1,000-Year-Old Colored Glass Beads Discovered in West Africa

A newly discovered treasure trove of more than 10,000 colorful glass beads, as well as evidence of glassmaking tools, suggests that an ancient city in southwestern Nigeria was one of the first places in West Africa to master the complex art of glassmaking, scientists reported.

The finding shows that people who lived in the ancient city of Ile-Ife learned how to make their own glass using local materials and fashion it into colorful beads, said study lead researcher Abidemi Babalola, a fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.

“Now we know that, at least from the 11th to 15th centuries [A.D.], there was primary glass production in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Babalola, who specializes in African archaeology. [The 25 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth]

Ancient city of IIe-Ife

The ancient city of Ile-Ife was the ancestral home of the…

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