Artifact of the Week: Copper Bead

copper beadThis artifact is a prehistoric bead made from rolled copper. It was the only example of such an artifact excavated from Ocmulgee National Monument during 2001 investigations which preceded the construction of a pedestrian overpass. This area, referred to as the Middle Plateau, revealed numerous phases of occupation stretching from the Archaic period through the establishment of a historic trading post in the early 18th century. The bead was found in a feature along with chert and quartzite debitage.

Based on the evidence found during excavations, the bead likely predates the establishment of the trading post and could date as early as the Early Mississippian period, approximately 1000 years ago. The Early Mississippian peoples used a wide variety of artifact types for both daily and ceremonial activities, including metals like copper. To make the bead, the copper was first flattened into a thin sheet and then rolled to produce the round shape of the bead. This was more economical than producing a thicker, solid copper bead.

SEAC ACC 1683, FS 103.7
Catalogue #: OCMU 59312