Glass beads, both beautiful and portable, have been produced and traded globally for thousands of years. Modern archaeologists study these artifacts through sophisticated methods that analyze the glass composition, a process which can be utilized to trace bead usage through time and across regions. This book publishes open-access compositional data obtained from laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry, from a single analytical laboratory, providing a uniquely comparative data set. The geographic range includes studies of beads produced in Europe and traded widely across North America and beads from South and Southeast Asia traded around the Indian Ocean and beyond. The contributors provide new insight on the timing of interregional interactions, technologies of bead production and patterns of trade and exchange, using glass beads as a window to the past. This volume will be a key reference for glass researchers, archaeologists, and any scholars interested in material culture and exchange; it provides a wide range of case studies in the investigation and interpretation of glass bead composition, production and exchange since ancient times.
Heather Walder is a research associate of The Field Museum and an assistant teaching professor at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. She co-directs Gete Anishinaabeg Izhichigewin, a community-based Indigenous archaeology project in Red Cliff, Wisconsin. Laure Dussubieux is a senior research scientist and manages the Elemental Analysis Facility of The Field Museum in Chicago.