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June 24, 2012

Roman jewellery discovered in ancient Japan tomb

Tokyo:Glass jewellery believed to have been made by Roman craftsmen has been found in an ancient tomb near Kyoto . Researchers said that it is a sign the empire’s influence may have reached the edge of Asia . Tests have revealed that three glass beads discovered in the fifth-century Utsukushi burial mound in Nagaoka, Kyoto Prefecture, were probably made sometime between the first and fourth centuries AD, according to the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. The government-backed institute has recently finished analyzing components of the 5mm glass beads, which have tiny fragments of gilt attached. It found that the light yellow beads were made with natron, a chemical used to melt glass by craftsmen in the Roman Empire, which succeeded the Roman Republic in 27 BC and ultimately ended with the fall of Constantinople — present-day Istanbul — in 1453, Japan Times Online reported. The beads, which have a hole through the middle, were made with a multilayering technique, a relatively sophisticated method in which craftsmen piled up layers of glass, often sandwiching gold leaf in between. “They are some of the oldest multilayered glass products found in Japan, and very rare accessories that are believed to have been made in the Roman Empire and sent to Japan,” Tomomi Tamura, a researcher at the institute said. Tamura said that the finding may shed some light on how far east the Roman empire ’s influence reached. “It will also lead to further studies on how they could have got all the way to Japan ,” she added.

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