An archaeological and chemical investigation of 11th-12th centuries AD glasses from Zeyrek Camii (the Pantokrator church) in Byzantine Constantinople

Siu I., Henderson J., Canav-Ozgumus U., Tindle A. G.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL SCIENCES, vol.11, no.6, pp.2637-2647, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12520-018-0700-0
  • Page Numbers: pp.2637-2647


Fifteen glass window, vessel and glass chunk samples collected from the western part and substructure of Zeyrek Camii (the Pantokrator Church) in Istanbul were analysed using an electron microprobe (EPMA). The results show that these samples are all soda-lime-silica glass. Based on the major and minor elements, two different compositional groups were identified and evidence of recycling/mixing was also revealed. Group 1 is plant ash-based glass, while group 2 is the result of mixing natron and plant ash glasses. Comparison with contemporary glass objects from the eastern Mediterranean shows that these glasses probably derived from at least two different production zones in the Syro-Palestinian region: (1) possibly Damascus or Banias and (2) possibly Tyre. The authors suggest that the trading of plant ash glasses between the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East in the 11th-12th centuries AD was well established based on the archaeological and scientific evidence.