Carnelian Beads From Tha Kae: Morphological, Technological and Compositional Analyses

Wannaporn Rienjang1, Montira Seneewong Na Ayuthaya2, Abhisit Salam3, Fiorella Rispoli4

1Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, Thammasat university, Thailand

2The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand, Thailand

3Indepedent Scholar, Thailand

4International Association of Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (ISMEO), Italy

In the Ancient World, carnelian was widely used to make beads and other ornaments. The Late Iron Age and Dvaravati period layers of the archaeological site of Tha Kae yielded a significant number of carnelian beads of diverse shapes and sizes. Some of them share morphological and technological similarities with the carnelian beads of early historic South Asia, others have distinct characteristics suggestive of a local Southeast Asian style. This paper combines morphological and technological studies with compositional analyses of the carnelian beads from Tha Kae, and selected carnelian samples from different sources in Lopburi region. By employing LA-ICP-MS technique, it is possible to trace the chemical signatures of Tha Kae carnelian beads, providing a stronger basis for an interpretation of manufacturing locales and trading networks.