World History Blog

Some more beads

March 28, 2015 Posted by Peter Britton Some more beads

Just as I was writing my most recent post about some ancient beads now in my family’s possession, which had travelled from Greece to central Africa some time between 1000 and 1900, I cam across a report in a British newspaper called the Times about some beads found in a Danish tomb, made in Egypt.

In this case, we are talking about far more ancient beads than those my family has, These were made around 1300 BC, and the Danish tomb they ended up in was dated to not very long (up to 100 years) afterwards. 

The beads must have travelled at a fair whack along the trade routes connecting Egypt with northern Europe. But I suppose it isn’t too surprising: this was (according to the report) a major conduit of trade bringing amber down from the north, in exchange for, well, beads and things like that.

This was the age of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt; and this powerful nation was only one amongst a clutch of major states in the Middle East at that time, the high point of the Bronze Age. The hunger from bronze had led to the development of major long-distance trade routes reaching out from the Middle East into western and northern Europe, and eastward into India (though these easterly trade routes were probably defunct by 1300 BC, as the great Indus Valley civilization had been replaced by a chaotic dark age in ancient India’s history).

Anyhow, in quite similar words to the ones I used at the end of my post, the Times said, these beads testified to the fact that “Globalisation might be a modern term, but the economic links it epitomises are thousands of years old.”

Peter Britton


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