In this project, innovative techniques to reconstruct ancient economies are developed and new insights in the trade and processing of mineral raw materials are gained based on interdisciplinary archaeological and archaeometrical research. An innovative methodology for and a practical provenance database of the primary origin of natron glass from the Hellenistic-Roman world will be established. The project investigates both production and consumer sites of glass raw materials using both typo-chronological and archaeometrical (isotope geochemical) study of finished glass artefacts at consumer sites as well as mineralogical and chemical characterisation of raw glass and mineral resources at primary production sites. Suitable sand resources in the locations described by ancient authors will be identified through geological prospecting on the basis of literature review and field work. Sand and flux (natron) deposits will be mineralogically and geochemically characterised and compared to the results of the archaeological and geochemical investigations of the glass. Through integrated typo-chronological and archaeometrical analysis, the possible occurrence of primary production centres of raw glass outside the known locations in Syro-Palestine and Egypt, particularly in North-Africa, Italy, Spain and Gaul will be critically studied. In this way, historical, archaeological and archaeometrical data are combined, developing new interdisciplinary techniques for innovative archaeological interpretation of glass trade in the Hellenistic-Roman world.
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