As China opens the worlds longest glassbottomed bridge researcher highlights how glass was a symbol of power to ancient cultures

Last weekend, the world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge opened to visitors in central China, connecting two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province.

Despite the often practical use of glass today, ancient cultures invested in technological skills such as glassmaking for power and prestige rather than economic functionality, according to Dr Chloe Duckworth from the School of Archaeology and Ancient History in an article written for Think: Leicester.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan province
In an article she says: “Glass is an astonishing material, which is rarely given the attention it deserves. Today, it is thanks to glass fibre-optic cables that we have high speed global internet connectivity. And without specialist glass lenses, what would have become of the scientific discovery of the universe through microscopes and telescopes?

"From our current perspective, technological change is inevitable, ongoing, and a driving part of the human experience. Yet for most people in the past, and many in the world today, technology is something which responds to, rather than defines social factors. The development of glass technology was perhaps something of a ‘blue skies’ project at the start, only becoming economically and scientifically functional much later."