Roanoke (beads)
Original Author: Unknown
Created: AD 900–1600
Medium: Whelk shell/shells

Roanoke (beads)

These roanoke beads were unearthed by archaeologist Frank G. Speck between 1918 and 1921 on Pamunkey land in King William County. Roanoke, spelled in a variety of ways in seventeenth-century English language sources, were a type of small, white bead, carved from shell, that was used as a form of currency by Native American nations living in the Chesapeake region. When British colonizers first began to trade with indigenous Americans, they identified roanoke as a currency already in use.