Accepted paper:

A study on production areas of Indo-Pacific beads from Southeast Asia to East Asia: scientific and archaeological approach


Tomomi Tamura (Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)
Katsuhiko Oga

Paper short abstract:

In S-SE Asia, there are several sites considered as production base of Indo-Pacific Beads (IPB), which are the most common artifacts in this area. IPB also reached Far East by trade. In this study, we discuss the production areas of IPB based on the chemical compositions and lead isotope ratios.

Paper long abstract:

Indo-Pacific beads are the most important archaeological objects which indicate that Korean Peninsula and Japan located in the Eastern end in the Eurasian Continent were related to South East Asia and South India by maritime trade. It has been thought that Indo-Pacific beads had been begun in South India and the production areas were spread to trading ports in Southeast Asia with technological transfer. That is, identification of production areas of Indo-Pacific beads is also important related to an issue of civilization in the Southeast Asia.

From the progress in the chemical analysis of glass, the compositional diversity of Indo-Pacific beads has become clear. Nevertheless, each production area which corresponds to each compositional group has not been identified yet. Main causes of this situation are as follows. First of all, the relations between the making techniques and the material aren't considered sufficiently. Second, a lot of objects whose historical ages are unknown have been analyzed.

We analyzed the chemical compositions of the Indo-Pacific beads unearthed in Japan and compared with those from Southeast Asia. At that time, we made the chronological changes of each compositional group of IPB clear by analyzing only the objects whose historical ages are definite. Furthermore, we tried to narrow down the production areas of Indo-Pacific beads by using lead isotope ratios.

panel P18
Ancient ornaments around the South China Sea: style, technology, provenance and circulation