Archaeologists may have uncovered an amazing discovery at an excavation site in Israel. They've discovered what may just be the oldest glass factory in the world.
The researchers found what may be the oldest kilns in Israel at the excavation site. In fact, the researchers were able to determine that commercial quantities of raw glass were produced. The kilns themselves were about 1,600 years old, which indicates that Israel may have once been the foremost center for glass production in the ancient world.
The kilns that the researchers found consist of two built compartments. One is a firebox, where kindling was burned to create a high temperature, and the other is a melting chamber where raw materials for the glass was inserted and melted together. Large chunks of glass were produced that were then chipped apart and sold in small pieces to workshops where they were melted again to produce glassware.
"This is a very important discovery with implications regarding the history of the glass industry both in Israel and the entire ancient world," said Yael Gorin-Rosen, head curator of Israel Antiquities Authority Glass Department as he commented on the latest excavation. "We know from historical sources dating to the Roman period that the Valley of Akko was renowned for the excellent quality sand located there, which was highly suitable for the manufacture of glass. Chemical analyses conducted on glass vessels from this period which were discovered until now at sites in Europe and in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean basin have shown that the source of the glass is from our region. Now, for the first time, the kilns have been found where the raw material was manufactured that was used to produce this glassware."
The latest findings don't just tell researchers that Israel created glass. They also show that Israel was likely an important facet in the Early Roman period. Glass was used in almost every household from the Roman period onward and was also used when constructing public buildings; it was used for windows, mosaics and lighting fixtures.
The new findings will be exhibited to the public in a few months when it will be shown at the Carmel Zvulun Regional High School in the Zevulun Regional Council.