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Analyses of glass tesserae from Kilise Tepe: New insights into an early Byzantine production technology

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Jackson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


There is substantial archaeological evidence to suggest that glass mosaics were ubiquitous throughout late antiqueand Byzantine AsiaMinor. However, issues about the manufacture of Byzantine glass tesserae, the diffusionof their technology and the economic implications have been little discussed. This paper presents the results ofthe analytical and technological investigation of 28 glass fragments from Kilise Tepe (Cilicia, Turkey), including22 tesserae, 3 gilded plaques and 1 fragment of a window, a vessel and an ingot. The samples were analysedby EPMA, LA-ICP-MS and SEM-EDS. Two different base glasses from different primary production sites wereused in the production of the glass: Foy-2 probably from Egypt, and Levantine I produced in Syro-Palestine. Variationsin the chemical fingerprint and morphology of crystalline particles reveal differences in the colouring andopacifying techniques that may point to multiple secondary production sites. Whereas the red samples showsigns of in situ crystallization of metallic copper, ready-made lead stannate was added as yellow pigment forthe colouring of the green and yellow tesserae. In addition, calcium phosphate particles, likely deriving frombone-ash, were found in one turquoise specimen. When compared with other late antique sites, our results testifyto changes in the Roman centralized production tradition and a diversification of supply and secondarymanufacturing practices of mosaic tesserae.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Neri E, Jackson M, O'Hea M, Gregory T, Blet-Lemarquand M, Schibille N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

Year: 2017

Volume: 11

Pages: 600-612

Online publication date: 11/01/2017

Acceptance date: 27/01/2016

Date deposited: 11/01/2017

ISSN (print): 2352-409X

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.12.036


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