Check for additional new sites on 31.12.2011 but none reported.
A NEW ROMAN GLASS WORKING SITE FOUND IN 2006. SEE 13a BELOW.
LONDON - the most archaeologically investigated city on earth.
Currently, each year some 500 sites are either given a watching brief or subject to excavation. Reports and an annual list of sites and principal finds are published in the publication, London Archaeologist.
To get more information on post-Roman archaeological sites click Later Archaeological Sites.
To get more information on the Roman sites listed below.
After the address for a particular site given below you will find a Museum of London Archaeology reference code, where known, cited in brackets. For example, for site 3, 55-61 Morgate, it is (MGT87). Summary information on this site can be accessed from the records on the MOLA site by clicking MOLA Site Records.
At this site you can either enter the site reference code or keywords as given in the instructions.
However, it is important to remember that because of the high workload on London's archaeologists updating and publication of the records can lag well behind the time when the work was carried out. In which case more information may be obtained from their offices and store at
their Eagle Road headquarters.
A TALLY OF KNOWN ROMAN GLASSWORKING SITES IN LONDON, c.AD 50 to c.AD 400.
At this site you can either enter the site reference code or keywords as given in the instructions.
However, it is important to remember that because of the high workload on London's archaeologists updating and publication of the records can lag well behind the time when the work was carried out. In which case more information may be obtained from their offices and store at their Eagle Road headquarters.
Grateful thanks to John Shepherd, formerly of the Museum of London, for assistance with sourcing these glassworking sites and the details related to them.
(Museum of London reference codes for the sites, where applicable, are given in brackets after the site address. Most of the site reports are not very informative regarding glass finds. Text in quotes is taken from the published site reports.)
Glassmaking by the Romans, the founding of glass from its raw materials, is thought not to have taken place in London. The term “glassworking” indicates the melting and reworking of imported raw glass or locally collected cullet. Glassworking sites are typically identified from the cullet, waste and moils from glassblowing, more rarely from the remains of a furnace or furnace material. At the latest count more than 20 sites for this purpose have been identified in Roman London. They spread from the river Fleet in the east, where two sites fall outside the London Wall (built in AD 200), to the Tower of London in the west. A third site outside London Wall is in the north-east. (The Tower, incidentally, was begun by William the Conqueror and further expanded by Henry II and III in the 13th century.)
Cullet can be melted at a lower temperature than that used for founding new glass. Evidence suggests that some form of small reverberatory furnace without pots but with a tank built into the side walls was used.
GOOGLE MAP OF LONDON SHOWING THE APPROXIMATE LOCATIONS OF THE GLASSWORKING SITES LISTED BELOW.
The markers are coloured to correspond with the three main site locations as indicated below.
All the Google buttons work in the usual way. Zoom in three times to see the best marker layout and road names.
The list number of the site and its address appears when you click on the marker.
A. Upper Walbrook area
To view the sites on the the map magnify it three times. All are designated as primarily first half of the 2nd century.
The river Walbrook, now underground, followed a path roughly from Cannon Street station by the river Thames, via Dowgate Hill, Walbrook and Princes Street to Moorgate (a distance of about 0.4 miles) and then continues beyond, deviating to the east in the direction of Norton Folgate (see Section E below)). The Moorgate area is believed to have been a marshy swamp unsuitable for building. However, building the London Wall resulted in greatly improved drainage within the Wall while the area outside became a lake. As a result the area round Moorgate (within the wall) appears to have developed as an important industrial location. This was so particularly for the manufacture of pottery with which glassworking was not infrequently associated, as at Northgate House.
The somewhat conflicting dates for glassworking and building the Wall (a very substantial structure, see Wikipedia) suggest that its construction in this area may have begun earlier, perhaps to resolve the drainage problem (see Nicholas Barton London's Lost Rivers, reprinted 2005).
The Roman glass recovered is mostly of a natural blue-green colour.
Northgate House, 22-28 Moorgate EC2. (MRG95) lies between Telegraph St. And Great Swan Alley about 200 yards north of the Bank of England. This site yielded five pottery furnaces and large sections of the tank from a reverbatory-type glassworking furnace as well as numerous glass shards and moiles. (See Seeley F. and Murray D. Roman Pottery Production in the Walbrook Valley. MoLAS Monograph no. 25. ISBN 1-901992-25-1)
43-53 Moorgate/72-74 Coleman Street, Nun Court EC2.(MOG86) running parallel on the west side of Moorgate. Waste noted in several context, no details.
