Institute of Archaeology


Antanas Melinis

Conditions for the safe storage of early glass

Antanas Melinis

Email: antanas.melinis.14@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Heritage Studies



The project is centred on the investigation of fragile glass artefacts in the English Heritage collections with the perspective of providing more advanced guidelines for the sustainable preservation of vitreous materials in heritage institutions. Most pre-modern glass actively absorbs water from the environment while losing its structural alkaline components in a parallel leaching process, which weakens the main silica network. A reduction in ambient relative humidity (RH) for heavily hydrated glasses can cause crizzling, or disfiguring surface cracking due to moisture loss. Therefore, excessive RH fluctuations as well as rapid drying can be detrimental to the structural integrity and aesthetic value of the objects. Hence, the goal of my research is to find the optimal storage conditions for vulnerable archaeological glass that could assist in its preservation in storage and display. The study is going to be conducted using ancient glasses from English Heritage collections.  Their most vulnerable types and chemical compositions will be identified, reproduced industrially and artificially corroded in high- humidity conditions. Eventually, the conditions will be gradually changed to induce crizzling. This process will be monitored using acoustic emission equipment as it can identify the signals produced by physical changes in the glass matrix. Therefore, it is aimed to empirically determine the minimal RH that would halt both crizzling and further hydration in the sensitive objects.




  • MRes, Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology, UCL, 2018
  • BSc, Archaeology, UCL, 2017
    Conference papers

    Melinis, A., Thickett, D., Freestone, I. Investigating the deterioration of English Heritage glass collections. Poster presented at: Preventive Conservation: The State of the Art. 27th Biennial IIC Congress; 2018 September 10-14; Turin, Italy.