Jaikishan, S., Desai, M. & Rehren, Th., 2021. A journey of over 200 years: early studies on wootz ingots and new evidence from Konasamudram, India. Advances in Archaeomaterials 2: 15-23.

Fig 1 Map of India

 Fig 2 One of the 60 ingots

Recent new evidence emerged from the crucible steel production site of Konasamudram, Telangana, India. A hoard of 60 crucible steel ingots from this site offers a unique opportunity to study details of the early large-scale production of this fabled material, beginning with a detailed documentation of the weights and sizes of 45 of them. Historically, Konasamudram has been an important pre-modern crucible steel manufacturing and trading centre in India, as reported by Persian and European travelogues, and may have been the source of many of the early ingots studied during the past 200 years. The aim of this work is to present a dimensional analysis of these ingots and interpret the data in the context of earlier studies, to address questions of consistency in manufacturing, standardization of weights and other physical attributes. The newly-discovered ingots show considerable uniformity in shape, size and weights, indicative of a single production event during the heydays of crucible steel making, while the ingots previously reported in the literature vary much more widely.

.



View article in journal (KeAi / Elsevier)    |     Download paper (only for scholarly use and no further distribution: academia.edu)

Oikonomou, A., Rehren, Th., & Fiolitaki, A. 2021. An early Byzantine glass workshop at Argyroupolis, Crete: Insights into complex glass supply networks. Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports 35: 102766, 1-13.

Fig 1 Map Crete

 Fig 3 Data quality MgO

 

 

Archaeometric studies on early Byzantine glass excavated in Greece are extremely scarce in the literature and almost exclusively related to small groups of samples, mainly glass tesserae. This study presents archaeometric data of a large assemblage of early Byzantine glass excavated in ancient Lappa, the modern town of Argyroupolis, SW of Rethymno in Crete. A series of salvage excavations unearthed a complex of 5 rooms, identified as a secondary glass workshop, yielding more than 1500 glass fragments of objects (mainly rims and stems of glass goblets) and glass working debris (mainly test drops, chunks etc.). The glass and the architectural remains date to the 4th to 7th c. AD.The glass is a typical soda lime silica glass, with close similarities between the chemical composition of the glass working debris and the objects found in the complex. The glass working debris can be divided in three main compositional groups, including the two well-known mineral-natron based groups Levantine I and Foy Serie 2.1. The third compositional group of samples in the assemblage has a strong plant ash signature. This group, similar to one previously identified in Egypt, has been noticed here for the first time outside Egypt. There are only a few examples of Foy Serie 3.2, a composition that circulated widely in the Mediterranean during the early Byzantine period. This differentiation into four compositional groups can be also broadly linked to object types, while the glass working debris covers all compositional groups.



View article in journale in journal (Elsevier)    |     Download paper (only for scholarly use and no further distribution: academia.edu)

Ting, C., Rehren, Th., Vionis, A. & Kassianidou, V. 2021. The origins and evolution of Cypriot glazed ware productions during the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries CE. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 13: 35, 1-22.

Ting et al 2021 map

 Fig 6 sm

 

 

This paper challenges the conventional characterisation of glazed ware productions in the eastern Mediterranean, especially those which did not feature the use of opaque or tin-glazed technology, as technologically stagnant and unsusceptible to broader socio-economic developments from the late medieval period onwards. Focusing on the Cypriot example, we devise a new approach that combines scientific analyses (thin-section petrography and SEM-EDS) and a full consideration of the chaîne opératoire in context to highlight the changes in technology and craft organisation of glazed ware productions concentrating in the Paphos, Famagusta and Lapithos regions during the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries CE. Our results indicate that the Paphos production was short-lived, lasting from the establishment of Frankish rule in Cyprus in the thirteenth century to the aftermath of the fall of the Crusader campaigns in the fourteenth century. However, glazed ware production continued in Famagusta and Lapithos from the late thirteenth/fourteenth centuries through to the seventeenth century, using technical practices that were evidently different from the Paphos production. It is possible that these productions were set up to serve the new, local demands deriving from an intensification of commercial activities on the island. Further changes occurred to the technical practices of the Famagusta and Lapithos productions around the 16th/17th centuries, coinciding with the displacement of populations and changes to the socio-political organisation brought by Ottoman rule.



