A multi-analytical approach for the archaeometric identification of a Roman period glass furnace in the central Nile delta

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Abstract

A circular structure was excavated in a suspected industrial area of ancient Thmuis (Tell Timai), and due to heavy vitrification and discolouration of the inside walls, was suspected to be a glass furnace. The excavated furnace provides a unique example to further understand the mechanisms of primary and secondary glass manufacture in Roman Egypt. Samples were subjected to a number of archaeometric investigations in order to characterise the furnace, and identify its purpose. Following attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy and scanning electron microscope energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), we conclude that the furnace was used for glass. We propose that it is most likely that the furnace represents a small-scale, secondary glassmaking centre, shaping glass manufactured at Wadi el-Natrun, and recycling glass objects from the local area.

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Gentelli, L., & Medhat, A. R. (2017). A multi-analytical approach for the archaeometric identification of a Roman period glass furnace in the central Nile delta. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 11, 330–337. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.11.018

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