Bead currency in CA 2,000 years ago

A recent study by UCSB professor Lynn Gamble indicates that native americans (first citizens) were using bead currency as long as 2,000 years ago, and maybe longer.

Summary quote: “Gamble’s research not only resets the origins of money in the Americas, it calls into question what constitutes “sophisticated” societies in prehistory. Because the Chumash were non-agriculturists — hunter-gatherers — it was long held that they wouldn’t need money, even though early Spanish colonizers marveled at extensive Chumash trading networks and commerce. Recent research on money in Europe during the Bronze Age suggests it was used there some 3,500 years ago. For Gamble, that and the Chumash example are significant because they challenge a persistent perspective among economists and some archaeologists that so-called “primitive” societies could not have had “commercial” economies.”

And the real zinger – “If the Chumash were using beads as money 2,000 years ago,” Gamble said, “this changes our thinking of hunter-gatherers and sociopolitical and economic complexity. This may be the first example of the use of money anywhere in the Americas at this time.”

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