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Situated just a few miles from the neighbouring German border, Nijmegen is the oldest city in The Netherlands. After a recent archaeological dig, it’s recognised also as the site where a stunningly preserved bowl made of blue glass was discovered.
The pristine finding, which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old, is from the agricultural Bataven settlement that once populated the region. Featuring diagonal ridges, the translucent vessel was made by pouring molten glass into a mould, sculpting the stripes while the material was liquid, and using metal oxide to produce the vibrant blue. When archaeologists uncovered and examined it they couldn’t find a single chip or crack.
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Around the time the bowl was acquired, Nijmegen was an early Roman military camp. Later, the settlement was named a municipium, or Roman city. Archaeologist Pepjin van de Geer, who led the excavation, told the De Stentor that it’s possible the vessel was created in a German glass workshop in cities like Cologne or Xanten. It is also likely that the Batavians traded cattle hides to procure it.
In addition to the piece, van de Geer’s team has also uncovered human bones, pitchers, cups, and other precious goods like jewellery, which indicates the site was once a burial ground.
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