21 – 27 September 2009

I’m reading an article talking about seals (the pressing kind, not the animal) and I was wondering where seals fall in the category of beads.  Actually, I guess the main question is what, precisely, is a bead, as these seals are made from semi-precious stones and were perforated all the way through, as if they had been strung onto something. Could they count as beads simply by being able to be strung (as they were cylindrical, perforated, strung objects)? Or would they need to be found in association with other beads to count as a bead?  That would seem a bit ridiculous, since we find single beads at a lot of sites and still call them beads…

Also, most of the seals this article talks about were made out of carnelian, which happens to be the same stone many beads were made from.  Could there have been an association between beads and seals?  And if so, does that mean the seal would then become a bead? And if there is a connection between seals and beads, what is the nature of that connection and what does that mean in larger terms of trade?


About Heather Christie

Heather is an archaeologist, photographer, and writer whose research focuses on beads and bead trade, particularly in a maritime sense. She's currently working working on a PhD in Digital Design (focusing on heritage visualisation) at the Glasgow School of Art.
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