2,000-year-old Roman glass bowl found ‘like new’

Archaeologists excavating a site in Nijmegen – the oldest city in the Netherlands, located on the Waal river around 10 km from the German border – have discovered a blue glass bowl estimated to be around 2,000 years old, in perfect condition.

The bowl, just small enough to sit comfortably in the palm of one hand, has a trim rim and a vertical striped pattern with ridges on the outside. With no chips or cracks on its surface, the object is surprisingly intact. Chief archaeologist Pepjin van de Geer remarked that it was “really special”, deserving of pride of place in a museum.

The ancient Roman bowl is believed to have originated from glass workshops in German cities such as Cologne and Xanten, although van de Geer also considers the possibility that it was traded from Italy. “These dishes were made by letting molten glass cool and harden on a mold,” he said. Recount the Dutch regional newspaper Stentorian. “The striped pattern was drawn while the glass mixture was still liquid. The metal oxide causes a blue color.

Archaeologists hope to produce a map of the historic settlement.

Van de Geer’s team had excavated the site ahead of the construction of a new housing and green development project called Winkelsteeg, which promises to be a “vibrant living and working space” for the growing town. At the time the bowl was in use, Nijmegen was a Roman military camp which later attracted civilian settlements. It was the first city in the modern Netherlands to be named a municipium, or Roman city, so the local inhabitants of Batavi were the first in the region to obtain Roman citizenship.

The same excavation effort has unearthed Roman tombs, trinkets like crockery and jewelry, and traces of construction – which archaeologists hope are definitive enough to allow them to produce a map of what the layout looked like. of the colony.

David C. Barham