Tag Archives: chemistry

Color and Lighting

I’ve mentioned a number of times how the lighting on or behind a bead can change its color. Black beads are actually cobalt blue, purple, green, or even hot pink when view with an LED light shining through. Brown beads … Continue reading

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Chinese Glass

In the past ten years or so, there has been an explosion of glass research in China, particularly concerning the origins of glass wares and glass technology. For much of the twentieth century, most Western sources agreed that glass and … Continue reading

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Yellow Glass and Lead

As a recent post of mine said, yellow glass was often made with lead and antimony. I had also heard of tin making yellow, but I’m not too sure. And I was just wondering to what extent the prevalence of … Continue reading

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Southeast Asian Glass

Southeast Asia is one of the primary centers of archaeological study of glass in the world. The main reason for this is that not much else survives in the humid, wet, tropical conditions of Southeast Asia. Another large reason is … Continue reading

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Korean Glass

I am by no means an expert on Korean glass, and I won’t claim to be one here. I also haven’t looked at Korean glass as much as other regions, so please take this as a general summary rather than … Continue reading

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South African Glass

More recent research has been done on African glass, and my list is certainly not exhaustive, but I know of three main published sources for South African glass studies. One looks at beads form Mapungubwe and Bambandyanolo in the Limpopo Valley of South Africa and Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe. The second looks at beads specifically from Mapungubwe, and the third looks at sites from Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Continue reading

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Glass Chemistry Cheat Sheet

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The Chemical-Visual Divide in Bead Archaeology

Last week I wrote a post about issues with bead reporting. One of the steps I suggested for improving our current system was for bead specialists to stop dividing themselves into those who look at chemical analysis and those who look at essentially everything else (what I’m calling visual characteristics). Since very few people reading this post are familiar with the issue, I figured I would explain it in a bit more detail. Continue reading

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The Chaos of Bead Reporting

When archaeologists discuss beads in a site report, the most common sentence I see is, “Beads were also found.” I’m sorry to go on a bit of a rant here, but this honestly tells me next to nothing. I know is that beads are there, but that’s it. So why does this happen? Continue reading

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Chemical Issues

In order for chemical analysis of glass to really work in terms of sourcing where the glass is coming from, we have to assume that each glass-making workshop has its own unique chemical signature. Otherwise, we can’t use chemistry to source the glass. Continue reading

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