Roman artifacts found in Japanese tomb in Kyoto
Glass jewelry thought to have been made in the Roman Empire has been found in an ancient Japanese tomb.
Researchers from Japan’s Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties announced Friday that 3 glass beads recovered from a Fifth Century burial site near Kyoto bear signs of Roman craftsmanship suggesting that Roman influence reached to East Asia.
“They are one of the oldest multilayered glass products found in Japan, and very rare accessories that were believed to be made in the Roman Empire and sent to Japan,” researcher Tomomi Tamura said.
The gilt artifacts, which are 5 mm in diameter, contained traces of the chemical natron, which Roman craftsmen used to melt glass. A natural salt, natron was also used by the Ancient Egyptians in the preparation of mummies.
By the time the artifacts were interred at the Utsukushi burial mound, Rome was in decline, losing much of its territory before ending in 476.
Researchers are now interested in finding out how the beads traveled more than 6,000 miles from Rome to Kyoto.
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