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.
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
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