The term ‘alabaster’ was used in antiquity to refer to travertine, a type of limestone formed by the chemical precipitation of water saturated with dissolved calcium carbonate. There are two varieties of travertine, calcareous tufa and calcareous sinter, and the latter was used by the Egyptians to make stone vessels. In the eighteenth century C.E. the term was coined to refer to a form of gypsum that resembled travertine, and travertine was referred to as Egyptian alabaster or onyx marble, both of which are misleading.
Alabastra made of glass, constructed on the same motif as those of alabaster, were very numerous in Egypt and Syria throughout the first millennium B.C, and spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Without its lip or any other embellishments, or archaeological context. this vessel is extremely difficult to date.
- Ancient Glass in the University of Colorado Museum