These glass beads were an extravagant beautification in ancient Egypt because the beautiful stone was scarce, except in the graves of the elite where the assortment was nothing but choice.
It may seem incomprehensible how cobalt beads fit for kings could end up in Nordic burials, but experts speculate that the two ancient civilizations traded the dark blue glass for amber.
Denmark was always known for being rich in amber and the closest abundant supplier for many countries at the time. Due to this, amber became the primary exchange item from the North.
The Egyptian and Mesopotamian glass beads discovered in the graves in Denmark indicate that trade was prospering 3000 years ago, and conversely, Nordic amber was established as far south as Greece and Syria. The main reason for the high stake exchanges between glass beads and amber was directly due to the fact that these “gems” traveled along the same trading roads.
The glass originated in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, so it was pushed north, while the amber was valuable enough to reach the Mediterranean and was speculated to have been exchanged across the coast.
Though the glass exchange halted around the 1170s BC, trading systems in the Mediterranean completely collapsed around 1200 BC. This was thought to have occurred during the war and economic recession. This collapse can has been traced back to the Nordic burials, as significantly fewer glass beads seem to have reached the north.
Renowned experts Varberg and Flemming have faith that the glass and amber beads may have common symbolic or magical values that made it beneficial to carry them together.
“If we allow ourselves to consider such mythological and connected magical properties of glass and amber in the Bronze Age North, then it should not be difficult to recognize the magical values of these materials being enhanced when carried closely together,” states Flemming.
This trade of glass and stone shows us how cherished these jewels were across the world in the 13th century, and it’s a huge indication that human civilization was advanced both geologically and economically even in the 13th century.