Reaching back into prehistory , author Dr. James W. Lankton traces beads through time and space, following their role in the development of technology, social stratification, political organization, religion, ritual, writing and commerce, as the story of beads intertwines with the growth of civilization. Published by The Bead Museum in Washington, D.C., this authoritative reference is based on the Museum's Bead Timeline exhibit which displays beads of all materials arranged in chronological and geographic sequence. Seventy-six full-color photographs by Robert K. Liu, Ph.D. include panoramic views of the Museum's Bead Timeline panels, which locate the beads in historical sequence, and closeups, which show details of classical bead types. Providing practical information for identifying beads, this volume, the first of two, focuses primarily on organic beads--especially shell, ivory, coral, amber, soft stones, such as turquoise and lapis lazuli: and hard stones, such as carnelian, chalcedony, rock crystal and jade, as well as faience and glass. Reviewing important bead developments in Mesopotamia, the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt, the Hellenistic and Roman world, early Europe, South and Southeast Asia, China, Korea and more, this survey to 1200 CE will enhance the reader's appreciation of beads in their cultural context.