During the first half of the 17th century, several beadmaking establishments operated in the city of Middelburg in the southwestern corner of the Netherlands. Bead wasters recovered from several find sites in the old part of the city reveal the diversity of the product line which featured beads decorated with straight and spiral stripes. Several chevron types were also produced. There are similarities with wasters found at contemporary beadmaking sites in Amsterdam, indicating that both production centers made similar bead varieties. Few of the bead varieties represented have correlatives in the areas of North America that were under Dutch control, leaving one guessing what market the Middelburg beads were destined for. In that the city was a major center for the Dutch East India Company, it may be that their market was in that part of the world. Unfortunately, comparative material from South and Southeast Asia is currently lacking.
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.
van der Storm, Hans and Karklins, Karlis
"Insight into the 17th-Century Bead Industry of Middelburg, the Netherlands."
BEADS: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers
33: 3-10. Available at:
Archaeological Anthropology Commons, History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology Commons, Science and Technology Studies Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons