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New data on the soda flux used in the production of Iznik glazes and Byzantine glasses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

M. S. Tite, A. J. Shortland, N. Schibille, P. Degryse

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
E-pub ahead of print14 Jan 2015

King's Authors


Previous research has shown that Iznik glazes are characterized by low potash and magnesia contents. It was therefore suggested that the flux used was either a purified plant ash or some unidentified mineral source of soda. More recently, as a result of the detection of small, but significant, amounts of boron and lithium in Byzantine glasses from western Turkey, which also exhibit low potash and magnesia contents, it has been suggested that the source of the flux used was a soda-rich evaporite associated in some way with the extensive borax deposits in the region. LA-ICP-MS has been used to establish that Iznik glazes also contain similarly small amounts of boron and lithium. The Na/K, Na/Mg, Na/Ca and Na/B ratios for these Iznik glazes are shown to be comparable to the equivalent ratios calculated from published data for waters from a range of Na-HCO3 type hot springs in western Turkey, with the closest match being to the hot springs around Afyon-Gazligöl, which is consistent with documentary evidence. It is therefore proposed that the soda-rich salts produced by evaporating water from these springs to dryness would have provided the flux required for the production of Iznik glazes and high-boron Byzantine glasses.

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