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Nueva Cadiz and associated beads are among the earliest categories of European glass beads found in the Americas. Named after the site in Venezuela where they were first identified, these tubular, square-sectioned beads occur in regions of 16th-century Spanish colonial trade. A similar style occurs around Lake Ontario in northeastern North America in areas of 17th-century Dutch and French colonial trade. We compare the chemical composition of beads from South America and Ontario, Canada, to explore their provenience and technology. Differences in key trace elements (Hf, Zr, Nd) strongly indicate separate sand origins for the two bead groups. Comparison with soda-lime glass made in Venice and Antwerp reveals chemical similarities between the South American beads and Venetian glass, and between the Ontario beads and Antwerp glass. The analysis also sheds light on beadmaking technologies.

Publisher Information

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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