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More than 2,300 beads and pendants were excavated from 16 graves at the Berber Meroitic cemetery (BMC) during the 2009-2013 seasons. The site lies between the Fifth and Sixth Cataracts, some 150 km north of the kingdom’s capital, Meroe. The cemetery has been dated to between the 2nd century BC and the 3rd century AD. Next to some ostrich-eggshell, stone, and silver beads and pendants, faience, glass, and metal-in-glass dominate the bead assemblage, with the latter type (gold-in-glass and silver-in-glass beads) constituting a quarter of the finds. Some of the metal-in-glass specimens belong to one of the most sophisticated bead types, being decorated with an impressed lozenge motif on one side and the figurative motif of Harpocrates on the other. In general, the diversity of bead types makes the Berber assemblage comparable to other Meroitic collections from Lower Nubia to the north and from the Meroe royal cemetery to the south. It also contributes new bead types to Meroitic beadwork.

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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.



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