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On the making, mixing and trading of glass from the Roman military fort at Oudenburg (Belgium)

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

This paper presents the analysis of decoloured and naturally coloured glass from well-dated contexts in the southwest corner of the Roman fort at Oudenburg (Belgium) ranging from the late second to the early fifth century AD. The aim is three-fold. First, provide comparative material in the study of glass consumption from the northwestern provinces of the Roman Empire. Secondly, evaluate possible diachronic shifts in the applied decolourizing agent to produce colourless glass as to assess potential correlations between glass production recipes, provenance and chrono-typology. Finally, provide an added value to the research of glass recycling and mixing in the Roman imperial period. Nine subgroups are distinguished based on their chemical composition determined by LA-ICP-MS: Sb-only, two groups of Mn-only, four groups of mixed Mn-Sb, HIMT and one glass without any decolouring agent. The Sb-decoloured glass is used in the earliest phases and can be attributed to an Egyptian provenance. The two subgroups of Mn-glass likely come from different provenances: one from Egypt and the other later one from the Levant. Most of the glass shows high marks of mixing based on high trace elements concentrations and the simultaneous presence of antimony and manganese. Inhomogeneous mixing of manganese and antimony was also detected through μXRF. One Mn-Sb subgroup likely comes from mixing antimony glass with HIMT. The obtained results help better recognise the shifts in applied glass recipes throughout the Roman imperial period and improve our understanding about the mixing and recycling of glass to supply a Roman military camp.

Journal: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
ISSN: 1866-9557
Issue: 6
Volume: 11
Pages: 2385-2405
Publication year:2019
Keywords:Belgium, LA-ICP-MS, Oudenburg, Recycling, Roman glass, μXRF
CSS-citation score:1