Learning about Ancient Glass: Underwater Archeology

Learning about Ancient Glass: Underwater Archeology

Between 1984 and 1994 the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) excavated the remains of a Late Bronze Age shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship’s cargo consisted primarily of raw materials, including glass.

Courtesy of Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A & M University

Underwater Archeology Student Activity

1) Watch the Underwater Archeology video and listen carefully for the answers to the following questions.

  1. Where was the shipwreck found?
  2. How old was the shipwreck?
  3. What did the archeologists do before they removed the objects?
  4. What was included in the ship’s cargo?
  5. How would the ingots of glass be used?
  6. How do we know what ingredients were used to make glass in the ancient Near East?
  7. List 4 ways glass scholars have learned about glass of the ancient world.

2) Dig deeper: Visit the Institute of Nautical Archaeology website to learn more about this underwater excavation.

Exactly where was the shipwreck located?
In addition to the materials mentioned in the video, what specific artifacts were found and what do they tell us about the cultures of that time?

Answers

If you haven't seen the video yet, watch it and try to answer the questions before you look at the answers.

Where was the shipwreck found? Off the coast of Turkey

How old was the shipwreck? 3400 years

What did the archeologists do before they removed the objects? Mapped the location of each object

What was included in the ship’s cargo? Ingots of copper shaped like oxhides Tin Precious objects Ingots of glass

How would the ingots of glass be used? People who bought the glass ingots would cut off chunks, remelt it and form it into jewelry and other objects.

How do we know what ingredients were used to make glass in the ancient Near East? Clay tablets with cuneiform writing provide recipes (lists of raw ingredients) for making glass. Also, scientists use very sophisticated instruments to analyze the chemicals in glass.

List 4 ways glass scholars have learned about glass of the ancient world. Wall paintings Shipwrecks / artifacts Clay tablets Chemical analysis