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Chemical analysis of glass beads in Palau, western Micronesia reveals 19th century inter-island exchange systems in transition



For centuries, glass money beads (udoud) have played a critical role in cultural and economic exchanges in the Palauan archipelago (western Micronesia) since their first appearance ca. AD 600-950 from East Java and mainland Southeast Asia. Later, as part of their stone money (rai) quarrying activities, visiting Yapese islanders negotiated access to quarry sites and purchased provisions using glass beads, corvée labor, and other exchange valuables. Here, we present morphological and chemical composition analysis of 38 glass beads recovered from Chelechol ra Orrak, the only quarry site where udoud have been recovered. Analysis reveals that most of the beads were manufactured in Europe, with many originating in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) ca. AD 1830-1850. Many of these beads would have been regarded as cheldoech, a category of udoud that largely went out of circulation in the 1920s due to the ease of counterfeiting. Although this category of udoud could be easily counterfeited and beads from Yap lacked the requisite life histories associated with traditional udoud, Palauans accepted them as authentic. However, our research suggests that cheldoech may have depreciated in value well before the 1920s, with Palauans valuing and exchanging this category of udoud in new ways, including interment with burials.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
Available online 19 July 2022
2352-409X/© 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Chemical analysis of glass beads in Palau, western Micronesia reveals 19th
century inter-island exchange systems in transition
Matthew F. Napolitano
, Elliot H. Blair
, Laure Dussubieux
, Scott M. Fitzpatrick
International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc., Honolulu, HI 96826, United States
Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, United States
Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, United States
The Field Museum of Natural History, Elemental Analysis Facility, Chicago, IL 60605, United States
Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, United States
Ancient currency
Interaction networks
Yapese stone money
Pacic Islands
Glass beads
For centuries, glass money beads (udoud) have played a critical role in cultural and economic exchanges in the
Palauan archipelago (western Micronesia) since their rst appearance ca. AD 600950 from East Java and
mainland Southeast Asia. Later, as part of their stone money (rai) quarrying activities, visiting Yapese islanders
negotiated access to quarry sites and purchased provisions using glass beads, corv´
ee labor, and other exchange
valuables. Here, we present morphological and chemical composition analysis of 38 glass beads recovered from
Chelechol ra Orrak, the only quarry site where udoud have been recovered. Analysis reveals that most of the
beads were manufactured in Europe, with many originating in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic) ca. AD
18301850. Many of these beads would have been regarded as cheldoech, a category of udoud that largely went
out of circulation in the 1920s due to the ease of counterfeiting. Although this category of udoud could be easily
counterfeited and beads from Yap lacked the requisite life histories associated with traditional udoud, Palauans
accepted them as authentic. However, our research suggests that cheldoech may have depreciated in value well
before the 1920s, with Palauans valuing and exchanging this category of udoud in new ways, including interment
with burials.
1. Introduction
Beads made from materials such as glass, shell, and stone have
played important roles in exchange systems across the Indo-Pacic for
thousands of years (Adhyatman and Arin, 1993; Allen et al., 1997;
Carter et al., 2016a; Clark et al., 2018; Francis, 2002; Malinowski, 1922;
o, 2010; Turbitt, 2003). In Near and Remote Oceania, beads and
other portable objects have been studied as a way to understand long-
distance exchange networks between people living on islands which
are sometimes separated by thousands of kilometers of open-ocean (e.g.,
Burley and Freeland, 2019; Clark et al., 2018; Szab´
o, 2010). In Palau, an
archipelago in western Micronesia (northwestern tropical Pacic), oral
traditions and ethnographic accounts describe how glass money beads
(udoud) were used as a medium of exchange and were an integral part of
traditional exchange systems. Udoud were used in economic transactions
between individuals, exchanged with families or clans during events like
weddings and funerals, and typically worn by women around their neck
(Ballendorf, 1991; Kr¨
amer, 1926; Kubary, 1873, 1895; Semper, 1873).
Udoud are still exchanged in non-economic transactions and worn today,
demonstrating their continued importance in Palauan society. Udoud are
not, and were not, a form of currency in the strict sense that there is a
standard value per bead; but during shortages, beads would be sliced
into smaller units to make more money available for exchange (Kr¨
1926). However, udoud meets the criteria of money as dened by eco-
nomic theorists because it is a medium of exchange, has a store of value,
and a measure of value (e.g., Davies, 2002; Fitzpatrick and McKeon,
2020:11). Understanding the classication and value of udoud is
complicated as the context in which they are exchanged, individual bead
life-histories (pedigrees), and the general availability of beads all could
inuence their value. In addition, ethnographic and historic accounts
describe pervasive secrecy around udoud as the types and quantities
owned by clans are closely guarded secrets. Finally, the
well-documented production and exchange of counterfeit udoud adds an
additional layer of complexity in the understanding of these valuables
* Corresponding author at: P.O. Box 22621 GMF, Barrigada, Guam 96912, United States.
E-mail address: (M.F. Napolitano).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
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Received 26 January 2021; Received in revised form 23 June 2022; Accepted 28 June 2022
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
and the circumstances in which they were exchanged.
Despite their long-term importance in Palauan society, the prove-
nance of udoud remains fairly murky (Ballendorf, 1993; Dupont, 2018a;
Force, 1959; Francis, 2002; Osborne, 1966). Archaeological evidence
demonstrates that Palau has been continuously inhabited since people
rst arrived from somewhere in southeast Asia ca. 3000 years ago (e.g.,
Clark, 2005; Clark et al., 2006; Fitzpatrick, 2003ac; Fitzpatrick and
Jew, 2018; Montenegro et al., 2016; Stone, 2020; Stone et al., 2017). But
it was millennia later when two different waves of beads were appar-
ently introduced to Palau. The "rst wave" of udoud may have been
brought around AD 600950, with some varieties possibly arriving as
early as AD 200. These include three distinct types: Indo-Pacic beads
(likely from mainland Southeast Asia), cut and drilled sections of glass
bracelets (possibly manufactured in China), and numerous varieties of
beads manufactured in East Java (Francis, 1997, 2002:189; Osborne,
1966). These latter varieties are highly distinctive and, outside of East
Java, are only found in great number in Palau. Francis (2002:136)
suggests that this co-occurrence (and great abundance) indicates that
they must have been introduced directly by traders from East Java
during the same era they were being manufactured (i.e., AD 600950). It
has also been suggested that Palauans could have acquired beads
through sporadic trade with Chinese junk ships that were thought to
travel in the region (Kr¨
amer, 1926), although evidence in support of this
scenario is lacking.
The supply of rst-wave beads into Palau appears to have been
relatively xed until later when Yapese islanders arrived in Palau to
carve their large stone money disks (rai in Yapese, balang in Palauan),
and introduced glass beads and other valuables from Yap and exchanged
them to gain access to quarry sites and to purchase supplies (Fitzpatrick,
2003b, 2008), representing the "second wave" of beads introduced to
Palau. The lengthy process of gaining access to quarries, carving stone
money disks, and transporting them across open-ocean to Yap lled with
challenging winds and currents (which were, incidentally, the heaviest
portable objects every transported over water by Pacic Islanders),
would have taken months or even years to complete (Hazell and Fitz-
patrick, 2006). It is well known that these objects were extremely
important in Yapese society for centuries and are still highly valued to
this day (de Beauclair, 1963a; Fitzpatrick and McKeon, 2020; Furness,
1910). After centuries of a xed supply of beads, the introduction of a
new supply of udoud from Yap would undoubtedly have created a high
demand for these new pieces. Beads in this second wave seem to have
been able to enter this closed system because: 1) they included the same
varieties of beads already circulating in Palau (de Beauclair, 1961, 1962,
1963b); and 2) some Palauan oral traditions have long credited Yap as
the source for udoud. Their introduction could have also inuenced the
value of other udoud that have been in circulation for centuries.
