From Mint to Factory: Industrializing Shell Bead Production at the Campbell Wampum Factory, 1770-1890

Citation:

Eric D. Johnson. 3/17/2018. “From Mint to Factory: Industrializing Shell Bead Production at the Campbell Wampum Factory, 1770-1890.” In Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference. Virginia Beach, VA.

Abstract:

What happens to money after the death of a currency? Is "demonetization" the same as "devaluation"? Or can changes in production rehabilitate old money-objects for new purposes? A preliminary analysis of production debris from the Campbell Wampum Factory, the largest shell bead production site in New Jersey between 1770–1890 CE, tracks changes in wampum as it went from being used as “money” by Euro-Americans to being made for export to new indigenous consumers on the Plains. The Campbells developed new manufacturing technologies, centralized production, and increased output. Fur trade merchants flooded indigenous markets with “Campbell Wampum” products from North Dakota to Oklahoma. Analysis of museum collections reconstructs sequences of production, estimates efficiency of production, tracks bead styles, and measures standardization of lengths, widths, and colors within each style in order to understand the role of industrialization in changing modes of adornment and dynamics of identity on a colonial frontier.
Last updated on 03/20/2018