Preliminary Characterization of Native American Glass Beads Using IR Spectroscopy
Anderson, Jackelyn R.
Tollefson, Kyke T.
Ihinger, Phillip D.
MetadataShow full item record
We present preliminary results on the nature of dissolved water in glass beads to Native American connections with early European traders and explorers. Our study involves the first investigation of these glass artifacts using infrared spectroscopy in order to examine water content and water speciation in the glass structure. The water content is a direct measure of the integrity of the glass (determining how long before it devitrifies), and the speciation can be used to determine how quickly the glass cooled as it was formed. Both of these measurements can potentially be used to help determine how and when the bead was manufactured. We present measurements on a series of authentic Native American beads, including samples recovered from archaeological sites and private collections. In future studies, we will compare compositions of authentic artifacts to those manufactured at different European locations in order to deduce the sources of the Native American beads. Additionally, our results can shed light on the aging and production processes of these beads, including Padre beads.
Indians of North America
Color poster with text, figures, photographs, charts, and graphs.