Received 29 November 2001; accepted 6 August 2002.
Strontium Isotopes in the Investigation of Early Glass Production: Byzantine and Early Islamic Glass from the Near East*
Article first published online: 25 MAR 2003
Volume 45, Issue 1, pages 19–32, February 2003
How to Cite
Freestone, I. C., Leslie, K. A., Thirlwall, M. and Gorin-Rosen, Y. (2003), Strontium Isotopes in the Investigation of Early Glass Production: Byzantine and Early Islamic Glass from the Near East. Archaeometry, 45: 19–32. doi: 10.1111/1475-4754.00094
- Issue published online: 25 MAR 2003
- Article first published online: 25 MAR 2003
- THERMAL IONIZATION MASS SPECTROMETRY;
87Sr/86Sr ratios have been determined for glasses from four production sites, dated to between the sixth and the 11th centuries, in the Eastern Mediterranean region. On the basis of elemental analyses, the glasses at each location are believed to have been melted from different raw materials. Two glass groups, from Bet Eli‘ezer and Bet She‘an, in Israel, are believed to have been based upon mixtures of Levantine coastal sands and natron, and have 87Sr/86Sr ratios close to 0.7090, plus high elemental strontium, confirming a high concentration of modern marine shell (87Sr/86Sr ~ 0.7092) in the raw materials. The isotopic compositions of these two groups of glasses differ slightly, however, probably reflecting a varying ratio of limestone to shell because the sands that were utilized were from different coastal locations. Natron-based glasses from a workshop at Tel el Ashmunein, Middle Egypt, have 87Sr/86Sr values of 0.70794–0.70798, and low elemental strontium, consistent with the use of limestone or limestone-rich sand in the batch. High-magnesia glasses based on plant ash, from Banias, Israel, have 87Sr/86Sr values of 0.70772–0.70780, probably reflecting the isotopic composition of the soils that were parental to the plants that were ashed to make the glass. Strontium and its isotopes offer an approach to identifying both the raw materials and the origins of ancient glasses, and are a potentially powerful tool in their interpretation.