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Characterisation of Byzantine and early Islamic primary tank furnace glass

Freestone, I; Brems, D; Degryse, P; Gorin-Rosen, Y; Scott, R; Devulder, V; Vanhaecke, F; (2018) Characterisation of Byzantine and early Islamic primary tank furnace glass. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports , 20 pp. 722-735. 10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.06.014. Green open access

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Abstract

In order to improve the understanding of glass production and provenance, we present trace element and Sr, Nd and B isotope ratio data for 15 samples of raw natron glass from a single tank furnace in Apollonia (6th–7th century CE) and eight glass samples from two tank furnaces in Bet Eli'ezer (8th century CE) in Israel. This data provides information about the geochemical homogeneity within a single batch of raw glass and about the differences and/or similarities between different tank furnaces on a single site. Four glasses from a secondary workshop at Tell el-Ashmunein, Egypt (8th–9th century CE) are analysed for comparative purposes. All raw glass samples have uniform trace element patterns and ratios. Because of poor mixing of the glass batch before and during firing, absolute concentrations however can vary significantly within a single tank furnace. The concentrations of trace elements commonly associated with (de)colouring are very low and can be attributed to background concentrations in the sand raw materials. This indicates that there was no obvious recycling of glass cullet at this stage of the production process and that the tank furnace glass is primary glass in the true sense of the word. The isotopic compositions of Sr, Nd and B in the tank furnace glasses are relatively homogeneous. This confirms their potential as provenance indicators. The isotopic composition of Sr in tank furnace glass from Apollonia and Bet Eli'ezer indicates that the lime was derived from seashell, suggesting the glass was produced from beach sand. Glass from Tell el-Ashmunein contains Sr with lower 87Sr/86Sr ratios, pointing to the use of limestone as the source of lime. All primary glasses from Israel analysed have Nd isotopic compositions typical for an Eastern Mediterranean origin. δ11B indicates that natron used in the tank furnaces in Apollonia and Bet Eli'ezer was most likely imported from Egypt.

Type: Article
Title: Characterisation of Byzantine and early Islamic primary tank furnace glass
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.06.014
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.06.014
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Natron glass; Tank funaces; Trace elements; Sr; Nd; B; Isotope ratios
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10051017
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