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New study on how Viking beadmakers recycled glass from Roman mosaics – HeritageDaily

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A survey published successful the diary Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences reveals caller manufacturing techniques connected however craftsmen successful Denmark recycled solid from Roman solid mosaics during the 8th period AD.

Glass became a scarce commodity during the Early Medieval Period, with mosaics successful abandoned Roman and Byzantine structures often looted for the coloured solid cubes called tesserae. A trading web transported them northbound to emporia towns specified arsenic Ribe successful Denmark, wherever they were melted down successful ample vessels and shaped into decorative beads.

Until now, archaeologists person assumed that the beadmakers utilized the opaque achromatic tesserae arsenic earthy materials for the accumulation of white, opaque beads. However, a caller survey of an aboriginal beadmaking worship successful Ribe by Aarhus University has revealed that the chemic creation of achromatic Viking beads was produced by crushing gold-gilded transparent tesserae which was past re-melted astatine debased temperatures.

Image Credit : Museum of Southwest Jutland

The melted solid would past beryllium stirred to trap aerial successful the signifier of bubbles, and past wrapped astir an robust mandrel to signifier the beads. The bladed sheets of golden connected the tesserae were removed anterior to the re-melting process, however, the survey shows that immoderate golden inactive inevitably ended up successful the melting pot. This process is indicated by the tiny drops of golden successful the achromatic beads, the galore aerial holes (which is wherefore the beads are opaque), arsenic good nary chemic colour tracers present.

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Traces of golden was besides recovered successful the bluish beads from the aforesaid workshop. Here the chemistry shows that the glassmaker’s look consisted of a substance of the bluish and aureate mosaic stones.

Mixing them was indispensable due to the fact that the Roman bluish mosaic stones contained precocious concentrations of chemic substances which made them opaque – and truthful perfect for mosaics, but not for bluish beads. By frankincense diluting the chemic substances, the effect was the heavy blue, transparent solid that we cognize from Viking Age beads.

Claus Feveile, from the Museum of Southwest Jutland said: “These breathtaking results intelligibly amusement the imaginable of elucidating caller facts astir the Vikings. By combining our high-resolution excavations with specified chemic analyses I foretell galore much revelations successful the adjacent future.”


Aarhus University

https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-022-01646-8

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