Establishing when stone money production began is difcult as only
three quarry sites have been excavated to date, and quarrying activities
resulted in complex stratigraphic deposition and reworking, and in some
sites led to the movement of large amounts of limestone debitage
(Fitzpatrick, 2001). Radiocarbon data, oral traditions, and ethnohisto-
rical accounts demonstrate that quarrying likely began at least 400 years
ago prior to the arrival of Europeans to Palau when British Captain
Henry Wilson ran his packet ship the Antelope aground at Ulong Island in
1783 and the permanent arrival of missionaries to Yaps outer islands in
the 19th century (Fitzpatrick, 2002; Hezel, 1983). This tentatively pla-
ces the second wave introduction of udoud into the late Stonework
Village Era (ca. 700150 BP). However, precisely when the second wave
of beads were rst introduced to Palau is unclear, as is how the Yapese
came into their possession. As quarrying activity increased after the
establishment of European trading and mining operations in Palau in the
mid- to late-19th century, so did the presence of other high-valued items
such a metal tools (Fitzpatrick, 2008; Fitzpatrick et al., 2006). During
this time, the Yapese may have acquired beads through direct trade with
Europeans or as a result of Captain David Dean OKeefes enterprise
transporting stone money disks between Palau and Yap in exchange for
eche-de-mer (sea cucumber) and copra (dried coconut meat), which he
sold in East Asian markets (Fitzpatrick, 2008; Morgan, 1996). Yet Yap-
ese oral traditions appear to describe the same East Java or mainland
Southeast Asian beads already in circulation in Palau in addition to
beads that may have been obtained from Europeans (de Beauclair,
To examine these provenance issues, we conducted compositional
analysis of glass beads from Palau that were recovered with food refuse
and evidence for stone money quarrying activities at the multicompo-
nent site of Chelechol ra Orrak to help understand when and where the
beads were manufactured and establish when quarrying activity took
place. The site is notable as a Yapese stone money quarry and for con-
taining one of the earliest cemeteries in Remote Oceania (ca.
30001800 cal BP) (Fitzpatrick, 2003a; Fitzpatrick and Jew, 2018;
Nelson and Fitzpatrick, 2005; Stone, 2020). Chelechol ra Orrak is also
the only stone money quarry site where glass beads have been recov-
ered, and so these artifacts provide a unique opportunity to anchor the
sites chronology using the beads as terminus post quem (TPQ) markers.
This is important because establishing the chronology at quarry sites can
be difcult given mixing and/or subtle changes of some stratigraphic
contexts within the site. In addition, radiocarbon dates that are associ-
ated with activities that occurred within the past few hundred years,
when calibrated, do not provide a reliable estimate of when these took
place. However, stratigraphic and artifactual evidence (e.g., limestone
quarrying debitage) suggests that they are associated mostly or exclu-
sively with quarrying activity (Fitzpatrick, 2003b, 2003c, 2008).
2. Background
2.1. Environmental and archaeological background
The Palauan archipelago comprises hundreds of islands with varying
lithologies, including volcanic, coralline uplifted limestone, platform-
reef, and atolls aligned in a southwestnortheast orientation. The two
largest islands of Babeldaob and Koror are primarily volcanic rock and
surrounded by smaller uplifted coralline limestone islands colloquially
known as the ‘Rock Islands. Surrounding the central islands is a barrier
reef that protects a productive lagoon habitat. Palau is divided into 16
states that correspond to village district boundaries prior to European
Palaus culture history spans more than three millennia and is
generally separated into ve major periods: the Expansion Era (ca.
32002400 cal BP), Earthwork Era (ca. 24001200 cal BP), Transitional
Era (ca. 1200700 cal BP), Stonework era (ca. 700150 BP), and colonial
period that began after sustained contact with Europeans in AD 1783
(Liston, 2009; Lucking, 1984; Lucking and Parmentier, 1990). The old-
est evidence for human activity in Palau comes from occupation and
burial sites in the Rock Islands dating to ca. 32003000 cal BP (Clark,
2005; Clark et al., 2006; Fitzpatrick, 2003a; Fitzpatrick and Jew, 2018;
Stone, 2020; Stone et al., 2017) (Table 1). During the Earthwork Era,
settlement of Babeldaobs interior increased as groups began extensive
large-scale landscape modication (Welch, 2001). It is estimated that
20% of Babeldaob has earthwork formations, including bermed basins,
earth platforms, embankments, leveled plains, modied gullies or
swales, platform terraces, raised earth paths, ridgelines, transverse and
lateral ditches, step-terraces, ring-ditches, and steep-sided and
at-topped hills known as crowns(Liston, 2009:57).
The later Stonework Era is a brief, but active period of expansion in
Palauan history. During this time, the northern atoll Kayangel and the
reef-islands of Peleliu and Angaur appear to have been occupied for the
rst time (Clark and Wright, 2005). Village sites across the Palau islands
were built with elaborate stone pathways, platforms, bathing pools,
communal houses, docks, and shrines. On the volcanic islands, basalt
and andesite were primarily used in construction, whereas on the Rock
Islands, Kayangel, Peleliu, and Angaur, coral slabs were used instead.
Liston and Tuggle (2001:3) interpret the terraces and stonework villages
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
as features of fortied polities which had a practical defensive
component but were also symbolic statements of power and prestige.
Palau has experienced several major periods of colonial oversight.
The Spanish took control of Palau for almost 15 years between 1885
until 1899 and then came under the purview of Germany until 1914
when the Japanese seized control of German possessions in Micronesia
at the outbreak of World War I. On October 18 of that same year, Jap-
anese warships entered Malakal harbor, which began four years of
military control over the islands before a civilian administration was
established in 1918. Palau then became the capital of the Japanese
South Seas Government (Nanyo Cho) and later a hub of imperialism in
their attempt to take over vast swathes of the Pacic during the 1930s
and early 1940s, culminating in their defeat in 1945 that effectively
ended World War II.
Chelechol ra Orrak (beach of Orrak) is located on the western side
of Orrak Island 1 km southeast of Babeldaob (Fig. 1). Like many other
cave and rock shelters in Palau, the site was used for interring or placing
the dead during the earliest stages of Palaus settlement ca. 3000 BP
(Table 1; Nelson and Fitzpatrick, 2005; Stone, 2020; Stone et al., 2017).
Orrak is unique, however, in that it is the only known site in Palau to
have a cemetery overlain with later occupational refuse (Fitzpatrick,
2003a; Fitzpatrick and Jew, 2018; Nelson and Fitzpatrick, 2005). The
third component to the site, which includes stone architecture, lime-
stone debitage, and both nished and unnished stone money, clearly
demonstrates its use by Yapese Islanders who journeyed to Palau to
quarry their famous rai (Fitzpatrick, 2003b, 2008).
The process of stone money production on Palau and transport to Yap
was a lengthy and dangerous endeavor. According to oral traditions and
ethnohistoric accounts, groups from Yap gained access to limestone
quarries by providing corv´
ee labor and offering highly valued glass
beads, exotic foods, and other items such as sennit cord bundles (strong
cordage made from coconut husks) to the clans or villages that
controlled various islands (Fitzpatrick, 2001; Fitzpatrick et al., 2006).
For Yapese islanders, the process of traveling to Palau, quarrying stone
Table 1
Cultural chronology of Palau.
Date cal BP or
Cultural Stage
ca. 32002800 First colonization (?): Evidence from Ulong Island, Ucheliungs,
and Chelechol ra Orrak shows occupation and use of some Rock
Islands for burial sites
ca. 32002400 Expansion Era: Coastal settlement, inland use for horticulture;
population growth; burials on some Rock Islands
ca. 24001200 Earthwork Era: Growth and decline of large earthworks in
volcanic island interiors; chiey power and territorial districts;
intensive interior settlement; dryland cultivation; later coastal
and Rock Island settlement
ca. 15001200 Late Earthwork Era: Movement out of interior larger volcanic
islands to coasts and Rock Islands; decline of districts and of
earthwork construction and use; inland cultivation continues;
emergence of ring-ditch palisades suggests conict and defense
ca. 1200700 Transitional Era: Little evidence for cultural activity, coastal
and Rock Island occupation, limited use of interior, potential
overharvesting of inshore resources
ca. 700150 Stonework Village Era: Compact complexes of coastal villages
behind defensive barrier of mangrove forests and terraces;
monumental stone architecture and paving, welfare; extensive
wet and dryland agriculture; taro pond eld cultivation;
interaction with Yap as part of stone money quarrying
AD 1783 European Contact: Captain Wilson and the British packet the
Antelope wrecks off Ulong Island
AD 18851899 Spanish colonial rule
AD 18991914 German administration
AD 19141945 Japanese administration
AD 19451994 U.S. Naval administration
AD 1994-pr. Republic of Palau established as an independent nation
Fig. 1. Map of Palau (left) and Yap (right).
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
money, and then transporting these disks to Yap was one part of a larger
system of regional interisland interaction networks that also included
the sawei exchange with small outer island atolls east of Yap in western
and central Micronesia (Fitzpatrick, 2008: g. 6; Fitzpatrick and
McKeon, 2020). The sawei was an intricate exchange system that
involved the outer islands paying tribute to Yap every few years in ex-
change for materials not available on coral atolls such as pottery, stone,
and lumber as well as providing seedlings and provisions after major
storms, when necessary (Berg, 1992; Descantes, 2005; Hunter-Anderson
and Zan, 1996).
