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Networks of distribution at the margins of the Empire: late antique glass vessels from the Lower Danube region

Cholakova, AI; (2016) Networks of distribution at the margins of the Empire: late antique glass vessels from the Lower Danube region. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis aims to explore the distribution of glass in the Balkan territories of the late Roman and early Byzantine Empire based on an integrated research on glass vessels from the late 3rd to early 7th centuries AD from three site assemblages in present-day Bulgaria (Dichin, Odartsi, and Serdica). The category of artefacts, i.e. glass vessels, is deliberately chosen since they provide the opportunity to investigate both their ‘archaeology’ (in terms of vessel morpho-typology, decoration, manufacturing techniques, etc.) and their ‘chemistry’ (in terms of chemical composition) as two aspects of research which are not unconnected or contrasted but are complementary to each other. Taking as a framework the model of division in the Roman and late antique glass industry, this study is focused not only on tracing the routes of glass supply from the primary production centres in the East Mediterranean to the Balkans but also on reconstructing the entire chains of distribution of raw glass and finished vessels to the consumers’ sites. Special attention is given to an attempt to identify inter-regional, regional and local networks (as a differentiation in their geographical directions, spatial scale, functional mechanisms, organization, technologies, etc.), and the stratified production and consumers’ needs related to them. From a methodological point of view, the research is based on an integrated classification constructed from artefact research and scientific techniques for compositional characterization of glass (EPMA and LA-ICP-MS analyses). Approaches to technology, exchange, and distribution which have been originally formed in anthropological and economic theory are applied, combined with a detailed understanding of particular historical and archaeological context. The results point to a pattern of glass distribution corresponding to the overall technological and economic processes of Late Antiquity, with shifts in compositions, vessel manufacture and use in early 6th c. AD when significant transformations took place in the Balkans.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Networks of distribution at the margins of the Empire: late antique glass vessels from the Lower Danube region
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
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/1485718
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