Bead Making Tools

56.21.426
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 display of sixty stone tools was made by Charles Flaxman Spurrell in 1899. Sir 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. This display includes a piece carnelian (tool or just a flake?) and a flint core (annotated in pencil, ‘core’). The back of the card is annotated by Charles Flaxman Spurrell, providing a description.