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Isotopes in Vitreous Materials

Isotopes in Vitreous Materials

Patrick Degryse
Julian Henderson
Greg Hodgins
Volume: 1
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 166
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  • Book Info
    Isotopes in Vitreous Materials
    Book Description:

    For all archaeological artefactual evidence, the study of the provenance, production technology and trade of raw materials must be based on archaeometry. Whereas the study of the provenance and trade of stone and ceramics is already well advanced, this is not necessarily the case for ancient glass. The nature of the raw materials used and the geographical location of their transformation into artefacts often remain unclear. Currently, these questions are addressed by the use of radiogenic isotope analysis. With the specific information the technique provides, archaeologists can further their understanding of the of ancient glass production, based not only on typo-morphological features but also on exact scientific methods. The book captures the state of the art in this rapidly advancing field. It includes methodological papers on isotope analysis, innovative applications of several isotope systems to current questions in glass and glaze research, and advances in the knowledge of the economy of vitreous materials.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-051-0
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Isotopes in vitreous materials, a state-of-the-art and perspectives
    (pp. 15-30)
    Patrick Degryse, Julian Henderson and Greg Hodgins

    There are many possible research aims behind the scientific examination of archaeological and historical artefacts, but one which has long excited archaeological scientists is the determination of provenance. Such an aim relies on the assumption that there is a scientifically measurable property that will link an artefact to a particular source or production site. Elemental analysis has been used to try and identify where artefacts were produced; it has occasionally been suggested that artefacts could have a compositional ‘fingerprint’ (Henderson 1989, 31). Indeed some diagnostic chemical compositions of ancient glasses do provide a characterisation which strongly suggests a specific source...

  2. Isotopic composition of glass from the Levant and the south-eastern Mediterranean Region
    (pp. 31-52)
    Ian C. Freestone, Sophie Wolf and Matthew Thirlwall

    The Levant and Lower Egypt have a particular significance in our understanding of early glassmaking. Pliny, writing in the first century AD, identified the Levantine coast as the region where glass was discovered and as the source of early Roman glass (Freestone 2008), and the region continued as a centre of the glass industry through to the enamelled Islamic glass of Damascus in the Middle Ages. Furthermore, it is here that much of our evidence forprimaryglassmaking, the manufacture of glass from its raw materials, has been found. Large scale tank furnaces, yielding clear evidence of glass manufacture but...

  3. Neodymium and strontium isotopes in the provenance determination of primary natron glass production
    (pp. 53-72)
    Patrick Degryse, Jens Schneider, Veerle Lauwers, Julian Henderson, Bernard Van Daele, Marleen Martens, Hans (DJ.) Huisman, David De Muynck and Philippe Muchez

    The great majority of ancient glass was chemically based upon silica fluxed with soda or potash. The earliest known glass was found in Late Bronze Age Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was a soda-lime silica glass, and this type predominated across Western Asia and the Mediterranean right up to the modern period (Freestone 2006). Chemically, ancient soda-lime-silica glass falls into two categories (Sayre and Smith 1961): (1) plant ash glass, combining a plant ash with quartz pebbles, and (2) natron glass, combining soda-rich mineral matter with quartz sand. Natron glass was the predominant type of ancient glass in the Mediterranean and...

  4. The provenance of Syrian plant ash glass: an isotopic approach
    (pp. 73-98)
    Julian Henderson, Jane Evans and Youssef Barkoudah

    The Islamic world during the ‘Abbasid caliphate in the 8thand 9thcenturies AD can be regarded as one of the most highly centralized periods of ancient Islamic civilisation. It was during this period, and partly also during the preceding Ummayad caliphate, that Islamic material culture emerged as recognisably diagnostic and distinct from neighbouring Byzantine material culture. Technological innovation occurred alongside advances in scholarship, arts and sciences. It was under Harun al-Rashid and his son al-Mamun that the ‘translation movement’ occurred. Latin and Greek scientific and other texts were translated, and associated experimental work was pursued. During the ‘Abbasid caliphate...

  5. The implications of lead isotope analysis for the source of pigments in Late Bronze Age Egyptian vitreous materials
    (pp. 99-112)
    A.J. Shortland

    Lead isotope analysis (LIA) has been one of the most widely used of the radiogenic isotope provenancing techniques in archaeology. It has achieved notable successes, particularly in the Mediterranean where it has been extensively used to provenance copper tools and ingots (see review, Stos in press). It has proved a controversial technique (for a review see Pollard in press), with questions raised about the grouping of ore bodies into fields and questions of mixing, especially in the reuse of copper waste. It is interesting to note that the rise of other isotopic provenancing techniques, for example Sr and Nd, has...

  6. Kelp in historic glass: the application of strontium isotope analysis
    (pp. 113-130)
    David Dungworth, Patrick Degryse and Jens Schneider

    This paper explores the nature of strontium isotopic variation in general and argues that some provenance studies based on strontium isotopes are not as secure as they may appear. It is further argued that strontium content and isotopic ratios can make a significant contribution to our understanding of one particular type of raw material used in glass manufacture: kelp (seaweed).

    There are four naturally occurring isotopes of strontium (Table 5.1), of which only ⁸⁸Sr is radiogenic, being produced by the decay of ⁸⁸Rb. The proportion of ⁸⁸Sr in a rock (measured as the ratio of ⁸⁸Sr to ⁸⁶Sr) will increase...

  7. Medieval and postmedieval Hispano-Moresque glazed ceramics: new possibilities of characterization by means of lead isotope ratio determination by Quadrupole ICP-MS
    (pp. 131-144)
    Paz Marzo, Francisco Laborda and Josefina Pérez-Arantegui

    Lead has been used on glazed ceramics since the 10thcentury BC (Cooper 1998) because of the technical advantages that it presents, such as less risk of glaze crazing, lower surface tension, higher refractive index and greater brilliance of the surfaces of glazed ceramics (Titeet al.1998). The amount of lead used has not been constant at all times, but its use has been continuous since the Roman era in the Mediterranean area and the near East. In the Iberian Peninsula, glazed ceramics are already found in archaeological sites of the Roman period, especially as imported objects or sometimes as...

  8. PLS Regression to Determine Lead Isotope Ratios of Roman Lead Glazed Ceramics by Laser Ablation TOF-ICP-MS
    (pp. 145-162)
    Marc S. Walton

    Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) has increasingly become the favoured technique in recent years for the measurement of lead isotope ratios (eg., Bakeret al.2006, Reueret al.2003, Woodhead 2002, Claytonet al.2002, Ehrlichet al.2001, Wannemackeret al.2000, Hornet al.2000, Rehkämper and Halliday 1988, Heumannet al.1998). In comparison to thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS), the benchmark instrument used for Pb isotope measurements, ICP-MS does not require laborious sample preparation but can achieve adequate precision (>0.1% RSD) with careful experimental design. The utility of ICP-MS has become particularly evident in...