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Olivella Beads from Spiro and the Plains

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Laura Kozuch
Affiliation:
Washington University, Campus Box 1114, Department of Anthropology, St. Louis, Missouri 63130-4899

Abstract

Beads made from Gulf of California dwarf olive shells (Olivella dama) have recently been identified from the Spiro site in eastern Oklahoma. This is the first evidence from Spiro of culture contact to the west. The beads, previously identified as Olivella nivea, are important because O. dama originates in the Gulf of California while O. nivea is from the Gulf of Mexico. An overview of Olivella beads from Plains sites reveals a mixture of shell beads originating from the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of California. The presence of western Olivella beads at Spiro and other Plains sites supports an intensification of trade between Puebloan and Plains peoples during Late Prehistoric times at about A.D. 1400 or slightly earlier, but there is no evidence for strong cultural ties to the west. Olivella beads occur at sites east of the Mississippi River, and these need to be identified to determine coast of origin.

Résumé

Résumé

Cuentas hechas de conchas de la especie oliva enana (Olivella dama) del Golfo de California han sido identificadas en el sitio Spiro en Oklahoma este. Esta es la primera evidencia definitiva que prueba contacto entre la cultura Spiro y las culturas del oeste. Anteriormente estas cuentas fueron identificadas como de la especie Olivella nivea. La diferencia en la especie es importante porque O. dama se origina del Golfo de California y O. nivea en el Golfo de México. La presencia de las cuentas Olivellas del oeste en Spiro y otros sitios de las Planicies indica intensificación del intercambio entre la gente de los Pueblos y Planicies alrededor de 1400 d.C., pero no hay evidencia de lazos culturales con el oeste. Existen perlas de Olivella en sitios al este del Río Mississippi, las que necesitan identificación para determinar la costa de origen.

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Copyright
Copyright © The Society for American Archaeology 2002

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