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The positive impact of daylight on various forms of life is well understood. The daylight conditions a person experiences inside a building strongly depend on the character of the glazing. Contemporary windows maximize the transmission of visible daylight. In post-medieval times glassmakers were confronted with less pure materials. Driven by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation they were at the same time challenged by the demand for increased daylight. Luckily, technological evolutions allowed the production of thinner windows. It is currently an open question if glassmakers in the (Southern) Low Countries during the booming economic period from the fifteenth to seventeenth century made use of the interplay between material and fabrication properties to bring light into the darkness. Therefore, this paper links the impact of glass purity and production technique to light transmission for a well-diagnosed group of excavated glass window pieces from the castle of Middelburg-in-Flanders and a set of roundels, all dating back to between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries and explores what factors have influenced this technological improvement. A non-destructive approach making use of UV-vis-NIR absorption spectroscopy unveiled that the more recent material is less pure compared to the older dated material but that light transmission was maximized due to the applied production technique
Original languageEnglish
Article number21338
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2021




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