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A Summerterm experience investigating prehistoric beads made from ostrich eggshells in Kenya has led one St. Lawrence student to try to replicate the ancient techniques used.

Rebecca L. Chartier '03, of Voorheesville, NY, is conducting a research project with Associate Professor of Anthropology John Barthelme. Chartier participated in Barthelme's Summerterm course in Kenya, where she encountered ostrich eggshell beads from a 13,000-year-old site, Olkena. She is continuing her research into the beads by studying the dates, manufacturing techniques, tools and specific attributes of similar items found throughout Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as modern beads.

As part of the project, Chartier has made stone-tool drills and manufactured her own ostrich-eggshell beads. To date, she has perforated the shells using four different techniques and learned how to simulate the drilling techniques probably used at Olkena. Chartier is planning to make an entire necklace of the beads, using these prehistoric techniques.

A graduate of Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School, Chartier is an anthropology/religious studies major at St. Lawrence.

Posted: December 11, 2002