PROJECT TITLE: THE CHARACTERISATION & CLASSIFICATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL GLASS SAMPLES USING MULTI-ELEMENTAL ANALYSIS.
NAME: SINEAD MIDDLETON
Glass was a highly-valued commodity in past societies and analysis of it, when found in archaeological contexts, can provide important information on trading routes, economies, etc. Limited work has been carried out on the chemical analysis of glass artefacts in Ireland in comparison to metals and other materials. More extensive research in this area has been carried out in Britain and Europe to great effect. The aim of this project is to chemically examine archaeological glass to ascertain its composition and to classify and provenance the samples based on their trace elemental analysis. The instrumental techniques to be utilised are Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) and Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX). Both of these techniques provide a thorough and completely non-destructive multi-elemental analysis of samples, which is highly desirable for archaeological artefacts. The methodology will include desk-based research as well as lab-based use of the analytical instruments. It is hoped to analyse as much archaeologically sourced glass as possible with a particular focus on glass finds from Ireland. The results from this project will lead to the development of a database outlining the composition and type of archaeological glass from which future analytical work with glass can be compared.