Archaeologists Find Missing Link To Judean Glass

Categories: Life Stories

Archaeologists who uncovered some of the oldest glass kilns in the world at the foot of Mount Carmel in Israel say they’re the “missing link” in the production of Judean glass, which was widely used in the Roman Empire during the fifth century.

The kilns were found last summer when an Israel Antiquities Authority inspector overseeing work on a railway being built from Haifa to the east observed chunks of glass, a floor and a layer of ash inside a trench. Construction was halted to prepare for an archaeological excavation, which uncovered the kilns.

The kilns had two compartments: a firebox for burning kindling to achieve a temperature of about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and a chamber in which clean beach sand and salt were melted together for up to two weeks, until enormous chunks of raw glass -- some weighing more than 10 tons -- were produced. Once the kilns cooled, the glass chunks were broken into smaller pieces and sold to workshops, where they were melted again to produce glassware.

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