This paper examines the interactions between Indigenous traditional owners, Macassan trepangers and European settlers in northwest Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The recovery of an assemblage of beads from six archaeological sites within the Manganowal estate (Djulirri, Malarrak 1, Malarrak 4, Bald Rock 1, Bald Rock 2 and Bald Rock 3) in the Wellington Range, supports the case for the introduction of these items to Arnhem Land in the pre-Mission era context. We present descriptions of one stone and 28 glass beads/bead fragments and examine the significance of the exchange of these items and how they became incorporated into existing Indigenous cultural systems. This archaeological evidence is assessed in concert with the historical, ethnographic, linguistic and anthropological records. We interpret this within the framework of a hybrid economy between Indigenous people, Europeans and Macassans (Altman 2001, 2006, 2007).