The dialog surrounding glass beads found in Scottish contexts is limited, particularly those found in Iron Age and Early Medieval contexts. These discussions focus largely on a narrative of diffusion from neighboring groups. This paper, however, examines the beads from a local perspective and finds that they differ significantly from those found in contemporary neighboring contexts. In fact, designs such as the triskele, marbled, and whirl beads do not appear elsewhere in the world and demonstrate significant skill and artistry on the part of local populations within Scotland. Colors also differ from neighboring groups, with deep blues and bright yellows favored over opaque reds and whites. These differences and the skill evident in the creation of these beads provide significant reason to examine the Scottish material in further detail.
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.
"Glass Beads from Iron Age and Early Medieval Scotland."
BEADS: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers
31: 79-99. Available at:
Archaeological Anthropology Commons, History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology Commons, Science and Technology Studies Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons