Posted 3 years ago
Age of Roman Unguent Bottle
Circa 100 B.C. to A.D. 70 (Assumed. See below).
This bottle was sold to me under the typical "first to third century A.D." heading for early glass unguentarium (holding salve, or oils/perfumes for the rich; sometimes used for votive offerings, though also buried with bodies "for" the after-life) , and while this is certainly an unguent, I think it pre-dates the second-century A.D.
I think it predates the second century for a combination of reasons that, as far as various university and museum sites assert, were rarely combined after about 70-100 A.D. See below.
Early Manufacturing Characteristics Seen in Bottle
The two-colour opaque bottle is a roughly (natural protrusions) cast bottle (not blown, but poured) with a solid mass of green glass on the bottom and an ice-blue (not aqua) cast upper body and a applied top (sadly the top was broken at or after the time of excavation as evident by the lack of any decomposition on the sharp break).
You can see in the silver band (it literally looks like silver in person) kind of in mid-body where the maker had fused the two pieces together. A bottle like this would be made over hours or even days, for it had to be reheated several times.
The top was also separately applied (to what would have been a wide-mouthed body) as also evidenced by a silver band where it was fused to the mid body. Essentially, it is a three-part bottle.
Production Location Unknown
As for where it was made, I won't speculate. The Romans produced glass inside the Italian peninsula and abroad. They had started with Egyptian glass but forcibly relocated the makers to Rome and other cities of importance. By the time of our Savior, glass was being produced in several locations and worked in many more (glass was often produced and shipped to makers of glass containers and art).
It's typical of first-century B.C. and first-century A.D. bottles, for by the mid second-century colour began to be phased out save for truly intense or translucent (not opaque, like this example), purposeful colours as light aqua and white glasses grew in popularity for general use. Glass blowing took off by about 70 A.D.; and by the middle of the second century A.D., cast bottles were pretty much a thing of the past. They no longer made them out of multiple pieces of glass, either.
It looks awful when not wet. I bought it cheap, and the seller didn't note that the upper portion was blue. We all thought it first- to third-century from his photos. He shipped it in a typical yellow ENVELOPE for media-mail with some 'packing peanuts' and half a plastic plate wrapped around it, but it had slipped free of the plate and was sitting UNPROTECTED in the corner of the envelope.... So, I am NOT happy with this seller's shipping methods.
While I've held these things before, this is the first for my own personal collection of antique glassware-- and talk about a true antique! It may have been contemporary with our Lord Yeshua (Jesus' real Name)!
It pre-dates the pontil era. There are bottles older than pontiled bottles. Hah!