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Fiorentino, Sara; Chinni, Tania; Cirelli, Enrico; Arletti, Rossella; Conte, Sonia; Vandini, Mariangela (2018): Considering the effects of the Byzantine-Islamic transition: Umayyad glass tesserae and vessels from the qasr of Khirbet al-Mafjar (Jericho, Palestine). In: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 1: pp. 223-245
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Abstract

The paper reports and discusses data obtained by archaeological and archaeometric studies of glass vessels and tesserae from the qasr of Khirbet al-Mafjar (near Jericho, Palestine). Archaeological contextualisation of the site and chrono-typological study of glass vessels were associated to EPMA and LA-ICP-MS analyses, performed to characterise the composition of the glassy matrix (major and minor components as well as trace elements). Analyses allowed achieving meaningful and intriguing results, which gain insights into the production and consumption of glass vessels and tesserae in the near East during the Umayyad period (seventh-eighth centuries). Within the analysed samples, both an Egyptian and a Levantine manufacture have been identified: such data provide evidence of a double supply of glass from Egypt and the Syro-Palestinian coast in the Umayyad period occurring not only in the glassware manufacture but also in the production of base glass intended to be used in the manufacture of mosaic tesserae. Thus, the achieved results represent the first material evidence of a non-exclusive gathering of glass tesserae from Byzantium and the Byzantines in the manufacture of early Islamic mosaics.