Mesopotamian glass from Late Bronze Age Egypt, Romania, Germany, and Denmark

Publication date: October 2016Source:Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 74
Author(s): Jeanette Varberg, Bernard Gratuze, Flemming Kaul, Anne Haslund Hansen, Mihai Rotea, Mihai Wittenberger
This article presents new evidence of the wide dispersion of Mesopotamian glass, 1400–1100 BCE. The chemical analyses of glass material from Amarna, Egypt, demonstrate that glass of Mesopotamian origin reached Egypt. The recently obtained physical evidence substantiates the words of the Amarna letters, referring to glass trade between Syria and Egypt. Furthermore, the chemical analyses of glass beads from Romania, Northern Germany and Denmark demonstrate that they were made of Mesopotamian glass. The current results presented here contribute to our understanding of the long distance exchange networks between the Mediterranean and the Nordic Bronze Age cultures. Finally, on the background of the analysis results it is proposed that the chemical composition of some of the beads in question indicates a mixture of glass of Mesopotamian and Egyptian origin. Probably, the mixture of the glass material took place at secondary workshops in the Mycenaean world.

Graphical abstract