Wampum is, strictly speaking, a string of white beads, typically made from the shells of mollusks indigenous to the seacoasts of eastern North America (1).
Would the desire for beaded finery and adorned deities have remained as keen, and would it have been as or more pressing to Yoruba kings of the 18th century than the need for ammunition?
The pure gold foil artifacts were each meticulously tacked with tiny golden nails that covered the now perished wooden rhinos and elephants.
The findings not only provided evidence of early gold smelting in southern Africa, but of the extensive wealth and social differentiation of the people of Mapungubwe.
That beads of various kinds have a rich history among very many cultures dating back to antiquity is evident from the title of (4).
Even in North America at least eight thousand years before the white man, Indians were wearing and trading beads (4).