I have now started on the huge task of going through the entire collection to record the details of the different types of waste on our database. I am sorting the different categories into separate boxes as I go, so that we can go back and look at the various groups in more detail later on. Meanwhile I am weighing everything and recording the dates and descriptions of the more complete, identifiable glass vessel fragments, generally those with rims or bases. There are over 2000 separate accessions so it may take some time!
Some of the bags are ‘bulk accessions’, containing many fragments. The largest of these are collections of vessel glass which was used as cullet, melted in the furnace to be used as raw material for blowing new vessels.
On one large piece you can see individual vessel fragments which have fused together in the heat. We have already sorted the glass into different colours and I am quickly going through the bags again to look for any rim fragments which we may have missed first time around. Most of the glass is in various shades of blue-green, the natural colour caused by the presence of iron oxides in the sand from which it was made originally, but quite a lot is better quality colourless glass. I am weighing all this glass, but life is too short to count every fragment!
I have been very lucky this week to have had some help with some final work on all those sieved glass residues. Monica, one of my colleagues, has done a brilliant and painstaking job of sorting out the smallest fragments into their various colours for which I am very grateful indeed.
John and I are writing a short booklet about the glass project. We have completed the first draft and are now sorting out the illustrations – lots of them. We hope that it will be published in the spring – something to look forward to for the New Year …