Ahhhh, Benjamin Mark -- I keep wishing you'd get better sources for
your "historical" generalizations. For a technical history of things
like metal, glass, ceramics, stones, bone, ivory, shell, wood,
etc., you should see P.R.S. Moorey's great classic, Ancient
Mesopotamian Materials and Industries--the Archaeological Evidence
(Clarendon Press, Oxford; 1994; reissued by Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake,
For example, you say--
Circa 3000 B.C. Mesopotamia. Things have changed a tad since
that time long ago on that beach. The Mesopotamians are the first
people to deliberately fuse silica and alkali ash in order to make
glass beads. And for the next century or so ... these beads are the
jewelry rage among the rulers and the wealthy classes. And now a
thousand years pass.
Moorey (1994: 190) notes that none of the early glass finds from the
Ancient Near East "may confidently be dated before the middle of the
third millennium BC." It is correct to say that the few examples of
ancient glass were essentially all beads, but to refer to a few dozen
examples of beads from a nearly thousand-year period (ca. 2500-1650
BC) as being "all the rage among the rulers and the wealthy classes"
is a gross overstatement.
1200 B.C. Babylonia. It's time to learn how to blow
glass. This process is refined by the Romans and soon Venetian
glass is invented.
Moorey (pp. 189-190) says about glass, "It can be pressed into
moulds or blown like a bubble from the end of a pipe, as was
discovered in the first half of the first century BC somewhere in
the Levant." (I.e., not 1200 B.C., not in Babylonia)
Moorey (p. 192) says, "There is nothing in the material record
before the Kassite period in Mesopotamia [i.e., after 1650 BC] to
indicate anything other than an infrequent and irregular production
of glass, predominantly for personal ornaments, which showed little,
if any, appreciation of the material's special properties. The
isolated finds dated before the middle of the second millennium BC
have sometimes been explained as no more than compositions intended
as faience, which turned completely vitreous when overfired..."