WASTE GLASS, VESSELS AND WINDOW-PANES FROM THAMUSIDA (MOROCCO): GROUPING NATRON-BASED BLUE–GREEN AND COLOURLESS ROMAN GLASSES

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email gliozzo@unisi.it

Abstract

A collection of window-panes, vessels and alleged waste from Thamusida has been investigated by OM, SEM–EDS, ICP–MS, ICP–OES and XAS at the Fe–K and Mn–K edges. Glass samples have been characterized as natron-based soda–lime–silica glasses, with low magnesium and low potassium. The results have been compared with 43 reference groups available for ‘naturally coloured’ and colourless glasses of both Roman and later ages. Two main types were distinguished: RBGY 1 (Roman Blue–Green and Yellow 1) and RBGY 2 (Roman Blue–Green and Yellow 2). Given their compositional similarity to the Levantine I or, to a lesser extent, HIMT glasses, the Syrian–Palestinian coast for RBGY 2 and Egypt for the RBGY 1 have been suggested for their provenance. Most Thamusida samples have been assigned to the RBGY 2 type. A small group of Thamusida colourless vessels was included into the RC (Roman-Colourless) compositional field; the latter still being defined. The alleged waste pieces may define a local production that should have been of secondary type. The investigations performed on local raw materials seem to discount the possibility of a primary glass-making site. XAS measurements determined that Fe2+ contents ranging between 30 and 52% are able to assure an aqua blue colour; below 30%, the glasses turn light green or light yellow.

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