Department of Classics and Archaeology

Hittite glass from Kaman and Buklukale, Anatolia

Project summary

As far as we are aware this cross-disciplinary project is the first to investigate comprehensively Hittite glass using a range of micro-destructive scientific techniques.

Major and minor chemical components have been determined using electron probe micro analysis in the Nano and Microscale Research Centre, University of Nottingham; trace elements have been determined using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry at the British Geological Survey (BGS).

The provenance of the glasses has been further investigated at BGS using thermal ion mass spectrometry to determine strontium and neodymium isotope signatures. Glasses of Hittite, early iron age and Ottoman periods have been analysed.

Example of an early iron age glass bead fragment. There is a black circle surrounded by a white ring, and then a black ring.
Example of an early iron age glass bead fragment from Kaman-Kalehöyük

Project details

The two sites of Kaman-Kalehöyük and Büklükale are located in central Anatolia south of Ankara. The Japanese Institute for Anatolian Archaeology (Director Dr Omura) have been excavating at Kaman-Kalehöyük (since 1985 and Büklükale (since 2008).

The sites mainly date to the Late Bronze Age Hittite period (16th-11th centuries BCE). However, at Kaman there is evidence for activity dating to the 11th -10th centuries BCE and moreover, some material dates to later phases of the early iron age – and as late as the Ottoman period.

Excavations at the citadel of Buklukale (directed by Dr Kimiyoshi Matsumura) have produced some exceptional glass for the Hittite period, including potentially the earliest glass vessel in the world, ingot fragments and a glass pendant.

The Kaman excavations have produced many Hittite glass beads, mainly of a turquoise colour. The early iron age glass from Kaman is also very important since such glass is rare in Turkey.

Project aims

The main aims of the project are: 

  1. To determine the provenance of the glasses and
  2. To investigate whether there is evidence for a Hittite glass industry

Project outcomes

The published results (Henderson et al 2018) show that:

  1. The early iron age glasses derived from several different areas in Europe and the Mediterranean
  2. The Hittite glass is consistent with a Mesopotamian origin.

Further publication of the results is in preparation and will appear in a peer reviewed international journal.


  • J. Henderson, S. Chenery, K. Matsumura, (in press), 'Social and technological transitions and black Iron Age glass beads from Kaman- Kalehöyük, central Anatolia', Festschcrift for Dr Sachihiro Omura.
  • J. Henderson, S. Chenery, S. Omura, K. Matsumura and E. Faber (2018). 'Hittite and early iron age glass from Kaman-Kalehöyük and Büklükale, Turkey: evidence for local production and continuity?', Journal of Anatolian Archaeology XX1, 1-15.


Project team


Julian Henderson, University of NottinghamSimon Chenery, British Geological SurveyJane Evans, British Geological Survey


  • Sachihiro Omura
  • Kimiyoshi Matsumura


Project funded by the British Academy




Department of Classics and Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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