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Objects and Artifacts - Archeological Artifacts - Artifact Type - Bead

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Beaded Bag

Beaded Bag
Date: Unknown
This beaded bag has a red blanket cloth front and a leather back. The front and flap is decorated in a floral design with small yellow, pink, white, blue, green, and gold glass beads. Larger barrel-shaped green glass beads decorate the edge of the flap and, along with brass bells, decorate the leather fringe at the base of the bag.


Beaded Buckskin Ball

Beaded Buckskin Ball
Date: Unknown
This stuffed buckskin ball was donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1954. The red, white, and blue trade bead design divides the ball into four sections and is sewn with animal sinew, the fibrous tissue binding muscles and bones.


Beads from the Forrest Site, 14PA303

Beads from the Forrest Site, 14PA303
Date: 500-1100 CE
These bone and shell beads were recovered at the Forrest site, a Keith phase site in Pawnee County during excavations by Kansas Historical Society and University of Kansas archeologists in 1967. The flat disk bead was cut from a mussel shell and drilled. The bone beads were made from small animal bones. They were scored, then cut or snapped, and finally had their edges smoothed, to form the tubular beads. Incised spirals and rings were added to each bead for decoration. The site was occupied sometime between 500 and 1100 CE. The people who lived here were semi-sedentary hunters and gatherers.


Beads from the Hollenberg Pony Express Station, 14WH316

Beads from the Hollenberg Pony Express Station, 14WH316
Date: 1857-1941
These beads were recovered from the 1991 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Hollenberg Pony Express Station in Washington County. Some are likely trade beads that were widely traded until the 1850s, while others may have been deposited at the site much later. The site was the location of a pony express station, a stop on the Oregon-California trail, a post office, a blacksmith shop, and a farm with barns and other outbuildings. The site was purchased by the Kansas Legislature in 1941 and is in the National Register of Historic Places.


Beads from the Hollenberg Pony Express Station, 14WH316

Beads from the Hollenberg Pony Express Station, 14WH316
Date: 1857-1941
These beads were recovered from the 1991 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Hollenberg Pony Express Station in Washington County. Some are likely trade beads that were widely traded until the 1850s, while others may have been deposited at the site much later. The site was the location of a pony express station, a stop on the Oregon-California trail, a post office, a blacksmith shop, and a farm with barns and other outbuildings. The site was purchased by the Kansas Legislature in 1941 and is in the National Register of Historic Places.


Beads from the Hollenberg Pony Express Station, 14WH316

Beads from the Hollenberg Pony Express Station, 14WH316
Date: 1857-1941
These beads were recovered from the 1991 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Hollenberg Pony Express Station in Washington County. Some are likely trade beads that were widely traded until the 1850s, while others may have been deposited at the site much later. The site was the location of a pony express station, a stop on the Oregon-California trail, a post office, a blacksmith shop, and a farm with barns and other out buildings. The site was purchased by the Kansas Legislature in 1941 and is in the National Register of Historic Places.


Bone Artifacts from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1

Bone Artifacts from the Paint Creek Site, 14MP1
Date: 1500-1800 CE
These bone artifacts were collected from the Paint Creek village site in McPherson County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2020. Shown is a bead made from a small hollow bone, a pendant made from a rib section of a small animal, and an awl used as a perforating tool in soft materials, like hides, and possibly in basket and pottery manufacture. The Paint Creek site is included in what archeologists call the Little River Focus of the Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita), whose people practiced fishing, hunting, gathering, and agriculture.


Bone Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Bone Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1700 CE
These two bone beads were excavated during the 1977 and 1978 Kansas Archeology Training Program field schools at the Tobias site in Rice County. The beads were made from a section of bird bone. They were scored, then cut or snapped, and finally had their edges smoothed, to form the tubular beads. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) village that had dense artifact deposits, house remains, and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Bone Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Bone Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1700 CE
These bone beads were recovered from the Tobias site in Rice County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2020. The beads were made from sections of bird or small to medium sized mammals. They were scored, then cut or snapped, and finally had their edges smoothed, to form the tubular beads. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect village that had dense artifact deposits, house remains and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. The people that inhabited Great Bend aspect sites are ancestral to the Wichita and affiliated tribes. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Bone Tools from the Majors Site, 14RC2

Bone Tools from the Majors Site, 14RC2
Date: 1500-1800 CE
These bone tools were collected from the Majors site in Rice County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1982. Shown are a rasp, an awl, and a polished hollow bone that may have been intended for bead manufacturing. The rasp was made by cutting grooves (five still present) into a bison rib. Archeologists believe that rasps could have been used as musical instruments by drawing a stick across the grooves. Awls are usually made from deer bone. They were used to make holes in soft material, like hides, and possibly in basket and pottery manufacturing. The Majors site was a Great Bend aspect, Little River focus (ancestral Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) site that was occupied during the late 17th century, based on southwestern pottery styles.


