The cemeteries yielded grave goods including glass, mostly in the forms of beads. An in depth study of this material including typology and elemental composition (using laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry) has recently started. Results are giving us insight into the chronology of the sites. Also, they are revealing that if the compositions of the glass do not support the possibility of a local glass production, the singularity of some bead types would suggest that glass beads were maybe manufactured in the area.
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Elemental composition of Iron Age glass beads from Myanmar. Laure Dussubieux, Thomas Oliver Pryce. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396442)
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