The Ostrich Eggshell Beads of Mlambalasi rockshelter, southern Tanzania

  • Author / Creator
    Miller, Jennifer M
  • Objects of personal adornment are among the earliest signs of modern human behaviour. The first standardized ornamental artifacts in Africa are ostrich eggshell (OES) beads. Their use can be traced to at least 50,000 years ago, and they are present at many archaeological sites from the later Middle Stone Age to historic times. Excavations at Mlambalasi rockshelter, Iringa, yielded a number of these OES beads. Previous studies of variability have focused on the threshold between hunting and herding peoples in southern Africa, and demonstrated a steady change in external bead diameter over time. My findings indicate that this trend of diameter change is also present in East Africa, and extends well into the Later Stone Age (LSA). My analysis also suggests that Mlambalasi may have been a short-term, repeatedly used, campsite for a small family who made and wore OES beads in the LSA and more recent times.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Archaeology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Haagsma, Margriet (History and Classics)
    • Garvie-Lok, Sandra (Anthrpology)