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Revisiting Baranda: a multi-analytical approach in classifying sixteenth/seventeenth-century glass beads from northern Zimbabwe

  • Farahnaz Koleini (a1), Innocent Pikirayi (a1) and Philippe Colomban (a2)

The glass bead trade in southern Africa provides important evidence of interregional contact during the early modern period. Compositional analysis of a large assemblage of imported glass beads from the sixteenth- to seventeenth-century AD trading site of Baranda in northern Zimbabwe reveals a south Asian origin of the majority of the beads. Combining stratigraphic data and morphological analysis with innovative compositional XRF and Raman spectroscopy approaches, the research was able to assign the Baranda beads accurately to their correct chronological range. This coincides with the period of Portuguese dominance of Indian Ocean trade.

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