Ancient Glass Factory Unearthed in Israel

Glass Making

Evidence of a glass factory in Israel pushes back the starting date for this industry.

BEACON TRANSCRIPTNew archaeological evidence shows that Israel already had a glass factory during the fourth century AD. The astonishing discovery pushes back the previously known timing of the region’s industrial development and demonstrates the ingenuity of its people.

Archaeologists have found glass-making kilns which must have belonged to the Roman Empire about 1,600 years ago. As reported y the Israel Antiquities Authority, this proves the rich history of the area in the ancient craft of glass-making.

One of the archaeologists who took part in the discovery, Abdel Al-Salam Sa’id has stated for Discovery News that the team found clean and raw glass chips, vitrified brick pieces from the ceiling and walls of the kiln and floor fragments. He had also expressed the excitement of the archaeologists when they found the significance of what they had just unearthed.

The site is located in the Valley of Akko, which is well-known for its sand of very high quality in the times of the Roman Empire. According to the head curator of the Glass Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority Yael Gorin-Rosen,

Chemical analyses conducted on glass vessels from this period which were discovered until now at sites in Europe and in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean basin have shown that the source of the glass is from our region. Now, for the first time, the kilns have been found where the raw material was manufactured that was used to produce this glassware.”

Back in the time, artisans would melt the fine sand of the Akko Valley together with salt at very high heats during at least a week. When slabs of glass would form in larger pieces, they would cool the kilns. The pieces would then be broken off into smaller ones and shipped straight to workshops all across the vast empire. The artisans in this region of Israel were specialised in a light green glass named Judean glass.

The discovery has determined the change of the starting date for the glass industry from the Apollonia kilns to several centuries earlier. According to the Institute of Archaeology of the Tel Aviv University, the kilns were built in isolated places and consisted of two parts: a room where the sand was melted and an area for firing which was open toward the coast in an attempt of avoiding the use of bellows. Kilns were usually covered with mud fired bricks.

Image Source: L’Italo-Americano