Artifact Spotlight — Glass Bead

Kristi Nichols, Director of Archaeology, Collections and Historical Research
January 7, 2020
Glass bead
Approx. Date of Artifact: 18th — 19th Century

During 2019 excavations associated with the Long Barrack, this glass bead was recovered. This particular bead is larger than the typical seed beads that are known to have been brought to San Antonio by the Spanish Missionaries.

Glass beads were items that the Spaniards brought with them to trade, as well as to give to the mission neophytes. The typical seed bead noted in the area measured less than a centimeter (often approximately 5 millimeter) and come in various colors. This glass bead is larger, and has a shape that is similar to a donut.

These shapes could have been manufactured during the Mission Period. It is also possible that this bead could date to the later occupations of the site, as glass bead use and production spanned several periods.

This aqua colored bead exhibits a slight patina, which is a cloudy and shimmery coating that glass produces as it ages.