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The medieval glass industry

The medieval glass industry


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The medieval glass industry

Hunter, J.R.

Medieval Industry, CBA Research Report No 40 (1981)

Abstract

The evolution of most industrial processes can be traced by the passing of technological milestones, and glass-making is no exception. Unfortunately, by the time glass first seems to have been produced in this country many of these milestones had already been passed. As a result, and even within the most elastic confines of the medieval period, there are few consistent criteria available for defining a suitable starting point or a suitable end point. This is confirmed by the surviving manuals on glass-making whose contents reflect traditions that remained essentially unchanged over a period of 1600 years. Only in the use of specific types of material is there any significant alteration to the standard pattern, and even here there is no clear-cut dating. Archaeological examination is equally difficult. It is possible to examine sites where glass-making took place, but the operation was semi-nomadic and is a poor archaeological survivor. Trying to understand the medieval glass industry by archaeological means is no different from trying to understand Roman military architecture by examining marching camps.


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