It is unclear exactly when Yapese stone money quarrying activity
began in Palau. This is in part due to the aforementioned mixing of some
stratigraphic deposits found in stone money quarry sites and rock shel-
ters more generally (Fitzpatrick, 2001). Radiocarbon determinations
from deposits associated with stone money production at the only three
quarry sites excavated thus far (Omis, Metuker ra Bisech, and Chelechol
ra Orrak) calibrate as modern or fall on a at part of the radiocarbon
calibration curve (Fitzpatrick, 2001, 2003b; Fitzpatrick and Jew, 2018).
However, oral traditions and ethnohistoric data indicate that quarrying
activity was well underway before Palaus extended contact with Eu-
ropeans in the late 1700s (Fitzpatrick, 2003a, 2008).
Evidence for stone money quarrying at Chelechol ra Orrak includes
two unnished stone money disks, a smaller complete disk found in
beach deposits outside the rockshelter, lithic debris, and a variety of
stone architecture, including a dock, wall alignments, and mounds that
were used during the production and transport of stone money disks
(Fitzpatrick, 2003b). Unlike some Yapese quarrying sites, no metal tools
were recovered here that would indicate a post-18th century use with
the possible exception of one surface-collected iron tool (Fitzpatrick
et al., 2006). The recovery of 38 glass beads lends additional support to
Palauan and Yapese oral histories that quarrying activity was ongoing
and continued until the mid- to late-19th century (Fitzpatrick, 2008).
2.2. Possible origins of beads to Palau and Yap
Douglas Osborne (1966), the rst archaeologist to work extensively
in Palau, surmised that glass beads were probably introduced sometime
between ca. AD 200950 from Indonesia or mainland Southeast Asia
and was a partial catalyst for the development of Palaus social hierar-
chy. Bead scholar Peter Francis (1997, 2002) suggests a later introduc-
tion ca. AD 600950 based on the continued circulation of numerous
beads that were manufactured in East Java around the same time,
though both proposed chronologies are largely conjectural. The rst
written account of Palauan bead money was by Captain Wilson in AD
1783 (Clark, 2007; Keate, 1789), also thought to be the rst major and
sustained contact with Palau by Europeans.
Numerous Palauan oral traditions describe the origin and use of bead
money (Ballendorf, 1993; Hijikata, 1993; Kubary, 1873, 1895). Ac-
cording to one local legend, a sh gave birth to a girl who built an island
(Ngorot Island). The girl then gave birth to a bird (Okak) that was full of
udoud and the bird was sent to Angaur and Ngaraard (two Palauan
districts that are now states) as a reward for raising the sh and the girl
(Thijssen-Etpison, 1997). A different legend recounts two Portuguese
ships running aground near the islands of Ulong and Kayangel. To
procure supplies from Palauans, one of the ships crew cut up the dec-
orations and drilled holes in them to trade as money (Ritzenthaler,
1954). Another story states that udoud rst entered the Palauan econ-
omy from Yap where they were already being used as money (Par-
mentier, 2002:62-63).
According to Yapese oral traditions, glass beads rst appeared on
Yap after a man named Giluai visited the sky-world to look for a shell
bracelet that was buried with his brother. During his visit he was
allowed to pick magical fruits that he wore as a necklace. The largest of
the fruits was crescentic-shaped, corresponding to the most valuable
class of Palauan udoud. After passing the bead down for several gener-
ations, it came into possession by a man named Rengenbai who used it to
negotiate access to a stone money quarry on Palau (de Beauclair,
1963b). Another story details a canoe party being blown off course by a
typhoon and reaching Taiwan where they acquired baskets of beads. A
third story describes how the chief of a high-ranking village in Yap
received a large quantity of beads as tribute from a foreigner in a canoe
with a square sail (de Beauclair, 1963b:3-4). These beads were later
distributed by the chief to people sailing on canoes for unfamiliar
islands. Smaller beads remained on Yap with various accounts of them
being inherited, interred with the dead, cached and buried inside large
shells for protection, or accidentally found buried in gardens (de Beau-
clair, 1963b). A consistent element in each of these oral traditions is that
beads passed through the possession of chiefs and were worn as neck-
laces or bracelets. They were also highly valuable as currency and could
be traded for stone money, shell beads, banana ber mats, or other items
(de Beauclair, 1963b).
When considering oral traditions from both islands and the chro-
nologies proposed by Osborne (1966) and Francis (1997, 2002), it seems
possible that there was an earlier introduction by traders from Island
Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and/or mainland Southeast Asia and a
later, second wave of beads introduced via Yap that may have included
both older heirloom beads and beads manufactured more recently in
Europe. The description of a square sail may suggest interaction with
Europeans or Chinese junk boats as Micronesian watercraft typically had
triangular sails.
2.3. Beads in Palauan society
In Palau today, the US dollar is used in economic transactions, but
udoud and other forms of traditional currency like turtle shell bowls
(toluk) are still exchanged to mark signicant events such as the birth of
a rst child (omengat), funerals, weddings, and divorces (Dupont,
2018a). The relative value of udoud within the same category vary as
well. Historically, one bead type known as kluk was given a standard
value of 10 coconut leaf baskets (su´
alo) holding 1020 lb of taro; yet one
particular kluk could be more valuable than others depending on its life
history (Ritzenthaler, 1954). In addition, the supply of beads to Palau
was, at times, xed. Coupled with beads being broken, lost, or devalued
in other ways, their value generally increased as the supply decreased
(Hijikata, 1993:220; Parmentier, 2002). Udoud can also increase in
value if they are possessed by a particularly respected member of the
community or have an exceptionally important life history; the highest
valued beads were individually named (Barnett, 1949:43; Parmentier,
2002:64; Ritzenthaler, 1954:9-10). According to oral tradition, one such
udoudbachel el berrak (a yellow prismatic bead) named Nglulm-
rardwas given by Ngaraard to Melekeok to settle a war between the
two districts and was also later exchanged during marriages (Osborne,
1966:488). Alternatively, the value of udoud can also decrease, for
example, if they pass through a low-ranking household or are used to
pay a ne for a penalty like adultery. The life histories of more valuable
udoud were memorialized in formal chants (chesol), whereas the life
history of less valuable udoud were tracked with informal legends (Nero,
1996). Because the value of udoud is directly tied to the people or clans
involved in the exchange and the context of the event, the monetary
value of individual udoud is always in ux. In addition, udoud value and
bead life histories cannot be a veried or backed by an institution as
there is no formal registry for bead values other than chesol. Recent calls
to create a national registry for udoud have not been received favorably
by a majority of the general public, underscoring the continued desire to
maintain secrecy around what types of udoud are owned by clans
(Dupont, 2018a).
Multiple classication schemes have been used to describe udoud
with between three and nine broad categories usually identied. First
described in detail by Kubary (1873, 1895), Semper (1873, 1982
[1873]), and Kr¨
amer (1926), the most comprehensive discussion of
udoud was by Ritzenthaler (1954) who identied nine families based on
four criteria: material, color, shape, and social use (Fig. 2). Many other
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
attempts at categorization also exist (see also Barnett, 1949; Dupont,
2018a, 2018b; Kr¨
amer, 1926; Opitz, 2004; Osborne, 1966; Parmentier,
2002; Thijssen-Etpison, 1997). None of these attempts at classication
schemes are completely satisfactory, with most exhibiting internal in-
consistencies and conations between udoud categories and individually
named specimens. Some of this confusion in the literature can be traced
to: 1) incorrect assumptions about udoud material; 2) the difculty of
ethnographers being able to view udoud as informants were reluctant to
reveal the type and quantity of beads in their clans possession; 3)
changing terminology as some varieties disappeared from circulation;
and 4) conicting and incomplete information provided by ethno-
graphic informants (see Parmentier, 2002). For example, Ritzenthalers
(1954) classication scheme of more than 2,900 udoud is based on the
information from a single informant and may inherently be biased or
myopic, especially given the secrecy surrounding udoud life histories
(Dupont 2018a).
Despite the considerable variance in classication schemes, Palauan
udoud can be broadly, and etically, divided into three distinct categories.
