A piece I wrote for TVAS (Ireland) an Irish Archaeological Consultancy firm. I have analysed beads from their excavations for them for a number of years.
‘ What We Do Wednesday ’
Glass beads with Dr Mags Mannion.
I produce specialist reports on glass beads found during excavations. The process begins with a visual, microscopic examination of the shape, decoration and dimensions of the artefact. A light box and a macro lens are used to produce a standardised digital image of the bead. This preserves a life size image of the object capturing the finer details of the decorative features as well as evidence of deterioration and wear and tear. The glass is then assessed and colour coded using the Munsell book of Colour. At this point having gathered all the information, the process of interpretation begins, assigning the bead to a specific class, date and location.
Finally, to provide a comprehensive analysis of an artefact, we must address the social aspect of the beads, who wore them and why. Research has shown that as well as being decorative, many objects were also markers of status, culture and used as amulets and talismans and so a specialist report should consider the biography of the object, how it may have performed and for whom and why and crucially, what this information can bring to our understanding of people in the past.
Pic. 1 – Ferns, Co. Wexford (Later medieval)
Pic. 2 – Carrigatogher, Co. Tipperary (Early medieval)
Pic. 3 – Carrigatogher, Co. Tipperary (Early medieval)
Pic. 4 – Ballinacarrig, Co. Carlow (Iron age)
Pic. 5 – Killaclug, Co. Cork (Later medieval)