Punic Glass “Eye” Beads in the Balearic Islands Molly Kaplan 2012
BNM-07 Bead Sample #1 (fragment) 2011•Found in superficial layer outside the cave (SU1)early 2011 season•Shows discoloration from burning Eye design •Chemical analysis study of this bead conducted by an American team, who also examined a rib covered in glass found during the same season
BNM-07 Bead Sample #2 (incomplete bead) 2012•We found two large fragments in SU1 on separate days lastweek. Pieces were glued together in lab•Discoloration shows bead was affected by cremation fire•In addition, quick lime deposition could also account for thewhite powdery appearance/texture Eyes (Core center visible, too)
Basic History of Glass Beads•Oldest glass beads to date from 12,000BC•Craft of glass beads originates in Egypt1560-1460BC•Mercantile activity of Mycenaean’s leads to spreadof glass beads and rise of bead commercialization(late Bronze Age, starting around 1400)…
Beginning around 800BC Carthagebecomes famous international distributor of glass beads (Phoenician trade routes)
–Phoenician merchants distribute beads across Mediterranean until 200BC •Glass beads great for currency/trade because highly valued but easy to transport as cargo •Generalized, “mass produced” forms of eye beads appear in Late Bronze AgeNecklace reconstructed from glass beads of Puig des Molins
• In Spain, more than 4,000 pre-roman glass beads have been found throughout 118 sites (as of 1996…more now)• Most have been found in burial contexts/cave necropoli• 9 main sites in Ibiza, including Puig des Molins• Menorca has 5 major sites (Cales Coves)…and now our Binimel-la
• Simple eye: oldest design. Eye design is part of the glass paste matrix itself • Mosaic eye: most modern. Popular in Roman period) • Stratefied eye: (what we have found) Phoenician; eyes dropped onto matrix while it’sStratefied eye beads from Ibiza sites still soft. Concentric circles/layers of rings
Our beads…•Stratefied, spherical with largedark eyes and two rings (5 drops?)•All eye beads in Ibiza record arestratefied. Spherical beads 2nd mostcommon shape after rings In Puig des Molins, eye beads found in hypogia date to the 2nd half of 6c. BC. Because it is thought that Punics came to Ibiza first, BNM-07’s beads probably date to sometime around then or soon after (6th-5th c.) (again, damage to the beads makes typology•Probably only a few large eyes. incredibly difficult)Maybe one or two on each side(3-8total?)
Chemical Analysis:Composition of glass bead #1 (2011): Si 42% *Important to note that both rib and bead found out of context. Cannot be certain about results Sb 25% Pb 10% Fe 10% Al 8% Cu 1% (4% mix of other elements)•Bead shows higher % of Iron than the other artifacts analyzed(which all had about 1%) –High iron content could indicate bead was reddish and/or black –Beads from Cales Coves very similar in make-up; show homogeneity and could be related in terms of where/how they were made.•The high levels of Phosphorous in the glass covering the rib alsofound in glass beads from Ibiza•Was the individual wearing a Punic glass bead when cremated? Itseems likely, though Phosphorous not found in bead fragment fromthe cave
•One bead alone considered a jewel (suspensionrings with single beads found in addition to fullnecklaces and bracelets at Puig des Molins)•In Ibiza beads/necklaces have been found withinfants and children –Necklaces also include coral, bells, and other stones•No marked symbolic division between adults andchildren in terms of beads/grave goods•Beads in tombs interpreted as a sign of prestige –Importance of inheritance and aristocracy•Terracotas adorned with beads correspond toimages of Punic gods
•Eye beads thought to have apotropaic value: magic intended to turnaway harm and evil (often by directing those forces back at the onecausing harm)•Ideology of the beads different for different cultures, but in general theeye is a symbol of protection against evil forces/magic•Eye symbol frequently painted in tombs –Thought that necklaces worn by children in life and death could serve as a protection for when mom’s eyes are not on them.• Turkish “evil eye” is a common symbol still used today that is highlycommercialized. The “classic” blue and white eye actually serves to fightback against the evil eye SPACE DJ Kurd Maverick: Turkish
So what does this mean for the cave and the Talaiotics? •Finding more than one of these beads at the cave is strong evidence for contact between Phonecians and the Talaiotics (especially from the 6th-2nd c. BC) •Knowing what we know about what (eye) beads mean to others, it will be important to look for patterns of bead distribution as we get to context layers. •Big question: how are the beads a part of the Talaiotic cremation/burial ritual? –Are they found with male, female, and/or children remains? –A sign of status or wealth? –Currency? (other tiny beads have also been found…) –Do the beads say something about individual identity…were the Talaiotics buried with the beads as part of their personal expression?
SourcesEisen, G. 1916 The characteristics of eye beads from the earliest times to the present. American Journal of Archaeology Vol 20, No. 1: 1-27.Ruiz, E. R. 1996 Las cuentas de vidrio prerromanas del museo arqueológico de Ibiza y Formentera. Museu Arqueológico D’Evissa I Formentera.