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The Complex Story of Complex Beads: Elemental Analysis of Some Early Types from the Southeastern US

Author(s): Dennis Blanton ; Elliot Blair

Year: 2015

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Glass beads are one of the most important artifact types on colonial archaeological sites, providing insights into colonial trade networks and helping address critical chronological issues. In this paper, using a sample of 16th to 17th century beads from Mission Santa Catalina de Guale (GA), the Glass Site (GA), and Jamestown (VA), as well as a comparative sample from Venice, we use LA-ICP-MS and XRF analyses to examine elemental variability within and across these assemblages. Primarily focusing on Nueva Cadiz and seven-layer chevrons, this paper is our first attempt at elementally characterizing some of the earliest glass bead types found in the Southeastern United States. With this data we explore the idiosyncratic provisioning strategies of Spanish entradas, address lingering questions surrounding the origins of some early bead types recovered at Jamestown, and consider the complex patterning of beads circulating through international markets and diverse colonial enterprises—including entradas, missions, and settler societies.

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The Complex Story of Complex Beads: Elemental Analysis of Some Early Types from the Southeastern US. Dennis Blanton, Elliot Blair. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396450)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America