Who Let the Beads Out? The Importance of Bead Manufacture and Exchange at Grassridge Rockshelter, South Africa, and Implications for Understanding Holocene Social Networks in Southern Africa
This is an abstract from the "Culturing the Body: Prehistoric Perspectives on Identity and Sociality" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Ostrich eggshell and marine shell beads have been linked to the establishment and maintenance of hunter-gatherer social networks in southern Africa, but studies focusing on the methods of their manufacture and especially the social contexts surrounding their manufacture are often overlooked. This research presents a detailed technological study of the ostrich eggshell and marine shell beads from the Holocene occupations at Grassridge Rockshelter, located in the understudied interior grasslands region of South Africa.
Ostrich eggshell beads are ubiquitous at Grassridge, and marine shell beads are also present. The density of ostrich eggshell beads at Grassridge suggests that bead manufacture was an important activity at the site and necessitates a discussion of the social implications and gender roles inherent in bead making. Moreover, the presence of marine shell beads indicates connections to the coast, which was at least 200 km away. In this regard, and considering the other artifact assemblages present, Grassridge and the surrounding area are suggested to represent an important social nexus between hunter-gatherer groups located in coastal, montane, and other interior region.
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Who Let the Beads Out? The Importance of Bead Manufacture and Exchange at Grassridge Rockshelter, South Africa, and Implications for Understanding Holocene Social Networks in Southern Africa. Benjamin Collins, April Nowell, Christopher Ames. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450829)
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min long: -18.721; min lat: -35.174 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 27.059 ;
Abstract Id(s): 24261