Glass from Basinghall Street

Basinghall Street specialist archaeological analysis

Client: 
Stanhope
Date: 
2005-2014

In 2005 MOLA began excavation at Basinghall Street for Stanhope. Our investigation uncovered a substantial collection of Roman glass vessels and glass waste. Thought to be from a nearby glass workshop on the outer limits of the Roman city, our specialist studied the noteworthy assemblage from 2005-2014.

Research carried out on this exceptional collection of Roman glass has afforded greater understanding of the Roman glass industry in London and throughout the Empire.

The diversity of the material enabled us to research the processes and techniques involved in the blowing of the glass vessels; from the preparation of the raw material to the finishing of the objects. Scientific tests identified the origins of the glass, which provided the evidence needed to isolate batches of glass. These tests also established a sequence for the various stages of heating the glass in the furnace; allowing us to understand why certain vessels were rejected. A detailed understanding of how glass waste material was collected and reused emerged. All of these strands together revealed the nature of the glass production industry in London and the Roman Empire more widely.

Our findings were published in a popular book The glass workers of Roman London, and an academic monograph Glass working on the margins of roman London, Excavations at 35 Basinghall Street, City of London, 2005. This analysis and data is a valuable tool for ongoing research in this field and has highlighted areas of interest for future research.