Yellow Ancient Excavated Nila Beads



These rare and authentic excavated ancient beads are found in a number of archeological sites in Mali. They are often referred to as "Djenne beads" after the city of Djenne which was one of the first archeological sites where these beads were discovered in Mali. The exact origin of these beads is unknown, but they are believed to be imported via a well-developed caravan trade across the Sahara. These beads also bear a striking similarity to the so-called Trade Wind or Indo-pacific beads, and there is a theory that they may have been imported from India in ancient times as part of the Indo-pacific trade. Other theories favor the Mediterranean as the possible source of these beads. While there is no clarity on their exact origin, archeological evidence places these beads in the approximately 7-12th cent. AD, although a number of sources attribute them to the earlier, Roman, period.

These beads are found in many colors, and the beads in this particular listing are yellow. The strands contain beads of different sizes in the range of 3-5 mm beads, with an occasional 2mm or 6-7 mm bead. The stringing hole is about 1mm. Most of the beads are rondel, but there are a number of cylindrical and other shapes. Please consult the photos to see variability in color and size. The strands are approximately 22" long.

These beads make excellent spacers and are coveted by jewelry designers.

Most photos show multiple strands. The price is per strand.

Weights and sizes are approximate.

IMPORTANT NOTE. In the world of beads, and especially ancient and antique beads, errors in identification are common. We do our best to research and classify our beads accurately, however mistakes are certainly possible. If you are a bead expert and notice any errors in description, we invite you to please contact us and let us know. We are always grateful for any new information. We also accept returns no questions asked. See our Return Policy for detail.

COLORS: Our photos are taken in different lighting in an attempt to show how beads look in different lighting conditions. We make every effort to show colors as accurately as possible. The white background photos are taken in daylight conditions. The black background photos are taken in the strong lab light, and would be representative of what they would look like in the evening electric light. Some of the photos are backlit to emphasize their translucency. Note that monitor settings strongly affect the way the colors look. What you see on your monitor may differ from what you see with a naked eye depending on your monitor settings.

WE COMBINE SHIPPING and will refund any overage. Contact us when placing the order and we will work with you to ensure the best available shipping cost.