Composition data of a large collection of black-appearing Roman glass

  • Simone Cagno | simone.cagno@ua.ac.be Department of Chemistry, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Peter Cosyns Mediterranean Archaeological Research Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
  • Veerle Van der Linden Department of Chemistry, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Olivier Schalm Faculty of Design Sciences, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Andrei Izmer Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Ghent, Belgium.
  • Isolde Deconinck Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Ghent, Belgium.
  • Frank Vanhaecke Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Ghent, Belgium.
  • Anna Nowak Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, Poland.
  • Barbara Wagner Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, Poland.
  • Ewa Bulska Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, Poland.
  • Karin Nys Mediterranean Archaeological Research Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brusse, Belgium.
  • Koen Janssens Department of Chemistry, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Abstract

Jewels and tableware made of black-appearing glass were popular in the Roman Empire. Compositional changes (due to modifications in glassmaking technology and use of raw materials) over the period considered (1st-5th century AD) have been investigated on a large number of samples originating from various archaeological excavations in Europe, Northern Africa and the Near East. In the course of this work, over 400 samples of Roman glass, the greatest part of them deeply coloured glass fragments, were embedded into acrylic resin and mechanically ground and polished in order to obtain flat surfaces of unaltered glass. The samples were analysed with scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and the quantification was performed by using a standard-less ZAF software. The trace elements contained in a selection of glass samples were determined via laser ablation-inductively coupled plasmamass spectrometry. The data collected in this study show that from about 150 AD a change in the black glass production process occurred, involving coloration of raw glass made with iron in the secondary workshops. Furthermore, from the 4th century AD on we can observe a change in the type of raw glass used, while the colouring process was maintained. The main aim of this paper is to provide glass scholars with the analysis results, as reference and comparison for further studies.

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Published
2013-12-31
Keywords:
historical black glass, Roman Empire, composition, SEM-EDX, LA-ICP-MS
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How to Cite
Cagno, S., Cosyns, P., Van der Linden, V., Schalm, O., Izmer, A., Deconinck, I., Vanhaecke, F., Nowak, A., Wagner, B., Bulska, E., Nys, K., & Janssens, K. (2013). Composition data of a large collection of black-appearing Roman glass. Open Journal of Archaeometry, 1(1), e22. https://doi.org/10.4081/arc.2013.e22