The finds attributed to the debris from the furnace used in the manufacture of raw glass in Area N1 were fragments of fired mud bricks used in the furnace’s walls and ceiling, fragments of raw glass that came from its floor, some of which was apparently in situ, fragments of raw glass deriving from the removal of the lump of glass produced for the manufacture of glass vessels, as well as a variety of finds connected to the glassmaking debris of the furnace, the most apparent being glass slag (Fig. 4).
The remains found in the excavation area indicate that a glassmaking furnace operated during the Late Byzantine period and was like the one that was discovered next to it (Area N; Fig. 5). The installation was dismantled because of later disturbances, possibly in the Byzantine period, but more likely in recent years, when building debris was discarded from the nearby IMI plant in the area. This debris was deposited there as part of the preparations for opening the Apollonia antiquities site and the national park to the public in 2001.
The ceramic finds discovered in the excavation, especially in the context of the furnace remains, were mostly body fragments of bag-shaped jars and very few diagnostic rims, yet they were sufficient to date the furnace to the sixth–seventh centuries CE, like the one next to it. Numerous modern finds, including construction debris and coins still in circulation, were found together with the ancient artifacts.
To date, two almost complete glassmaking furnaces dating to the sixth–seventh centuries CE have been discovered at the Apollonia site, one in the northern part of the site in 1950 (near Area O, excavated in 2006 and 2009) in a salvage excavation prior to the establishment of the IMI plant, and the other, as stated, in the south of the site, in 2002 in Area N (Tal, Jackson-Tal and Freestone 2004
). The remains exposed in the current excavation are indicative of another furnace, of which practically no vestiges were left in situ,
and resemble one or more furnaces, whose remains were exposed in excavations in Area O (Freestone, Jackson-Tal and Tal 2008
; Tal 2009
). The complete furnaces together with the remains of the ones discovered nearby show that these were built in clusters, similarly to those exposed in Bet Eliezer (Gorin-Rosen 2000
), and operated simultaneously or for a relatively brief period because they were installations that had to be dismantled upon completion of manufacturing the raw glass to remove the product from the furnace.
After twenty-five seasons of excavation at Apollonia, we can conclude that glassmaking furnaces from the Late Byzantine period were constructed on the southern and northern fringes of the site. The nature of the raw glass industrial debris and lumps of raw glass that were recently discovered in surveys on the grounds of the IMI plant in the eastern part of the Byzantine site has not yet been sufficiently clarified.
It has been suggested, in a discussion on the Apollonia hinterland (Haddad et al. 2015
), that the Byzantine settlement of Apollonia (Sozusa) used the area to the east primarily for agricultural and industrial purposes. This hinterland is evident in the archaeological remains of winepresses, field towers, tombs and refuse pits, used to remove debris from the settlement and whose contents were used for fertilizing and improving the soil, which was meant for agricultural crops. The industrial glass waste discovered so far in the excavated areas in the eastern part of the site did not derive from additional furnaces, but to the industrial products that were dismantled from the glassmaking furnaces that were in the immediate vicinity of the Byzantine settlement and were put to secondary use as building materials, fertilizer, etc.