Ancient Glassmaking - A Kind of Alchemy...
- Live demonstrations of ancient glassmaking methods
- Learn the history of this ‘brilliant material’, from its first manufacture out of base materials
- Visit the site of experimental archaeology in action, and discover
what we have learned
Glass is a mysterious, beautiful and versatile material, not a true solid but a ‘super-cooled liquid’, and scientists still don’t completely understand its exact nature. The Romans in particular became masters of mass-produced glass, cracking the secret that allowed them to produce blown glass vessels for all.
Dr Denise Allen, a published expert in Roman glass, will explain the extraordinarily long history of glass from earliest times. She will also introduce you to the work of the expert glassmakers (Mark Taylor and David Hill) who have learnt how to reproduce the glass made not only in the Roman period but over more than 4000 years, from ancient Egypt to the 18th Century (their handiwork recently featured in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster 'The Hobbit').
There will be glass-making demonstrations, and the chance to examine all aspects of the ancient craft at close hand. The remains of a replica Roman furnace, made for a series of experiments replicating ancient technology, can be seen in the grounds of the workshop, and you will hear how the results of these experiments have informed us about how the ancient industry might have worked.
Meeting time / place
10:45 at Project Workshops, Quarley
End time / place
16:15 at Project Workshops, Quarley
After an introductory talk on the history of glass given by Dr Denise Allen, we take a trip to visit the Roman Furnace experiments in the grounds of the workshop - experimental archaeology which has greatly added to our understanding of ancient glass making.
A picnic-style buffet lunch above the workshop.
Glassmaking demonstrations from Mark Taylor and David Hill, glassmakers who replicate the methods used by ancient and historic artisans. See first-hand the techniques used to blow and mould glass and handle example pieces. There will also be the chance to buy replica historic glasses at the end of the day.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Lunch - A picnic-style buffet lunch above the workshop
- Entries - Entry to all sites in programme
- Fact Sheet - Detailed fact sheet written by our Guide Lecturers
"This was a well planned day. The morning lecture gave a good introduction to the history of early glass making and the afternoon demonstrations were excellent - fascinating to watch two experts in the field and listen to their commentary. An excellent day that met all expectations. I also enjoyed the location and being able to look at pieces on display in the workshop. I would highly recommend the day for anyone with a general interest in ancient glass."
"The day was very well organised, with a mixture of lectures and video and demonstrations. All of which were very interesting."
"An excellent and enlightening explanation and demonstration of ancient glass making."
"I love practical demonstrations as they show the methods more clearly than words or pictures can convey. The company was friendly and the food was great. I shall never forget when I look at Roman glass, the way in which it was made and I have my precious purchases to remind me of a splendid day."
Interested in seeing a little more of the ancient world? We run over 100 tours explore history, archaeology and culture all over the world including... See suggestions below:
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See something old in a new way
Andante Study Days offer rare, often unique, insights into the world of working archaeology. All are led by expert guides, and are designed to give guests access to some of the best of British Archaeology...
What to expect
- An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
- A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
- Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
- Small Groups 12-25 guests
- The company of like-minded people!