2013 Stylistic and Chemical Investigation of Turqoise-Blue Glass Artifacts from the Contact Era of Wisconsin. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 38(1):119-142
Typologically and visually similar glass trade beads, found on many archaeological sites of Native and French interaction in Wisconsin dating to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, often vary in chemical composition. These chemical differences likely indicate both fluctuating technological processes in European glass “recipes” and changes related to suppliers of trade goods to North America. To investigate regional differences among bead compositions, 87 turquoise-blue glass beads and 2 remelted glass pendants from five different seventeenth-century and early-to-mid-eighteenth-century sites in present-day Wisconsin were analyzed nondestructively using Laser Ablation–Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The different glass recipes can be divided into chemical subgroups that reflect both the chronological period assigned to the archaeological site and the geographic proximity of sites. The analysis reveals details about the exchange of trade goods and the dynamic population movements that are characteristic of this period of interaction among locally indigenous groups, Native newcomers to the region, and arriving Europeans.