Ana Franjić

Iron Age Glass Technology in South East Europe

My thesis aims to provide a comprehensive scientific study of Iron Age glass technology in South East Europe. The thesis will examine glass beads and bracelets from present-day Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly found as part of Iron Age female burial attire. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis, I will explore the patterns of production, trade, and use of glass items in the period.

        The SEM-EDS and EPMA analysis will focus on the possible difference in the raw materials, technological recipes, and craft traditions of distinct artefacts, in order to assess the variability in glass production and relationship between the various material culture groups in the Early (Hallstatt) and Late (La Tène) Iron Age of the area. By examining the technological behaviours, levels of craft specialisation, aesthetic preferences, and the scope of economic and social relations, the thesis hopes to contribute to our broader understanding of glass use in Iron Age Europe.

        By looking at the beads’ aesthetic and symbolic dimensions, the thesis will further expand into questions of materiality, gender, and status. Although commonly considered as merely decorative, the glass beads carry a more complex and significant cultural meaning. With similar types occurring repeatedly throughout the various groups inhabiting the region, I will also examine the role of these objects in the construction of the identities of Iron Age women, thereby improving our understanding of their role among the Iron Age elites, and their place in the social relationships and practices of prehistoric societies. 

Funding organisation



 Educational background

  • BA, Archaeology, University of Zagreb, 2004
  • MA, Archaeology, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 2013 

A. Franjić, “La technologie et la société: les Iapodes sous le microscope“, in Iapodes, peuple méconnu. Collections du musée archéologique de Zagreb, ed. D. Cimorelli (Montpellier: Éditions Silvana Editoriale, 2014)

I. Drnić and A. Franjić, “pXrf Analysis of South Pannonian Late Iron Age Silver Artefacts”, in Iron Age Crafts and Craftsman in the Carpathian Basin, ed. S. Berecki (Târgu Mureş: Editura Mega, 2014)

A. Franjić, 2014. Review of Transparent Beauty: Glass from Croatian Museums, from Prehistory to the Middle Ages by Lada Ratković Bukovčan and Zoran Gregl. Glass News 36: 14-5.

Illustrations. In: Ivan Radman-Livaja,  2014. Tesserae Sisciensiae, Les plombs inscrits de Siscia / Olovne tesere iz Siscije. Zagreb: Musei Archaeologici Zagrebiensis Catalogi et Monographiae 9.

Talks and Posters 

(with S. Karavanić, A. Kudelić, and M. Radivojević) Late Bronze Age Metal Artefacts from the River Drava: A technological perspective on the social practice of river offerings, EAA, Glasgow, 2-5 Sep

2015 (poster presentation)

Spectrometry of Iapodean glass beads and headdressesMethodology and Archaeometry Conference, Department of Archaeology, University of Zagreb, 4-5 Dec 2014 


An Eye for an Eye Bead: Early Iron Age Glass from Lika, Croatia, EAA, Vilnius, 30 August-4 September 2016

Prehistoric Glass from Ancient Segestica (Present-Day Croatia), EAA, Vilnius, 30 August-4 September 2016

Early Iron Age Iapodean Headdress: The Social and Technological Context, ISA, Kalamata, 14-21 May 2016 (poster presentation)

(with Hrvoje Potrebica) Iron, Glass, and Graphite: Communication networks and cycles of prosperity on the border of the Hallstatt world, Craft and Production in the European Iron Age, University of Cambridge, 25-27 Sep 2015

  • Early Iron Age beads from Lika, Croatia
  • Late Iron Age beads from eastern Croatia
  • Microphotographs of an Early Iron Age glass bead showing the heterogeneous structure of the bead. Silica, air bubbles and prills of undissolved colourants and opacifiers are visible

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