Glass in the Land of Israel Exhibition from the Israel Antiquities Authority

November 2017 -
November 2018

History Floor –
The New Discoveries Gallery

Included with Admission

About the Gallery

During the Roman and Byzantine periods, craftsmen and skilled artisans in numerous workshops throughout Israel produced a variety of glass vessels. Prevalent trends and styles of the day were incorporated into the designs, with intricate handles and decorations unique to a craftsman’s personal signature. Glass blowing, and other techniques became popular methods for production, increasing the demand for both everyday objects, and funerary offerings.

Gallery Themes

The Glass Industry

Glass is an artificial material created by the prolonged heating of sand (silica and calcium) and salt (natron or potassium). Raw-glass production was a major industry in the land of Israel during the first millennium CE. Most of the products were exported, and the rest sold to local workshops.

Production of Raw Glass

Learn how glass was produced in Israel, using furnaces heated to over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Archaeological evidence for the location of furnaces usually includes fragments of fired and glazed bricks and small lumps of glass from the floor of the melting chambers.

The Craftsmen

Craftsmen and skilled artisans in numerous workshops throughout the country produced a variety of glass vessels in the prevailing style of the period. The artisans crafted remarkable new types of vessels or added unique decorations, imprinting their personal signatures.

Glass Vessels from Tombs

See examples of glass vessels created for use as funerary offerings. Since the invention of glass blowing in the Roman period, the number of funerary offerings made of glass increased. This custom was widely practiced in the land of Israel and many tombs, particularly from the Roman and Byzantine periods, contained rich assemblages of glass vessels that were produced in local workshops.