BAJR Federation Archaeology
Beads... - Printable Version

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Beads... - BAJR Host - 4th January 2010

Have attached a pdf from a BAJR member and specialist in bead making (I will let them introduce themselves)

The pdf is all about getting involved in workshops making beads and or going to see it don, or even getting handling collection reproductions created.


In previous discussions, we agreed also that beads are often 'lost' in publication. recently, in a thread on treasure finds, the find was accompanied with a cracking illustration and photograph of beads in context. So haw many more of these are out there.

So what do you think... is it better to have people who actually make items, understand the process and can inform the understanding of artefacts and OR leave it to the theorists?

Beads... - mpoole - 4th January 2010

Thank you for putting the pdf here for download, it is very much appreciated.

A small introduction, then. I'm Su Poole, I do most of the online work and research, my husband Mike does the beadmaking based on what we find either in reports, or by going to museums to look at the beads on display or in various relevant publications.. We've been fortunate to be allowed to handle beads from the Carleon Roman Museum collection, and hope to do the same at other museums over the coming years. Mike has been a full-time beadmaker for almost seven years, creating contemporary glass beads. About four years ago, we visited the Yorkshire Museum with an eye to Mike making some melon beads for me, based on the beads in the display. It expanded from there as we found that the variety of beads on display in the YM and elsewhere showed what a extensive quantity and type of beads were created or in use in the UK over a very long time.

We are not archaeologists, we probably fit into the category of independent researchers. Our main interest is beads, modern or historic. Much of what we've read over the past four years has shown that the theories available on how beads were made could use a bit of updating. Some of this is most likely due to the lack of access to opportunities to see or experience the techniques of glass being melted, formed and worked into beads. As far as we are aware, with the exception of one or two hobby-level beadmakers and re-enactors, there is no one in the UK at present who has spent any time researching and reproducing beads from various examples available from reports or museum examples.

If anyone has questions, they are more than welcome to ask here, or by PM or email us. Our information is in the profile here.

Thanks for the welcome to the forum.

Mike and Su Poole

(I apologize for using 'artifacts' rather than 'artefacts' in the pdf, it's cross-cultural contamination, which happens on occasion. -Su)

Beads... - BAJR Host - 4th January 2010

Quote:We are not archaeologists, we probably fit into the category of independent researchers.

in that case you are not contaminated with pre conceived, I read it here it must be true notions!

Technique is half the battle.

Beads... - mpoole - 4th January 2010

In the case of some of the beads, technique is the entire battle!

It is true that any group will have certain aspects of 'received wisdom' that make no sense in a practical way but with no way to test them, the theory becomes the fact.

Beads... - BAJR Host - 5th January 2010

You should talk to Maggie about that... being a real potter allowed her to understand the making of a bronze age pot, way beyond the theoreticals of others Wink

Beads... - PeterM - 6th January 2010

Any re-enactors on the forum - if you do a period where beads are needed, Tillerman are the folks to talk to - IA, Roman. A-S etc - nice beads (seen them at TORM!).

as for beads being lost in publication - one of my contemporaries did her MA dissertation on one of Prof. Alcocks excavation - possibly the only archaeological report ever with a bead captioned as "Venerable"!Cool

Beads... - mpoole - 6th January 2010

Thank you very much for the comments and compliment, Peter. If you're at TORM, please stop and say hi. We did a section of one display with paternoster beads, and couldn't resist labelling them as Venerable Beads. About 1 in 10 people laugh, and occasionally people ask who he was. My ambition one day is to have some of Mike's beads in the gift shop at Bede's World. Small things keep me amused, it seems.