Insights in the Unexpected: A Discovery of Cattle Horns and Beads

Author(s): Flordeliz Bugarin

Year: 2014


During the early nineteenth century, the British established the Fort Willshire Trade Fairs in South Africa. To study the effects of trade and interaction between the Xhosa and the British, excavations were conducted on the former trade fair grounds near the entrance of the fort. Initial expectations of the archaeological record anticipated an array of small finds, deposits related to the diets of transitory traders, and material remains connected to those living in the fort. Through the course of exploration, however, our crew unexpectedly discovered a significant cache of cattle horn cores. They were covered and intertwined with over a thousand glass seed beads. This paper will examine a few interpretations of this astounding discovery. Perhaps it represented how the Xhosa ideologically and economically responded to change or it revealed how the Xhosa were drawn into a position of economic dependence. Unexpected discoveries at this site overall revealed how economic interaction influenced processes of colonialism and cultural transformations.

Cite this Record

Insights in the Unexpected: A Discovery of Cattle Horns and Beads. Flordeliz Bugarin. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436884)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-35,05