View article in journal (Springer, Open Access)    |     Download paper (only for scholarly use and no further distribution: academia.edu)

Karageorghis, V. and Rehren, Th., 2020. Composition and origin of the eighth century B.C.E. glass inlays from Salamis, Tomb 79. Journal of Glass Studies 62, 266-270.

Fig 4a Salamis Bed TCM 04 sm

The cobalt-blue glass from the late eighth- or early seventh-century B.C.E. wooden bed fromSalamis, Cyprus, is compositionally similar to inlays from contemporaneous ivories from Nimrud and numerous early first-millennium beads from northern Italy and southeastern France. Compared with the cobalt-colored plant-ash-based glass from LBA  Egypt and the Aegean, they all have low potash and lime contents (less than 0.5 wt % and about 4 wt % respectively), consistent with Egyptian mineral natron glass from the early first millennium B.C.E. The compositional similarity with these well-provenanced objects and the characteristic suite of transition metals associated with cobalt ore from the Western Oases are strong evidence for the ongoing primary production in Egypt of cobalt-blue glass throughout much of the Third Intermediate Period, previously not well recognized.



    |     Download paper

Rehren, Th., Brüggler, M., 2020. The Late Antique glass furnaces in the Hambach Forest were working glass - not making it. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 29.

Hambach_02.jpgHambach_01.jpg

The cluster of Late Antique glass furnaces in the Hambach Forest in the Rhineland, western Germany, has long been advocated as a potential location for primary glassmaking. Here, we present an alternative explanation for the compositional pattern observed among the glass finds from the site and its wider environment. Glass matching very closely the two main chemical compositions as seen in the Rhineland has recently been reported from numerous 4th to 5th century sites in Southern France, Britain, Italy, the Balkans and Egypt. We identify the majority of analysed finds to be consistent with HIMT glass, followed by a significant number of série 3.2 glass sensu Foy et al. (2003). Both compostions have the same pattern of minor amounts of colorant elements such as copper, tin, lead and antimony, as contamination due to the inclusion of recycled cullet into the batch. The high content in iron and related elements, previously seen as a unique characteristic of the Hambach Forest glass finds, is now recognised as a common feature of these established super-regional compositional glass groups. This sees the furnaces of the Hambach Forest, and the finished vessels excavated in the wider region, fully integrated in the two-tier Late Antique glass industry, where a few eastern Mediterranean mega-producers were supplying their raw glass across the Empire to be re-melted and worked locally into artefacts, including at the cluster of glass furnaces in the Hambach Forest.



View article in journal (Elsevier)    |     Download paper


Ting, C., Vionis, A., Rehren, Th., Kassianidou, V., Cook, H. & Barker, C. 2019. The beginning of glazed ware production in late medieval Cyprus. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 27, 101963, 1-13.

Ting_01.jpgTing_02.jpgTing_03.jpg

This study presents the first characterisation of the early glaze technology that emerged in Cyprus during the 13th century AD, with the glazed ware assemblage recovered from the theatre site at Nea Paphos as the main focus. By framing the results of the technological study using SEM-EDS and thin-section petrography within the historical context, we are able to establish the link between local production and broader technological and socio-historical developments. The early glaze technology in Cyprus appears to have followed the established traditions characteristic of the eastern Mediterranean region during the late medieval period. This is reflected in the use of high lead glaze, the addition of iron and copper oxide as colourants, and the use of painting and sgraffito as principal decorative technique. Although the introduction of glaze production in Cyprus coincided with the time when the island fell under the Frankish rule, there is no evidence indicating that the Frankish rulers directly controlled the production or the Franks were involved in the actual production process. However, we argue that the establishment of the Frankish influence had indirectly stimulated the beginning of glazed ware production in Cyprus by facilitating the movement of labour and creating the market and demand required for such production through its link to the Crusaders’ campaigns in the wider Levantine region.



View article in journal (Elsevier)    |     Download paper (only for scholarly use and no further distribution: academia.edu)