Piece of a glass bead

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From Traprain Law, East Lothian

Postcard of Piece of a glass bead.
© National Museums Scotland

Piece of a glass bead

This piece of a glass bead was found at the native hillfort site of Traprain Law in East Lothian. It is an expensive item of Roman manufacture which was acquired by trade or gift sometime between 80 and 200 AD.

The bead is of a type called a melon bead, due to its obvious resemblance to the fruit. It is nearly complete.

Melon beads are a long-lived form. They appear to have been introduced by the Romans into Britain, where they were copied in glass and other materials. Thereafter their popularity declined in Britain, but they were reintroduced later by Germanic invaders.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-547-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.GV 998
Date: 80 - 200 AD
Between 80 and 200 AD
Material: Glass, blue, clear; melon-shaped, large
Dimensions: 1.06" D x 0.69" thick
What: Bead / fragment
Where: Scotland, East Lothian, Traprain Law
Description: Large fragment of a melon bead of clear blue glass, from Traprain Law, 80 - 200 AD
  • Guido, Margaret. The glass beads of the Prehistoric and Roman periods in Britain and Ireland. London: Society of Antiquaries of London, 1978, pp 100, 230. 
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