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Ian Freestone

Research Interests

I am interested in early materials and technologies, and the application of scientific methods to the investigation of artifacts and their interpretation. My main focus through the 1980s and early 1990s was on ceramic materials; more recently I have focused particularly on glass. I have also worked extensively on the by-products of early metallurgy.

Research Directory Records

Current projects

  • Medieval window glass (Leverhulme funded; collaboration with Cardiff University).
  • Composition, Technology and Origins of Roman glass from the Basinghall workshop, London (collaborative project involving a team from the Museum of London, Bristol and Cardiff Universities).
  • The redox state of early glass - synchrotron and Mossbauer approaches (collaboration with Torino and Tubingen Universities).
  • A market-driven innovation in the late Roman glass industry.
  • Oxygen isotopes by laser fluorination as a tool to investigate the origins of Roman glass (collaboration with RHUL).
  • John Dwight’s crucibles and the development of English porcelain technology (collaboration with Padova University).
  • Non-destructive analysis of copper alloy artefacts: effects of corrosion and conservation treatments on residual stress measurements by synchrotron techniques (collaboration with Cardiff University).
  • Small groups versus long routes.
  • Investigation of the trade in glass through the analysis of glass from wrecks (collaboration with Israel Antiquities Authority).
  • Technology and trade of prehistoric glass beads from Taiwan (collaboration with National Museum of Taiwan).
  • Further investigations of ecclesiastical window glass (A number of potential projects are under discussion with York Glaziers Trust).

Educational Background

  • PhD Earth Sciences (high temperature silicate phase equilibria at variable pO2), University of Leeds, 1978
  • MSc Geochemistry, University of Leeds, 1974
  • BSc Geology, Upper Second, University of Reading, 1972

  • Editorial Board, Leuven Studies in Archaeological Science (book series), 2008–present
  • Advisory Editor of Archaeometry 1990-94; 2006-present
  • Editorial Board of Journal of Archaeological Science 1996-present
  • Editorial Board of FACTA, 2007 – present

Edited Volumes

  • Bayley J, Freestone I, and Jackson CJ (forthcoming) Glass of the Roman Empire. Oxford, Oxbow.
  • Shortland AJ, Freestone I and Rehren Th. (eds) (2009) From Mine to Microscope – Advances in the Study of Ancient Technology. Oxbow

Selected Journal Articles

  • Tite MS, Freestone I and Wood N (Forthcoming) An investigation into the raw materials used in the production of Chinese stoneware and porcelain bodies. Archaeometry
  • Tal O, Jackson-Tal R and Freestone I (2008) Glass from a Late Byzantine secondary workshop at Ramla (South) Israel. Journal of Glass Studies 50, 81-95.
  • Freestone I, Jackson-Tal R and Tal O (2008) Raw glass and the production of glass vessels at Late Byzantine Apollonia-Arsuf, Israel. Journal of Glass Studies 50, 67-80.
  • Freestone I, Gudenrath W and Cartwright C (2008) The Hope Goblet reconsidered Journal of Glass Studies 50, 159-169.
  • Sax M, Walsh J M, Freestone I, Rankin A H and Meeks N D (2008) The origin of two purportedly pre-Columbian Mexican Crystal skulls. Journal of Archaeological Science 35, 2751-2760
  • Martinón-Torres M, Freestone I, Hunt A and Rehren Th (2008) Mass-produced crucibles in Medieval Europe: manufacture and material properties. Journal of the American Ceramic Society 91, 2071-2074
  • Maritan L, Mazzoli, C and Freestone I (2007) Modelling changes in mollusc shell internal microstructure during firing: implications for temperature estimation in shell-bearing pottery. Archaeometry 49, 529-542.
  • Craddock P, Freestone I, Middleton A , Van Grunderbeek M-C (2007) Early Iron Age iron-smelting debris from Rwanda and Burundi, East Africa. Historical Metallurgy 41, 1-14

Book Chapters

  • Freestone I and Stapleton C (Forthcoming) Composition, technology and production of mosaic glass vessels of the early Imperial period. In Freestone I, Jackson C J and Bayley J (eds) Glass of the Roman Empire. Oxbow 

  • Freestone I, Kunicki-Goldfinger J J, McDonald I, Pike A (in press). Composition, origins and production of the Basinghall glass.
  • Freestone I, Kunicki-Goldfinger J, Gilderdale-Scott H, Ayers T (2010) Multi-disciplinary Investigation of the Windows of John Thornton, focusing on the Great East Window of York Minster. In Pilosi L et al. (eds) The Art of Collaboration: Stained Glass Conservation in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • Degryse P, I Freestone, J Schneider, S Jennings (2010) Technology and provenance study of Levantine plant ash glass using Sr-Nd isotope analysis. In Drauke J and Keller D (eds) Glass in Byzantium – Production, Usage, Analyses. Mainz: Romisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums, 83-91.

  • Barber DJ, I Freestone and KM Moulding (2009) Ancient copper red glasses: investigation and analysis by microbeam techniques. In Shortland A J, Freestone I and Rehren Th From Mine to Microscope – Advances in the Study of Ancient Technology. Oxbow, 115-127

  • Freestone I, Wolf S and Thirlwall M (2009) Isotopic composition of glass from the Levant and south-eastern Mediterranean Region. In Isotopes in Vitreous Materials, eds P Degryse, J Henderson and G Hodgson. Leuven University Press, pp. 31-52.

  • Freestone I, Hughes M J and Stapleton C P (2008) Composition and production of Anglo-Saxon glass, in V I Evison, Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon glass vessels in the British Museum. London, The British Museum, 29-46.

  • Yegingil Z and Freestone I (2008) The composition and Technology of Seljuk Tiles from Kubad Abad. In Arik, R A Tiles: Treasures of Anatolian Soil - Tiles of the Seljuk and Beylik Periods. Istanbul: Kale Group Cultural Publications, pp 209-217
  • Freestone I (2008) Pliny on Roman glassmaking. In Martinon-Torres M and Rehren Th (eds) Archaeology, History and Science: Integrating Approaches to Ancient Materials. University College London: Institute of Archaeology Publications, Left Coast press, Walnut Creek CA; 77-100.

An AHRC-funded PhD studentship, offered as a collaborative doctoral award between the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is available. The deadline for applications is 24 May 2013. Read more»

Current Students

  • Agnese Benzonelli Validation of Analytical Methods for Non-Invasive Characterization of Natural and Artificial Patinas (second supervisor Marcos Martinon-Torres)
  • Matt Phelps An investigation into technological change and organisational developments in glass production between the Byzantine and Islamic Periods (7-12th centuries) forcussing on evidence from northern Israel (second supervisor Mark Altaweel)
  • Jill Saunders The cultural specificy of conservation. Cleaning copper alloys: Approaches and implications (second supervisor Stavroula Golfmitsou)
  • Min Yin The earliest high-fired glazed ceramics in China: Scientific studies of the proto-porcelains from Zhejiang during the Shang and Zhou periods (c.1700-221 BC) (joint supervision with Thilo Rehren)

Secondary supervisor

Ian Freestone

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