The X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure technique has been successfully applied to the study of ancient glasses from Patti Roman Villa (Messina, Sicily). From the chemical point of view, the samples are ’low-magnesia’ glasses, with a composition typical of the Roman period. Fluorescence detected Fe and Mn K-edge XANES spectra and a detailed pre-edge analysis confirm that the color of the glass fragments depends on the oxidation state of iron and suggest the deliberate addition of manganese oxide as decolorant during the melting procedure. This work shows that X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy is a potentially very useful nondestructive technique that can be applied in archaeological studies on many different materials.

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