In this paper we have studied by optical spectroscopy the 5th–7th century glass material from three early Christian sites in Cyprus: Yeroskipou, Maroni Petrera and Kalavasos Kopetra. The glasses could be grouped into six chemical types: Levantine 1, HLIMT, two types of HIMT (named HIMTa and HIMTb), Egypt 1 and HIT. This work presents the first extensive application of in situ absorption spectroscopy to ancient glasses. UV absorption edge, Fe2 + concentration and colour coordinates are optical parameters that help identifying glass composition because there exists a link between chemical groups and UV–vis–NIR spectral shapes. This allows to select samples for chemical analysis on the basis of diverging optical properties rather than using ad random or subjective naked-eye strategies groups. Furthermore, optical spectroscopy offers an insight into the redox conditions under which the glasses were melted. We also show why the common practice among glass archaeologists to associate certain colour to specific chemical compositions can lead to misinterpretation of the glass consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-624
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Glass
  • UV–vis–NIR spectroscopy
  • Archaeometry
  • Cyprus
  • Late Antique

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Light through glass: The spectrum of Late Antique glass from Cyprus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this