The chemical and isotopic analysis of English forest glass

Meek, Andrew (2011) The chemical and isotopic analysis of English forest glass. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Glass is one of several early modern industries where the development from small-scale workshop to large-scale industry offers a valuable insight into wider socio-economic trends. Previously, medieval and early modern forest (wood ash) glass has been studied using a range of analytical techniques. However, characterisations of production centres and exchange systems for forest glasses are difficult to verify, in part because very few examples of raw glass from furnace sites have been investigated. The necessity for an independent means of provenancing glass used in the study of exchange systems is clear.

Compositional analysis can provide evidence for the raw materials used and can sometimes provide compositional groupings specific to sites. However, strontium, neodymium and oxygen isotope determinations can actually provenance the glass by linking the geological ages, or sources, of raw materials to production sites. The potential of using Sr and O isotopes in the study of plant ash glasses has recently been established (Henderson et al., J. Archaeol. Sci., 32, 2005).

Using EPMA-WDS over 179 raw glass samples from 12 English production sites in operation between the 14th and 17th centuries have been analysed. These analyses have shown compositional types which are relatable to the region or, in some cases, the period of production. Over 60 archaeological glass, raw material and model glass samples from these sites have also been analysed using mass spectrometry to determine strontium, neodymium and oxygen isotope ratios. The isotopic analyses have also been very effective in showing differences between sites, even those within the same region. This thesis will argue that the combination of these techniques offers a promising new way of provenancing archaeological glass and provide an insight into the organisation of production at this time.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Henderson, Julian
Evans, Jane
Uncontrolled Keywords:Glass, Archaeology, Potash, Late Medieval, Early Modern, Provenance, EPMA, TIMS, Isotopes, Strontium, Neodymium, Glass manufacture
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
ID Code:1965
Deposited By:Mr Andrew Meek
Deposited On:17 Oct 2011 11:30
Last Modified:17 Oct 2011 11:30

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