Drawing primarily on data obtained from recent excavations at Elmina, Ghana, this report examines the potential use of beads as temporal markers in West African archaeology. It is argued that although beads from West-African contexts are difficult to date, they provide more information than has previously been suggested. The Elmina beads are of particular interest as they can be closely dated by associated European trade materials. Preliminary results from the analysis of the 30,000 European and locally-made glass beads are discussed and findings from other West-African sites are evaluated.
The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.
DeCorse, Christopher R.
"Beads as Chronological Indicators in West African Archaeology: A Reexamination."
BEADS: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers
1: 41-53. Available at: