Oleh Yatsuk

Bio: Oleh have obtained bachelor degree in history from Odesa I.I. Mechnikov National University (Ukraine) in 2016. His master degree is instead in science for archaeological materials. It was issued on completion of the Erasmus Mundus joint master program ARCHMAT in 2018. He started to work with ancient glass during his master thesis project. Since the start of his Tech4Culture fellowship and until present time he continues to work with various collections of Iron Age glasses from Italy and Ukraine.

Doctoral thesis research topic: technology and provenance of Iron Age (first half of the first millennium BCE) glassy materials found in South Etruria and Latium. As the production and circulation of glass in the Iron Age is not studied to the same extent as Bronze Age and for example, Hellenistic glasses, this direction of research has potential to shed light on a complex technical processes of glass production and trace the connections between different parts of the Mediterranean at the time. Central Italy is an interesting region in this regard due to its position and the level of development in the first half of the first millennium BCE.

Methodology: the project was designed to have three stages. During the first one the archaeological context of the objects was studied. Visual examination (aided with the microscope) was completed and the appearance of samples was documented in a systematic way. Suitable samples were selected for the stage two that involved non-invasive studies of glass composition inside the museum’s premises. This was done by the Fibre Optics Reflectance Spectroscopy and portable X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy. These methods of analysis allowed to judge how different samples correspond to each other compositionally, which was the basis of grouping of samples by the same compositional traits and, when applicable, chromophores. Smaller set of samples was selected on the basis of this data to be as representative as possible of the one studied during the stage two. The selected samples underwent the in-depth, micro-invasive laboratory study (stage three). Methods used at this stage were Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive Spectrometry, Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, µ-Raman spectroscopy and µ-X-Ray Diffraction. The amount of data collected gave the opportunity to characterise the technology that was used in making of specific types of glass and change their appearance. Several provenance observations were made on this basis.

Outcome: Gathered data allow for identification of presence of several compositional and provenance groups of glasses. The fact that samples represent the 500 years of glass use in a relatively small region of Mediterranean was useful for tracing the evolution of glass technology in this region. Quantitative data were compared to the coeval and chronologically distant examples of glass from other parts of the Mediterranean and most of the samples analysed within this project have corresponding glasses elsewhere which is suggestive of the existence of centralised production that was happening in several primary glass workshops. Some samples were determined to belong to the Bronze Age production while some were difficult to interpret. Several samples are thought to be produced locally, which is a rare example of the technology spread to the new areas at the time. Some work is being done currently to give spotlight to these results by publishing them in scientific papers and presenting them at congresses.

Tech4Culture Fellow – Call 2 (2019)

Supervisor: Monica Gulmini, Chemistry Department