Below is an article which may be of interest to those who enjoy the
history of jewelry. Judy Bjorkman
Danish Bronze Age glass beads traced to Egypt
Analyses of glass beads found in Denmark give us new knowledge of
Bronze Age trade routes.
An international collaboration between Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus,
the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, and Institut de
Recherche sur les Archeomateriaux (IRAMAT) at Orleans, France, has
resulted in a sensational discovery about the trade routes between
Denmark and the ancient civilisations in Egypt and Mesopotamia in
the Bronze Age 3,400 years ago. The discovery also gives us new
knowledge about the sun cult in the Nordic Bronze Age.
Archeologists Jeanette Varberg from Moesgaard Museum and Flemming
Kaul from the National Museum, and Bernard Gratuze, director of
IRAMAT, analysed the composition of some blue glass beads found on
buried Bronze Age women in Denmark.
The analyses revealed that the glass originate from the same glass
workshops in Egypt that supplied the glass that the Egyptian Pharaoh
Tutankhamun took with him to his grave in 1323 BC.
The study was recently published in SKALK.
Globalisation in the Bronze Age
Twenty-three glass beads from Denmark were analysed using
plasma-spectrometry. Without destroying the fragile beads, this
technique makes it possible to compare the chemical composition of
trace elements in the beads with reference material from Amarna in
Egypt and Nippur in Mesopotamia, about 50 km south east of Baghdad
in Iraq. The comparison showed that the chemical composition of the
two sets of trace elements match.
The researchers’ first object for comparison was a bead from a
wealthy woman’s grave at Olby, about 40 km south of Copenhagen. The
woman had been buried in a more extravagant fashion, lying in a
hollowed-out oak trunk and wearing a beautiful belt disc, a smart
string skirt with tinkling, shining small bronzes tubes, and an
overarm bracelet made of amber beads, and a single blue glass bead.
The glass bead turned out to be Egyptian. This is the first time
that typical Egyptian cobalt glass has been discovered outside the
The archaeologists can now also substantiate that there is a
connection between the amber beads and the glass beads.
It has been known for a long time that amber was exported in the
Bronze Age from Nordic latitudes and southwards. Tutankhamun and
other Egyptian pharaohs had large amber chains in boxes in their
Now the researchers are linking amber and glass together in an
Nordic and Egyptian sun cults traded goods
One property that both glass and amber have is that sunlight
penetrates their surface.
It appears that glass and amber beads have been found together on
sites from the Middle East, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Germany to
the Nordic latitudes.
The archaeologists believe this could be proof of a link between the
Egyptian sun cult and the Nordic sun cult.
When a Danish woman in the Bronze Age took a piece of jewellery made
of amber and blue glass with her to the grave, it constituted a
prayer to the sun to ensure that she would be re-united with it and
share her fate with the sun’s on its eternal journey.
The old amber route to the countries in the Mediterranean thus now
has a So far, the researchers have shown that there was a trade
connection to Egypt and Mesopotamia in the years 1400-1100 BC.
Finding out whether the route continued in the later Bronze Age is a
future task for the Danish-French research team.