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Bead Identification Workshops

The field of beads was held back a long time by the lack of solid information and the means of processing it. These workshops present an opportunity to teach the fundamentals of beads and bead research to a wide audience.

The workshops are participatory, multi-media and hands-on. They involve each student in the process of learning. They equip the participants to teach themselves about beads and their role in the human world. To prevent overload, they come with publications that recount the factual material. The student is free to think. Questions are always welcome.

There are two types of workshops. The standard suite consists of Bead Identification Workshops I through IV. They must be taken in order.

The standard workshops are each a day long (6 hours, 7 with lunch). They are hands-on and interactive. Actual samples are handed around, tests are performed and slides and lectures are used.

CBR Bead Identification Workshop I - Beginners

      Goal: To teach the basic elements of bead identification using simple tools found at home. Generally at least 80% of beads in most collections are covered.

      Curriculum: Identification of major bead material groups (major organic materials, stones, glass). Introduction to the complexity of glass and glass beads. History and identification of the major beadmakers: Venice and Bohemia.

      Materials: Bring a magnifying glass, paper and a pen. A free Handbook to Workshop I is distributed. (For hosts: see the materials I need below)

CBR Bead Identification Workshop II - Advanced

      Goal: To deepen the understanding of bead materials and introduce more advanced tests. To broaden the historical outlook of beads by introducing basic concepts such as trading networks and the global bead industries.

      Curriculum: All materials are discussed in more depth, down to the specific level. The wide variety of glass beads is introduced. The industries of the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia, and the Indo-Pacific beadmaking industry, as well as minor European and Asian industries are discussed.

      Materials: Bring a magnifying glass, paper and a pen. A free Handbook to Workshop II is distributed. (For hosts: see the materials I need below)

CBR Bead Identification Workshop III - Professional

      Goal: To teach about serious bead research. Students are not expected to become professional bead researchers, but they will gain an insight into what that entails. The student is expected to at least be able to recognize the difference between good and poor research.

      Curriculum: Introduction to the scientific method and its application in bead research. Introduction to the methodologies and theories used in archaeology, ethnography and history. Introduction to topics including bead classification, the definition of beads, special uses of beads and the history of bead research.

      Materials: Bring a magnifying glass, paper and a pen. A free folder of charts of the more complex issues and various work projects is distributed. (For hosts: see the materials I need below)

CBR Bead Identification Workshop IV - Seminar

      Goal: To ease the anxiety of students in presenting a bead research topic. To make the student confident enough to submit a written paper to a newsletter or other publication and to give a public talk on beads.

      Curriculum: Students supply the core curriculum. Each student must be prepared to present a short talk (or lead a discussion) on some aspect of bead studies. I shall have presentations on publishing, speaking and web publishing.

      Materials: Magnifying glass, paper and pen. A short (10 to 20 minutes: longer times may be permitted but must be cleared ahead of time) presentation on some aspect of bead studies. (For hosts: see the materials I need below)

These highly concentrated workshops are equivalent to an introductory college course in bead research. They are designed to arm the participants with information sufficient to understand beads in an archaeological, anthropological or historical situation. They are ideally suited for academic or professional environments.

Specialized workshops can be constructed for particular audiences. I have done this for archaeologists and museum personnel in Southeast Asia at a SPAFA conference at Bangi, Malaysia. These can be done only by special arrangement far ahead of the scheduled date. In places where English is not the first language, a Workshop can be spread over more than one day.

For Hosts: Materials I Need:

Seating should be arranged so that I can reach every student. Students need a place to write. I need a table, a projector, carousel, and screen. I also need a flip-chart blackboard or something equivalent to write on, as well as writing instruments.

If you are interested in holding or sponsoring Bead Identification Workshops, e-mail me.

You should also check out my schedule on our current


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