I am pleased to report that a new article has just been published, to which I contributed, and which has analysed some of the glass beads from excavations I completed a long time ago (1993 and 1996) in the Islamic trade centre of Gao, Mali. Although on the other side of Africa, there are resonances with the Harlaa glass beads, chronologically, but also in the central role beads appeared to have played in value systems and their importance as trade items. The sources of the Gao beads are also interesting, being from Iraq, Egypt or the Levant, and Ile-Ife in Nigeria. The latter are particularly exciting as it goes toward substantiating a hypothesis myself and the late Thurstan Shaw proposed for trade between Gao and Nigeria along the River Niger.
The details are – Keech McIntosh, S., Wood, M., Dussubieux, L., Robertshaw, P., Insoll, T., and Cissé, M. 2020. Glass Beads from Medieval Gao (Mali): New Analytical Data on Chronology, Sources, and Trade. Journal of African Archaeology 18: 1-20