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Archaeology in Israel: Late Roman Kilns

(April 2016)

An excavation associated with the Jezreel Valley Railway Project uncovered ancient Israeli kilns dating back 1,600 years, to the Late Roman period, in April 2016. These kilns were the oldest ever discovered in Israel, and when active would produce large commercial quantities of raw glass for multiple uses. The kilns consisted of two compartments: a firebox where kindling was heated to create temperatures in excess of 1,200 degrees celsius, and a melting chamber where clean sand and salt were heated and melted together to create the glass. After manufacturing, large chunks of glass produced in the kilns were broken up into more managable pieces and sold to customers.

Yael Gorin-Rosen, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Glass Department, stated about the discovery that, “This is a very important discovery with implications regarding the history of the glass industry both in Israel and in the entire ancient world... Chemical analyses conducted on glass vessels from this period which were discovered until now at sites in Europe and in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean basin have shown that the source of the glass is from our region. Now, for the first time, the kilns have been found where the raw material was manufactured that was used to produce this glassware.” The discovery of the ancient kilns evidences the fact that the region was a large glass producer, and will help researchers worldwide better understand ancient trade.

Source: “An Important Archaeological Discovery at the Foot of Mount Carmel,” Israel Antiquities Authority, (April 11, 2016)