The emperor's new glass: The introduction of Carolingian wood ash glass in North Sea trade

Gry Hoffmann Barfod*, Lene Feveile, Søren Michael Sindbæk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Micro-X-ray fluorescence (XRF) screening of 244 glass sherds from Ribe, Denmark, identified 23 wood ash glasses. The closely dated finds pinpoint the arrival of the earliest wood ash glass produced in Western Europe in this important North Sea trading hub. This glass type was absent among glass from 700 to 790 CE but feature strongly from 790 to 810 CE. Electron microprobe analysis (EMPA) and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analysis of 24 glasses show the presence of four types. We show the strengths of classifying wood ash glass based on the glass-producing sands and conclude that the earliest production took place on a considerable scale and had a major impact on glass circulation in Northern Europe in the ninth century.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchaeometry
Volume66
Issue3
Pages (from-to)534-551
Number of pages18
ISSN0003-813X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Carolingian wood ash glass
  • REE
  • Ribe
  • early medieval
  • glass circulation
  • provenance

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