On the banks of the Nile near Amarna, something a little strange and unexpected turned up… although historians have long believed that Egyptians imported their glass during the reign of Akhenaten, an industrial complex and the remains there now show quite the opposite.
The site at Amarna contained a glass-making shop, with a potter’s workshop and specific rooms that were designated as production areas for blue pigment and architectural inlay materials. An ancient furnace next to the site was utilized by researchers to make their own reconstructed version, which they used to make a full-sized glass ingot out of local sand!
The previously held belief was that the Egyptians imported their glass from surrounding countries and integrated it into their own artifacts, in order to create their elaborate art projects which made ancient Egypt such a famous culture in history – but the discovery of a glass workshop such as this suggests that the Egyptians had far more advanced industrial manufacturing capabilities than they were previously given credit for.
At that rate, who knows how many items they were able to make on their own, without relying on outside trade sources? This would have allowed more money and trade goods to flow inside of Egypt, keeping the wealth inside the country and thus contributing to the richness of their ancient culture.
The glass site near Amarna was found close enough to an ancient temple site that it is likely the workshop was used to produce decorative pieces for the temple during its construction. It is entirely possible that materials for other state buildings came from this location as well, but either way, the Egyptians were far more than simply skilled artists – they were highly efficient and advanced producers of industrial materials as well!
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