Eastward Trade

The shipment of cullet to regions at the fringes of the Empire that generally lacked the usual glass ingredients, and/or an experience in making it, was a quite viable commercial concern. In the 2nd century A.D. manuscript, Periplus Maris Erythraei, cargoes which include loads of raw glass among a host of far more expensive goods such as Italian wine and tin, are documented as being exchanged at markets in several Indian Ocean ports for valuable perfume ingredients such as costus and nard, and for other oriental exotics such as Chinese silk and onyx.

Cullet could be packed tightly and with little concern about further breakage, so it probably was used quite often as a shipping ballast. The only load of this kind thus far recovered, however, is post-Romançone weighing some three metric tons in the hold of an 11th century A.D. shipwreck, where the main cargo was wine amphorae.