CHARACTERIZATION AND PROVENANCE OF LATE ANTIQUE WINDOW GLASS FROM THE PETRA CHURCH IN JORDAN*

Authors


†Corresponding author: email nschibille@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

Fifth- to seventh-century window glass fragments from the Petra Church in Jordan were analysed by EPMA and spectrophotometry to characterize their optical properties and chemical composition. The objective of this study was to determine the provenance of the raw glass and the secondary production procedures of the window-panes. Judging from the material evidence, both the crown window-panes and possibly the rectangular samples were produced through glass-blowing techniques. The chemical data show that the assemblage forms a homogeneous group of soda–lime–silica glass of the Levantine I type. The green glass, however, has higher silica and lower soda contents than the aqua-blue fragments. The composition of one sample suggested the recycling of Roman glass. Our results confirm the trade of glass between the Levantine coast and Petra during Late Antiquity. No colouring agents other than iron were detected. Spectrophotometry confirmed the presence of iron and showed that the window fragments absorbed light relatively equally across the visible part of the spectrum. The windows thus seem to have provided an almost colourless illumination for the sacred interior.

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