What do you do with melted glass?

Artifacts cleaned and ready for cataloging

Down in the Campus Archaeology lab we are dealing with an interesting problem. Two of our volunteers, Katie and Dana, have been diligently cleaning and cataloging artifacts from the work we did this past Fall. As most of you know, we excavated the Northwest portion of Saints Rest, the first dormitory. Since the building burned down,  numerous artifacts were affected by the fire. This complicates the identification process, especially when it comes to identifying the glass. Usually differentiating between window glass and bottle glass isn’t difficult. You place the piece on a table, and see if it has any curve to it. Window glass is completely flat, bottle is not.

Warped and burnt glass from Saints Rest


So what do you do when your glass sherds are warped out of shape, color is changed due to the fire, and there are no clear indicators as to what it may have been? That is the question we are dealing with. We are currently examining the glass to try to make sense of the bending and warping in order to better interpret it. Hopefully we will be able to organize some of it.

Anyone know of any resources on identifying burnt artifacts? Any tips for identifying warped glass?

Author: Katy Meyers Emery

2 thoughts on “What do you do with melted glass?”

  • This may seem stupid and obvious, but would professional glass blowers be of any use? They understand glass at various points of the heating process.

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