The aim of this paper is to highlight the potential of Raman spectroscopy as a fast screening method for large amounts of glass samples. Besides the dedicated research of specific glass collections during the last ten years, a broad corpus of archaeological window glass still needs to be investigated. For many sites, the amount of excavated glass artefacts is enormous and a selection of the most appropriate samples for chemical analysis is necessary.
A classification can be made on the basis of the typical Raman signatures for the different kinds of glasses (alkali glass, high-lime low-alkali (HLLA) glass, Pb-rich glass). Even in case of strong fluorescence, an uncomplicated treatment (normalisation) of the measured signals makes it possible to distinguish between the different types of glass. The preliminary screening of glass artefacts with Raman spectroscopy is a useful tool in the study of historical glass and can already answer some questions about provenance, period of production and authenticity of the glass samples. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.