JTA NEWS
22 November 2017 - 5 Kislev 5778 - ה' כסלו ה' אלפים תשע"ח
JTA NEWS :
Oldest glassworks discovered was a world centre for glass production E-mail

An extraordinary archaeological discovery last summer at the foot of Mount Carmel near Haifa was revealed in an excavation of the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of a road being built at the initiative of the Netivei Israel Company.

During the excavation, carried out as part of the Jezreel Valley Railway Project between Ha-‘Emekim Junction and Yagur Junction, remains of the oldest kilns in Israel were discovered where commercial quantities of raw glass were produced. These kilns, c. 1,600 years old (dating to the Late Roman period), indicate that the land of Israel was one of the foremost centres for glass production in the ancient world.

According to Yael GorinRosen, head curator of the Israel Antiquities Authority Glass Department, “This is a very important discovery with implications regarding the history of the glass industry both in Israel and in the entire ancient world. We know from historical sources dating to the Roman period that the Valley of ‘Akko was renowned for the excellent quality sand located there, which was highly suitable for the manufacture of glass. Chemical analyses conducted on glass vessels from this period which were discovered until now at sites in Europe and in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean basin have shown that the source of the glass is from our region. Now, for the first time, the kilns have been found where the raw material was manufactured that was used to produce this glassware.”

According to Professor Ian Freestone of the University College London, who specializes in identifying the chemical composition of glass, “This is a sensational discovery and it is of great significance for understanding the entire system of the glass trade in antiquity. This is evidence that Israel constituted a production centre on an international scale; hence its glassware was widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.”

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