19th Century Glass Trade Beads From Two Zulu Royal Residences

SSA Research Sharma Jeanette Saitowitz 167 PAGES (40015 WORDS) Thesis
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This thesis is a formal analysis of beads from the two Zulu capitals of Mgungundlovu

( occupied by Dingane between 1829 and 1838) and Ondini (held by Cetshwayo

between 1873 and 1879). It contains a set of procedures for producing a bead

taxonomy, most of which has been adopted from work done in North America, bur

some of which consists of analytical methods original to this study. The taxonomy is

based on visual and physical screening of large collections, followed by chemical

analysis. It provides a standardized system for South African bead studies.

Results of the analysis are employed for the following purposes:

1) To provide a database of the varieties of glass beads in circulation in

Zululand for two relatively short periods of time in the nineteenth century.

2) To determine the spatial and temporal variability in relative abundance of

bead types in the two sites. Subtle differences occur between beads excavated

from one section of Mgungundlovu and another. Between 1838 and 1879 the

bead preferences of the Zulu changed markedly. The early collection is

dominated by white beads and the later one by pink.

3) To define a set of physico-chemical characteristics for 19th century European

glass trade beads which provide useful information for comparative bead.studies

and insights into the history of glass making. Techniques are developed for

screening large bead collections which provide information about glass

composition. These techniques can be applied after minimal training. The results

of compositional analysis are used to evaluate the bead taxonomy that was

constructed by means of visual classification procedures. It is a test, therefore, of

the classification procedures used by American bead analysts.

4) Finally, to compare whether or not the results obtained from Mgungundlovu

and Ondini are congruent with the pictorial and ethnographic descriptions of

glass beads in Zululand produced during the relevant parts of the 19th century.

It is concluded that the majority of the beads from Mgungundlovu and Ondini are

most likely to have been of European origin, probably from the Venetian island of

Murano. This restrictive conclusion provides an archaeological perspective on the

European bead trade, since it is known that the major trade partners of the Zulu

kingdom changed between 1838 and 1879.

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SSA, R (2021). 19th Century Glass Trade Beads From Two Zulu Royal Residences. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/19th-century-glass-trade-beads-from-two-zulu-royal-residences

MLA 8th

Research, SSA. "19th Century Glass Trade Beads From Two Zulu Royal Residences" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 25 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/19th-century-glass-trade-beads-from-two-zulu-royal-residences . Accessed 13 May. 2021.


Research, SSA. "19th Century Glass Trade Beads From Two Zulu Royal Residences". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 25 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/19th-century-glass-trade-beads-from-two-zulu-royal-residences >.


Research, SSA. "19th Century Glass Trade Beads From Two Zulu Royal Residences" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 13, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/19th-century-glass-trade-beads-from-two-zulu-royal-residences