February 5, 2010

African beads

Regarding Old World archaeology, African assemblages (including the Reisner Egyptian collection) constitute the largest part of the museum holdings. The bulk of it was deposited at the museum between the mid fourties and the mid seventies. One of the earliest major collection is the University of California African Expedition directed by Frank E. Peabody in 1947. A second expedition with Charles L. Camp followed in 1948. They excavated extensively at a number of important sites in South Africa; places like Gladysvale Cave, Witkrans, Powerhouse Cave. Although the team focus was on the Early Stone Age, thousands of artifacts come from later periods. I spent a good part of the Summer 2009 re-housing these early, well-documented, collections. Here are some perforated beads from the rock shelter of Little Witkrans.

Hearst Museum # 5-2822
Ostrich egg shell beads; Wilton culture
South Africa; Cape Province; Taungs Area; Little Witkrans Shelter
Collected by UC African Expedition, Frank E. Peabody, Sept. 7, 1947

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