Identifying and Evaluating Atypical Traits in Ancient Egyptian Glass Vessels attributed to the New Kingdom using Raw Data Analysis and Expert Assessment




Glass, Vessel, Ancient Egypt, Atypical, Provenance, Stylistic, Morphology, Origin


The descriptive data pertaining to the remaining, largely intact, glass vessels produced in ancient Egypt between the reigns of Tuthmosis IV (1401–1391 BCE) and Pinudjem II (959–945 BCE) contained in Die Glasgefäße im Alten Ägypten [The Glass Vessels in Ancient Egypt], was extracted and standardized to create a dataset that could be analysed to determine the most typical and atypical features of vessels attributed to the New Kingdom in the corpus. Seven descriptive categories were assessed based on the percentage of incidence to determine if a vessel could be defined as statistically “atypical.” An expert’s evaluation was employed as a second assessment method. The two methods identified 76 vessels from a total number of 320 vessels and agreed on 16 vessels considered as atypical, all of which had little or no provenance information. The resulting 76 vessels identified as “atypical” by the combined methods were subsequently compared with the respective provenance information and current location to determine patterns of collection and distribution throughout the world. The data showed that the Americas held the largest number of vessels that had little or no provenance data, including those held in private collections. The combined atypical tests identified that the Americas hold the largest proportion of atypical vessels. It is not the intention of this research to undermine the authenticity of vessels but to determine if data methods can be used to identify atypical traits in archaeological collections and to encourage the application of archaeometric testing to provide supporting information on statistically rare objects.

Author Biographies

Victoria Kemp, Cranfield University

Victoria Kemp is a doctoral researcher based at Cranfield University, specializing in provenance studies of Late Bronze Age glass. Before undertaking her research at Cranfield, Victoria gained over 15 years of combined industrial experience in forensic casework and investigation.

Rhiannon Rohan, Cranfield University

Rhiannon Rohan is a Forensic Investigation MSc graduate from Cranfield University, with her studies and final thesis focusing on Ancient Egyptian Glass Vessels.

Andrew Shortland, Cranfield University

Andrew Shortland Professor of Archaeology Science and Director of the Cranfield Forensic Institute, part of Cranfield University. He leads a multidisciplinary team that is interested in niche forensic areas such as explosives, ballistics, body recovery/identification and digital forensics. His own research concentrates on applying scientific techniques to the investigation of historical and archaeological objects, especially those with dating, provenance or authenticity questions. He advises the British Army, the Metropolitan Police and major auction houses and museums about cultural property protection and the problems of illicit antiquities.


Brochat, K. and Rehren, Th. (2017) ‘The Glass Headrests of Tutankhamen’, Journal of Glass Studies, 59, pp. 377–380.

Na’aman, N. (2000) ‘The Egyptian-Canaanite Correspondence’, in Cohen, R. and Westbrook, R. (eds) Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 125–138.

Nicholson, P. T. (2012) ‘“Stone... That Flows”: Faience and Glass as Man-Made Stones in Egypt’, Journal of Glass Studies. Corning Museum of Glass, 54, pp. 11–23. Available at:

Nicholson, P. T. and Henderson, J. (2000) ‘Glass’, in Nicholson, P. T. and Shaw, I. (eds) Ancient Egyptian materials and technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 195–226.

Nolte, B. (1968) Die Glassgefässe im alten Ägypten, Münchner Ägyptologische Studien. Berlin: Verlag Bruno Hessling.

Petrie, W. M. F. (1909) The arts and crafts of ancient Egypt. London: T N Foullis Ltd.

Shortland, A. J. (2001) ‘Social influences on the development and spread of glass and glazing technologies’, in Shortland, A. J. (ed.) The social context of technological change - Egypt and the Near East 1650-1150 BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 211–223.

Shortland, A. J., Nicholson, P. T. and Jackson, C. M. (2001) ‘Glass and Faience at Amarna: different methods of both supply for production, and subsequent distribution.’, in Shortland, A. J. (ed.) The Social Context of Technological Change. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 147–160.



How to Cite

Kemp, Victoria, Rhiannon Rohan, and Andrew Shortland. 2021. “Identifying and Evaluating Atypical Traits in Ancient Egyptian Glass Vessels Attributed to the New Kingdom Using Raw Data Analysis and Expert Assessment”. Archaeological and Environmental Forensic Science 2 (1):1–17.