The beads of Bosutswe, Botswana
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The hilltop archaeological site, Bosutswe in Botswana had a nearly a thousand years of continuous occupation. Nearly every single strata in both precincts produced shell beads of various materials and origin. By using travelogue sources as well as more recent enthnographical sources, I focus on the possible uses and importance of beads to the people of Bosutswe and the wider southern African region. Using the excavated beads as evidence, I show how certain varieties of beads made their way to the site by way of trade routes with distant riverine areas. Also, I compare my findings with arguments claiming that different groups preferred different sizes beads; therefore, one can determine a site’s ethnic makeup by this measurement alone.