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Glass production and trade in the Eastern Mediterranean

Work package leader: Prof. Karin Nys (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)


Other scientific staff:

· Dr W. Meulebroeck (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)

· Prof. H. Thienpont (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)

· Prof. Th. Rehren (University College London, UK)

· Dr C. M. Jackson (University of Sheffield, UK)

· Dr F. Marii (The Jordan Museum, Jordan)


Work package description

This work package concentrates on ancient glass from the Eastern Mediterranean. Leading this work package is a team of archaeologists, geologists, electrotechnical and chemical engineers from Vrije Universiteit Brussels. The main objective of this work package is the training of young researchers in various techniques of glass analysis, including Scanning Electron Microscope and Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence analysis, optical spectroscopy in the UV-VIS-NIR region and Raman spectroscopy. The VUB team in close collaboration with members of the scientific teams from University College London and the University of Sheffield aim to develop a standard methodology for the study and characterization of glass artefacts from the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Because of its nature, glass could be shaped into a variety of forms, such as window panes, jewellery, tableware etc and thus was widely used and exchanged between different cultural and geographical areas. Through a series of research and training activities taking place in Belgium and the United Kingdom, it is expected that young researchers by the end of this work package will be able to address a significant number of archaeological enquiries related to glass production. It is expected that the aforementioned techniques of compositional analysis will provide information related to glass making recipes, the allocation of samples to primary and secondary production centres, and will provide evidence which can used to discuss the degree of specialisation of workshops in the production of coloured glass, the identification of routes of social and economic interaction, and the degree of state control over glass production during different periods of the ancient past.