Marginella Shell Beads
These shell beads were found at an Early Historic period site in Montgomery County in Southwestern Virginia. They are made from the Marginella genus of marine molluscs. Shell beads were valuable in Virginia Indian exchange systems long before the colonists arrived, and they continued to function as important trade goods for navigating relationships with Europeans. Archaeologists suspect that shell beads functioned as symbols of status and authority within and between communities.
1600 - 1700 C.E.
Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Richmond, VA
682 × 503