MAS-1F5444: MAS-1F5444; Kent; Bead

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Unique ID: MAS-1F5444

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Twenty-six long drawn beads with a single cylindrical central perforation extending along the length of the bead. Varying in size, the beads measure approximately 25 mm in length and 8 mm in diameter, and some signs of wear are visible. The beads all have an opaque white core, cased in opaque red, cased in opaque white and finally cased in translucent blue on the exterior. The inner layers form a star pattern. The diameter cross-section is roughly cylindrical in the centre, whilst at the upper and lower ends the cross-section changes to become faceted in an octagonal shape, allowing the layers to be seen from the side.

These polychrome beads are of a type known as 'chevron' or 'rosetta' beads, which for several hundred years have been a speciality of the Venetian glassmakers. First appearing in the late 15th century, they were made from a short section of drawn-out hollow cane in a translucent greenish glass, coated with six further layers of white, translucent greenish, red and blue glass, and given a star-like cross-section by pressing in a 12-pointed corrugated mould; the canes were then cut into short lengths and the ends ground to expose the inner layers. Later beads may have fewer layers; they are still being made in Venice today, albeit in very small quantities. These beads can reach up to 90 mm in length and 60 mm in diameter, however the more common size is 20-30 mm in length and 10 mm in diameter.

In the UK, chevron beads usually belong to 16th or 17th century contexts, but they were also made in quantity for export to West Africa and the Americas, and the peak of production came during the 19th and early 20th centuries. These later beads were usually of four and six layers, in red, blue and white. Chevron beads are still highly valued in present-day West Africa, where they continue to be worn for prestige and ceremonial purposes, and are occasionally buried with the dead.


These beads were recovered from the wreck of ​Loanda​, along with three clay pipes recorded as MAS-100004. ​Built in 1891 at Barrow-in-Furness (Cumbria) by the Naval Construction and Armaments Co., Loanda was a two-masted screw-driven steamer owned by the British and African Steam Navigation Co. On 31 May 1908, following a collision with SS Junona, Loanda foundered while under tow 1 mile east of St Margaret's at Cliffe, Kent. At the time of loss, the vessel was bound from Hamburg, Germany, to West Africa with a general cargo. This cargo, which has seen significant recovery by divers, included: clay pipes; bottles of wine and gin; glass beads; perfume bottles; pencils, writing slates and inkpots; lamps; and teacups, lids, dishes, pots, saucers, plates, jugs and eggcups. NRHE and Kent HER reference numbers cited in this record refer to the wreck of Loanda.

Class: Dress and personal accessories
Sub class: Jewellery

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: With finder
Subsequent action after recording: Submitted as wreck to the Receiver of Wreck

Wreck details

Droit number: 196/16


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Period to: MODERN
Date from: Circa AD 1500
Date to: Exactly AD 1908

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 26
Length: 25 mm
Diameter: 8 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 12th July 2016

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: M F
Identified by: V L
Secondary identifier: L M

Other reference numbers

NRHE monument number: 901835
Other reference: Kent HER Number: TR 34 SE 108; TR 45 NE 256; TR 34 SE 112
Droit ID: 196/16

Materials and construction

Primary material: Glass
Manufacture method: Drawn
Decoration style: Other
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TR3844
Four figure Latitude: 51.1457526
Four figure longitude: 1.4013985
1:25K map: TR3844
1:10K map: TR34SE
Display four figure position on What3Words
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Diving
Discovery circumstances: Diving
Current location: With finder
General landuse: Coastland
Specific landuse: Marine

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: MAS
Created: Wednesday 3rd August 2016
Updated: Friday 30th September 2016

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