Doctoral thesis changes history of Swedish glass

Archaeologist Anna Ihr's doctoral dissertation, Becoming Vitrified, shows that the glass industry in Sweden is much older than previously believed, as early as the 13th century. The thesis describes how different vitrified, or glassy, materials can be interpreted and analysed.

Ihr's research has taken her from Old Lödöse in Sweden to Qalhāt in Oman, searching for evidence among the cracked clay kilns of processes and fuel.

"The dating of my finds shows that glass was produced in Old Lödöse prior to 1260. That's 300 years earlier than the previously oldest known written sources, which are from 1556. This means that Sweden's history of glass production now has to be revised," says Ihr. "My studies show that glass production may be used as an indicator of an advanced society. From processed materials it is possible to extract imanent social information, which may say much of a lost society."