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Lecture: Glass production in Northern Italy: scientific evidence for glass trade and recycling practices in Early Medieval glass from Comacchio - Piazza XX Settembre

Speaker: Camilla Bertini (University of Nottingham)

2019.07.05 | Christina Levisen

Date Tue 26 Nov
Time 13:00 14:00
Location Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) Aarhus University Moesgård Allé 20, DK-8270 Højbjerg Denmark, Building 4230-232



Previous analytical studies focusing on Early Medieval glass from Northern Italy show that the majority of glass circulating at the time has been heavily recycled (Verita and Toninato, 1990, Verità et al., 2002, Uboldi and Verità, 2003, Andreescu-Treadgold et al., 2006, Silvestri and Marcante, 2011). The re-use of “old Roman glass” has been mostly interpreted as a stagnation in glass trade from the primary production areas.

Moreover, the nature of natron glass traded/circulating in Northern Italy has mostly only been discussed in light of their major elements.

Northern Italy also witnessed the reintroduction of plant ash glass at sites such as Torcello, Nogara, and at different sites in the Lombardy region at the same time the shift from natron to plant ash glass was occurring in Syria, which might indicate an ongoing long-distant trade of raw glass with the primary production areas at least from the 8th century AD.

This paper wants to address the compositional nature of glass circulating in Northern Italy after the 7th century AD.

91 glass samples from the glass-workshop of Piazza XX Settembre - Comacchio (Italy) dated from the 6th to the 11th century AD have been analysed for major, minor and trace elements (EMPA and LA-ICP-MS) and compared with coeval datasets from the primary production areas.

The impact of recycling and mixing practices in Comacchio glass is also discussed with the help of known recycling markers (Cu, Co, Zn, Sn, Sb, Mn, and Pb) and selected ratios of major and trace elements successfully used in recently published studies (Phelps et al., 2016, Ceglia et al., 2017). In addition, the compositional nature of plant ash from Northern Italy is discussed for the first time.

The lecture is followed by an informal reception. All are welcome.  

Lecture/talk, History and archaeology