The rst, and most important, category is bachel (e.g., Figs. 2a-1, 2a-2,
2b-2). Beads in this category are considered the most valuable and are
easily recognized because of their crescent shapes and are often worn as
a single bead on a necklace (iek). When women wear these, it is typically
an indication of high social rank and would be removed when entering
the village or house of a higher-ranking clan (Kr¨
amer, 1926). While
some of these are obviously manufactured from glass (e.g., bachel mer-
imer [Fig. 2b-18]), others (e.g, bachel berrak [Figs. 2a-2, 2b-1], bachel
mengungau [Figs. 2a-1 and 2b-2]) have been the source of considerable
debate, with some scholars describing them as being made of red clay
or ceramic (e.g., Parmentier, 1985, 2002; Ritzenthaler, 1954).
Archaeometric analyses of the material, however, indicates that despite
its visual appearance, these udoud varieties are in fact made from glass
and were cut from bracelets or bangles (Barnett, 1949; Force, 1959;
ovgren, 2011; Osborne, 1958, 1966). Similar intact bracelets have been
recovered from burials in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand and
likely derive from China or mainland Southeast Asia (Force, 1959;
Francis, 2002; Osborne, 1966; Thijssen-Etpison, 1997).
The second category includes polychrome bead types known as
chelbucheb (e.g., Fig. 2a-4, 2b-30-32) and kluk (e.g., Fig. 2a-4), as well as
thin rings cut from these types (i.e., delobech). The beads in this group
were almost certainly manufactured in East Java, ca. AD 600900
(Adhyatman and Arin, 1993; Francis, 1991, 1997, 2002). The nal
category includes numerous varieties of beads lacking decoration.
Opaque varieties, found in a number of shapes, are subsumed under the
kldait group, while transparent and translucent beads are in the chel-
doech group. Most of these varieties likely derive from the same sources
as the rst two categories, with Francis (2002) suggesting that many are
varieties of Indo-Pacic beads (see also Carter, 2016).
Of all udoud types, cheldoech is the least well-documented. The value
of this bead type varies from low to high based on the size and quality of
the bead with lower valued beads primarily used for buying supplies like
food and coconut syrup (ilaot) and higher-valued cheldoech being
equivalent to one kluk (Ritzenthaler, 1954). Kr¨
amer (1926) aso reports
that cheldoech were worn by children and young girls. As a lower-valued
type, they were not used for signicant exchanges or worn like bachel to
indicate rank, although today they are sometimes worn as bead spacers
or at the end of iek (Watanabe and Inacio, n.d.). As they were only used
for simple economic transactions, most cheldoech would likely not have
individual names or recorded life histories. Largely disappearing from
Fig. 2. Palauan udoud illustrated by Kubary (1873) (A) and Kubary (1895) (B).
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
circulation in the early 1920s (Ritzenthaler, 1954), only Kubary (1873,
1895) and Semper (1873) described this type prior to its devaluation.
The disappearance of cheldoech is widely attributed to its ease in coun-
terfeiting (Hijikata, 1993; Ritzenthaler, 1954).
Indeed, many sources describe extensive efforts to counterfeit udoud
(Barnett, 1949; Dupont, 2018a; Hijikata, 1993; Keate, 1789; Kr¨
1926; Kubary, 1873; Osborne, 1966; Ritzenthaler, 1954). It is unclear
exactly when counterfeiting udoud began, though it was documented by
Wilson within months of his arrival (Keate, 1789). Historically, such
counterfeiting most often took three forms: 1) drilling or piercing frag-
ments of broken bottles or plate glass for counterfeit cheldoech (post-
European arrival) (e.g., Keate, 1789); 2) attempting to pass recently
introduced foreign beads as genuine udoud (Hijikata, 1993); and 3)
exaggerating the value or fabricating the life history of udoud.
Hijikata (1993:217) suggests that counterfeits of the rst type have
been called ngerusar as they were extensively produced at Ngerusar
village in Airai State, and Kubary (1873) reports a counterfeit of this
type being manufactured from his discarded pickle jar. In an example of
the second type, Kr¨
amer (1926) writes that during the German admin-
istration when counterfeiting was at its peak, white men, too, have
attempted to create substitutes, but these were easily identied by
Palauans as fraudulent and they wereand still areadept at detecting
forgeries (see also Kubary, 1873). These counterfeits, when recognized,
are called udoud el kemanget a cosenged er ngii (money that must be
looked at for a long time), udoud er a ngebard, (foreign udoud or
udoud of the west) or ungil udoud (good money) (Dupont, 2018a;
Hijikata, 1993:217; Kr¨
amer, 1926). However, Kr¨
amers (1926) account
is unclear as to what these beads looked like or how they compared to
those that were already in circulation. Even today, counterfeiting udoud
continues with East Javanese beads being looted from sites in Indonesia
and then imported to Palau (Dupont, 2018a; Francis, 2002; Remenge-
sau, 1997; Thijssen-Etpison, 1997; Yuping, 2012).
In an example of the third type of counterfeit, Kr¨
amer (1926) and
others write about the difculty in simply viewing udoud for fear that
they would be lost or stolen (Parmentier, 2002:53; Thijssen-Etpison,
1997). In one such instance, after being trusted enough to look at udoud,
amer (1926) later discovered that he was deceived and knowingly
shown counterfeits. There have also been attempts to counterfeit high-
valued bachel berrak and bachel mengungau by baking them from the
clay found on the large island of Babeldaob and fabricating a life history
for them (Kr¨
amer, 1926; Osborne, 1966:488; Ritzenthaler, 1954:22).
When lacking a known life history or transaction history, Palauans
inspected the beads to look for obvious signs of deception (Dupont,
2018a). For example, if a bead is drilled, one way to inspect them is to
look for uniform perforations made with modern equipment instead of
irregular, conical, or biconical perforations; however, this would pri-
marily apply to drilled udoud like bachel and not to beads that were of
wound or drawn manufacture. A second technique is to rub oil from
ones nose on the bead. Authentic udoud will shine while udoud made
from counterfeit material will remain dull (Dupont 2018a). Despite the
heavy penalties for making transactions with counterfeit udoud (coun-
terfeiting was at times heavily punished with nes and sometimes death
[Ritzenthaler, 1954:22])acceptance may have been required at times
because taking too long to inspect a bead could be interpreted as a sign
of mistrust and cause embarrassment to both parties (ng kora kemanget a
osenged er ngii, which translates to the observation is taking too long
because it is fake) (Kloulubak, personal communication). In this light,
one could use their social status or their clans rank as leverage to use
counterfeit udoud in transactions, although this could be risky given the
potential punishments.
There are, however, notable exceptions in the ways udoud were
appraised and exchanged. Despite lacking known life histories and
transaction histories, beads from Yap were trusted as ng chuodel (they
are ancient and therefore authentic) (Kloulubak, personal communica-
tion). Kubary (1873) explains that they may have been readily accepted
as authentic because people on Yap would have no way to produce
counterfeit udoud (Thijssen-Etpison and Dupont, 2017:24). There also
appear to be other social contexts where counterfeit money was required
for certain offerings and ritual ceremonies. In his description of burial
customs, Kr¨
amer (1926:353) writes that when the casket is delivered, a
mock ght takes place on the beach in [Ngchesar] because the bearers
strive to prevent the block of wood from being pulled up, and they even
go so far as to cut through the ropes until they are appeased with
counterfeit money. Although Kr¨
amer does not describe them, it is
possible that he is referring to cheldoech since this category had lost its
monetary value at the time he was in Palau. These accounts ultimately
paint a complex, and sometimes contradictory, picture of authentic and
counterfeit udoud being exchanged, or even required in various contexts,
with knowledge of clan treasuries being closely held information.
Ultimately, Palauans are uniquely qualied to assess the authenticity
and value of udoud because of the complicated intersection of place,
social structure, rank, lineage, and object life history in ways that is
difcult, if not impossible, for a non-Palauan to understand. In this re-
gard, although beads can be classied etically, understanding the role of
udoud in Palauan exchange systems is best understood from an emic
rather than an etic perspective.
2.4. Glass beads in Palauan archaeology
Though ethnographic accounts indicate that udoud were not interred
with the deceased (Ritzenthaler, 1954), many glass beads have been
recovered archaeologically from odesongel (raised stone- or coral-lined
clan burial platforms) or other burial contexts dating to the Stonework
Era (ca. 700150 BP), (Liston, 2007a, 2007b; 2010, 2011a, 2011b,
2011c; L¨
ovgren, 2011; Masse and Snyder, 1982; Titchenal, 1999, 2001;
Titchenal et al., 1998). When recovered from burial contexts they
appear to be interred as bracelets or anklets given their association near
the wrist or feet (Liston, 2010a, Liston, 2010b; L¨
ovgren, 2011). This is
somewhat unexpected given that early ethnographic accounts are clear
in that glass beads were not typically worn in this fashion (Kr¨
1926). Some of the beads reported from mortuary contexts on Palau are
impossible to identify from published descriptions and photographs, but
a few types are readily identiable as beads that were manufactured in
Europe during the 19th century. Others, however, have also been
explicitly identied as examples of traditional udoud (Liston, 2010;
Masse and Snyder, 1982; Titchenal, 1999, 2001; Titchenal et al., 1998),
though in some cases, these appear to have been misidentications.
