Re: Re: Re: "..., similar to Mopti...." ?
Re: Re: Re: "..., similar to Mopti...." ? -- kika Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
10/01/2018, 22:48:15

Hello Kika,

I have not presented a hypothesis. My remarks are a summary of current thought among people who are familiar with this arena. I have participated in and followed all this since 1983. I have been involved with beads since 1967, and with African beads since 1972.

I understand the history you mention, quite well, and of course I agree with all of these facts and possibilities.

Let us be clear. I do not maintain that 'there are no Roman Period beads in West Africa.' I maintain that the beads we have seen, many times, that are "identified" as "Roman beads," have been misidentified—and they derive from later in time. And this has been my position and avowed proposition since 1983.

If ever some Roman Period beads appear from a West African context, that will be a provocative situation. However, as I have warned over the previous eight or ten years, NOW Middle Eastern beads are routinely brought into West Africa. The appearance of actual Roman beads may not be compelling, under these (new/recent) circumstances. And, by the way, a portion of the Middle Eastern beads now appearing in W. Africa happen to be FAKE beads. That is to say, they are imitations of old and ancient beads—many of which are poor or ineffective copies. But these are, as often as not, also said to have come "from Mali." And they probably did come to us from Mali—where they have resided for only a short time.

If you read past dialogues here, you will see I have discussed these issues quite a few times. I have also composed a paper on the misidentification and faking of ancient beads, for the Istanbul Bead Conference in 2007.

I note that in your reply, you did not clarify for me what you intended by "... similar to Mopti....." I can guess—but this is not as helpful as understanding.

In response to your reply, the exchanges you mention DID result in the Islamic Period beads that we know are recovered in Mali at Niger River occupation sites. Also, there have been occasional (but rare) instances where pre-Roman (Phoenician) glass beads have been seen and acquired from West African markets. It is not as though no trade goods ever appeared in W. Africa prior to the appearance of Islamic Period (+ or -) beads.

Repeating myself, the points I have maintained are that these beads have been misidentified, and routinely, wrongly, used to imply some sort of "Roman interaction with West Africa"—for which there is no evidence. My goal is that the beads be understood accurately. It is not my goal to prove 'there are no Roman beads in W. Africa.' I hope you understand these ideas better now.


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