In 2016, a 1,600-year-old glass workshop was discovered in Israel, which proves that Judea was once an important glass manufacturing centre for the Roman Empire.
The discovery was made during the excavations preceding road works in Mount Carmel. Archaeologists discovered glass-making furnaces dating back to the 4th-5th centuries CE. The furnaces consisted of two chambers: in one, a very high temperature was achieved; in the second, a product consisting of a mixture of special sand (silica), traces of boron, phosphorus and lead was smelted. These ingredients were melted together at about 1,200 degrees Celsius. The glass was heated for a full week (or even two) to create large chunks of raw glass. Some of them weighed up to ten tons. After cooling, the glass was non-crystalline, smooth, very hard, and at the same time very brittle.
During the early Roman period, the use of glass developed very quickly due to its characteristics: transparency, beauty, the delicacy of products, as well as the speed of blowing. Glass was used en masse in public infrastructure: windows, mosaics. It was required on a huge scale, and for this purpose, large manufacturing centres were established. The described find is one of such places.
According to the price edict of Emperor Diocletian from the beginning of the 4th century CE, there were two types of glass: (1) glass from Judea and (2) glass from Alexandria – Judean had the colour light green and it was cheaper.