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Composition, Production and Procurement of Glass at San Vincenzo al Volturno: an Early Medieval Monastic Complex in Southern Italy

Schibille, N; Freestone, I; (2013) Composition, Production and Procurement of Glass at San Vincenzo al Volturno: an Early Medieval Monastic Complex in Southern Italy. PLoS One , 8 (10) , Article e76479. 10.1371/journal.pone.0076479. Green open access

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Abstract

136 glasses from the ninth-century monastery of San Vincenzo and its workshops have been analysed by electron microprobe in order to situate the assemblage within the first millennium CE glass making tradition. The majority of the glass compositions can be paralleled by Roman glass from the first to third centuries, with very few samples consistent with later compositional groups. Colours for trailed decoration on vessels, for vessel bodies and for sheet glass for windows were largely produced by melting the glass tesserae from old Roman mosaics. Some weakly-coloured transparent glass was obtained by re-melting Roman window glass, while some was produced by melting and mixing of tesserae, excluding the strongly coloured cobalt blues. Our data suggest that to feed the needs of the glass workshop, the bulk of the glass was removed as tesserae and windows from a large Roman building. This is consistent with a historical account according to which the granite columns of the monastic church were spolia from a Roman temple in the region. The purported shortage of natron from Egypt does not appear to explain the dependency of San Vincenzo on old Roman glass. Rather, the absence of contemporary primary glass may reflect the downturn in long-distance trade in the later first millennium C.E., and the role of patronage in the “ritual economy” founded upon donations and gift-giving of the time.

Type: Article
Title: Composition, Production and Procurement of Glass at San Vincenzo al Volturno: an Early Medieval Monastic Complex in Southern Italy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076479
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076479
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Schibille, Freestone. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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/1403681
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