The Glass Beads from Hlamba Mlonga, Zimbabwe: Classification, Context and Interpretation

In: Journal of African Archaeology

The glass beads excavated at Hlamba Mlonga, a 10th to 15th century AD site in eastern Zimbabwe, are catalogued and separated into bead series based on morphology. They are compared to closely related beads that occur in archaeological contexts of the same period in the Shashe-Limpopo basin and the Zimbabwe culture area. Trade links and political consequences of trade shifts are explored. The chemical composition of selected beads, which arrived at a port (or ports) in southern Mozambique and from there were traded to Hlamba Mlonga and other sites in the interior, suggests they were manufactured in the Indian subcontinent and/or Southeast Asia.

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