Glass beads findings illustrate ways commodity in ancient Rome   Leave a comment


  • One of the glass beads found in Bavaria: The blue color indicates a admixture of cobalt.
    photo: Institute of Nuclear Chemistry

    One of the glass beads found in Bavaria: The blue color indicates a admixture of cobalt.

Antique jewelry found in Bavaria – believed to be the origin region with Natron

Mainz – Colorful glass beads were in the Roman Empire – and not only there – a popular jewelry. German researchers have now investigated the origin of some of these beads and can draw conclusions about ancient commodities and trade routes, such as the University of Mainz reported.

Overall, the researchers studied 42 glass beads that had been excavated at four different sites of ancient settlements in present-day Bavaria. The region was then inhabited by Rhaetians, a people of unknown origin, which had been incorporated in the first century BC the Roman Empire. 38 of the beads are from the early imperial period, four from late Roman times, the fourth century.

The majority of the investigated glass beads comes from excavations near Oberammergau. For the archaeological site, it was a place of sacrifice of Rhaetians settled there. The glass beads, which served the population as jewelry, show traces of burning a sacrificial fire. Other found objects seem to have been deliberately placed for specific patterns.

Once across the empire through

With the help of the research reactor TRIGA the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry of the University of Mainz neutron activation analysis could be used to establish that thematerials did not come to this Pearls from the area. The analyzes showed that all the beads are made ​​of soda glass with a sodium content of up to 20 percent and, therefore, at least in raw material sodium, and possibly even the finished lens blank, must come from the vicinity of Lake Natron in Egypt such as the Wadi Natrun.

In antiquity, a melting temperature of 1,800 degrees Celsius for pure sand could not be reached. Therefore, a flow agent to lower the melting point had to be added, usually vegetable ash or natural soda. Plant ash was freely available in all regions and was used depending on the position of the glass workshops. Plant ash from sea or shore plants contain more saline soil by sodium, while inland outweighs the potassium content of the plants. Since the extraction of sodium is very complex from plant ash was used for frequent natural soda ash from Egypt. 


Posted August 12, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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