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Title: Experimental study of Late Bronze Age glass-making practice
Author: Tanimoto, S.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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There is very little known about ancient glass-making practice from the Late Bronze Age (LBA), despite numerous fragments of glass being discovered from LBA archaeological sites, both in Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, for more than 2000 years, two compositional groups of soda-lime-silica glass have dominated the large-scale production of glass in antiquity namely "LBA glass" of Egypt and Mesopotamia (high magnesium, plant ash based) and the "Hellenistic/Roman glass" (low magnesium, mineral natron based). These two glass groups show unique trends when their compositions are analysed using ternary diagrams, a method developed in petrology. That is, the compositions of most LBA glass can be plotted along different areas/troughs compared to Roman glasses. Their compositions are chemically too homogeneous to be made from the variable raw materials available across chronological periods, vast geographical regions, and colours. Without any solid archaeological evidence available, a scientific approach is necessary to figure out what is causing these trends. Two glass-making models were tested to identify possible factors that control the composition of finished glass. Once these technical constraints are identified, one can further explore this matter archaeologically (i.e. whether glass-making was centralised, social context of the glass). Moreover, this research paper may contribute fruitfully to the debate on many other unknowns of glass in antiquity, and may eventually give a sensible answer to the fundamental and controversial question whether glass was made independently from an early period in Egypt, or whether all early Egyptian glass was imported from either Mesopotamia or Asia. Therefore, my research aims to identify possible factors that control the composition of the finished glass (from variable raw materials) by reconstructing possible LBA glass-making technologies. Then by combining the scientific findings and the archaeological findings, it is hoped to contribute to a better understanding of ancient glass-making in the LBA.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available