The raw materials for ancient glass beads found in former Rhaetian settlements in Bavaria clearly did not originate from this region. This is the conclusion following an analysis of the beads at the TRIGA research reactor of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).
A total of 42 glass beads from four different sites were examined, 38 of them dating to the early Roman imperial period (30-60 A.D.) and four from the late Roman period (4th century A.D.). “We were able to clearly demonstrate that all of the glass beads from the four sites are made of soda-lime glass,” stated Barbara Karches of the JGU Institute of Nuclear Chemistry. The use of sodium to manufacture the glass indicates that the raw glass must have been produced in the vicinity of soda lakes. The investigations have also provided important information for historians on industry and technology, trade routes, and the lifestyle of people at that time.
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