Institute of Archaeology

Prof Ian Freestone

Prof Ian Freestone

Professor of Archaeological Materials and Technologies

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2011

Research summary

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.

Current Research Projects and Networks

  • Composition, Corrosion and Origins of Medieval Window Glass
  • Islamic Archaeology Network
  • The natron-based glass industries
  • The intensity of recycling in the early glass industries

Current collaborations

  • Revisiting the glass from the Jalame excavations (Collaborative project with Corning Museum of Glass, Aarhus University, Israel Antiquities Authority)
  • Hafnium isotopes in the determination of glass provenance (Dr Gry Barfod, Aarhus University)
  • Early white porcelain in North China (with Dr Shan Huang)
  • Roman and late Antique glass from Jerash, Jordan (Prof Dr Rubina Raja, Aarhus University)
  • Non-invasive analysis of medieval window glass in Canterbury Cathedral (Leonie Seliger, Prof Tim Ayers, Dr Laura Adlington, Dr Agnese Benzonelli)
  • Seljuq glass and glazed ceramics from Kubad Abad, Anatolia (collaborative project with Professor R Arik and Dr Z Yegingil)
  • Glass from the Sea (collaboration with Dr Y Gorin-Rosen)

Teaching summary

Course Co-ordinator: ARCL0099 Archaeological Glass and Glazes


BSc, MSc, PhD, FSA
Professor of Archaeological Materials and Technology



  • Advisory Editor, Archaeometry
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Archaeological Science
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Glass Studies
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Cultural Heritage
  • Scientific Committee, Herom- Journal on Hellenistic and Roman Material Culture
  • Editorial Board, Leuven Studies in Archaeological Science (book series)

Other activities
  • Science and Engineering for Arts, Heritage and Engineering (SEAHA), EPSRC-funded doctoral training centre, Co-I and Management Board (-2016)_
  • Research Excellence Framework, REF2014, Member Sub-panel C17 (Geography, Environmental Science and Archaeology) (-2014)
  • British School at Athens, Chair Fitch Laboratory Sub-Committee (-2020)
  • HMS Victory Project Board member (-2020)
  • Recipient Archaeological Institute of America Pomerance Medal for Archaeological Science (2004)
  • Member Mineralogical Society; Society for Archaeological Sciences; Association for History of Glass; Historical Metallurgy Society; Society of Glass Technology
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries

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