5.6.3 Glass: vessels and jewellery

There is rare evidence of the production of glass vessels in Scotland (e.g. at Camelon; Price 2002, 90), but it is exceedingly unusual. It seems this was not the kind of practice to be expected at every fort.

Selection of Romano-British / Roman Iron Age glass bangles.©NMS

Distribution of products (for instance, decorated melon beads at Newstead or, less specifically, glass bangles) suggests production of some items took place on or around fort sites. This is highly relevant to the understanding of interaction with local populations and especially thorny questions over the meaning of items such as glass bangles (Kilbride-Jones 1938; Stevenson 1956, 1976; Price 1985). It seems increasingly clear that these cannot be pigeon-holed as Roman or indigenous but represent a complex interaction between the two, some types perhaps pre-dating the Roman period, some being preferred on indigenous sites and others on Roman sites.

Understanding of vessel manufacture relies on broader-scale work on glass production in Britain. An updated Scotland-specific work is therefore needed.

A modern and theoretically-sensitive study of glass bangles would be of considerable value; it is over 20 years since the last, partial study was attempted.