Excavation of an odesongel in the village of Ngermid (Koror State, B:
OR-1:1) revealed 22 burials, one of which was an adult of indeterminate
sex interred with a bracelet and one or two anklets totaling 199 beads
and 53 fragments (Liston, 2010). The bracelet included 78 emerald-
green beads and the anklet comprised 118 emerald-green beads; blue
and black beads were also recovered (Liston, 2010). Many of the beads
recovered with this burial appear to be typologically similar to the udoud
recovered at Orrak.
At a second odesongel at Ngerdubech (Ngatpang State, B:NT-3:9), ve
of 19 excavated burials contained a total of 457 glass beads. The beads
were green and blue transparent glass and were all recovered near the
wrist area. Photographs of the beads (Power, 2011) show many wound
varieties as well as some pressed and drawn varieties, like those we
report below. Compositional analysis identied a high lead content
(greater than 40%) in many of the beads from the site and indicates that
most of the wound specimens may have been manufactured in China
ovgren, 2011).
At a third site in Ngerielb Village (Koror State, B:OR-1:8), 1700 beads
were found with 12 individuals interred across three odesongel exca-
vated as part of a contract archaeology project for the planned but now-
defunct Hung Kuo resort. There was considerable diversity in beads at
this site, with 27 different types present, including a double string of
beads consisting of seven different types found around the neck of a
child. Morphological and typological analyses suggest that most of these
(n =1073) appear to be of Venetian origin, though numerous specimens
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
from Bohemia and China were also reported (L¨
ovgren, 2011; Titchenal,
1999, 2001). Three beads recovered at the site were manufactured from
drilled glass and appear to be examples of the class of counterfeit udoud
that was manufactured from bottles (L¨
ovgren, 2011; Titchenal, 2001).
Although many of the beads recovered from these sites were originally
identied as udoud from East Java (Titchenal, 2001), compositional
analysis indicated that this bead type was manufactured in Bohemia
ovgren, 2011). Examinations of the bead photographs, descriptions,
and comparisons with the Orrak assemblage make clear that most of the
beads recovered from these burial contexts can be classied as cheldoech.
Glass beads recovered from these burial contexts suggest that, con-
trary to ethnographic accounts (Kr¨
amer, 1926; Kubary, 1873), they were
worn as jewelry in large quantities, but this may have been limited to
funerary contexts. Alternatively, it is possible that ethnographic de-
scriptions of personal adornment or funerary contexts were incomplete
or inaccurate. Given the relatively small number of excavated burials,
and the even smaller number that contain beads, it is not yet possible to
test this hypothesis. The presence of Bohemian and Venetian glass beads
indicates that the burials date to the end of the Stonework Era (ca. AD
1800) or immediately after. While it is possible that there were addi-
tional social contexts not described by ethnographers where udoud were
used, including some mortuary contexts, the presence of so many glass
beadsmost of which can be identied as cheldoech (including coun-
terfeit ones made from drilled transparent glass)interred as jewelry
suggests that the beads may have been regarded differently than tradi-
tional udoud since they were given away with an individual and not
retained in the clan treasury.
Despite these nuances in how udoud were perceived and exchanged
in Palau through time, the recovery of dozens of glass beads from Orrak
represents a rarely encountered archaeological context that allow us to
better understand the role of udoud in Palauan exchange systems and
provides a tangible example of inter-island exchange that supports oral
traditions. Compositional analysis of glass beads provides a unique op-
portunity to rene the chronology as certain recipes can provide tem-
poral markers through the presence of specic ingredients or
manufacturing techniques. Below, we describe the rst compositional
analysis of glass beads found in this context and discuss how the results
can help us establish their provenance and ways in which they might
have been exchanged or valued.
3. Methods
3.1. Typological analysis
The 38 glass beads recovered from Orrak were analyzed using
standard glass bead typological conventions (Beck, 1928; Francis, 2002;
Karklins, 1982, 2012; Kidd and Kidd, 1970). Method of manufacture (e.
g., drawn, wound), construction (e.g., simple, compound, complex),
decoration, nishing technique (e.g., heat rounded, faceted), shape,
color, diaphaneity, and size (length and diameter) were all recorded.
When possible, Kidd and Kidd (1970) type-variety numbers were also
assigned to individual specimens. These were then compared to docu-
mented types of udoud and correlations made when possible (Kr¨
1926; Kubary, 1873, 1895; Ritzenthaler, 1954; Thijssen-Etpison, 1997).
3.2. LA-ICP-MS
In addition to morphologically typing the assemblage, compositional
analysis was conducted at the Elemental Analysis Facility at the Field
Museum of Natural History (Chicago, USA) to identify the type of glass
used to manufacture the beads (e.g., lead, potash, soda-lime) as well as
identify major colorants, opaciers, and temporally diagnostic
elemental attributes. The analyses were carried out with a Thermo ICAP
Q inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) connected to
a New Wave UP213 laser for direct introduction of solid samples.
The parameters of the ICP-MS are optimized to ensure a stable signal
with a maximum intensity over the full range of masses of the elements
and to minimize oxides and double ionized species formation (XO+/X +
and X++/X+<1 to 2%). For that purpose, the argon ows, the radio-
frequency power, the torch position, the lenses, the mirror, and the
detector voltages are adjusted using an auto-optimization procedure.
For better sensitivity, helium is used as a gas carrier in the laser. The
choice of the laser ablation parameters not only have an effect on the
sensitivity of the method and the reproducibility of the measurements,
but also on the damage to the sample. The single point analysis mode
with a laser beam diameter of 100
m, operating at 80% of the laser
energy (0.1 mJ) and at a pulse frequency of 20 Hz was used to determine
elements with concentrations in the range of parts per million (ppm) and
below while leaving a trace on the surface of the sample invisible to the
naked eye. A pre-ablation time of 20 s is set to eliminate the transient
part of the signal and to be sure that possible surface contamination or
corrosion does not affect the results of the analysis. For each sample, the
average of four measurements corrected from the blank is considered for
the calculation of concentrations.
To improve reproducibility of measurements, the use of an internal
standard is required to correct possible instrumental drifts or changes in
the ablation efciency. The element chosen as the internal standard has
to be present in a relatively high and known concentration so its mea-
surement is as accurate as possible. The isotope Si29 was used for in-
ternal standardization. Concentrations for major elements, including
silica, are calculated assuming that the sum of their concentrations in
weight percent in glass is equal to 100% (Gratuze, 1999).
Fully quantitative analyses are possible by using external standards.
To prevent matrix effects, the composition of standards has to be as close
as possible to that of the samples. Two different series of standards are
used to measure major, minor, and trace elements. The rst series of
external standards are standard reference materials (SRM) manufac-
tured by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (SRM 610
and SRM 612). Both of these standards are soda-lime-silica glass doped
with trace elements in the range of 500 ppm (SRM 610) and 50 ppm
(SRM 612). Certied values are available for a very limited number of
elements. Concentrations from Pearce et al. (1997) were used for the
other elements. The second series of standards were manufactured by
Corning. Glass B and D are glasses that match compositions of ancient
glass (Brill, 1999:544).
4. Results
Table 2 reports the complete typological analysis of the Orrak glass
bead assemblage, including assignment to compositional group (Fig. 3).
Complete elemental results are reported in Supplemental Table 1. The
glass bead assemblage excavated at Orrak can be divided into two main
compositional groups, with ve additional beads having unique com-
positions (Fig. 4).
The largest group (n =28) has a lead-potash composition (Pb-K),
with PbO content ranging from 26.4% to 57.9% and K2O ranging from
3.1% to 13.3%. Twenty of the beads in this group are faceted oblates
that were wound and pressed in a mold. All of these have vertical (or
longitudinal) mold seams, cylindrical perforations, and were wound
around a mandrel before being pressed in a mold. Each bead has 14
facets and the edges of the facets and the mold-seam on all specimens are
rounded, indicating slight reheating after pressing. One specimen
(46STNSP-A) consists of two conjoined beads with the perforations and
mold seams in perfect alignment (Fig. 3L). This, and the fact that many
of the single-specimens have cracked or fractured apertures, indicates
that the beads were wound and pressed in a sequential mold and then
separated (broken apart) when the glass was cold. This group includes
orange, red, green, and blue specimens. The orange and red ones were
all colored with gold (19.536 ppm) (Fig. 3F and 3M), the green bead
(85STNsp2) (Fig. 3J) with copper, and the single blue specimen
(6STNSP-A) was primarily colored with cobalt (Fig. 5).
