Re: Mali Beads
Re: Re: Re: Blue & White Mali Beads/Thanks Jamey -- AnneLFG Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
11/17/2019, 15:54:34

You are welcome Anne.

In the early excavation reports, the site was believe to encompass ca. CE 500 through ca. CE 1200. I don't know if this range has been refined or not.

Because "CE 500" could be regarded as being "Late Roman," the glass beads were popularly said to be "Roman." This was how they were described in the first edition of The History of Beads in 1987. At that time (1985 to '86) when I was consulting with Lois, I expressed my doubts that this was an accurate appraisal of the beads—and that I believed they were from later times. But the Mali beads were shown in The Bead Chart Timeline at this early date. It is has been often repeated.

In my opinion, "The Roman Period" encompasses 200 BCE to CE 200. Placing anything from a later time, and calling it "Roman" is essentially a technicality with a rationalization—but it becomes a selling factor to use the name to make the artifact seem "more important" and get a higher price for it.

Also, subsequent (though popular, and not necessarily archaeological) accounts have implied that the earliest beads from the excavations were the copious quartz and agate/carnelian beads (from India)—also suggesting that the glass beads would be from much later. I am comfortable suggesting a range of CE 1100 + or - ca. 100 years—placing them well-into the Islamic Period.

In the revised 2009 edition of The History of Beads, in The Bead Chart, you will find the Mali burial beads at CE 1100. Likewise, in Panini's book, Middle Eastern and Venetian Glass Beads (2008), you will also find them squarely in the Islamic Period. (I am cited for this advice in his book.)

There are several discussions of these dating issues here at the Forum, and elsewhere—mostly engaged by me.


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