Glassmaking may have begun in Egypt, not Mesopotamia | Science News


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Glassmaking may have begun in Egypt, not Mesopotamia

Artifacts from Iraq site show less sophisticated technique, color palette

12:00pm, November 22, 2016
Ancient glass

GLASS CONTRASTS  Glassmaking started in ancient Egypt, not the Near East as often assumed, researchers say. Approximately 3,400-year-old fragments from a decorated glass vessel found in Iraq (right) may even represent a fairly crude attempt to copy more advanced Egyptian glass colors and designs (left) from the same time.

SAN ANTONIO — Ancient Mesopotamians have traditionally been credited with inventing glassmaking around 3,600 years ago. But Mesopotamians may have created second-rate knock-offs of glass objects from Egypt, where this complex craft actually originated, researchers reported November 19 at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

Arguments that glass production originated in Mesopotamia largely rest on artifacts recovered nearly a century ago at Nuzi, a site in what’s now Iraq. Glass finds there included colored beads, vessels and pendants.

It’s unlikely those discoveries come from the dawn of glassmaking, said conservation scientist Katherine Eremin of Harvard Art Museums. She and an international team of colleagues, led by archaeologist Andrew Shortland of Cranfield University in England, determined that glass items excavated at Nuzi represent a mix of ancient Mesopotamian items and glasswork from later

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