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Anglo-Saxon glass has been found across England during archaeological excavations of both settlement and cemetery sites.
Glass in the Anglo-Saxon period was used in the manufacture of a range of objects including vessels, beads, windows and was even used in jewelry.
The alkali of Syrian and Egyptian glass was soda ash, sodium carbonate, which can be extracted from the ashes of many plants, notably halophile seashore plants: (see saltwort).
The earliest vessels were 'core-formed', produced by winding a ductile rope of glass round a shaped core of sand and clay over a metal rod, then fusing it with repeated reheatings.
The earliest known glass objects, of the mid third millennium BC, were beads, perhaps initially created as accidental by-products of metal-working (slags) or during the production of faience, a pre-glass vitreous material made by a process similar to glazing.Techniques developed during this period include 'slumping' viscous (but not fully molten) glass over a mould in order to form a dish and 'millefiori' (meaning 'thousand flowers') technique, where canes of multi-colored glass were sliced and the slices arranged together and fused in a mould to create a mosaic-like effect.It was also during this period that colorless or decolored glass began to be prized and methods for achieving this effect were investigated more fully.According to Pliny the Elder, Phoenician traders were the first to stumble upon glass manufacturing techniques at the site of the Belus River.Georgius Agricola, in De re metallica, reported a traditional serendipitous "discovery" tale of familiar type: "The tradition is that a merchant ship laden with nitrum being moored at this place, the merchants were preparing their meal on the beach, and not having stones to prop up their pots, they used lumps of nitrum from the ship, which fused and mixed with the sands of the shore, and there flowed streams of a new translucent liquid, and thus was the origin of glass." This account is more a reflection of Roman experience of glass production, however, as white silica sand from this area was used in the production of glass within the Roman Empire due to its high purity levels.
However, the first unmistakable evidence in large quantities, dating from the 3rd century BC, has been uncovered from the archaeological site in Takshashila, Pakistan, with bangles, beads, small vessels, and tiles discovered in quantity.