The widely accepted theory about the origin of glass originates from archaeological finds at an ancient Mesopotamian site known as Nuzi. The Nuzi site yielded a number of glass artifacts, including glass jewelry and containers.
But the Nuzi site, which is in modern-day Iran, yielded artifacts that come from a broad time span. New testing shows that the earliest artifacts are only about 3,400 years old, based on the age of the sediment they were found in. Some of the Nuzi artifacts are relatively new, dating only to the 1800’s.
The trouble with the new timeline is that the artifacts aren’t quite as old as scientists had previously thought. In addition, the glass objects in Mesopotamia are relatively simple and feature one predominant color: blue. The pieces are crude in comparison to glasses being made in Egypt around the same time.
By contrast, Egyptian glass was of much higher quality and was more sophisticated, both in design and in the range of colors and objects discovered. Since glassmaking is a craft, the sophistication of the work is an indication of the length of time the craft has been practiced.
The simplicity of the artifacts and Nuzi, when compared to the sophistication of the earliest glass pieces from Egypt suggest to the researchers that glass first emerged as a craft in Egypt, and the Mesopotamian discoveries at Nuzi were simple, less sophisticated copies of glass that was being created in Egypt.
The researchers say that more work and analysis needs to be done to determine the true and authoritative story on the origin of glass, and that the answer to that question may come by more in-depth analysis of the earliest glass works.
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