While glass making might not seem like that advanced a technology these days, particularly with all the new, scientifically advanced tech we’ve developed over the years, it was actually very impressive and useful to be able to create glass back in the day. And Israel has always been known for its exceptional work with sand in creating all types of glass and derivatives.
But it turns out that Israelites might have been even more tech-savvy than any thought them to be, as new findings suggest Israel glass-work is far older than estimates. This conclusion was reached after an ancient glass factory was unearthed during an archaeological dig in the area.
Interestingly, the discovery of ancient kilns and pieces of various types of glass pushed back the professional workmanship of the Israeli glass workers to 1,600 years ago. The finding also suggested that the particular glass factory that was uncovered was used to serve the entire Roman Empire.
Abdel Al-Salam Sa’id, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority that is working on the project had this to say about the finding:
We exposed fragments of floors, pieces of vitrified bricks from the walls and ceiling of the kilns, and clean raw glass chips. We were absolutely overwhelmed with excitement when we understood the great significance of the finds.
It’s strange how the glass factory hasn’t been found until recently, seeing as the area is no stranger to archaeological digs. Additionally, the Valley of Akko, where the factory was found, was renown throughout the entire Roman Empire for its exquisite sand. It certainly isn’t known to be rough, and coarse, and irritating, and to get everywhere.
Previous teams have performed chemical analyses on glass vessels and other glass work found throughout Europe and on shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and determined that they were from this particular factory. This also means that this is the first time when archaeologists found the kilns near the source of the raw material.
Very interesting is also the way in which these kilns work. Artisans would melt fine sand and salt together at a very high heat for more than a week, until they got large slabs of glass. Then, the kilns would be cooled down, and the workmen would break off pieces and ship them to various workshops around the Empire.
The main type of glass produced at this particular factory was Judean glass, known for its superior quality and light green color. The glass was so renowned, in fact, that the products of the factory war spread all over Europe and the Mediterranean.
Image source: Wikimedia