55-61 Moorgate, 75-79 Coleman Street, EC2.(MGT87) Detailed analysis of sections from a large tank furnace holding 9-16 litres (2-3 gallons) of glass. Also furnace waste and moils. Interpreted manufacture is mainly narrow-necked vessels such as vials and long-necked jugs.
"In the central area of excavation a brickearth and timber Roman building, provisionally mid- to late 1st c, contained at least three rooms, in one of which was a timber tank. This feature may have had an industrial function. After the abandonment of this building another, similar structure, in use until ad120-40, was built on the same site. An important collection of Roman glassworking debris, including part of a 'tank' furnace was found associated with this building.In the N part of one trench a large dump of Roman leather shoemaking waste was found. The leather and glassworking material constitute a collection likely to provide considerable new insights into the industry of Roman Britain."
2-3 Cross Keys Court, EC2.(OPT81) Watching brief of a large area in conjunction with the excavation of Copthall Avenue."The drainage channels and dumps which continually raised the ground level during this period contained quantities of finds, particularly leather shoes, and some indicated industrial processes, including leather-, bone- and glassworking."
10-12 Copthall Ave E.C.2. (COV87)
No actual evidence of glassworking but "Notable finds from this site were numerous fragments of various glass vessels which included jars, jugs, bottles and an indented glass bowl."
43 London Wall, EC2.(LWA84) Glassworking waste noted in several context, no details.
No reference to glassworking in the site report but that does not exclude the possibility of glassworking detritious being found and not worth thought mentioning at the time of the report.
44 London Wall, EC2.(LDW84) No reference to glassworking in the site report but that does not exclude the possibility of glassworking detritious being found and not worth thought mentioning at the time of the report.
London Wall, EC2, Black Swan Alley. Undated; location uncertain (I have not been able to determine the location of Black Swan Alley>). Information from a watching brief by William Newton in the late 19th century. Includes a report of eight fragments of glass-blowers floor ‘by colour of glass Roman’.
35 Basinghall Street, EC2. (BAZ05) No furnace but a large assemblage of glass waste with an unusually high proportion of finer material, such as moils, threads, droplets, trimmings etc.
"The entire Roman sequence was characterized by pitting, for brickearth and gravel extraction, or for domestic refuse. In the SE corner of the site some pits contained large amounts of glass production material."
72-73 Basinghall Street,EC2. (GYE92 This site is covered by a large number of excavation reports which have not been followed up at the present time.) Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard; Portland House. Mid 1st – 3rd quarter of the 4th century. Basinghall Street runs across the north side of the Guildhall. This extensive survey has been analysed in detail. The most notable find was c. 70Kg of finely smashed cullet (the largest such assemblage ever found on a Roman site in the western Empire) from which could be identified 2000 individual vessels coming from at least 60 main form groups as well as window glass and bottle glass. Also c. 50 Kg of smashed furnace fragments but no furnace. 4.5 Kg of moil fragments from blowing vessels, c. AD 120, were found in the Guildhall Yard. Evidence for the vessels formed is scant but some handles indicate blown jugs etc. additionally with some 40 vessels of coloured glass.
(See also, Shepherd J. And Wardle A. The Glassmakers of Roman London. MoLA, 2009. ISBN 978-1-901992-84-7 This is a popular text not an archaeological report.)
For an amusing blog on this topic by Angela Wardle see Counting Shards of Roman Glass. It also includes pictures from the above book.
B. Lower Walbrook area
Bucklersbury House. Redevelopment site/Temple of Mithras, EC4. (WFG44/45) AD 60-70. In the lower levels below the Temple of Mithras, evidence from glassworking waste including five moils and a near complete lid-moil. Also glass fragments from bottles, flasks and beakers.
C. West of the Walbrook
10 Gresham Street, EC2. (GSM97) Before AD 70. Earliest evidence for glassworking. Pre-Roman style beads using recycled Roman glass together with evidence for pillar-moulded bowls.
