The Bead SiteHome> Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Why beads?

      Because they are the oldest and most universal art form. No people are without them. Beads are or have been made in every country of the world. Yet, our focus is not on beads, but people. People make, trade, use and loose beads.

Who runs The Bead Site?

Who the heck is Peter Francis, Jr.?

      The New York Times

       calls him the "world's leading authority on beads."

      If you don't believe them ask: The British Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, The Denver Museum of Natural History, The American Museum of Natural History, The National Museum of the Philippines, Harvard University, Brown University, Deccan College (University, India)... Well, you get the picture. See these pages for museums, universities and his current schedule.

He sounds stuffy.

      He has a scientific attitude toward beads, but stuffy? Check out the site or ask nearly any bead society or anyone who has taken his workshops.

Oh, all right. How did he get started in beads?

      This is the most FAQ. He taught English in Iran between 1975 and 1978. Rather than buying Persian carpets, he began collecting beads. He soon realized that 1.) They were a window to most everything, 2.) They were a perfect fit for his broad interests, and 3.) No one really knew anything about them.

      His next step was to go to India (Deccan College, Pune) and study archaeology, as this was the key to older beads. Eventually, he realized no one could teach him about beads. He would have to do it on his own.

But if beads are so universal, how can he study them all?

      For nearly twenty-five years he has done nothing else. He has been around the world a dozen times and can communicate on some level in some two dozen languages. He has documented beadmakers, bead traders, bead use, bead research and all aspects of them.

Does Pete Francis really do the entire site?

      Yes, except for the occasional perl scripting.

Can I trust this site? What are your privacy policies?

How do you get around the site? It looks big.

      It is big and it is constantly growing.

      There is a line showing the most common path to the page you are on at the top of each page. If that was not your precise path, you can always use the Back Arrow. There is a navigation bar at the bottom of each page.

      If you are looking for a specific topic, use the Site Search Engine.

      If you want to browse a topic, go to the bottom of any page. There are all the major divisions of the site and the most popular sections. Have fun.

O.K. So, what is the Center for Bead Research?

      As the name says, it is a focal point for the study of beads.

How do you study beads?

      By learning as much as possible about how, when and by whom they were made, traded, used and finally thrown away or deposited.

      Center. We bring information together that previously had been widely scattered. We now house the largest library on beads, largest global bead sample card collection and most extensive photographic record of bead collections and living beadmakers.

      Bead. We have world's best-documented bead study collection, Additionally, we have collections of beadmaking tools and parallel collections (minerals, shells, costume jewelry).

      Research. The techniques and methods used to study beads come from archaeology, anthropology, history, geography, linguistics, and the natural and material sciences. We house a good general library (with strong map and foreign dictionary sections) and a small laboratory.

So, you gather all this information. Then what do you do with it?

      We make our results publicly known.

      As any given project is undertaken, its progress can be traced in the Current Projects section.

      Publishing usually takes first form as lectures and additions to the Bead Identification Workshops.

      The first printed information on a given project is normally in our journal, the Margaretologist. Members, Patrons and Supporters of the Center receive this valuable newsletter twice a year. Membership information is available here.

      Major projects are published in other forms as well, either in book form or as smaller monographs.

      Pete is currently working on three full-length books: The Asian Maritime Bead Trade for the University of Hawai'I is due at the end of 2001; a book on beads from St. Catherines (GA) the northernmost Spanish mission along the Atlantic through the 17th century (with Lori Pendleton); and a report on the beads from Berenike, Egypt, covering the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Major reports on other work are in press, including that for the excavation at Arikamedu, India.

Why do you have a web site?

      Almost no one asks that question anymore. The Bead Site has become the principal means of communication for us and the destination site for people who want to know about beads on the Internet. Its rich resources are proving a boon to anyone interested in beads from any standpoint.

      We can post news immediately. We publish color pictures for the Margaretologist. We communicate with people from around the globe via the chat line, bEad-Mail, email and the World Bead Chain.

What's bEad-Mail and why the funny name?

      Come on, it's a combination of Bead and E-Mail. It comes out about monthly. It is not an extended ad, but informative. It's free. If you want it, just ask for it.

What's the World Bead Chain?

      A list of people worldwide with interests in beads. Through it you can find people with common bead interests, people who live in your country or a country you are interested in and people who share a common language. It is done by email with a searchable data base on the web. See more here.

Can I visit the Center for Bead Research?

      Many people from all over the world do. We welcome scholars and others to use our facilities. We do need to know well in advance when you are coming.

This is interesting. How do I participate more fully?

      You can join the Center for Bead Research by clicking on Membership. For a nominal fee, you get two years of our biannual journal, the Margaretologist, the best single bead resource out there. You can buy our publications (and lots of others) at the Book Store. You may also want to advertise with us.


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