National Geographic : 2007 Apr
CULTURE Unstrung History Beads tell civilization's story. The earliest, made from shells as early as 100,000 years ago, are evidence-like cave paintings -of abstract thought. During the Bronze Age, cities saw trade of stone beads, prized for the technology that produced them and for their raw materials, such as carnelian. Around 2300 B.C., artisans worked glass into imita tion stone beads. Four millennia later, Venetians created glass trade beads that Europeans carried to the ends of the Earth, exchanging for food, land, furs, and slaves. - Karen E. Lange 1.Ninth millennium B.C. Syria Mollusk shell lip drilled as pendant 2. 7000-4000 B.C. Northern Syria Stone stamp seal 3. Circa 3000 B.C. Northern Syria Tubular bone bead with loops 4. Circa 2000 B.C. Egypt Glass eye bead, perhaps for warding off evil 5. Circa 600 B.C. Western Asia Rod-formed glass pendant with face on both sides 6. Circa A.D. 600 South Asia Etched carnelian bead 7. Circa 1000 B.C. Mesoamerica "Bat wing" bead probably made of jasper 8. Circa A.D. 1000 Western Asia Lapis lazuli bead 9. Circa A.D. 1000 Western Asia Bead made from fossilized seashells 10. 1900 Mauritania Incised shell disk used as hair ornament 11. 1930 Mauritania Kiffa bead made from powdered glass, in spired by trade beads 12. 2004 United States Art glass portrait of Marilyn Monroe PHOTO:DANAROMANOFF.GRAPHIC:NGMART.BEADSFROM"BEADTIMELINEOFHISTORY,"BEADMUSEUM,WASHINGTON,D.C.