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Sat May 20, 2017, 09:23 PM

Beads Made From Meteorite Reveal Ancient Trade Network



Researchers have confirmed iron beads in Illinois come from a Minnesota meteorite, supporting a theory called the Hopewell Interaction Sphere

By Jason Daley
smithsonian.com
May 18, 2017

In 1945, archaeologists opened a 2,000-year-old Hopewell Culture†burial mound near Havana, Illinois, and discovered 1,000 beads made of shell and pearl. They also found 22 iron-nickel beads which they determined came from a meteorite. But iron meteorites in North America are rare, and it wasnít clear just which space rock the beads were related to, reports†Traci Watson at†Nature.

A few years later, in 1961, a meteorite was found near Anoka, Minnesota, a town along the Mississippi River. At the time, chemical analysis ruled out that lump of iron as the source of the beads. Then, a second piece of the same meteorite was discovered in 1983 across the river from the original.

Timothy McCoy, curator in charge of meteorites at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, tells Smithsonian.com that a consortium of museums spearheaded by the National Museum of Natural History bought the 90-kilogram chunk in 2004. While doing an inventory of the meteorite collection at the museum in 2007, he was reminded that the museum owned two of the Havana meteorite beads. He decided to compare the composition of the newer Anoka meteorite with those beads as well as take another look at the original chunk. Mass spectrometry analysis showed that the composition of the beads and the space iron was a near-perfect match. The research appears in the Journal of Archeological Science.

"I think itís pretty solid evidence," says McCoy. "We have 1,000 iron meteorites and there are only 4 that are possibly related to the beads. One is in Australia, ruling that out, and the others are in Kentucky and Texas. But they differ enough in composition to make me think they are not the parent material."


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/beads-made-meteorite-show-ancient-trade-network-180963343/#oxprgZIbwocXY11c.99

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Reply Beads Made From Meteorite Reveal Ancient Trade Network (Original post)
Judi Lynn May 2017 OP
Comatose Sphagetti May 2017 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat May 20, 2017, 10:26 PM

1. Love your posts on archaeology, JL.

Thanks for putting them on DU.

I'm in SE Indiana. I've been walking fields looking for Native American artifacts for over forty years. Have found a few Hopewell and Adena points as well as Mississippian and Archaic time period artifacts. I can count on one hand the number of Paleo pieces I've found.

Keep 'em coming!

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