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Glass production in Late Antiquity and the Early Islamic period: a geochemical perspective

Freestone, IC; (2006) Glass production in Late Antiquity and the Early Islamic period: a geochemical perspective. In: Maggetti, M and Messiga, B, (eds.) Geomaterials in Cultural Heritage. (pp. pp. 201-216). The Geological Society: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

First millennium AD glass production was divided between a relatively small number of workshops that made raw glass and a large number of secondary workshops that fabricated vessels. Glass compositions reflect the primary glassmaking source. For most of the period, Egyptian mineral soda was fused with lime-bearing siliceous sand to produce soda-lime-silica glass. The location of the Belus glassmaking sand, which is known from the classical literature, is located on that part of the Levantine coast where iron contents are lowest. Sr-87/Sr-86 of primary glass from workshops in the Levantine region is close to that of modern seawater, and confirms the use of beach sand, which contained shell. Heavy mineral assemblages of Levantine beach sands are dominated by hornblende, hence the primary glasses are characterized by very similar trace element signatures. Glasses believed on archaeological grounds to have been made in other regions, for example in inland Egypt, may have higher Sr-87/Sr-86, reflecting terrigenous sources of lime, and have different trace element signatures. Compositional data for glasses from as far away as Britain suggest origins of the glass material in the Eastern Mediterranean. Recycling of old glass may be recognized by the presence of elevated transition metals. The use of plant ash as a flux became dominant practice in the ninth century and preliminary data for plant ash glasses from the early Islamic world indicate that primary production centres may be separated using strontium and oxygen isotopes as well as by major and trace elements.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Glass production in Late Antiquity and the Early Islamic period: a geochemical perspective
Location: Florence, ITALY
Dates: 2004-08-20 - 2004-08-28
ISBN: 1862391955
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1144/GSL.SP.2006.257.01.16
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/GSL.SP.2006.257.01.16
Language: English
Additional information: Symposium on Geomaterials in Cultural Heritage held at the 32nd International Geological Congress Florence, Italy, 20 Aug 2004 - 28 Aug 2004. Full text made available here with permission of publisher
Keywords: RAW GLASS, BYZANTINE, GLASSMAKING, STRONTIUM, ISOTOPES, ISRAEL, TYRE, EAST
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1328243
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