- An early glass industry has been investigated in northern Italy at Frattesina, Mariconda, and Montagnana dating to the Final Bronze Age. This industry is, however, separated by time, space, and technique from the later appearance of glass in central Italy. The technique employed by the developed early glass industry (before blown glass) was core-forming, a process of coating a form on the end of a rod with molten glass to make a vessel. The earliest glass of this type in Etruria was almost certainly imported by the Phoenicians in the course of the eighth century BC and took the form of balsamari (unguent containers) and bowls. However, a class of monochrome vessel, stachelflaschen (spiny bottles, relating to the scaled decoration), dating to between 650 and 550 BC, appears to be Etruscan in manufacture. Another use of glass was in the decoration of fibulae, particularly leech fibulae, and beads. The chemical composition appears to have been quite variable, suggesting many localized industries, although the vessels do seem to be formed consistently from low-magnesia sodalime silica glass. The ability of the Etruscans to make as well as work glass makes perfect sense given the sophistication of their pottery and metallurgy, but direct evidence of production is more difficult to encounter.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.
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