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  Approaches to land snail shell bead manufacture in the Early Holocene of Malawi

Miller, J. M., Keller, H. M., Heckel, C., Kaliba, P. M., & Thompson, J. C. (2021). Approaches to land snail shell bead manufacture in the Early Holocene of Malawi. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 13(3): 37. doi:10.1007/s12520-021-01274-8.

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 Creators:
Miller, Jennifer M.1, Author              
Keller, Hannah M., Author
Heckel, Claire, Author
Kaliba, Potiphar M., Author
Thompson, Jessica C., Author
Affiliations:
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: Chaîne opératoire, Achatinini, Symbolism, Central Africa, Eastern Africa
 Abstract: Shell disc beads are important archeological indicators of social communication and exchange networks. There has been substantial research on ostrich eggshell (OES) beads, but little is known about the manufacture or chronology of similar beads from land snail shells (LSS). LSS beads are associated with Holocene hunter-gatherers in Africa, though direct dates are limited to the Iron Age, and there are no images or descriptions of the manufacturing sequence. Here, we combine experimental and archeological data to resolve the chronology, operational chains, and material properties of LSS bead manufacture. We then recommend and apply a modified OES production sequence to three Later Stone Age assemblages from the Kasitu Valley of northern Malawi (Hora 1, Mazinga 1, and Kadawonda 1). At these sites, LSS shows an unexpectedly high proportion of Pathway 2 manufacture (disc shaping prior to perforation), in direct contrast with known OES bead manufacture. Application of red color occurred at all stages of manufacture, albeit inconsistently. Production of finished beads involved substantial removal of material from preforms to create the final product. Finally, we report the earliest evidence for LSS bead manufacture with two directly dated preforms (~ 9500 cal BP), showing that the origins of LSS beadmaking do precede the Iron Age.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-02-06
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 23
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: Introduction
Background and previous research
- The problem of land snail disc beads
- Land snail shell versus ostrich eggshell
Materials and methods
- Experimental methods
-- Breakage
-- Shaping
-- Drilling
-- Pigments
- Archeological samples
-- Site descriptions
-- Recovery protocols
-- Sorting, data collection, and analysis
-- Dating
Results
- Experimental results
-- Breakage
-- Shaping
-- Drilling
-- Production stages specific to LSS
-- Application of pigments
- Archeological results
-- Assemblage description
-- Manufacturing chains
-- Dating
Discussion
Conclusions
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1007/s12520-021-01274-8
Other: shh2842
 Degree: -

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Title: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
  Other : Archaeol Anthropol Sci
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Berlin [u.a.] : Springer
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 13 (3) Sequence Number: 37 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1866-9557
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1866-9557