The Early Colonial Period Glass Beads of Majaltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico

Author(s): Elizabeth Konwest; Stacie M. King

Year: 2016


Among burials below the floor of an elite adobe residence, the Proyecto Arqueológico Nejapa/Tavela uncovered 448 fragments and complete glass and jet beads at the early Colonial period town of Majaltepec, located in the mountains of the Nejapa region, Oaxaca, Mexico. This poster will discuss the likely biography of the beads, from manufacture in Europe to the current display in the local museum. Some of the glass beads match types known to have been manufactured in Spain, France, and Venice. They likely arrived in the Nejapa region with Dominican clergymen tasked to convert and extract tribute from local indigenous peoples throughout Mexico. During excavation, a majority of the beads were found as part of a piece (or pieces) of jewelry with a copper clasp, a few of the beads still strung by cotton thread. Along with the metal knife also found amongst the burials, the beads provide a unique glimpse into the lifeways of Majaltepec residents. Although continuing to bury their dead under house floors, like many Prehispanic peoples of Oaxaca, they used European goods as offerings.

Cite this Record

The Early Colonial Period Glass Beads of Majaltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. Elizabeth Konwest, Stacie M. King. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404853)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Beads Colonialism

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;