Early glass beads acquired by the Mohawk Indians of New York state were a mixture of whatever was made available to them by European traders. By the second quarter of the 17th century, the beads reflected a dominance of particular types and/or colors as villages were relocated. This phenomenon appears to have ritualistic connotations and suggests that the bead-selection process was a part of the ceremonialism practiced in the daily, seasonal and annual life modes of the Mohawk. Ten distinct periods have been identified based on an examination of approximately 10,000 glass beads recovered from 33 Mohawk village sites. Other datable artifacts, historic occurrences and documents are cited to bolster the validity of using glass trade beads as a primary tool in dating the Mohawk village relocations.
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.
Rumrill, Donald A.
"The Mohawk Glass Trade Bead Chronology: ca. 1560-1785."
BEADS: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers
3: 5-45. Available at: