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Homo Faber

14. Sand and glass

Pane of cameo glass, Pompeii, House of F. Rufus
In Roman times glass was made by melting together a blend of natural raw materials, using techniques which remained substantially unchanged through at least the 7th century AD.

The primary components of this mixture were sand and soda, a natural sodium carbonate. According to ancient literary sources, one of the few sands from which glass could be made came from the mouth of the Volturno River in the Campania region.

The considerable amount of raw glass found in Pompeii seems to demonstrate the existence of a melting and processing center within the city.


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