Bead Making Arrangement



The manufacturing of stone beads for jewellery was a major industry in ancient Egypt. The eastern desert was rich in supplies of blood-red carnelian that was very easy to break into circular shapes. Boring holes into the beads using rotating flint drills set into wooden handles was the hardest part of the job. Once polished the beads were ready for stringing into necklaces. This arrangment of worked stone was made by Charles Flaxman Spurrell in 1899. The archaeologist Flinders Petrie had given him a selection of tiny stone tools (microliths) and stone and shell beads in various states of completion from Hierakonpolis excavated by James Quibell and F. W. Green between 1897 and 1899. Stuck to the card are 58 pieces of carnelian, garnet, limestone, gypsum and shell. Along with annotations by Spurrell in yellow ink the group demonstrate stages of bead manufacture. The back of the card is annotated by Charles Flaxman Spurrell, providing a description.