The project was concerned with the procurement and use of cobalt ore in the production of vitreous materials, notably glass, in the workshops the Late Bronze Age Egyptian settlement of Tell el-Amarna. Research methods included chemical analysis using pXRF, LA-ICP-MS and spatial analysis.
This project was concerned with the procurement and use of cobalt ore in the production of vitreous materials, notably glass, in the workshops the Late Bronze Age Egyptian settlement of Tell el-Amarna. It combined archaeological and archaeometrical methods in order to examine the variations in the chemical fingerprint expressed by the various cobalt sources and to test their homogeneity across Amarna. This shed light on trade and control networks of cobalt ore, and interactions within and between individual workshops. Mainly non-destructive chemical and optical analysis, using fixed laboratory equipment, but also portable devices, provided data for the large quantities of archaeological material from earlier and recent excavations. In addition, the artefactual and chemical data were mapped and analysed, using a database and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in order to determine distribution and control patterns, leading to an in-depth understanding of Late Bronze Age (LBA) Egyptian glass-working. This bottom-up approach, which has not been carried out on the proposed scale closed a gap in our knowledge of LBA socio-economic processes in an urban environment, in particular with regard to the chaîne opératoire of craft production and its organisation.