Oldest known glass factory dating back to the fourth century AD has been unearthed in Israel. Archaeologists have discovered turquoise pieces of raw glass and collapsed, ash-covered kilns, which act as the first archaeological evidence of glass production in Israel in the Late Roman period.
Yael Gorin-Rosen, head curator of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) glass department, said, “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”.
Earlier, archaeologists have discovered fragments of an edict with prices of goods set by the fourth-century Roman emperor Diocletian. The edict listed prices for two types of glass- light green, less expensive, Judean glass from Israel; and Alexandrian glass from Egypt.
Gorin-Rosen said that that the kilns were excavated last summer, before the construction of a new railway line southeast of Haifa, near Mount Carmel. Abdel Al-Salam Sa’id, an inspector with the Israel Antiquities Authority, who has directed the excavations.
It is the first time, the kilns have been discovered where the raw materials were manufactured that was used to produce this glassware.
To make glass at that time, people would have heated sand in a melting chamber to temperatures of 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit for at least a week. Sometimes, the raw chunks of glass that were produced weighed more than 10 tons. These chunks would have been broken into smaller pieces to be sold to workshops.
At the workshops, the pieces would have been melted down again to be shaped into glass bowls, cups, and other vessels. The newly discovered kilns date back to the sixth-seventh century AD that were found at Apollonia, which were earlier though to be the oldest kilns in Israel.