It’s fair to say that all clothing is a form of communication. True, we need clothing for warmth and protection but few people would wear tea cozies or aluminum siding, even if they theoretically work. Even back when most clothing was animal products, the type of skin or leather and any adornments thereon could probably tell us a lot. And beads? They serve no purpose except communication.
However the beads were used, the concept of beads as a medium of exchange, a record of treaties, or a social status marker involves abstraction. They represent an idea. Ideas surely became much more powerful when they were portable. They have a much longer and wider reach when they can be shared and embodied in something other than a given person’s brain.
When “evolution” becomes history, it knocks a lot of nonsense off its pedestal. Remember when people couldn’t think that way back then?