Watling House. 12-16 Watling Street/31-37 Cannon Street, EC4. (GM213) Probably AD 50-100. First excavated in 1954 by Ivor Noel Hume; the site of a building that burnt down, probably under Hadrian's rule (ad 117-138). Evidence of glassworking waste from one pit.
13A. Bow Bells House, No. 1 Bread Street, EC4, junction with Cheapside. (TQ 3233 8114 MoLAS, Isca Howell, Simon Davis).
Extensive archaeological investigations have uncovered a first century Roman gravel quarry, as well as evidence of buildings, Roman pottery, a Venus figurine and a large amounts of broken glass suggesting glass working on the site. A piece of moulded Roman glass featuring a relief of Hercules and Iolas, his lover, was the most significant find and is now on view at the Museum of London. Burnt planking in situ suggests that the building may have burnt down.
76-80 Newgate Street, EC1.(former General Post Office) (GPO75) First quarter AD 200. Archaeologically difficult site resulting from contemporary fire destruction of a series of buildings. In one room was found a quantity of melon-shaped beads suggesting possible early 2nd century bead making. Interpretation is only provisional.
Newgate Street. Some waste found in early second century dumps - it probably originated from the Old Bailey complex below.
18-25 Old Bailey and Fleet Valley, 10-18 Bishop’s Court, 29-37 Fleet Lane, EC4. (OBA88) Circa AD 120. A series of small furnaces found on a hill overlooking the river Fleet (now buried) have been described. The furnaces are thought to have had a long life from the moils, threads and droplets found scattered through associated ground layers. Also lumps of pot or tank metal.
Also suggested is an association with the manufacture of fine pottery.
Fleet Ditch, location uncertain but somewhere between Fleet Gate and Holborn. The River Fleet discharges into the Thames via a culvert under Blackfriars Bridge. Undated. Information obtained from a report by John Conyers in 1677. This states that near pottery kilns were small kilns with chimneys possibly used for glassworking , together with remains of crucibles for melting the glass, debris from glassworking and remains of coloured glasses perhaps used for false jewels and other small items. None of this glass still exists.
St Pauls, Ludgate Hill. (SLY00) a small quantity of glassworking waste among early second century dumps.
Paternoster Square, (PNS01) north of St. Paul's. Early second century dumps containing a few fragments of waste material.
D. East of the Walbrook
16. Regis House. 39-46 King William Street, EC4. (KWS94) North end of London Bridge. Before AD 70. In a building on the Thames foreshore. Evidence for a small furnace used to make twisted glass stirring rods, small glass bottles and drinking vessels. Possibly the home of the first glassworker to come to Britain.
Tower of London, Inner Ward (NB. the Tower was not begun until the 11th century). A 1955/6 excavation. Circa AD 200. Furnace fragments, moils etc. and unusually high quality pot/tank glass.
St. Dunstan’s Hill, 84 Lower Thames Street, EC3. (GM163) Close by the river Thames, about 350 yds east of the Tower. Large amounts of broken glass and one complete moil.
Plantation Place north of St. Dunstan's Hill. (FER97) Late first century dumps contained some glass waste.
"From late medieval cesspits came rare assemblages of pottery and glass, such as alkaline-glazed Mamluk jars from the East Mediterranean."
Colchester House, Savage Gardens, Pepys Street, 9 Cooper’s Row, EC3. (PEP89) (Adjacent Crutched Friars where the first Muranese glassmakers were brought to London by Edward VI in 1549.)
Undated. Small amounts of glass working waste distributed among a number of contexts.
"Glass waste, and the base of a substantial hearth which cut through the soil, may be evidence for Roman glassmaking."
E. North-east of the Walbrook
1-3 Norton Folgate. (NRT85)
4-12 Norton Folgate. (NRF88) Theses two sites taken together, 3rd-4th century AD. Located on the A10 outside the City wall approx 0.4 miles NE of Finsbury Circus. Although given here as east of the Walbrook, because the upper reaches of the river swing in that direction, it might be better described as part of the Walbrook valley.
Glassworking debris was found and from here comes the only example of a possible crucible fragment (i.e as opposed to wall fragments from tank furnaces).