Museum Study of Glass Collections

Location: various

Years: 1987-1990

Project Director: Chris Lightfoot

Participants: Tuğrul Çakar, Anne Dawn Sutton (1987), Caroline Jamfrey (1988), Helen Boyd (1990)

In 1987, Lightfoot initiated a project that involved studying glass collections at a number of museums throughout Turkey.  He began at Gaziantep Museum, looking at 73 glass vessels between 1 and 5 June and recording their shape, colour, decoration, measurements, and other information.  Work then continued at Afyon Museum where, between 9 and 17 November, Lightfoot studied 84 glass vessels in detail and also studied a small sample of unguentaria (perfume bottles) and flasks.  Most of the collection was from the third to fifth centuries AD, and appeared to have been produced locally.  Sutton assisted him as illustrator, drawing about 40 of the more interesting articles.

In 1988 work was undertaken at Gaziantep Museum from 9 to 13 May.  29 more vessels were studied, and 28 were entered into the inventories of the museum.  All items were photographed, and some 14 were illustrated.  A total of 102 were selected for inclusion in the catalogue being prepared for publication.  They worked at Kayseri Archaeological Museum on 21 June, where they looked at the collection’s only two glass vessels that were not core-formed or free-blown; both appeared to have been finely made and likely imported to central Anatolia from elsewhere.  They visited Antalya Museum between 11 and 12 July in order to study a beautiful and important glass bowl found at Xanthos in 1953; some cast bowls of a common variety were also studied, and provided information into their distribution pattern in the region.  On July 13 at İzmir Museum a glass skyphos (which had surfaced at the Knidos excavation in 1967) was studied, along with a few other objects from the second and first centuries BC.  Though Efes, Ödemis, and Tire Museums were also visited, none contained the Hellenistic or early Roman cast glass objects Lightfoot was interested in.  The preliminary results of his study were then presented at a conference put on by the Association Internationale pour l’Histoire du Verre at Basel, Switzerland which took place between 28 August and 2 September 1988.

In 1989, Lightfoot aimed at studying glass vessels that came from the same workshops, and that were distinctly from Asia Minor, in order to better understand the local glass industry as it existed during the Roman period.  Along with Çakar, he first visited Eskişehir Museum on 13 March, looking at seven objects from the museums small glass collection.  On 14 March at Bergama Museum 15 vessels and two unguentaria were studied and photographed; of these, some beakers could be classified as belonging to the same group as some examined at Eskişehir, and one perfume bottle exhibited similarities to others seen at Afyon, Gaziantep, and the British Museum.  At İzmir Archaeological Museum 31 objects were studied and photographed between 15 and 20 March.  The beaker collection at İzmir was the largest.  The glass collection at Bolu Museum, visited 6 June, appeared to have been acquired from elsewhere, and only five items were studied.  Permission was not granted for study at either Çankırı or Ödemiş Museums.  Work on the Afyon Catalogue was completed and subsequently published.

A final season of study took place in between 9 and 12 April 1990 at Bolu Museum, where – at the invitation of the museum director – the team undertook a study of all 125 vessels in the collection, mostly perfume bottles.  All were photographed, 20 were drawn, and a catalogue was subsequently prepared in Ankara.  Progress was also made on the Afyon and Gaziantep catalogues.  Permission to work at Çankırı Museum was obtained, but an extension until the following year was requested, as there was no time to work there in 1990.


1987: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 38: 10-11

1989: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 39: 8-9

1990: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 40: 12-13

1991: ‘The Year’s Work’ Anatolian Studies 41: 14-15

See also:

Lightfoot, C.S. 1989: A Catalogue of Glass Vessels in Afyon Museum. Oxford

Lightfoot, C.S., Arslan, M. 1992: Ancient Glass of Asia Minor: The Yüksel Erimtan Collection (Anadolu Antik Camları: Özel bir Koleksiyon). Ankara

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Archaeology and Related Disciplines

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