While these beads are of an unusual variety (see discussion below),
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
Table 2
Typological analysis of glass beads recovered from Chelechol ra Orrak.
Unit Glass
Colorant Opacier Kidd
Place of
Manufacture Construction Finishing Shape Color Munsell Diaphaneaity Length
4 E2/
K-Ca Co If5 Bohemia Drawn Simple Ground
7.5PB 2/
5.5 7.3 Uranium
5 E2/
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple Oblate Orange 1.25 YR
transparent 6.2 7.0
6 E2/
K-Ca Cu If4 Bohemia Drawn Simple Ground
5.0G 6/6 transparent 4.7 5.6
7 E2/
Pb-K Co WIb Bohemia?
Wound Simple Oblate Black/
Dark blue
7.5PB 2/
Opaque to
5.8 7.4
8 E2/
Bohemia? UID Simple Oblate White/
N8 Opaque to
5.2 6.1 Heavily
likely of
9 E2/
K-Ca Cu Ic Bohemia Drawn Simple Hexagonal
10.0G 5/
transparent 4.6 4.8
10 E2/
Pb-K Cu WIb Bohemia?
Wound Simple Oblate Green 2.5G 5/
transparent 4.0 6.5 Possible
mold seam
11 E2/
K-Ca Cu Ic Bohemia Drawn Simple Hexagonal
5.0G 6/6 transparent/
5.0 5.6
17 E2/
Cu WI China? Wound Simple Barrel Blue-
translucent 4.3 5.1 High Zn and
Ba; Coil bead?
19 E2/
Pb-K Co; Cu As WIb Bohemia?
Wound Simple Oblate Blue 5.0PB 4/
opaque 5.1 6.2
37 E3/
Na-Ca Cu (ext) Sb IVa6 Venice Drawn Compound Heat
Torus Red-on-
7.5R 3/8
Opaque over
2.0 3.4
111STNSP E3/
Pb-K Cu As WIb Bohemia?
Wound Simple Oblate Aqua Blue 2.5B 6/4 Opaque 5.8 6.4
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple Oblate Rose
translucent 5.2 6.3
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
5.4 6.1
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
5.2 5.4 ret w/
UID Wound? Compound Torus Red/
Opaque 2.5 3.7 glass?
K-Ca Cu If3 Bohemia Drawn Simple Ground
5.0G 6/6 transparent 4.1 5.2
Pb-K Au Bohemia Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
5.7 6.3
(continued on next page)
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
Table 2 (continued )
Unit Glass
Colorant Opacier Kidd
Place of
Manufacture Construction Finishing Shape Color Munsell Diaphaneaity Length
Wound and
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
12.3 6.5 Conjoined,
double bead
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
6.0 6.9
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
6.3 6.5
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
5.8 6.4
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
6.1 7.1
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
5.1 6.3
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
5.5 6.1
51STNSP1 E2/
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
5.7 5.4 ret w/
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
Coral 10.0R 5/
6.0 6.6
69STNsp E3/
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
2.5R 3/4 UID 5.8 6.8
Pb-K Co As Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
7.5B 5/
Opaque 6.5 6.5
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple Oblate Rose
translucent 5.6 7.3
6STNSP-C Pb-K Au Bohemia Simple translucent 5.0 6.4
(continued on next page)
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
Table 2 (continued )
Unit Glass
Colorant Opacier Kidd
Place of
Manufacture Construction Finishing Shape Color Munsell Diaphaneaity Length
Wound and
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
translucent 5.4 6.3
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
translucent 5.9 6.2
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple Pressed
Square Barn Red 5.0R 3/
translucent 5.9 8.3 Pressed facets,
not molded
As WIb China? Wound Simple Oblate Oyster
N8 Opaque 6.4 8.1
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
2.5R 3/4 UID 6.5 7.2
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
2.5R 3/4 UID 5.4 6.2
Pb-K Au Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
2.5R 3/4 UID 6.0 6.1
85STNSP2 E3/
Pb-K Cu Bohemia Wound and
Simple 14
10.0G 5/
transparent 6.0 6.1 High tin
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
Fig 3. Beads recovered from Chelechol ra Orrak. Catalog numbers: A: 7; B: 4; C: 5; D: 6; E: 19; F: 26STNSP; G: 8; H: 10; I: 17; J: 85STNSP2; K: 19; L: 46NSTP-A; M:
Fig. 4. Ternary plot of Na
O, K
O, and PbO content of the Orrak bead assemblage, illustrating distinct compositional groups.
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
the morphology and technology of these beads (faceted-spheroidal,
mold-pressed) is typical of Bohemian manufacture (Francis, 1988,
2009a; Kaspers, 2014; Neuwirth, 1994, 2011; Ross, 2003; Ross and
Panz, 1989). The Pb-K formula is a good example of Bohemian
composition, a leaded glass of brilliant color designed to imitate
gemstones that can be easily molded (Francis, 1979, 1988; Kaspers,
2014). The use of gold as a colorant is also typical of Bohemian
composition(Francis, 2009a).
Four additional beads in the Pb-K group were also colored with gold
and manufactured by winding and pressing. Three of these lack facets
and were pressed into a simple oblate form. The fourth bead (6STNSP-F)
was wound and roughly faceted and pressed into a square shape by hand
(not molded). The composition and manufacturing method of these four
beads is also typical of Bohemia. Four other beads, also composed of Pb-
K glass, were wound, but lack evidence of pressing. Based on glass for-
mula, these too are likely Bohemian, though wound, lead-potash beads
were also manufactured in China (Brill et al. 1991; Carter, 2016; Carter,
et al., 2016b).
The second major compositional group in the Orrak assemblage in-
cludes ve beads made from potash glass (K-Ca) with K2O content
ranging from 12.8% to 16.6% and CaO content from 6.6% to 11.1%. All
ve are of drawn manufacture and have a hexagonal cross-section.
These varieties are a well-known Bohemian type (Kidd and Kidd Ic
and If) and the high potassium and calcium content is typical of central
European forest glasses (Cílov´
a and Woitsch, 2011; Francis, 1988;
Kenyon et al., 1995). Three of these specimens have facets ground into
the corners.
The nal ve beads in the assemblage have unique compositions
within the Orrak assemblage. Bead No. 37 is a compound, red-on-green
bead (Kidd and Kidd IVa6) of drawn manufacture. This type, sometimes
called a green-heart, is a well-known variety and is the only bead in
the assemblage made from soda-lime glass (N-Ca), typical of Venetian
manufacture (Francis, 1988, 2009b). Bead No. 8 (Fig. 3G) is so heavily
patinated that its method of manufacture was impossible to discern. It
could be of Bohemian manufacture, but it has an extremely high po-
tassium (19.75%) and alumina (4.91%) content (K-Ca-Al), unlike other
beads that are denitively Bohemian. Another specimen (Cat. No. 17,
Fig. 3I) is a wound bead that is also possibly Bohemian. It was manu-
factured from a potash glass (K-Ca-Mg), but the magnesia content
(4.32%) is signicantly higher than other Bohemian beads. In form, the
bead is reminiscent of Chinese coil beads, though those varieties are
typically manufactured from leaded glass (Francis, 2002). Bead 6STNSP-
G is a wound bead manufactured from a mixed alkali leaded glass (Pb-
Na-K), reminiscent of some Chinese beads reported by Burgess and
Dussubieux (2007). The last bead in the assemblage (27MIXSP-B) is
heavily weathered, but appears to be a wound bead of compound con-
struction (red/purple over brown/tan). This specimen (Pb-Ca-P
composition) contains high lead (49.6%), high calcium (19.5%), very
low silica (10.0%), and has a very high phosphate (12.6%) and chlorine
(2.3%) content. This is a very unusual composition for glass, and it
seems most likely that this bead was either not made of glass or a section
of heavily weathered glass was sampled during analysis, which can
produce unexpected results.
5. Discussion
5.1. Chronology and origins
The bead assemblage recovered archaeologically from Orrak is
notable for the ubiquity of European, primarily Bohemian, types.
