Anastassios C. Antonaras, a specialist in the history of glass, jewelry and textiles, is an archaeologist and curator at the Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki. His books include: Glassworking, Ancient and Medieval: Terminology, Technology and Typology; A Greek-English-English-Greek Dictionary; Roman and Early Christian Glassworking: Vessels from Thessaloniki and its Region (which received a prize from the Academy of Athens in 2010); Fire and Sand: Ancient Glass in the Princeton University Art Museum; and Artisanal Production in Ancient and Byzantine Thessaloniki: Archaeological, Literary and Epigraphic Evidence.
Antonaras has organized numerous exhibitions and symposia, and has published numerous articles on objects from Thessaloniki. He currently serves on the board of the Christian Archaeological Association and is the secretary general of the International Association for the History of Glass.
Glass was very widely used during the early Byzantine period and its use continued throughout the Byzantine period. Already during the 4th c. glass vessels were widely produced in many urban centers and they were used to cover all kinds of needs, both secular and religious. Window panes, mosaic tesserae and glass jewels were also widely produced and used throughout the Empire. After the 7th c. and during the middle Byzantine period (9-12th cc.) the glass finds are scarce although according to literary sources the same needs as earlier were still covered with glass objects, partly imported from the Arab Caliphates either as raw material or as finished products During the Late Byzantine period, glass objects and particularly vessels were widely re-introduced in the everyday life of the Byzantines as tableware, unguentaria, lamps, liturgical, or medical and alchemical vessels. These were largely Venetian and Islamic imports and partly local products of a utilitarian character.