Evidence for the trade of Mesopotamian and Egyptian glass to Mycenaean Greece

M. S. Walton*, A. Shortland, S. Kirk, P. Degryse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The origins of raw glass used to fashion Mycenaean beads were explored using trace elements analyzed by laser ablation ICP-TOFMS. The use of this minimally destructive technique for the in-situ analysis of these beads was ideal given that the material is exceedingly rare and thus too sensitive to make use of traditional micro-sampling (e.g., by scalpel). A wide range of trace elements were measured to compare these Greek glasses to other Late Bronze Age glass coming from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Of the eleven beads analyzed, four blue glasses colored with cobalt and two blue/green glasses colored with copper have trace element compositions consistent with an Egyptian origin of manufacture. The other five of the glasses, all colored with copper, were found to conform to the composition of Mesopotamian glass. These data are the first to demonstrate direct and clear evidence for the trade of raw glass to the Mycenaean states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1496-1503
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Egypt
  • Glass
  • Late Bronze Age
  • Mesopotamia
  • Mycenaean Greece

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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