All About Glass

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Beth She'arim Slab

Listen as former curator David Whitehouse describes the Beth She'arim slab. As in earlier times, Roman glassmaking and glassworking often took place in separate locations. Glassmakers melted raw materials to produce glass. Glassworkers formed the glass into finished objects. Finally, glass sellers distributed these objects to the consumer. The biggest difference between pre-Roman and Roman glassmaking was the scale of production. The discovery of glassblowing led to increased production. For the first time, glass became widely available. Later, glassmakers developed furnaces with tanks for melting several tons of raw materials. The photograph shows a nine-ton slab of glass from an ancient furnace at Beth She'arim, Israel.