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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2017, Article ID 2956075, 14 pages
Research Article

Chemical and Oxygen Isotopic Composition of Roman and Late Antique Glass from Northern Greece

1Department of Geosciences, University of Padova, Via G. Gradenigo 6, 35131 Padova, Italy
2Institute of Material Science, Stable Isotope Unit, NCSR “Demokritos”, Aghia Paraskevi, 15310 Attiki, Greece
3Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, CNR, Via G. Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
4Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, University of Parma, Via G.P. Usberti 157A, 43100 Parma, Italy
512th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, Athens, Greece

Correspondence should be addressed to Elissavet Dotsika; rg.sotirkomed.nni@akistod.e

Received 15 November 2016; Accepted 8 March 2017; Published 18 April 2017

Academic Editor: Kaustubha Mohanty

Copyright © 2017 Alberta Silvestri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present paper emphasizes the importance of measuring the oxygen isotopic and chemical compositions of ancient glass, in order to constrain some features such as age, raw materials, and production technologies and to identify the “fingerprint” of local productions. In this context, thirty-nine Roman and late Antique glass samples and eight chert samples from northern Greece were selected and analysed for their oxygen isotopic and chemical compositions. Results show that the majority of glass samples are produced using natron as flux and have 18O values of about 15.5, plus or minus a few tenths of one per mil, suggesting that raw materials probably come from Levantine area. Four samples are heavily enriched in 18O, and their chemical composition clearly shows that they were made with soda plant ash as flux. Isotopic and chemical data of Greek chert samples support the hypothesis of local production of the above samples. About half of the glass samples have chemical compositions, which allow their age to be constrained to the late Antique period. For the remaining glass, similarities with literature compositional groups are reported and discussed.