Monday, December 17, 2007

Remnants of Glass Factory Found in Amarna

A team of archaeologists have demonstrated that Ancient Egyptian glassmaking methods were much more superior than previously believed, by reconstructing a 3,000-year-old glass. The Egypt Exploration Society team, led by Dr Paul Nicholson, of Cardiff University's School of History and Archaeology, is working on the earliest fully excavated glassmaking site in the world.

The site, at Amarna, on the banks of the Nile, dates back to the reign of Akhanaten (1352 - 1336 B.C.), just a few years before the rule of Tutankhamun.

The team has challenged earlier claims that the Ancient Egyptians may have imported their glass from the Near East at around this time.

They believe that the evidence from Amarna shows they were making glass themselves, possibly in a single stage operation.

Dr Nicholson and his colleague Dr Caroline Jackson showed that this was possible, using local sand to produce a glass ingot from their own experimental reconstruction of a furnace near the site.

The team also discovered that the glassworks was part of an industrial complex, which involved a number of other high temperature manufacturing processes.

The site also contained a potter's workshop and facilities for making blue pigment and faience - a material used in amulets and architectural inlays. The site was near one of the main temples at Amarna and may have been used to produce materials in state buildings.