Glass in Late Antiquity: Science and Society


The GLASS project builds upon excavations at Tell Basta/Bubastis (Egypt) where a large amount of Roman and Late Antique glass (approx. 2500 fragments so far, mainly 1st – 6th cent. AD) has been excavated. Using this glass corpus as a case study, GLASS seeks to address the lack of research about Roman and Late Antique glass from Egypt and its trade by applying archaeological, chemical, and historical methods.

While work in regions such as Roman Britain or the Levant has already shown the immense potential of applying natural sciences in an archaeological context, contemporary glass from Egypt has almost exclusively been studied by using traditional typological methods. Based on our current understanding of artefact typology, archaeological context and analytical methods, the project combines chemical analysis and typo-chronological studies on the basis of archaeological excavations in order to gain new knowledge about Egyptian glass production, working, distribution, usage and trade in the Roman and Late Antique world. By identifying the glass’ chemical compositions, it aims at determining chronological and compositional patterns of glass use at one particular site in Egypt and studying how these results relates to larger pattern of glass production, movement of raw glass and its consumption in the first half of the first millennium AD.

These outcomes are integrated into a larger discussion and draw conclusions concerning various economic, cultural, social and historical aspects of Egypt's glass use and consumption in the context of the Mediterranean glass trade throughout the relevant time frame. The project pioneers broader directions of inquiry and new, interdisciplinary approaches to the investigation of past cultures.

Related outputs

  • D. Rosenow & Th. Rehren, Roman to Late Antique glass groups from Bubastis, northern Egypt. Archaeometry (2013).
  • Marie Curie Project Open Day (joint UCL/Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology/Egypt Exploration Society) held in September 2013 at the Petrie Museum.


  • Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Programme

Project Leader:

Project Partners:


Further information:

Bookmark and Share