||Amenhotep III Item 1638|
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This mask is thought to be the head of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III and is dated 1400-1350 BC Egypt. It is one of the oldest surviving pieces of glass from antiquity.
According to ancient-Roman historian Pliny AD 23-79 Phoenician merchants transporting Nitrum Stone discovered glass in the region of Syria around 5000 BC.
The story is that merchants moored on the shore were preparing a meal but could not find stones to support their cauldrons, so they used Natron from their ship, which is a naturally occurring alkali salt found in dry lake beds.
Pliny tells how heat from the fire melted the Natron which mixed with sand on the beach:
"They beheld transparent streams flowing forth of a liquid hitherto unknown: this, it is said, was the origin of glass."