Institut français
d’archéologie orientale - Le Caire

Verre byzantin et islamiqueByzantine and Islamic Glass

Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert

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Poids en verre, fouilles de Fusṭāṭ (© IFAO)Glass weight, Fusṭāṭ excavations (© IFAO)
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FREESTONE, Ian C.
The Provenance of Ancient Glass through Compositional Analysis
MASS, Jennifer ; MERKEL, J. ; MURRAY, Alison ; VANDIVER, Pamela B.
Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology VII
Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 852
Materials Research Society, Cambridge, 2004, p. OO8.1.1 - 1.14
http://dx.doi.org/10.1557/PROC-852-OO8.2

[301, 850]
• Glass compositions and their application to the investigation of trade and exchange, preliminary remarks:
– small number of primary workshops making raw glass, located near the sources of raw materials (sand and alkali) in Egypt and Palestine;
– large number of secondary fabrication workshops making glass objects;
– a single workshop could receive glass from more than one primary source;
– the phenomenon of recycling of old glass.

• Glassmaking sands – case of soda-lime-silica glass groups:
– chemical analyses: SiO2, Na2O, K2O, CaO, MgO, Al2O3, FeO, MnO.
– soda (Na2O): added as a relatively pure component,
– silica (SiO2): added as sand,
– lime (CaO): an indication of the form in which the lime was add can be gained through the investigation of the isotopes of the element strontium 87Sr/86Sr [cf. Freestone et al. 2003]:
- limestone-derived strontium (low Sr),
- marine shell-derived strontium (high Sr).
– soda and silica: most workshops produced glasses with fairly resticted ranges of Na2O and SiO2 - they do not directly reflect the composition of the sand source;
– lime (CaO) and alumina (Al2O3): can be related to the concentration of minerals such as feldspar and calcite-aragonite in the glassmaking sand.

• Glassmaking groups, eastern Mediterranean (4th-9th cenuries A.D.):
– Wadi Natrun [= Egypt I],
– Egypt II (Ashmunein): 8-9th century,
– Levantine I (Apollonia): 5-7th century,
– Levantine II (Bet Eliʿezer): 7-8th century,
– HIMT (Carthage): High Iron Manganese and Titanium: 4-5th century.
Producing groups: Egypt II, Levantine II and HIMT : range of traces elements present in the glass have been dermined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), using solution techniques (Fig. 4 : Ga, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Th).

• The trade in glass:
– Maroni Petrera (Cyprus):
- most of the Maroni glass is of the Levantine I type,
- there are anomalies in the concentrations of certain elements (Co, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ag) in some glasses - these elements are typically associated with colouration processes in early glass. The colourant trace elements as indicator of glass recycling: cullet (old scarp glass), incuding small quantities of coloured glass, was incorporated in the bath.

– HIMT glassmaking, a possible source area:
- no evidence of the furnaces that produced this glass;
- isotopic analysis: the sand component of the glass represents a mixture of two components, one with high 87Sr/86Sr (marine strontium), and the other with low 87Sr/86Sr (terrigenous strontium);
- possibly Egyptian origins:
coast sands from the mouth of the Nile might be excepted to show the juxtaposition of typical beach sands (marine strontium) with others derived from the Nile (terrigenous strontium),
high Na2O: possibly Egyptian natron deposits,
unusually high MnO: obtained possibly from the major manganese oxide deposits in the North Sinai.

– Other Mediterranean sites:
- analysis of assemblages of 4th to 7th century glass of the Medierranean (North Sinai, Rome): Levantine I glass and HIMT glass,
- it appears that the Levantine and HIMT sources were supplying much of the Late Antique world with raw glass.

– Northen Europe:
- Jarrow (England (7th century): close similarity between some Jarrow glass and Levantine I glasses: glass was probably recycled cullet, and the glass workers may therefore have brought a supply of old broken glass from the continent for re-melting.
Chypre Cyprus Maroni Petrera consommation
Egypte Egypt Ashmounein Ashmunein production consommation
Wadi Natrun production
Sinaï Nord North Sinai production consommation
Grande-Bretagne Great Britain Jarrow consommation
Israël Israel Arsuf (Apollonia) production
Bet Eliʿezer (Hadera) production
Bet Sheʾan (Nysa - Scythopolis) production
Bet Sheʿarim production
Italie Italy Rome consommation
Tunisie Tunisia Carthage consommation

Version 5, données dudata date 30 janvier 2013January 30th 2013