Archaeologists Discover a 2,000-Year-Old Roman Glass Bowl in Perfect Condition

If you’re plan­ning a trip to the Nether­lands, do try to fit in Nijmegen, the coun­try’s old­est city. Hav­ing orig­i­nal­ly cohered as a Roman mil­i­tary camp back in the first cen­tu­ry B.C., it became at the end of the first cen­tu­ry A.D. the first city in the mod­ern-day Nether­lands to receive the offi­cial des­ig­na­tion of municip­i­um, which made Roman cit­i­zens of all its res­i­dents. Not that Nijmegen stands today as an open-air muse­um of Roman times. You’re less like­ly to glimpse traces of its city wall or amphithe­ater than to come across such thor­ough­ly mod­ern devel­op­ments as the “dynam­ic liv­ing and work­ing area” of Winkel­steeg, cur­rent­ly under con­struc­tion — and even now turn­ing up Roman arti­facts of its own.

ART­news’ Francesca Aton reports the dis­cov­ery, by archae­ol­o­gists work­ing on the Winkel­steeg exca­va­tion, of “a blue glass bowl esti­mat­ed to be around 2,000 years old.” Strik­ing­ly col­ored by met­al oxide, its crafts­man­ship looks impres­sive and its con­di­tion aston­ish­ing: “with no vis­i­ble cracks or chips, the bowl remains undam­aged, mak­ing it a remark­able find.

It is believed to have been made in glass work­shops in Ger­man cities such as Cologne and Xan­ten, or pos­si­bly in Italy” — some­where, in any case, with­in the Roman Empire. Price­less now, the bowl would also have been valu­able in its day; Aton ref­er­ences a the­o­ry that “locals work­ing at out­posts along the upper­most bor­der of Hadrian’s Wall in Scot­land for the Roman army” would have earned the kind of wage need­ed to buy it.

In the video just above, post­ed last week by the gov­ern­ment of Nijmegen, archae­ol­o­gist Pepin van de Geer intro­duces the exca­va­tion site, which has proven a fruit­ful source of what Aton describes as “Roman graves, homes and wells, and objects such as dish­ware and jew­el­ry.” Most of these seem to have come out of the ground if not in pieces, then look­ing just as ancient as they are; not so the mirac­u­lous blue glass bowl, of which we also get a view. It may strike us denizens of the 21st cen­tu­ry as rec­og­niz­able enough to enrich at once the feel­ing of con­ti­nu­ity between the peo­ple of the Roman Empire and our­selves — or at least it will when we can see it for our­selves in whichev­er muse­um Nijmegen sees fit to place it.

via ART­news

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How a Mosa­ic from Caligula’s Par­ty Boat Became a Cof­fee Table in a New York City Apart­ment 50 Years Ago

Ele­gant 2,000-Year-Old Roman Shoe Found in a Well

Archae­ol­o­gists Dis­cov­er an Ancient Roman Snack Bar in the Ruins of Pom­peii

Roman Stat­ues Weren’t White; They Were Once Paint­ed in Vivid, Bright Col­ors

Explore the Roman Cook­book,De Re Coquinar­ia the Old­est Known Cook­book in Exis­tence

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (5)
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  • Gina says:

    Thank you for shar­ing such inter­est­ing find­ings !

  • Fred thomas says:

    “Cohered” try­ing to impress with a mis­used word?

  • Steyn says:

    Is it Microwave oven friend­ly?

  • Tokeo Marshall says:

    I am begin­ning to believe that these arche­o­log­i­cal finds are hoax­es. It is as if Romans just were scat­tered abroad leav­ing arti­facts. How many peo­ple were in Europe dur­ing the Roman times. This is noth­ing but anoth­er Euro­cen­tric hoax. In my opin­ion. As far as these dates go dif­fer­ent areas are buried by dif­fer­ent degrees of lay­ered earth in dif­fer­ent times and the lands in some (hypo­thet­i­cal) areas were flood­ed mak­ing the depth of dif­fer­ent areas on a more slid­ing scale than a set scale of all arti­facts buried at same depths no mat­ter the loca­tion. A hoax like I said.

  • Mark Kelly says:

    Hadri­an’s wall was­n’t / isn’t in Scot­land. The lat­er Anto­nine Wall was though. The muse­um at Vin­dolan­da just near Hadri­an’s wall has some amaz­ing finds but noth­ing like this bowl if I remem­ber right­ly.

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