Tuesday, February 23, 2010
While we have had lots of pottery at the North Village, we have also found a far more rare fragment, a bit of a glass vessel.
Glass was first produced in some quantity in Egypt in the mid-Eighteenth Dynasty and was a highly valued commodity. The technology for making glass had come from the Near East and raw glass was probably imported from there as well.
The kilns of the time could barely melt glass so, so it was not molten enough to blow. Instead, it was “core-formed.” That is, a stick with a piece of mud on the end was dipped into the melted glass mixture and turned until it was covered, like a candy apple. While it was cooling, thin rods of colored glass could be applied to the surface and would melt into the body of the vessel to form designs. The melted canes could be drawn up or downward to form chevrons and other patterns, like the icing on a napoleon. For a video on how core-formed glass is made go to:
When it had all cooled, the mud core could be scraped out leaving an interior space for the vessel. So difficult was it to make that glass was as valuable as precious gems and indeed, much of the inlays in Tutankhamun’s jewelry and coffins was glass not stone. The robbers who broke into his tomb appear to have left a great deal of gold, but taken most of the glass vessels, showing how valuable they were. Small and non-porous, glass vessels were ideal for perfumes and other rare and costly cosmetics.
Glass factories were associated both with the palaces at Malqata and Amarna. The location of the glass factory at Malqata is not known, but this fragments shows we are on the right track!
Update: we also just found a glass rod, like the ones used n the video.