Chemical analysis, chronology, and context of a European glass bead assemblage from Garumele, Niger

Peter Robertshaw (Lead Author), Marilee Wood, Anne Haour, Karlis Karklins, Hector Neff

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Garumele, also known as Wudi, in the Republic of Niger, is reputed to have been a capital of the Kanem Borno ‘empire’ and was visited by various European travelers in the 19th century. However, despite historical documents and a few radiocarbon dates, its date of settlement and occupation remain unclear.
Forty-four of a morphologically very varied assemblage of 106 glass beads recovered during excavations were chemically analyzed using LA-ICP-MS. There were two main objectives for these analyses: first, to clarify the chronology of occupation, and secondly to gain an insight into the nature and extent of the
connections of its inhabitants with the wider world. Comparisons with both the chemistry and morphology of other published bead assemblages indicate that all the beads are of European origin, probably Venetian and/or Dutch, and that most belong to the later 17th or 18th centuries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591–604
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • laser ablation
  • icp-ms
  • glass
  • beads
  • garumele
  • niger
  • artefact sourcing
  • provenance

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