Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The how and where of Roman age glassmaking

An EU-funded interdisciplinary study has contributed a deeper understanding of glass production in Italy in the Roman age. 

Roman glass tesserae [Credit: University of Nottingham]
The project ‘The provenance of mosaic tesserae: an interdisciplinary study on Roman age glass production and trade in Italy’ contributed knowledge and offered possible answers to open questions surrounding the Roman age glassmaking industry. An existing reconstruction of the economic model of ancient glass production, focusing on Italy and vitreous mosaic tesserae materials dating from 3rd century BC to 2nd century AD, has been advanced on the basis of archaeological and archaeometric literature. Hypothesising a three-phase productive system, information was lacking on the location of the primary productive centres and trading routes. 

The EU-funded study worked to improve knowledge of ancient vitreous materials and develop a work procedure for applying trace and isotope analysis to the ancient glasses, as well as clarify the origin of the Roman age glasses in Italy. Integrating archaeological fieldwork with analytical characterisation of glass samples, research was successful in a number of areas.

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