Ian Freestone
  • i.freestone@ucl.ac.uk
  • Direct: +44 (0)20 7679 7498
  • Internal: 27498
  • Room 210
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

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

  • The process of recycling in the early glass industries
  • Roman glass from Carthage (collaborative project with Dr N Schibille, CNRS Orleans)
  • Roman and late Antique glass from Jerash, Jordan (collaborative project with Dr Rubina Raja, Aarhus University)
  • Medieval window glass (collaboration with York University and York Glaziers Trust)
  • 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 Y Gorin-Rosen)


  • 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
  • Research Excellence Framework, REF2014, Member Sub-panel C17 (Geography, Environmental Science and Archaeology)
  • British School at Athens, Chair Fitch Laboratory Sub-Committee
  • HMS Victory Project Board member
  • Recipient Archaeological Institute of America Pomerance Medal for Archaeological Science
  • Scientific Committee European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics - EMAC 2015
  • Scientific Committee 20th Congress of l'Association Internationale pour l'Histoire du Verre 2015
  • 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

Current students

  • Julie Shih Chu Chang A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Chinese Lacquer Technology, through the investigation of Texts and Materials Evidence (second supervisor Dean Sully)
  • Ana Franjic Iron Age glass technology in the southern Carpathian Basin (second supervisor Ulrike Sommer)
  • Kate Fulcher Colour in the New Kingdom town: the technology of painted vernacular architecture at Amara West and Tell el-Amarna (second supervisor Richard Bussmann)
  • Carlotta Gardner Metal-working ceramics in Roman Britain (second supervisor Andrew Gardner)
  • Matt Phelps An investigation into technological change and organisational developments in glass production between the Byzantine and Islamic Periods (7-12th centuries) focussing on evidence from northern Israel (second supervisor Mark Altaweel)
  • Hayley Simon Characterising marine archaeological iron degradation and the efficacy of treatments to date: worth a shot? (second supervisor John Merkel)

Secondary supervisor

  • Anastasya Cholakova Glass supply and consumption in the Byzantine Empire  (principal supervisor Thilo Rehren)
  • Rosalind Broadley From Wics to Monasteries and Palaces: Early Medieval vessel glass from settlement contexts (principal supervisor Andrew Reynolds)
  • Josie Mills Tracking the hunters: Geochemical profiling of Neanderthal stone tools as a means to reconstruct movement, landscape use and social interaction in the middle Palaeolithic English Channel (principal supervisor Matt Pope)

Recently completed students

  • 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)
  • Maninder Singh Gill Technical studies on medieval Islamic glazed tiles from northern India (principal supervisor Thilo Rehren
  • Loϊc Boscher Reconstructing the arsenical copper production process in Early Bronze Age Southwest Asia (principal supervisor Thilo Rehren)

MSc and MA dissertations

Recent projects supervised include:

  • Jonathan Wood - Analysis and Reanalysis of Parthian and Sasanian Glazed Ceramics
  • Umberto Veronesi - Scientific investigation of early medieval stained glass from Baume-les-Messieurs (France)
  • Daniela Reggio - Scientific Investigation of the Mosaic Panel from Orvieto in the Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Yi Wu – Scientific Analysis of porcelain sherds from Bayley Street, London
  • Laura Ware – Revelations in the Study of Medieval Stained Glass Windows
  • Lylliam Posadas - Local production and long-distance trade: Chemical analysis of Medieval glass beads from Imperial Mali
  • Yeonjoo Hahn – The Byzantine mosaic glass tesserae from Abu Mina, Egypt
  • Karime Castillo Cardenas – Post-medieval pharmaceutical glass in London – a chronological typology
  • Irene Kritikopoulos - The Bakun Pottery Project: A Preliminary Technological Study of Pottery from the Stein Collection
  • Nicola Fyfe – “All Sorts of Ordinary and Green”: An assemblage of post-medieval glass from Eagle House in Cannon Street
  • Sarah Hilker - Mesopotamian Polychromy: A Scientific Study of Nine Statues from the British Museum
  • Wen Yin Cheng - Seeing Wendat Culture Through Their Sherds

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