Several of these (i.e., the drawn Bohemian varieties manufactured from
K-Ca glass) are well known in the bead literature and are the only type
Fig. 5. CuO (%) and Au (ppm) biplot of Pb-K beads in the Orrak assemblage. Shape indicates method of manufacture, while color (red, green, blue) reects
glass color.
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
that can be considered a clear temporal marker (Fig. 3B, 3D, 3O). Beads
of this typeoften erroneously called Russian beads in North Amer-
icawere not manufactured until ca. AD 1820 (Blair, 2018; Francis,
1994; Ross, 1997). One of the Orrak specimens (Cat No. 4, Fig. 3B) is
also noteworthy for containing a notable quantity of uranium (44 ppm)
compared to the rest of the beads in the assemblage. Uranium oxide was
used as a colorant in some yellow and green Bohemian glasses beginning
in AD 1830, though it did not become commonly used until the 1840s
(Brill, 1964:54; Langhamer, 2003:71). The bead is blue in color and
contains less uranium than would be present if this element had been
used as a colorant. One explanation for the distinct presence of this
element is that pieces of uranium glass cullet were used in the produc-
tion of this bead, strongly suggesting that it could not have been man-
ufactured before AD 1830. Alternatively, the uranium could be
associated with the source of the cobalt ore used to color the glass, a
known elemental association of the Schneeburg mine area of Germany
used from the 15th to the 18th century (Gratuze et al., 1996).
The wound and pressed, faceted beads present in the Orrak assem-
blage are not well documented and are rare examples of early, faceted,
Bohemian beads made of composition”—a lead glass, often colored
with gold, intended to imitate faceted garnets (Hunt, 1976; Kaspers,
2014; Fig. 3F, 3L, and 3M). These beads all have vertical mold seams,
cylindrical perforations, and were wound before the facets were pressed
into the glass. Harris (1989:5) describes the manufacture of these beads
as: [a] multi-bead, tong-mounted mold that could be clamped around a
mandrel wound with glass produced a row of crude faceted beads that
had to be broken apart when the glass was cold. This appears to be an
early experiment (see also Neuwirth, 2011). Ross (2003:43, citing
Schreyer, 1790:93) dates this manufacturing technique to the beginning
of the 18th century. The beads are distinct from the later, visually
similar, mold-pressed beads that post-date the early- to mid-19th cen-
tury (Ross, 2003). Similar beads have rarely been documented or
recovered outside of Palau, with the closest example of this type to our
knowledge being recovered from a pre-1630 Native American burial in a
Franciscan church on St. Catherines Island, Georgia (USA) (Francis,
2009a). Though the specimens of this type recovered at Orrak could
possibly have been manufactured during the 18th century (Harris, 1989;
Neuwirth, 1994, 2011; Ross, 2003; Schreyer, 1790), or earlier (Francis,
2009a), the strong association in Palau between this type and the drawn
Bohemian beads suggests contemporaneity, although it is possible that
the beads could have been heirlooms (Power, 2011; Titchenal, 1999,
2001). The Venetian red-on-green bead variety was manufactured from
the 16th-19th centuries. A similar bead type with a white center was rst
manufactured ca. AD 1830 (Billeck, 2008). The red-on-green variety
beads were still manufactured after ca. AD 1830; but, at least at sites in
western North America, they are often absent from bead assemblages
after the introduction of the red-on-white variety (Billeck, 2008; Blair,
2018). The presence of the red-on-green bead at Orrak, in association
with the drawn Bohemian varieties, suggests that the assemblage dates
no earlier than ca. AD 1830 and probably no later than ca. AD 1850.
Manufacturing periods for bead types can provide an important TPQ
that can be used to better understand when stone money quarrying ac-
tivity may have taken place. The bead assemblage suggests that quar-
rying activity may have continued until at least ca. AD 18301850.
Although it is possible that the beads may be part of a short-term Pal-
auan use of the site after quarrying terminated, stratigraphic and arti-
factual evidence (e.g., limestone quarrying debitage) suggests that they
are associated mostly or exclusively with quarrying activity (Fitzpatrick,
2003b, 2003c, 2008). In addition, it is well documented that quarrying
activity continued into the mid- to late-19th century, and so the evi-
dence from Orrak ts into the larger picture of what was happening in
the Rock Islands at that time (Fitzpatrick, 2016).
It is important to note that while Europeans were in Micronesia as
early as the 16th century, including the arrival of the Spanish in Yap (see
Hezel, 1972, 1979, 1983), there is a noticeable absence of 15th-17th
centuries beads in the archaeological record and ethnographic
accounts in Micronesia. A notable exception may be Kubarys (1873)
illustration of a Venetian ve-layer chevron bead (Fig. 2a-8 and 2a-9),
considered to be genuine udoud that most likely dates to the late 16th
or early 17th century (Allen, 2010). However, it can be difcult to
determine the number of glass layers in chevron beads and if this
analysis or illustration was inaccurate and this is a four-layer chevron
bead, then its manufacture would date to the 18th-19th centuries,
placing it generally within the same time as when other European beads
were introduced to Palau at the time of Captain Wilsons wreck. Inter-
estingly, Kubary does not illustrate this bead in any later publications
(Allen, 2010); it is possible that this bead was later discovered as an
udoud er a ngebard counterfeit (udoud of the west). Beyond this example,
there appears to a signicant temporal gap from when beads were
introduced from East Java or Southeast Asia. One possible explanation
for this could be the difculty in directly reaching Palau from Manila
because of challenging sailing conditions (see Fitzpatrick and Callaghan,
5.2. Cheldoech in transition during the 19th century
The vast majority of glass beads in the Orrak assemblage can be
correlated with the cheldoech category, a relatively low valued bead.
Although the wound, pressed, and faceted Bohemian beads (Fig. 3F, 3M,
3L) bear a striking resemblance in shape to klorange, a category of kldait
udoud (Figs. 2a-3, 2b-3), the fact that these beads are made of trans-
parent glass automatically places them in the cheldoech category. The
coral-colored Bohemian beads could possibly be considered cheldoech
mengungau (small bright redorange), while the beads made from opa-
que glass may t into other categories. For example, the oyster white
oblate bead (Fig. 3G) and dark blue oblate bead (Fig. 3A) can both be
identied with kldait bleob, a category of undecorated udoud that was
typically used for more signicant exchanges than cheldoech, including
payment to chiefs during a burial or worn around the neck of a pregnant
woman to ensure a healthy baby (Watanabe and Inacio, n.d.). The
transparent and translucent beads would have likely been used in
routine economic transactions and for purchasing supplies like ilaot and
food, and not for more culturally signicant exchanges like negotiating
access to stone money quarries, exchanged as dowry, or to end a war
between clans (see de Beauclair, 1963b; Kr¨
amer, 1926; Kubary, 1873,
1895; Osborne, 1966; Watanabe and Inacio, n.d.).
When considering the Orrak bead assemblage in a wider context, it is
important to consider large-scale shifts that were taking place in Palauan
society during the 19th century. The proliferation of stone money
quarrying by Yapese islanders led to a second wave of bead introduction
to the Palauan economy contemporaneous with an increase in the
manufacture of counterfeit udoud. The rst archaeological evidence that
beads were interred with the dead in odesongel occurred at around the
same time. These processes were taking place against a backdrop of
increasing European presence, the introduction of guns, iron, and a
precipitous population decline from European-borne diseases. The
introduction of the Deutsche mark during the German administration
when Kr¨
amer was conducting his eldwork likely had an impact on the
relative value of cheldoech as the economy transitioned to using foreign
currency. This coincided with efforts by the Germans to suppress
traditional interisland voyaging that eventually led to the cessation of
stone money quarrying.
