This is the first dedicated and comprehensive study of glass beads from Early Medieval Ireland, presenting the first national classification, typology, dating, symbology and social performance of glass beads.
Glass beads are one of the most visually stunning archaeological objects and they remain as popular a part of body ornament today as in the past.
This continuing fascination is explained somewhat by the versatility of glass which can be rendered opaque or transparent and produced in a variety of colours.
Glass has an almost mesmerising effect in its ability to reflect light, presenting not just a surface but also dimensional depths of shade and light.
In this respect the crafting of glass beads as representations of the human eye may go some way towards explaining their enduring and universal popularity.
Glass beads however are much more than this and their enduring appeal is also a reflection of their aesthetic and symbolic qualities.
This book explores not only the importance of beads as a tool of archaeological research but also the relevance of beads in the social arena and their significance as markers of cultural and religious identity and symbols of status and age both in Ireland and further afield.