Clay Beads and Bead Blank from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Clay Beads and Bead Blank from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1700 CE
These clay beads were excavated during the 2019 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Tobias site in Rice County. Clay beads are made using a small clay bead blank (center) with the hollow center either perforated prior to firing or drilled after firing. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) village that has dense artifact deposits, house remains, and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Clay Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Clay Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1700 CE
These clay beads were excavated during the 1978 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Tobias site in Rice County. Clay beads are made using a small clay bead blank with the hollow center either perforated prior to firing or drilled after firing. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) village that has dense artifact deposits, house remains, and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Glass Bead and Turquoise Colored Glass from the Fanning Site, 14DP1

Glass Bead and Turquoise Colored Glass from the Fanning Site, 14DP1
Date: 1500-1700 CE
These turquoise colored glass artifacts, one a bead and the other a melted fragment, were recovered from the Fanning site in Doniphan County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1981. The melted fragment may have once formed a bead similar to the one shown. Beads such as this were widely traded until the 1850s. The Fanning site was a Late Ceramic to early Contact period Kansa village.


Glass Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Glass Beads from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1700 CE
These glass beads were excavated during the 1977, 1978, and 2019 Kansas Archeology Training Program field schools at the Tobias site in Rice County. The beads are different shades of blue and have round, hexagonal, or faceted shapes. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) village that had dense artifact deposits, house remains, and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Glass Trade Bead from Morris County

Glass Trade Bead from Morris County
Date: 1600-1860
Shown is a turquoise colored round glass trade bead found on the former Kaw/Kansa reservation in Morris County in 1989. Beads such as this were widely traded until the 1850s.


Glass Trade Bead from the Tobias Site, 14RC8

Glass Trade Bead from the Tobias Site, 14RC8
Date: 1400-1700 CE
Shown is a blue round glass trade bead excavated at the 2019 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school at the Tobias site in Rice County. This item was traded into the area from Europeans or other American Indian groups. The Tobias site is a Great Bend aspect (ancestral Wichita) village that has dense artifact deposits, house remains, and numerous deep trash-filled storage pits. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Glass Trade Beads from Pawnee Indian Village, 14RP1

Glass Trade Beads from Pawnee Indian Village, 14RP1
Date: 1770-1802
These glass trade beads were recovered from the Pawnee Indian Village site in Republic County during 1965 and 1966 archeological investigations by Kansas Historical Society archeologists. Beads such as this were widely traded until the 1850s. The Pawnee Indian Village is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A museum was built over one of the lodges that was then excavated, leaving the exposed floor visible.


Glass Trade Beads from Pawnee Indian Village, 14RP1

Glass Trade Beads from Pawnee Indian Village, 14RP1
Date: 1770-1802
These 274 glass barrel-shaped trade beads were recovered from the Pawnee Indian Village site in Republic County. They were excavated during 1965 archeological investigations by Kansas Historical Society archeologists. Beads such as these were widely traded until the 1850s. The Pawnee Indian Village is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A museum was built over one of the lodges that was excavated, leaving the exposed floor visible.


Osage Beadwork

Osage Beadwork
Date: Unknown
This beadwork was donated by Chief Sylvester Tinker of the Osage Nation to the Kansas Historical Society in 1987. The geometric design of blue, red, and white beads was woven on a loom. The Tinker collection includes hundreds of items such as these revealing the rich facets of Osage culture.


Shell Bead from the Breckinridge Place Site, 14OB408

Shell Bead from the Breckinridge Place Site, 14OB408
Date: 1-1000 CE
These shell beads were recovered from an Osbourne County archeological site occupied during the Early Ceramic period. The shell beads were likely crafted from mussel shell.


Shell Bead from the Wells Site, 14BT404

Shell Bead from the Wells Site, 14BT404
Date: 1650-1750 CE
This shell bead collected from the Wells village site in Barton County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 2021. The shell is delicate and great care must have been taken to create the hole and shape the oval bead. The village site had an abundance of artifacts that reflect not only a Dismal River aspect occupation (1650 - 1750 CE) but also a historic component.


Shell Beads from Fool Chief's Village, 14SH305

Shell Beads from Fool Chief's Village, 14SH305
Date: 1828-1844
These marine shell beads were recovered during excavations at Fool Chief's Village, a Kansa village in Shawnee County. Fool Chief's Village was the site of the 2012 Kansas Archeology Training Program field school, though excavations continued into 2013. These tubular beads are called wampum and are made from an Atlantic clam shell and then traded into the area.


Shell Beads from Riley County

Shell Beads from Riley County
Date: Unknown
These beads were collected in Riley County and donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1984. The fragile beads were likely crafted from mussel shells.


Shell Beads from the Booth Site, 14CM406

Shell Beads from the Booth Site, 14CM406
Date: 1400-1499 CE
These shell beads were recovered from the Booth archeological site in Comanche County during the Kansas Archeology Training Program field school in 1989. The bead on the left is made of an Olivella shell and the one on the right from a mussel shell. The shell is delicate and great care must have been taken to create the beads. The Booth site has evidence of multiple or long term occupations that are part of the Wilmore complex (1000 - 1500 CE) in western Kansas.


Shell Beads from the Booth Site, 14CM406

Shell Beads from the Booth Site, 14CM406
Date: 1400-1499 CE
These shell beads were recovered from the Booth archeological site in Comanche County during the Kansas Archeology Training Program field school in 1989. Both are disc-shaped marine shells. The Booth site has evidence of multiple or long term occupations that are part of the Wilmore complex (1000 - 1500 CE) in western Kansas.


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