Overall, we argue that glass beads from Orrak were introduced from
Yap at a time when cheldoech was already being devalued as a form of
economic currencyperhaps in conjunction with prohibitions placed on
voyagingbut still retained non-monetary value to Palauans, resulting
in them being used in novel ways, including in funerary contexts. Many
of the beads from odesongel are typologically identical to those recovered
at Orrak. The blue-green glass beads and orange/amber beads at the
Hung Kuo site originally identied by archaeologists as kldait chesbad
are, in fact, Bohemian, suggesting an introduction contemporaneous to
the Orrak assemblage during the second wave of bead introductions to
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
Palau (see Figs. 2a-3, 2b-3). Yet those Bohemian beads were interred
with clear counterfeits made from drilled bottle glass and, therefore, the
question remains, would the European-made glass beads interred in
odesongel (raised stone- or coral-lined clan burial platforms) also be
considered counterfeit or monetarily devalued? Or could the monetary
devaluation of cheldoech have happened earlier than recorded by
According to some, small trade beads that were not considered
money were worn as earrings, primarily by children, which supports
amers (1926) account of cheldoech being used in this way (Thijssen-
Etpison and Dupont, 2017). Earrings, however, were typically made
from pearl shell or turtle shell and it is possible that cheldoech were only
worn as earrings after they were devalued as a form of currency. If this is
true, then it is possible that small trade beads, like ones manufactured in
Europe, could be recognized as counterfeit udoud er a ngebard (udoud of
the west). In contrast, oral traditions indicate that beads were accepted
as authentic udoud (i.e., not counterfeit) if they were introduced by
Yapese islanders (Kloulubak, personal communication). Despite written
accounts that outline what types of beads may have been worn,
exchanged, and considered counterfeit, we must cautiously interpret
these accounts when the ethnographer has a sometimes-unfavorable
view of Palauans (see Kubary, 1873). It is possible that given the
complexity and sensitivity of the topic, important details about udoud
classication and exchange were not shared, especially given the secrecy
surrounding them.
We are also careful not to discount Palauan oral traditions, which are
clear that beads coming from Yap would have been considered authentic
udoud (Kloulubak, personal communication). From a Western perspec-
tive, this might seemingly create a paradox: identical beads from
different contexts might be simultaneously counterfeit and authentic.
When considering these objects from a Palauan perspective, there is no
contradiction. When introduced by Yapese islanders, these objects
would not have been categorically thought of as European and inau-
thentic because of their manufacturing origin (see Silliman, 2009).
Given the changes in how beads were being used or exchanged be-
tween around AD 18301850, it appears likely that the process of
cheldoech being devalued was already well underway before they were
recorded as moving out of circulation in the 1920s. However, the
contemporaneous interment of beads in odesongel suggests that chel-
doech had come to take on new roles in funerary contexts, reecting a
larger social shift in how lower-valued udoud like these were used and
exchanged. It is possible that although the beads at Orrak were likely
considered authentic, they may have had little value in economic ex-
changes because they had already depreciated.
Despite the economic value of the beads being unknown, the re-
covery of glass beads from Orrak allows us to consider the nature of
Yapese-Palauan interaction networks. With the exception of Captain
Wilsons wreck on Ulong Island in AD 1783, Palau was relatively iso-
lated from European interaction until Palau fell under the colonial rule
of Spain in AD 1885 (Callaghan and Fitzpatrick, 2007; Hezel, 1972,
1983). Stone money quarrying activity and transport between Yap and
Palau was one part of Yaps extensive inter-island exchange networks
across Micronesia. In addition to moving people and goods between
archipelagos, they provided a new source of glass beads to the Palauan
economy. At the same time, the Yapese were engaged in the sawei tribute
system involving atoll dwellers to the east. Although some highly valued
items such as sennit cord were exchanged to both Palau and Yaps outer
islands, glass beads were exclusively traded with Palauansand not a
part of sawei exchangeslikely because there was little demand for
them on remote atolls where other types of exchange valuables were
used or preferred. In addition to highlighting the navigational (way-
nding) feats required to travel throughout western and central
Micronesia, our research helps shed light on multiple, contempora-
neous, and highly-organized interaction networks using many different
types of objects or resources as part of these exchange behaviors.
6. Conclusions
Like other types of currency or exchange valuables in traditional
societies, Palauan money beads were highly valued and used in a variety
of different social transactions for obtaining goods or services. People
from Yap negotiated access to stone money quarries by offering highly-
valued glass beads, corv´
ee labor, and marriage partners while using less
valuable glass beads to purchase supplies. Despite participating in
multiple overlapping long-distance exchange networks, the Yapese used
glass beads exclusively in Palau where they had already been in circu-
lation for centuries.
The recovery of more than three dozen glass beads from the Yapese
stone money quarry at Chelechol ra Orrak is unique in that glass beads in
this quantity have never been previously recovered archaeologically
from non-mortuary contexts or in a stone money quarry site. LA-ICP-MS
and morphological analyses of 38 beads indicate that the assemblage
overwhelmingly consists of Bohemian varieties produced ca. AD
18301850. Accordingly, these were recent introductions to the region
and provides an independent line of evidence for understanding when
quarrying activity took place at Chelechol ra Orrak and provides an
opportunity to speculate on Palauan interaction networks at the time of
European arrival in the region. This is particularly relevant given that
Palau remained relatively (or completely) isolated from European con-
tact until AD 1783, centuries after other islands in Micronesia (Call-
aghan and Fitzpatrick, 2007).
We suggest that the glass beads found at Chelechol ra Orrak were
introduced to Palau via Yap and would have been considered cheldoech,
a type of udoud used to purchase supplies like lumber and food while
carving stone money. This category of udoud was devalued by the 1920s
because counterfeiting became so pervasive. Our research suggests that
the depreciation of this bead type began as early as the mid-19th cen-
tury, decades earlier than ethnohistoric accounts indicate. Despite being
a devalued type, multiple sources indicate that there was both a market
and demand for devalued and counterfeit udoud, though it is difcult to
know when counterfeiting began since it took many different forms.
While there appears to be a shift in the way Palauans used and
exchanged cheldoech, these beads were still valued and exchanged in
novel ways, including their interment with the deceased in odesongel.
Beyond using these beads to help better understand the nature of
Palauan-Yapese interactions, they provide an important artifact class
with which to help answer a number of important questions relating to
pre-European exchange behaviors and post-contact interactions. Using
the beads as a TPQ, they suggest that quarrying activity at the site may
have continued until the 18301850s, which can then be used to help
anchor the chronology of stone money quarrying activity at Chelechol ra
Orrak. Additionally, while much has been written about how European
objects have been incorporated and recontextualized in colonial con-
texts, particularly in the Pacic (e.g., Thomas, 1991), the circulation of
udoud during the 19th century presents a distinctly different narrative
than one of replacement or recontextualization. For example, metal
tools recovered at stone money quarrying site in Palau suggest that shell
tools were replaced by iron tools, which were used to carve larger and
more symmetrical stone money disks (Fitzpatrick et al., 2006). In
contrast, European-made glass beads were not treated as novel or
exoticitems that replaced older udoud and did not change the contexts
in which they were exchanged. Instead, the second wave of glass beads
from Yap constituted a fresh supply of authentic udoud; however, when
introduced through European hands, the beads were rejected as udoud
because they were considered counterfeit. Indeed, the simultaneous
treatment of identical European glass beads as both authentic and
counterfeit udoud highlight how there is still much work to be done to
understand the multiple ways in which objects in colonial contexts ac-
quire meaning and value.
Important questions remain that can be tested with future research.
It is unknown if bead chronologies developed in Western North America
are appropriate parallels or if there was a time-lag and glass beads were
M.F. Napolitano et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45 (2022) 103542
distributed in the Pacic at a later date (Francis, 1994). In terms of using
the beads as chronological markers, it should be possible to build more
rened Bayesian models using the beads as TPQs and model the date of
Yapese stone money quarrying at Orrak (see Fitzpatrick and Jew, 2018).
Given that this is the only example of glass beads being recovered from
this type of site, the Orrak assemblage can be used to compare with other
quarries identied in Palau through archaeological survey and/or oral
traditions. Future excavation at these types of sites may reveal if glass
beads occur more frequently at stone money quarries or if the Orrak
assemblage is distinct and represents a unique place for understanding
the nature of Palauan-Yapese interactions at a key point in time for both
societies as they engaged in exchange relationships with each other and
newly arrived Europeans and Euro-Americans.
7. Funding sources
This work was supported, in part, by a National Science Foundation
grant to Fitzpatrick (SBR-0001531).
Author contributions
MFN, EHB, and SMF conceived the study, EHB and LD conducted the
analyses, MFN, EHB, and SMF wrote the paper; EHB and LD wrote the
Methods section.
Declaration of Competing Interest
The authors declare that they have no known competing nancial
interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to inuence
the work reported in this paper.
We thank Sunny Ngirmang, Calvin Emesiochel, Tamael Klouchelad,
Linda Tellames, and the staff of the Palau Bureau of Historic Preserva-
tion for their assistance in excavation at Orrak over the years and in
helping us nd references used in this research. Sylvia Kloulubak and
Alison Carter provided helpful comments on the manuscript. Jolie Liston
provided excavation reports from Ngermid village, Koror. Jeff Pantaleo
kindly provided unpublished excavation reports from Ngerielb village,
Koror. We also thank several reviewers who provided useful feedback
that helped to improve the paper.
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