Got Swag? Investigating Beads and Bead Trade in Scotland during the First Millennium AD

Author(s): Heather Christie

Year: 2015


The most prevalent theory concerning intercultural interaction demands a dominant-subordinate relationship in which the subordinate group passively accepts the culture imposed on them by the dominant population. This argument is often applied to Scotland in the first millennium AD, where the transferred cultures are the Irish, Anglo-Saxons, Romans, Norse, and others from continental Europe. Studies of beads in Scotland are particularly affected by these theories: very few beads are seen as uniquely Scottish objects, and very little agency is accorded to local, Scottish groups for this period. Yet, until now, there has been no systematic study of Scottish beads during the first millennium AD from which to draw such conclusions. This study records and analyses the distribution of beads found in Scottish contexts dating to the first millennium AD, and argues instead that the distribution patterns of these beads demonstrate clear agency on the part of local populations. Thus, rather than blindly accepting imported cultural practices, local groups in Scotland are actively selecting the beads they wish to use/import and are re-appropriating the materials they have to fit their own needs.

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Cite this Record

Got Swag? Investigating Beads and Bead Trade in Scotland during the First Millennium AD. Heather Christie. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396524)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;